As an instructional designer, you are advised to conduct an audience analysis before you design any instructional program. You need to understand your learners to be able to effectively communicate with them. How do you think the type of the audience will guide you in course design? It is easy to give important to the content and get absorbed in it while designing an eLearning courses, but we need to remember that it is the audience/ learners who steer the course design and content. Here are some of the implications of audience profiles on course design.
Chalking out the course vision, goals and outcomes: Understanding your audience or learners, helps you to create a vision for your course. You will be able to recognize the goals that the course is expected to achieve. You will be able to identify how the learning is translated by the learners while doing their jobs for better output. For example, if you are designing a course to explain safety procedures in a manufacturing unit, your vision of the course is to help learners realize the importance of following safety procedures and abiding by them at their workplace. The goal would be teach the safety procedures to learners. Once the learners take up the course, they are expected to practice all the safety procedures thereby reducing accidents at workplace. Only when you understand the audience, their work environment and motivation levels, would you be able to design courses that are relevant to them.
Identify the topics to be covered, type of assignments and activities: You need to know the existing skills and knowledge of the learners and the desired outcome. It is only based on this information that you will be able to identify the topics, the assignments and the activities that need to be included in the course. For example, if you are designing a course on Product Training for sales and marketing professionals, it helps to understand their existing knowledge about the products and expectations from the course. If you focus on the product and provide detailed inputs on the product to the sales team, the information may have little relevance when it comes to selling. Therefore, your choice of content will largely depend on who your target audience are.
Finalizing the learning strategy and content presentation: A learning strategy determines the approach you adopt to meet the learning objectives. The profile of your learners will determine the strategy you need to adopt. What is the medium in which the courses would be administered to them? Are they comfortable using computers? Your learner profiles help you decide on how to design the GUI, course navigation and the extent to which you use audio and video in the course. If the audience is not regular computer users and do not read much, it is important to use more visuals and include videos and animations in the course. If the learners need hands-on guidance for a software application, you might want to include a high level of simulations in the course.
Therefore, before you start creating the course design do ensure that you collect adequate information about your target audience. Irrespective of the time constraints, it is a good practice to send a questionnaire to your project manager or the client seeking information about your target learners. This will help you in designing a course that successfully meets the given objectives.
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As we know, every organization follows a set of rules and regulations. Employees need to be trained on those rules and regulations to have a basic knowledge of their standards toward the organization and customers. And, they have a clear understanding of what they can do and what they cannot. So, organizations may not be at risk when their employees know about their legal duties.
E-learning is a cost-effective and an easy way to train employees, when compared to the traditional methods of teaching. So, most of the organizationsare using eLearning to fulfill their training needs. The healthcare industry makes extensive use of the online training medium.
Training managers put a lot of effort while rolling out an eLearning project, as it involves many complex tasks.
As an eLearning professional, I often work with many training managers and admire their managerial skills. It involves a lot of work like training needs analysis, collecting content, dealing with Subject-matter Experts (SMEs) and developing the course for the stakeholders and learners.
Every organization needs to use their resources well to meet business goals and enhance productivity. As we know, the pharmaceutical sector is highly regulated and non-compliance to applicable laws and regulatory norms could be costly. So, you have to train your employees about rules, regulations, standards and recommended guidelines to avoid mistakes.
In my last blog, we have seen how E-learning, webinars and Mobile apps can be used to impart product training. In this blog, we will look at some more methods.
E-learning is the continuous process of learning through electronic media. Instructional design is a systematic process of learning, and this learning facilitates achievement of the intended goals. Many think that instructional design is all about using technology, but this is not the case.
“A major challenge we face today, therefore, is to create a desire in people to learn; and to foster and facilitate this desire throughout their lives.”
- Bryn Holmes(Author, eLearning Concepts and Practice, 2006)
One of the most important factors for organizations to succeed in today’s competitive landscape is the speedy launch of new products. The time-to-market of new products is critical to survive and succeed. Furthermore, the life cycles of most products are getting shorter due to rapid advances in technology.
On the other hand, if your sales employees are not rightly trained on your products, they will not deliver the right message to your potential prospects making it a competitor’s gain.
We all have a child in ourselves, energetic, fun loving and having zeal to explore and win games. In this state, we learn the best because our emotional state is very positive and retention of learning will be at the peak.
How do we bring out the kid in ourselves, while learning a new skill or acquiring knowledge?
Introducing new processes and software applications can be quite a daunting task. Employees are not receptive to change and teaching all the details and minute steps can be time consuming. Conducting classroom sessions might not be a very beneficial solution. Learners will need to set aside time from their busy schedules, and often, this might not be feasible. The limited number of facilitators will also slow down the learning process. Facilitators will also need to travel extensively to teach learners spread all across the globe. All these arrangements take up considerable efforts, time and financial resources.