When it comes to knowledge-transfer, the doing is almost as important as the knowing. This is especially critical in online training development. Its one thing to know information but putting it into practice is where the true success of an online training program really shows.
What Works / What Doesnt Work
A Presentation-style elearning course is much like attending a college lecture. During the lecture, which could last for an hour or longer, the professor presents a series of slides while you furiously try to take notes to reference for an upcoming assessment. You then wonder why you werent able to retain the information when you needed to.
Because course authoring tools offer the ability to import Powerpoint slides, its very easy for that presentation-style training to carry over into online training. Simply importing a Powerpoint presentation into your course authoring tool, adding a few assessments with your test maker software, and publishing it to your online training software isnt an elegant solution. It creates a bad training experience for your learners.
To counter this is to create online training that makes use of the capabilities of the course authoring tool by introducing elements into the course like multimedia, branching questions, and role-playing scenarios.
While an online course can definitely present the information, its the application of the knowledge through the use of role-play scenarios that makes all the difference.
However, before we move further, it helps to know the different ways in which your learners absorb information.
Get Your (Virtual) Hands Dirty
There are two ways in which your learners can retain information:
Rote learning is a great tool to use if you need to remember small pieces of information like a telephone number or a mathematical formula. It enables you to reference information quickly that you might use to answer an even bigger problem. We use it everyday in ways we take for granted.
Critical thinking works in conjunction with rote learning but also experience; whether thats something youve learned recently or even further back. It goes beyond simply right or wrong and asks for the best response to the problem.
Critical thinking encodes the information into memory. For example, a combination of the two might be; you mix the chemicals whose properties youve memorized to achieve a desired result. Through experience you know what happens if you mix incorrectly.
Well-designed online training courses contain both aspects of learning. Well show you how we used both learning styles in some custom online courses that we created. Lets look at an example!
How We Do It
In our How To Motivate Your Employees demo, youre asked to use your knowledge of an employees personality and background in order to find out the best way to motivate them to complete a task.
This demo requires you to deduce and investigate in order to come up with the right answer. You need to remember an employees background and personality in order to delegate a task appropriate to their skillset and reward them based on their performance. The sample features both visual and text feedback so you know if youre on the right track or not.
Taking the same knowledge and using it in a Presentation-style course would have resulted in a far less satisfying learning experience.
It doesnt stop there! We have other examples that you can try out as well.
Wrapping It Up
A good elearning course will benefit you and the learners who take it in the years to come. If there is little consideration in the creation of a course then it could be soon forgotten.