The other day I was watching reruns of the original Star Trek TV series (yes, I admit it) and those familiar words of the crew’s mission rang once again – Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.
Because I’d been dwelling on the entire eLearning conundrum over the past few days, I felt that with a little bit of tweaking – that mission statement could well be the mission statement of any learning group embarking on an eLearning initiative for the first time – eLearning: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the eLearning Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds of technology-enabled learning, to seek out new methods and techniques for making learning successful and new strategies for deployment and development, to boldly go where no learning professional has gone before.
Except that this is not science-fiction. And there are stakeholders watching our every move as we proceed towards realizing the eLearning mission. Sometimes we as learning professionals could get so carried away by our enthusiasm for our mission that we might begin to think we are all we need to succeed. In truth, for any eLearning initiative to be launched successfully, Information Technology (IT) is an indispensable enabler. Whether it is a matter of deploying the required IT infrastructure, implementing an LMS for training management or whether it is about making content available through internal portals, IT is one team you need on board your eLearning enterprise. The best of eLearning content is of no use if it is not supported by a robust technology framework to enable learners to gain the maximum benefits of online learning. IT also needs to be an enthusiastic supporter and valued partner in the eLearning initiative.(When wanting to be transported back to the Starship Enterprise, can you imagine Captain Kirk’s plight had his terse command “Beam us up Scotty” been ignored because the IT department felt unappreciated!).
A technology-enabled learning solution obviously needs support and active participation from IT right from the planning stage itself. Here are a few ways to build a successful partnership with IT:
Identify roles and assign clear responsibilities. While the learning group is obviously at the helm – navigating and leading the way – it needs IT expertise to make eLearning happen. This is also true if you are going to outsource your technical requirements to vendors. You need a well-informed person from your organization’s IT team to drive all such discussions and negotiations right from the outset so that technological requirements are clearly communicated to the vendor and brought to a closure. You need to plan for an experienced IT member designated for this role and work together with him/her to arrive at a solution. It is important that the learning group and the IT group work together without stepping on each other’s toes and with respect for each other’s specialized skills.
Another important requirement for a winning partnership with IT is to agree upon clear standards and compliance requirements from the beginning of any eLearning initiative. Especially if holding discussions with vendors where IT can play a key role in ensuring minimum configurations for content to be deployed, standard configurations that vendors should comply with, additional programming and testing during the development phase to ensure content is compliant with the agreed-upon industry standards etc.
It also helps to have dedicated resources from the IT team to support your eLearning initiative, rather than having whoever is free being allocated for the task on an on-demand basis. There’s nothing as reassuring as having a specialized technological skill-set available to help steer you through those at-times scary waters of eLearning planning and implementation!
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Day-by-day, the demand for rapid e-learning is increasing, and so, everyone is using rapid authoring tools to develop online courses. There are many authoring tools available in the market but a few became very popular. Most of our customers and prospects prefer Articulate Storyline to other rapid authoring tools such as Captivate and Lectora. Developing courses in Storyline is very easy, and the tool offers a lot of flexibility to customize the features or look and feel of the online course.
When it comes to mobile learning, HTML5 with responsive design is required to provide the best learning experience on mobiles, especially on smart-phones with small screens. Courses developed in Storyline and Lectora work fine on mobile devices such as iPads and other tablets, but it is difficult to view them in smart-phones. Captivate has a responsive design feature. So, we must choose it if we need to develop courses for all mobile devices. Captivate is not very intuitive and flexible to develop customized features. We can also build mobile- compatible courses using manual coding but it is time-consuming and expensive.
Recently, I read the E-learning Guild report “Authoring Tool for Mobile Design” and in it, I saw the great news for which I was waiting for a while. I thought I should share it with you all. The developers of Articulate Storyline, Lectora Inspire, Lectora Online and other authoring tools are in the process of adding responsive design feature by the end of 2015.
Here is some information from the E-learning Guild report “Authoring Tool for Mobile Design”.
|Scales to multiple screen sizes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Responsive design features||Coming by end of 2015||Yes||Coming by end of 2015|
2016 will be a watershed year for mobile learning as all courses may be made compatible to all mobile devices. Storyline may become the first choice to develop e-learning or m-learning courses because of its intuitiveness. This may force all learning management systems to be compatible with mobile devices. MOODLE is ahead in this regard, and it has a responsive design feature and works on all the mobile devices.
Hope you find this post useful. Do share your views.
Despite today’s technology and a connected world, classroom training is still an effective method to impart training to all employees. But, instructor-led teaching may not be appropriate for all training needs. Suppose there is a requirement for an organisation to train its employees spread across the globe, on a particular product, in a month’s time, classroom training will not serve the purpose. Here, e-learning serves as a good option to train employees, at comparatively lower costs, within a given schedule. Due to improvements in reliability and speed, converting classroom training materials into online courses has become a justified and cost-effective opportunity.
In my previous blogs, I have discussed about the importance of instructional design strategy and visual design strategy, the two main elements of e-learning in terms of design approach. In this blog, I will discuss about the significance of audio and audio strategy.
Every organization has to follow a set of laws which govern their sector in the country they operate. So, it needs to ensure that the employees are effectively trained on these rules to avoid compliance issues. Traditionally, this was done through face-to-face training in an engaging manner. But, with organizations expanding globally and the need for constant training, companies started using e-learning to quickly reach their global employees.
E-Learning is gradually replacing the classroom training format, worldwide. 41.7 % of fortune 500 companies are using e-learning tools for online training (E-learning Magazine 2013).
Online courses need to be engaging and interactive because they are self-paced i.e. an instructor is not present to deliver the courses.
Content comprehension is an important step in the e-learning development process. It broadly includes identification of relevant content and its separation from irrelevant content and arranging it in a proper manner. It enables instructional designers (IDs) to ensure that topics ‘flow’ in a logical sequence. It also helps IDs to find gaps in the content. If performed effectively, it will help you understand the subject-matter of the course better, and you will be able to present the content in an easily understandable manner.
IPad – a device that has revolutionized the corporate world. According to the Mac Observer, 94% of Fortune 500 companies are either testing or using this device from Apple. The widespread usage of iPads has resulted in the opening of new vistas in online training. No longer were learners required to carry “heavy” laptops or remain confined to their desks. People could conveniently go through online courses on these devices. Indeed, these devices have truly made learning anytime, anywhere.
When it comes to training, most organizations have a need for product training. Be it manufacturing, pharmaceutical, electronics or finance, product training needs to be imparted by companies in all industries. So, how does one cater to a single form of training for such different segments? In this post, we will look at a few effective e-learning design strategies that are best suited for product training across various industries.
Curriculum-based courses are very much in demand today. Organizations prefer curriculum-based courses to stand-alone courses. Curriculum courses cater to a long running training program that usually runs for a period of two to three months. It is a course that has several modules which instruct on a particular subject in-depth. From the learner’s perspective, these modules would be easy to grasp and understand. They can be bite-sized modules that are easily accessible by the learners, anywhere, anytime, as per their convenience. Since all the modules of a curriculum are inter-related to each other, it is a tough task to develop such modules effectively.
Ask Compliance managers what they expect from a good online compliance course, and all of them will say, “It should make our employees adhere to rules and policies.”
Most of the companies provide compliance training through e-learning, and often, these courses have high dropout rates. Poor instructional strategies are one of the main reasons for this problem.