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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The ultimate goal of an instructional designer is to give a wonderful learning experience to the learner. However, at the end, it only matters what knowledge the learner has acquired from the course and how he is applying it in his daily tasks.
E.L. Thorndike, an educational psychologist, has come up with three laws of learning in the 20th century. These laws, when implemented, help learners to learn more effectively. In this blog, I will discuss a few laws that can be applied to eLearning for effective results.
E-learning – a learning medium that has radically altered the L&D landscape. The online training format has opened new vistas in corporate training, by enabling firms to deliver training, anytime, anywhere, at low cost. Therefore, it did not come as a surprise when Ambient Insight reported that the global market for eLearning solutions has reached a whopping $107 billion, by 2015.
Content Chunking – may be you have never heard of it, or may be you have heard and been wondering how it works and helps develop successful eLearning courses.
Chunking is a method of presenting content by splitting it into small pieces or “chunks” to facilitate quick and easy reading and understanding. Effective content chunking goes a long way in designing eLearning courses by reducing cognitive load on the learner.
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Visual designing is not as easy as people think it is, and it’s well known that the most important factor that makes your eLearning course well-received by your target audiences is the visual appearance of course. You cannot judge a book by its cover, but the harsh reality is we do so – looks do matter. As an instructional designer, it is very essential to make the content look visually rich by following the style guide and maintaining clear fonts, using proper colors and appropriate images and ensuring consistency in the placement of images throughout the course. Good, attractive visual designing keeps learners engaged and helps them retain information longer. In this blog, I would like to list some of the common mistakes that we make when it comes to making the course visually rich and how to fix them.
Are you in dilemma whether to outsource the development of online courses or develop in-house?
In order to take the right decision, you need to have a good idea of how an eLearning courses is developed and the various components required to create an online course. This helps you determine whether you have the needed resources or capabilities to develop courses in-house. A typical eLearning course development process consists of 5 phases – analysis, design development, implementation and evaluation.
With the ever increasing demand for safety at the workplace, training managers are finding it hard to spread the message of safety within the organization. Most often, safety training is regarded as a part of compliance training. However, safety cannot be taught, it needs to be made an integral part of an organization’s culture. How can you use eLearning, which enables anytime, anywhere learning, to deliver effective safety training? Well, you can use funny videos in online courses to provide top-notch safety training to your staff.
In this post, I will take you through 4 eLearning design tips and tricks you can use for safety videos.
Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning. – Maya Angelou
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As instructional designers, at the start of every new eLearning project, we are called upon to think of a strategy which is best suited to the project at hand given the technical, time, and financial constraints. In this scenario, we often tend to mix up our strategies with models. Though the two might overlap, there is a fine distinction between a strategy and a model. We will understand the distinction between the two so that we have a very clear idea of what each is and what is its place in the scheme of things.
Setting off the fire with eLearning – Ideas for Fire-safety training at your workplace
Welcome to today’s blog post. Since the enactment of OSH Act of 1970, workplace safety has moved up the agenda of every company. As a part of this initiative, employees are being made aware of the recognized hazards at their workplaces and the safety measures to be followed during an emergency situation. One such training program that is very important for employees is the fire safety training. To be honest, I do not have a clue about where the emergency exit is or where we can find the fire extinguishing equipment in our office. In this post, I will try to discuss a few ideas to implement fire-safety training through eLearning at your workplace.
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