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Approaches to Design Engaging E-learning Courses for Food Safety

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Approaches to Design Engaging E-learning Courses for Food Safety

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.

The client provided raw content in the form of a MS-Word document containing 80 pages. This is the ILT material he uses for training his employees. The client wanted an e-learning course to be developed from this raw content. The learners could either attend the classroom training sessions or take the online course. So, the main challenge is that all the learning that happens in a class-room should also take place online.

The huge content was broken down into 9 modules which were further broken down into topics. There were classroom activities after each module. Another challenge here was to present these activities in the e-learning course without compromising on the learning. Now, we had to come up with an instructional approach for this content.

After going through the content, we came up with a couple of approaches. We used a combination of scenario-based and case study-based learning.

For the scenario based approach, we used 2 characters – Food Safety Manager and Food Safety Supervisor. The food safety supervisor is a new recruit. The food safety manager takes the new recruit through the course. We used these characters at the beginning as an introduction to set the stage, and then to present formative assessments. We also used the characters, at the end, to summarize the course/ module.

Scenario Based Approach

To add more value to the course, we used a real life case of a food and beverages establishment (a restaurant/ a packaging unit).The case study was first introduced explaining the challenges faced by the restaurant and how implementing the process can help meet these challenges. Then, the course content was presented, and at the end of each module, the case study is brought back so that all the learning can now be applied in the form of activities.

We did not want to compromise on the learning. So, we tried to simulate the classroom activities in the e-learning course using interactivities such as drag and drop, drop down, fill in the blanks etc., but customized to some extent. In this case, the learner’s involvement and engagement would be very high as the learners are actually implementing the steps.

Real Life case of a Food and Beverages

Drag and Drop Interactivity

These are some of the approaches we used to design a food safety course. In my next blog, I will share in detail how we went about treating the content using instructional and visual components to engage learners.

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