In the previous blog, I had covered some of the technological innovations and trends to watch out for this year. In this blog, I would like to cover some of the learning design strategies that might be a focal point for organizations developing eLearning courses.
1. Blended Learning: Instructor-led training is still very popular; however, organizations are increasingly realizing the potential of introducing online training to complement instructor-led training programs, for effective utilization of time and money. More organizations are likely to train their employees using a combination of instructor-led, as well as online training programs.
2. Customization of Learning Content: One size fits all type of outlook, when it came to the treatment of content, no longer works. Content has to be tailored and customized, to suit the needs of the organization and the employees, for whom the training is targeted. As a result, user interface and design become important, with emphasis on facilitating ease of navigation.
3. Focus on Engagement and Interaction with Learners: Passive page-turner types of courses are being considered ineffective and there is a conscious effort to include learner interaction and engagement, with the content. Inclusion of augmented reality and simulation has been used in sectors such as aviation, but is slowly finding inroads into other industries as well, particularly where costly equipment is at stake.
4. Gamification: The idea of gamification of employee training has stemmed from the idea of making training fun, instead of a rigor or boring activity. Since the idea has first originated, many organizations have started applying it in various area such as marketing, human resources, productivity enhancement, training, and customer engagement. How this trend will progress this year and how learning and design professionals can incorporate this concept into their training activities, is to be seen.
5. Social Learning: Information is everywhere and employees are used to sharing interesting pieces of knowledge/information or news, via social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. Many learning management systems are incorporating wikis, blogs, discussion forums and social networking sites for promoting employee knowledge sharing. This has been popular so far, only with information technology companies and it is to be seen if other companies catch up with the trend.
6. Collaborative Learning/ E-workshops: Virtual teams have been collaborating on the same projects, though they are physically located at different geographical locations and working in different time zones, as a part of their jobs. The same concept is now being extended to on the job training. Some companies are organizing e-workshops as a part of employee training process. It would be interesting to see how organizations capitalize technology to facilitate collaborative training/learning.
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As instructional designers, we always aim to design courses that reach the target audience effectively. We would never want to hear our learners say that the course was boring. We put all our efforts to make the course interesting and engaging.
But, it is essential that these efforts are put in a right way. Engaging the learner doesn’t mean just including interactivities. It is much more than having a few clicks of interactivities.
In my last blog, 20 Must Know Acronyms of E-learning – Part 1, we have seen some acronyms that are used in the world of e-learning. In this blog, we will look at some more acronyms.
11. JIT (Just-in-Time): Just-in-time learning systems enable learners to access online learning resources at the point of need. Today, what will you do to find directions to a place or find out the movie that is playing in the theatre close to your home? You just go online for information. To employees, m-learning provides a similar facility to access information pertaining to their jobs at the click of a button.
Training enhances skills and abilities of employees to be aligned to changing business needs. It is well understood that assessments are vital components of e-learning courses. They are a medium to measure training outcomes. Assessments not only strengthen learning but also help evaluate the learner’s comprehension of a course.
It is well-known that assessments are a vital component of an e-learning course. Good assessments play an important role in enhancing the efficacy of the online course by helping evaluate the knowledge gained by the learner and reinforce the learning.
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.
E-learning and m-learning are powerful learning methods; both are dynamic and effective ways to teach people. So then, what are the differences between and e-learning and m-learning methods?
E-learning involves a series of modules with in-depth subject-matter while m-learning involves smaller chunks of information which can be accessed anywhere, anytime. Modules are designed differently, depending on the kind of format used to learn. M-learning breaks the barriers of time and place and provides easy access to courses. E-learning also enables learners to access information anytime, anywhere through a laptop, and a stable environment is needed for the learner to take training.
As a college student, I had an opportunity to read Wings of Fire, the autobiography of the former Indian president, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. The story of the “missile man” who rose to great heights from humble beginnings is truly inspiring.
The sudden demise of this eminent scientist is a great loss to the country and has saddened millions. The life of Dr. Kalam is a testimony to the fact that determination and hard work can overcome the shackles of financial and other constraints.
There were a few letters marked “Never sent. Never signed” that were discovered in Abraham Lincoln’s desk after his death. When he was upset with someone he would write a letter expressing his anger but would refrain from sending it to the intended person. This practice allowed him to vent his anger, yet not allow needless or unpleasant consequences. One of the famous unsent letters was to Gen. George G Meade, who was blamed for letting Robert E Lee escape after Gettysburg. Unfortunately, in today’s age of social media, people have “lost the art of the unsent angry letter” – an expression used in a NY times article by Maria Konnikova.
It is common knowledge that good assessments play a key role in the making of an effective online course. They not only help evaluate the learner’s comprehension of the subject-matter, but also reinforce the learning effectively.