Knowledge assimilation seems to be the goal of a lot of elearning developers that promote little more than the uploading of PowerPoint, the insertion of a few pertinent questions and a simple quiz at the end of the course. The student that gravitates to this type of course is similar to the student that fails the spelling bee because while they know how to spell the word they cannot possibly use it in a sentence. Worse, the organization that buys this sort of training for their employees is more likely to create a group of people gifted in the playback of rote knowledge than a group of employees capable of actually applying the skills in a real world setting. And it costs just fractionally more to let a true custom e-learning developer take the content to the next level.
Knowledge Does Not Equate To Skills
Consider the table below, meant to delineate the characteristics of a knowledge assimilator versus the characteristics of a skill seeker. Then consider whether it is your job as a trainer to just have your trainee be able to recite facts from a PowerPoint presentation or to not only recite those facts but actually be able to use them in the context of their job. Presentation-style training will create those characteristics in the column on the left; interactive elearning courses will generate those on the right. Those on the left come somewhat cheaper than those on the right or do they?
|Knowledge Assimilator||Skill Seeker|
|Commits to memory to pass a simple test||Actively searches for both knowledge and meaning|
|Cannot distinguish principles from illustrations||Vigorously interacts with the content|
|Focuses on discrete facts, ignoring concepts and theory||Uses new knowledge to validate and build on prior knowledge|
|Fails to understand purpose and strategy||Can apply the concepts to everyday experiences|
|Cannot retain the knowledge for very long||Retains skills for a long time|
What do your learners REALLY know?
The question for the elearning developer is whether their content is purposed to create a robotic-like regurgitation of facts or a more human-like behavior that can recall both the pertinent facts and the relevant strategies and successfully apply them in a real life situation. Using cheap and easy course development software solutions may fit nicely into this years budget but can kill subsequent yearly budgets because the courses have to be thrown out due to their ineffectiveness.
In the short run it costs just a little more to do it right the first time. In the long run it costs a lot less to do it right the first time. Making sure that your custom elearning courses do everything they can to engage your learners is of the absolute importance.
For greater insight into how to not only dispense knowledge but also provide game changing, skill enhancement training, we invite you to read our free ebook Learn How to Create Performance Based eLearning.
Image Credit: Erin M