Online course development is one thing; Online course development where the learner feels compelled to use your published course out of engagement rather than obligation is a different thing altogether.
This was addressed in a recent article in Wired, where Carol Leaman described the problems with elearning courses today:
The fundamental problem plaguing employee training is how to convert learning to performance. How do you train in such a way that real learning is transferred and retained? How do you deliver specifically what an employee needs to know, and then have them apply it effectively on the job? And how do you know that its happening?
Create Elearning That’s More Than Just A Presentation
Theres certainly no disagreement from us. In fact, thats exactly why weve been advocating online training thats more than just a glorified presentation. It needs to be. Not only is your reputation at stake but to a greater sense, elearnings is as well. The more courses that are created that get learners disinterested, the more that elearning will be seen as an inferior alternative to traditional training.
Further on in the article, she provides some suggestions in ways that you can make todays courses even better. The first of which is to…..
Break learning into smaller, bite-sized segments, and deliver them more frequently. Our brains are really good at processing 4 5 bits of information at a time. Well avoid learning fatigue and retain more of the knowledge.
This is an absolutely crucial practice to follow. Constant testing means that the learners will be asked to draw upon and use their knowledge as theyve gained it. Building upon this knowledge in each subsequent knowledge check reinforces it.
However, in order to create a course that can achieve this, it has to be addressed at the instructional design stage. Trying to address this at the storyboard or even further within the development cycle could lead to headaches, lost time and revenue. Expanding upon this:
Provide ongoing reinforcement of critical learning points through spaced repetition (aka interval reinforcement) and repeated retrieval (aka testing), which will give employees enough time and exposure to imprint the knowledge more effectively. There are many studies proving that repeated questioning of core knowledge in short bursts is far more effective at driving knowledge acquisition than one-time, lengthy learning sessions.
Assessments that happen more often, and that build upon the knowledge at every stage, allow the learner to use the knowledge immediately. The execution of knowledge does more to imprint than the rote memorization needed to pass one single test at the end of a course. Further to that, additional assessments give you insight into how the learners are doing at every stage.
Measure knowledge, attitudes, and application more frequently. How successful are employees at answering the questions? Measurement helps direct ongoing training, and allows the correlation of application of knowledge to business performance.
It pays to keep on top of learner performance quite literally. The additional assessments allow your LMS solutions to give you the metrics you need in order to determine learner enrollment, course progress, and test results. But how do you make elearning courses more exciting?
Incorporate elements of social networking, gamification and recognition to the learning process. They are here to stay and are often the way many of us now get information. Get rid of boring! These techniques are proving to increase employee engagement, driving learning and retention.
Gamification means creating courses that incorporate gaming elements into an online training course. Now to be clear, this doesnt mean that youll get your learners to play Pac-Man in order to teach soft-skills. It means that features from the gaming world such as graphical progress tracking, leaderboard, and in-depth scenario-based courses play a more prominent role than a simple presentation-style course. But what if you want to take your course on the go?
Add mobile learning to the mix, allowing employees to learn when its convenient, where its convenient and to access just-in-time learning while on the job.
Mobile is very important. That cant be stressed enough; especially with more and more tablets and smartphones showing up at offices. Its imperative to develop an elearning strategy that addresses the mobile world.
Theres a need to make great elearning courses. Every elearning course that doesn’t deliver what its supposed to fails several people. It fails you because youre not exceeding your client’s expectations; it fails the client because they have learners that are not trained properly; and it fails the learners themselves because they feel like elearning is a waste of their time.
If youd like more information on how you can create great elearning, download our free ebook Learn How To Create Performance Based Elearning.