First do no harm. This is an unforgettable title of a book I’d read long back (complete title First do no harm: reflections on becoming a neurosurgeon, written by J. Kenyon. Rainer). Good advice that. Especially in the context of training and instructional design.
Robert Mager’s book, How to Turn Learners On…without turning them off echoes the same thought, worded differently. In the preface, Mager says that his book “is about a universal goal of instruction – the intent to send students away from instruction with at least as favorable an attitude towards the subjects taught as they had when they first arrived.”
The question is how?
To widen the scope of the topic, how can we influence learners’ attitude favorably towards learning, especially in the eLearning context?
First do no harm
With our learners far removed from our immediate physical context, it is sometimes very possible to overlook a simple basic fact – that our learners seldom come to our courses in a neutral mode. They come to the learning experience with their own attitude towards the subject, towards the medium of delivery, and towards the course materials (an attitude varying from favorable to unfavorable – with all shades in between). Our job is to try and make sure that whatever we do as instructional designers helps them move from an unfavorable attitude towards a favorable attitude or in the worst case scenario, at least help them stay in neutral gear. When designing our courses, a basic guiding principle would be to first do no harm. We need to do whatever we can to make sure that we don’t put off our learners! In this article and the next, I will explore a few ways of doing this.
Attitude towards the medium
For those learners new to eLearning or uncomfortable with it because it appears impersonal, it could take some getting used to initially. Here’s how we can help.
Make them feel welcome: One of the limitations of eLearning is that it lacks the human touch and that learners interacting with a machine need to be that much more motivated to complete the course. Think of how a classroom session is likely to go if you dived into the course without even a warm welcome to the participants. Now think of how much more challenging it is to make learners feel at home in the eLearningcontext. How do we ensure that learners who come to our course feel like clicking the Next button? A warmly worded welcome, along with outlining the benefits of taking the course can help do that. In fact, with the appropriate use of audio, the impact can be even more favorable.
Simple orientation helps: This tip applies is especially applicable if you have learners who are new to eLearning. An introduction to the navigation and UI can provide the required orientation – you could provide a course map or a virtual tour of the way the course is organized. A few simple signposts can also reduce a lot of anxiety for learners. In fact providing enough signposts allows learners to always know where they are and where they’re expected to go.
Attitude towards the subject
This is a tough one, especially if the learners have a deep-rooted aversion to any subject or training. A lot of times, employees are signed up for courses that they really don’t feel motivated to take. Only the fact that it is an organizational mandate makes them complete it. Apart from highlighting the benefits of taking the course, what else can we do to help change their attitude towards the subject matter of the course? Part 2 of this article will cover a few points.
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Information security problems are on the rise affecting all organizations. Organizations are losing millions of dollars every year. According to a survey conducted by PwC on data-security breaches, 450k to 850k pounds is the average cost to a large organization of its worst security breach of the year.
But why do you think this is happening? Ponemon Institute, a research firm, in 2013, pointed out that 35% of data breaches have occurred due to human factors, such as employees not handling sensitive information appropriately and lack of awareness.
So, what should be done? Well, the employees need to be trained. There are various areas on which your employees need to be trained, such as:
- Degree of security needed for a particular type of information/data
- Responsibility of users in protecting their organization’s information/data
- Construction of strong passwords
- Consequences of information leakage
- Identification of information to be shared on social media
- Differentiation of confidential and non-sensitive information
For more information on the topics, you can take a look at this presentation.
It is very important to have proper policies in place and conduct awareness training programs, so that employees don’t make costly errors. But the question here is – how to effectively train them?
Well, the online medium is the simplest and most economical and convenient means to complement your other training mediums. The content can be presented using visual aids, scenarios, case studies and videos that can help in reinforcing messages. The courses can be made learner-centric, and they can be presented very effectively using interactivities like click on tabs, rollovers etc. Also, quizzes can be used to assess learners on what they have learnt and help them identify the areas in which they need to improve. Moreover, it is easy to update online training content.
However, designing an online course on information security is not so simple; you need to make sure it is effective enough to bring about a change in the behavior of your employees. Let us see how to build a successful information security training program.
Decide on the Content of the Course: The first thing to do is decide on the content to be included in the online training program. It should cover the security procedures and rules and regulations which must be strictly followed. The main goal of the training program is to provide comprehensive knowledge of your firm’s security practices to your employees.
Ensure the Online Training Material Is Easy to Use: The eLearning material should be easy to understand, so that your employees can analyze and grasp concepts easily. It can be made more interesting by using small quizzes and puzzles and scenarios based on real life situations.
Create Awareness: Your employees should understand the importance of taking up the training. Implement a information-security awareness program with the support of the management. Once the employees are aware of the importance and need for information-security training, they are more likely to attend the training with an open mind and will be receptive to the suggestions shared during the training program.
Acquire Awareness Materials: Collecting additional data from information-security training organizations is a good idea, as these firms are more experienced and can help with the right training content that can be added to the materials that are developed by in-house subject-matter experts.
Track and Report: You need to track the employees’ performance and see that the training is utilized effectively. This can be done using a Learning Management System (LMS). Open-source LMSs like Moodle can be customized in a cost-effective manner as per your requirements.
Proper training goes a long way in securing sensitive information and prevents data leakages which could result in considerable financial loss and the reputation of your organization taking a beating. Hope you find this post informative. Do share your views.
The eLearning industry is stepping into the next level with the help of advanced technologies and fluctuating trends. Moreover,now-a-days curriculumis getting more interactive and the learners are shifting in large numbers to mobile devices. As a consequence, the process of eLearning designing is changing. To suit these trends and changes, HTML5 is being used for the development of online courses.
When designing an eLearning course, we think of different strategies to make the course interesting and engaging. Even after putting all efforts, we get to know that the instructional strategy used is not appropriate, and all our hard work would go in vain.
It is an accepted truth that employees are the valued resources of any organization. Organizational success depends entirely on the performance of the employees. In order to face their competitors, organizations have to ensure efficient employees who are capable of updating themselves in the continuously changing business environment. Now, companies spend lots of money to train and educate their employees. The importance of training and developing the employees’ skills is rapidly growing.
According to a report published by Docebo, eLearning revenues from Europe are likely to touch $ 8.1 billion by 2016.
Small and mid-sized businesses are finding it easy to provide technology-enabled learning to their employees at affordable prices. Moreover, online courses can be taken anywhere, anytime, and this useful feature helps overcome barriers such as availability of time and space.
Instructional design is the most significant aspect of a good eLearning course. Being an instructional designer or a learning technology professional, you need to design the course in such a way that it should assist the learner in applying what he has learnt to his work.
As we know, every organization follows a set of rules and regulations. Employees need to be trained on those rules and regulations to have a basic knowledge of their standards toward the organization and customers. And, they have a clear understanding of what they can do and what they cannot. So, organizations may not be at risk when their employees know about their legal duties.
E-learning is a cost-effective and an easy way to train employees, when compared to the traditional methods of teaching. So, most of the organizationsare using eLearning to fulfill their training needs. The healthcare industry makes extensive use of the online training medium.
Training managers put a lot of effort while rolling out an eLearning project, as it involves many complex tasks.
As an eLearning professional, I often work with many training managers and admire their managerial skills. It involves a lot of work like training needs analysis, collecting content, dealing with Subject-matter Experts (SMEs) and developing the course for the stakeholders and learners.
Every organization needs to use their resources well to meet business goals and enhance productivity. As we know, the pharmaceutical sector is highly regulated and non-compliance to applicable laws and regulatory norms could be costly. So, you have to train your employees about rules, regulations, standards and recommended guidelines to avoid mistakes.