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E-learning Interactivities – What does these quotes have in common?

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I cannot teach anybody anything; I can only make them think – Socrates

Personally, I am always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught – Winston Churchill

Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough we must do – Goethe

E-learning Interactivities - What does these quotes have in common?

As we all know, adults learn differently as compared to kids.

They need to know why they are learning something and how it solves a problem.

They also need to have the freedom to explore and learn.

They don’t want to be directed.

Learning is a means to achieve specific goals in their careers.

So, in order to develop a good eLearning course that meets these requirements, we need to think what will make it interesting and fun to the learners? Do interactivities mean, clicking here and clicking there? Or do they mean actions, which the learner needs to perform in order to learn something?

The answer to this question is effective interactive elements that can help learners involve in the process of learning. I tried to jot down some creative interactivities, based on the famous quotes, which can train adults effectively.

I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think – Socrates

1) Making Learners Think

How do you make learners think? Here are some of ways to make your learners think.

  • Questions?: There is no better way of engaging learners than asking high quality questions. Give a series of current job-related problems in the form of questions, and conclude that these questions will be answered in the course.
  • Give them a scenario at the beginning of the course, and ask them how they would take the necessary action? This makes them think. You don’t need to give solutions, but just asking that question will help them search for a good choice to make.
  • Do You Know? Ask basic questions that have answers in the course. Give options to the learner. If the learner answers them right, inform him that he will learn more about them in the course, and if he gets it wrong, tell him that these questions will be made clear in the course. Either way, the learner is hooked to take the course if these questions pertain to his need.
  • Pre-test: The best way to ask questions is after we set the learning objectives, and based on each learning objective, design questions – simple multiple choice questions.
  • Formative Assessments: Once we complete a learning outcome, reinforce the learning by asking them simple questions, and you can make it fun if you design it in the form of a game or a puzzle. You can even use simple question types such as drag & drop and multiple choice.
Personally, I am always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught. – Winston Churchill

If you ask adults to DO something, they will not do it, and if you ask then NOT to do something, they are the first to break rules. Isn’t it true? We, as adults, want autonomy more than anything else. But, with autonomy come responsibility. More responsibility means more autonomy. How do you use this knowledge to train employees through eLearning?

2) Navigation:

Do not restrict navigation: I share this with all my customers, when we develop courses. Some of them are adamant. They say that it is a compliance course and that they don’t want people to skip and take the certification. If you think that the learners will complete the course by just clicking, your course is NOT worth the learners’ time.

We need to create the course in such a way that it engages the learner and motivates them to learn by themselves. Don’t force them to complete it by restricting the navigation.

3) Give the Learner the Choice!

Before you begin, provide the learners with an option to turn the audio off. Give the learners the choice of completing the learning objects as and when they like. Make these learning objects standalone, so that the learners don’t need to complete the course in a linear manner.

4) Tell Stories

Stories are the best way we learn. When someone is telling a story, we go” into” the story and try to connect with it. Let subject matter expert tell a story, connecting the principles thought with the real problems and how they were handled.

5) Keep it Short

Even though we follow all the rules and make the course highly interactive, you cannot hold the learner for more than 20 minutes. Therefore, keep your courses short. See that courses are not more than 15 – 20 minutes in duration, including assessments.

6) Hold them Responsible

As I said, freedom comes from responsibility. Give the learners all the freedom, they need. Let them explore and learn. Don’t impose restrictions on navigation, but see that they can’t skip the final quiz.

If they are confident, let them attempt the quiz, but tell them that they cannot come back to the course once they start the final quiz. This will make them responsible to take the course before attempting the quiz.

Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough we must do. – Goethe

When we learn something, we change one or all of these three – Knowledge, skill and attitude. In eLearning, we can attempt to change all three. But effective learning should help us develop a skill. Here are some of the interactivities that can help build the skills of a learner.

7) Watch, Try and Do

While training learners on software tools and processes, it is important that you give a simulation activity where the learner works on the software, but in a very safe environment.

8) Case study & Activities

The case study method is good approach to make the learner take the real life challenge and handle it in a safe environment.

If you are developing a curriculum, you can introduce the case study in the initial modules and build activities around this case study throughout the curriculum. This will provide a good hands-on experience to the learner, and he is guided through the case study.

To conclude, interactivities can be developed easily if you understand the learner motives. Make them think, make them choose and help them do!

View Presentation on Storytelling – An Effective Training Method

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