Ever been put off by feedback for a practice question in an online course that was just an unhelpful “That’s incorrect. The correct answer is…”, without any attempt at explaining why the answer was incorrect?
I was thinking of why we do what we do as instructional designers when it comes to providing practice and feedback. Here are a few questions we can ask ourselves when designing practice and feedback.
- Why do we give our learners practice questions (non-scored, and not part of the formal assessment)? Is it just to test them? Give them a welcome break from the instruction? Or give them the opportunity to practice what they have learnt? Or use the feedback to their answers as a teaching tool?
- Why do we spread out our practice questions over regular intervals (typically at the end of manageable chunks of learning)? What are we hoping to achieve through this? How can we apply the strategy of increasing their motivation by giving them a chance to succeed? By first appreciating it when they get something right and then focusing on what they got wrong? Are there any other ways to let the learner succeed? How important do you think this is for learner motivation?
- Is our feedback directed at the learner (minus any comments implying a personal deficiency), rather than focusing on the task being performed. Think of the difference between “You are wrong” and “In this step, you added the two amounts instead of subtracting them”, which brings us to the topic of diagnostic feedback in the bullet below.
- Ever thought of the powerful impact of diagnostic feedback for tasks in terms of appreciating progress learners have made rather than pointing out how far they still need to go? Think of how partial feedback can be powerful in helping learners who may not have got the answer 100% correct. When they get feedback on the method they used at arriving at an answer rather than on the answer itself, it certainly gives them a very strong reason to get it right. This also helps them take mid-course correction. It’s frustrating as learners to be told we are wrong and then not have any information on where and how we went wrong.
- How can we help out learners through the process of arriving at the correct answer? Think of hints that we can provide or reference materials learners can be directed to for helping them solve a problem correctly (For instance: refer to this job aid so that you don’t skip any important steps while solving the problem.)You could also improve their motivation by letting them see how the course gives them the opportunity to make mistakes in a risk-free environment.
- Why do we model the desired performance? And how we do it? Maybe through videos of optimal performance for a given task? Think of a scenario in a sales training where the characters in a role play can be used to both model ideal performance and the not-so-ideal performance so that learners can think of both how to succeed and how not to succeed.
Robert Mager‘s talks about self-efficacy in his book How to turn learners on…without turning them off. He defines it as the “judgments people make about their abilities to execute particular courses of action-about their ability to do specific things. It isn’t about the skills people have, but about the judgments people make about what they can do with those skills.” So what’s self-efficacy got to do with instructional design? If we design our courses in such a way that we strengthen our learners’ self-efficacy, they are more likely to hang in there and not give up at the first sign of failure. Course designers can help mirror on-the-job conditions while giving learners somedegree of support and reassurance as they go through the course.
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E-learning is increasingly used by organizations as online courses are effective, affordable and can be accessed anytime, anywhere. But, many organizations are not able to realize these benefits offered by the online training medium due to a serious problem – high dropout rates.
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.