Harry is a junior sales executive. He has been with his present organization for a year. Harry was assigned to complete an online sales training program by his manager. After a hectic day’s work, he returned to his room and opened his laptop and started taking the online course that was assigned to him. During the session, he yawned repeatedly, sat with his hand on the forehead, showed no signs of interest in the course and then finally signed out. After for a while, he went online, chatted with his colleagues regarding the futility of the training session, participated in animated discussion online and exchanged ideas over a variety of subjects, got rid of his initial boredom and then slept.
What is it that the chat with colleagues gave Harry that the online course didn’t? It’s interactivity. Harry, who showed no motivation to complete the online course actively, interacted with his colleagues. What is that made him to participate actively with his colleagues? Well, we can say that it is the human element that is inherent in our interactions. Our brain responds well to human touch. Now the question is can such a human touch be included in online courses?
Let us see how to make the online learning more social by adding human elements to it, so that Harry never again finds eLearning courses less engaging.
Involve human character in the course
Present the course to the learner through a character who acts as guide, talks to the learner throughout the course and guides him with feedback at the end.
For example consider an online course which focuses on selling skills to the sales people. Here, create an avatar of an experienced sales manager who interacts with the learner and trains him, using conversational style. At the end of the course, give him a scenario based question with the character guiding him and providing feedback for answers he clicks.
Link the learner to the characters
Get the learner to feel that he is involved in the course and the content totally relates to him. Introduce the character who is in similar situation as the learner and make him learn as the course progresses; this makes the learner relate to the character making the courses more personalized.
For example, take a sales training course which trains the sales people on basic selling skills related to the medical equipment. In this course, a character that mimics the learner has been created i.e. Bob as a junior sales representative facing some problem selling medical equipment to a hospital administrator. His problem is solved by another character in the course, who represents a senior sales manager. He takes him through the selling process and gives him selling tips, which come handy while selling the product.
Keep the content in conversation style
Make courses using conversation style, as learners find it easy to engage with such content. Using personal tone is one way to make this happen. For example the conversation style between the junior sales person and senior sales person, in the above case should be in active voice rather than passive. Make the conversation at a personal level by using phrases such as “You got it right” instead of just “Correct”.
Such an approach makes eLearning courses far more engaging, interactive and social. Learners such as Harry would no longer yawn while taking them and do not consider them as impersonal and boring. Therefore, to ensure that your online courses do not have high drop-out rate, add some human element to them. If you have come across courses with human element, do share your views and reactions about the same.
Subscribe to Our eLearning Design Blogs
Get CommLab's latest eLearning articles straight to your inbox. Enter your email address below:
Medical representatives face many problems while promoting their companies’ products to doctors. It’s a well-known fact that doctors are more knowledgeable about medicines than the pharmaceutical sales representatives. So, how can a representative gain as much knowledge as the doctor about the medicine? Well, e-learning is the best solution for this problem because it helps to impart highly effective training.
As instructional designers, we always aim to design courses that reach the target audience effectively. We would never want to hear our learners say that the course was boring. We put all our efforts to make the course interesting and engaging.
But, it is essential that these efforts are put in a right way. Engaging the learner doesn’t mean just including interactivities. It is much more than having a few clicks of interactivities.
In my last blog, 20 Must Know Acronyms of E-learning – Part 1, we have seen some acronyms that are used in the world of e-learning. In this blog, we will look at some more acronyms.
11. JIT (Just-in-Time): Just-in-time learning systems enable learners to access online learning resources at the point of need. Today, what will you do to find directions to a place or find out the movie that is playing in the theatre close to your home? You just go online for information. To employees, m-learning provides a similar facility to access information pertaining to their jobs at the click of a button.
Training enhances skills and abilities of employees to be aligned to changing business needs. It is well understood that assessments are vital components of e-learning courses. They are a medium to measure training outcomes. Assessments not only strengthen learning but also help evaluate the learner’s comprehension of a course.
It is well-known that assessments are a vital component of an e-learning course. Good assessments play an important role in enhancing the efficacy of the online course by helping evaluate the knowledge gained by the learner and reinforce the learning.
According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 48 million people (1 in 6 Americans) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die each year from foodborne diseases. In order to adhere to food safety regulations, one of our clients came up with a requirement for an e-learning course.
E-learning and m-learning are powerful learning methods; both are dynamic and effective ways to teach people. So then, what are the differences between and e-learning and m-learning methods?
E-learning involves a series of modules with in-depth subject-matter while m-learning involves smaller chunks of information which can be accessed anywhere, anytime. Modules are designed differently, depending on the kind of format used to learn. M-learning breaks the barriers of time and place and provides easy access to courses. E-learning also enables learners to access information anytime, anywhere through a laptop, and a stable environment is needed for the learner to take training.
As a college student, I had an opportunity to read Wings of Fire, the autobiography of the former Indian president, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. The story of the “missile man” who rose to great heights from humble beginnings is truly inspiring.
The sudden demise of this eminent scientist is a great loss to the country and has saddened millions. The life of Dr. Kalam is a testimony to the fact that determination and hard work can overcome the shackles of financial and other constraints.
There were a few letters marked “Never sent. Never signed” that were discovered in Abraham Lincoln’s desk after his death. When he was upset with someone he would write a letter expressing his anger but would refrain from sending it to the intended person. This practice allowed him to vent his anger, yet not allow needless or unpleasant consequences. One of the famous unsent letters was to Gen. George G Meade, who was blamed for letting Robert E Lee escape after Gettysburg. Unfortunately, in today’s age of social media, people have “lost the art of the unsent angry letter” – an expression used in a NY times article by Maria Konnikova.