In today’s corporate training scenario, eLearning courses serve multiple purposes. They facilitate knowledge transfer, improve performance by targeting specific areas and also provide just-in-time, bite-sized learning modules, on-the-move.
Thus, they don’t just impart knowledge, they make knowledge specific and result-oriented by making it available where and when it is needed the most. For instance, a short module on a new product can be provided to the sales people before they talk to a client.
Given this context, e-learning courses need to be effective and efficient in two aspects – getting across the learning points to learners and doing so in a manner that facilitates quick knowledge absorption, retention, and recall.
Enabling efficient knowledge absorption lies at the heart of e-learning. This is where instructional designers need to bring in their teaching skills. They can present the matter in a logical, easy-to-understand way only if they have a clear idea of it. Presenting the subject in a way that best facilitates knowledge transfer is often a challenge.
Often, we tend to complicate the topic by presenting it with too many “effects” which distract learning, or we over-simplify things and make the e-learning mundane.
We have an effective tool at our disposal. It is very simple but yields powerful results. That is ‘Content Comprehension’. It is the process of becoming familiar with the content, understanding the flow and what it says. Instructional designers need to spend ample time on this activity to gain this familiarity. But content COMPREHENSION is often relegated to the background in the quest for finishing projects and designing courses with the “wow” factor. We forget the fact that only a thorough understanding of the subject will show us the most appropriate way of presenting it.
For instance, for a training course, at the first glance, adding videos demonstrating the product usage and benefits might seem the best option. But, after spending time on understanding the content, you might actually identify the potential to add secnarios or ‘click-and-explore’ interactivities that add make learning more relevant.
Having a clear idea of the content will ease the subsequent steps (such as deciding the course strategy, tone and extent of the audio) and make them more impactful. Since the content will be your guide, you will not loose sight of the goal. This will help you define your main strategy and select the auxillary elements.
Tips for Content Comprehension
- Skim the entire content rapidly
- Identify content that needs to be read in detail
- Make notes or annotations according to your preference – this will prove to be a big help in understanding
- Ask yourself questions and see how the content answers them (you can convert sub-headings into questions)
- Put yourself in the learners’ shoes – this will help you select the best way to teach
So, ensure you understand the content thoroughly and develop courses which will answer your learners’ learning needs anywhere, anytime.
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