To make learners participate actively throughout a course, an instructional designer should choose an appropriate strategy to keep the learners engrossed in the course. A strategy is a game plan (high-level or long-term plan), which every instructional designer follows while developing an eLearning course.
For this an instructional designer first needs to analyze the content properly and then depending upon the nature and purpose of the content, an appropriate instructional strategy to present the content must be chosen. Among the various instructional strategies, I found the following six to be effective for performance-based outcomes.
E-learning courses can really become appealing and fruitful if the information is organized in a proper order, in a logical manner. Presenting content in a well-structured and logical manner really helps learners to retain and recall information quickly and easily. Based on the course objectives, content should be clustered into logical modules and then this grouped content should be presented in manageable chunks in a sequential order. Thus, logical presentation and proper sequencing of the content really enhances learners’ interest in the course as well as helps in achieving course outcomes easily.
Storytelling, if used for training, makes the session really exciting and attractive as they are fun and interesting. Stories can really alter boring data into captivating information, which then becomes easier for the learners to remember. Storytelling connects learners to the subject, transfers information to the learners in a unique way and also enables learners to get involved with the subject matter emotionally. Thus, the training programs that include interesting stories will surely help in enhancing the interest levels of the audience.
Guided learning is one of the strategies used by the instructional designers, which enable learners to make decisions. This means that the instructor defines the result but does not specify how it will be accomplished. We know that eLearning is a self-paced learning model that does not need any instructor to teach; thus guided learning creates a similar learning atmosphere to the learners. Guided learning redirects you throughout the course and makes sure that the learners take home the key points. In eLearning we use real images, vector images, avatars, etc., to promote guided learning. These characters lead the learners throughout the course.
Simulations are one of the good examples of guided learning. Here is a screenshot from one of our courses that guides the learners to proceed further.
Scenario-based learning enhances the learning process as it includes very less of text and more of conversational-based learning. Scenarios are the best option when you want the learners to ‘perform’ rather than ‘inform’ for this is a way to arouse the minds of the learners. Adopting this strategy motivates the learners to involve themselves in the learning as they can relate to a specific situation and identify themselves with the characters in the scenario.
Let’s take an example from our course in which we introduced a conversation-based scenario that explained the necessary skills and knowledge that the learners need to understand.
LEAD – Learning through Explanation and Discovery
Embedding interactivities such as click on images, tabs, numbers, hotspots, rollovers, timeline, slide shows, FAQ’s, flip cards, flip book, etc., enables earners to learn, explore, discover, try, practice and perform various tasks. This strategy makes them to gain mastery over the core concepts in the course. Learning through explanation and discovery is suitable for mainly kinesthetic learners who can learn well trying and practicing what they have learned.
To teach problem-based situations, we use case studies. A case study is an incomplete story about a situation or event, which holds solution for a problem. A case study enables the learner to analyze and think about the information, make right decisions leading to a possible solution. Thus, in an eLearning course, making use of case studies greatly enhances the learning experience, thereby making the learners to resolve their problems by thinking creatively.
Training programs that include these strategies will surely help in enhancing the interest levels of the audience. If you have any such experiences, we would love to hear from you. Please do share.
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Checklists play a crucial role in our everyday lives. We have checklists for groceries, laundry and even at work. We make checklists to make sure that we don’t miss out anything. As instructional designers, we do have the occasional checklist we refer to while we review the final course. However, at times, it may be too late to have a checklist at this stage.
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I believe that (the) educational process has two sides – one psychological and one sociological. . . Profound differences in theory are never gratuitous or invented. They grow out of conflicting elements in a genuine problem. – John Dewey, In Dworkin, M. (1959) Dewey on Education