We might have all heard a great deal about working memory and long term memory and their influence on instructional design. It is said that the working memory has limited capacity and can only process a defined amount of information at a given point of time. Cognitive psychologist George Miller says that the working memory can process 7 ± 2 chunks of information at a time. It is widely referred to as Miller’s law. How is this theory applicable when designing eLearning courses?
Instructional designers can play a key role to free the working memory of learners by managing the cognitive load well. Cognitive load is basically categorized as intrinsic, extraneous and germane.
Manage the intrinsic load:
Intrinsic load is something that is inherently generated by the core content of the learning material. For example, if you intend to teach how to create a PowerPoint presentation, the information that needs to be processed for the purpose is something integral for the course to meet its desired objective. There isn’t much that you can reduce here. All you can do is manage the load in the best possible manner to ensure that information is communicated effectively. So, if you are helping learners create PowerPoint presentations, you can create a step-by-step process where learners are introduced to one concept at a time, beginning with the creation of a simple PPT presentation.
Reduce the extraneous load:
The second type of cognitive load is the extraneous load which is nothing but the extra information that may not be directly relevant to the learning objective. Taking the example of the “PowerPoint course” that you want to design, there are many advanced features in the program which may not be immediately required for a novice. A novice may be only interested in knowing how to create a presentation deck. While advance features are good to know in the long run, you need to first focus on what is important and has immediate relevance for the learner. The additional knowledge about advanced features creates an extraneous load, which when minimized can help in reducing the overall cognitive load on the learners.
Capitalize on germane load:
Germane load is the next category of cognitive load. It refers to the manner in which learner’s process Information for learning. It could be by providing mental schemas or examples that aid in the learning process. A good instructional designer works towards providing such tools to the learners that aid them in effective learning. Examples, hands-on exercises or flow charts are some of the tools that help in capitalizing on the germane load of learners.
The ideal instructional strategy for developing an eLearning course would be to segregate information based on what is essential, what is supportive and what is additional. You use the supportive information to teach what is essential and leave out the additional information as a separate resource to be retrieved when the learner seeks it.
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The effectiveness of classroom training and eLearning is often debated. It is common knowledge that classroom training and eLearning are used extensively to deliver training. But, which of these media is more effective? Well, training in a classroom enables real-time interaction with the instructor. On the hand, the online training medium is highly flexible and learners can access courses anytime, anywhere. Which of the two is more effective?
In his article, Facing Down The Biggest Challenges In Manufacturing Today, Tom Bonine, President, National Metal Fabricators lists down the following as the most important problems dogging the American manufacturing Industry.
In eLearning courses, two types of assessments are used – formative and summative. Formative assessments are conducted after completing each topic. On the other hand, a summative assessment is conducted at the end of the course. In formative assessments, feedback is given after each question is answered. The goal of a formative assessment is to reinforce the learning. Whereas, the goal of summative assessments is to evaluate the learner. A summative assessment is similar to a final exam where feedback is not provided and results are shown at the end of the course. This info-graphic shares some information about formative and summative assessments, used in eLearning courses.
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Assessments in eLearning courses play a vital role. Assessments help the learner understand the level of knowledge he has gained from an eLearning course. At the same time, they help the trainer evaluate whether the learning objectives of the eLearning course have been met or not.
We all remember our school days. Don’t we? We still cherish the happy moments spent with our friends during those days. But, there were a few times where we faced difficulties with certain subjects. The formulae in mathematics, complicated equations in physics and chemistry and important dates and years in history was no less than a “haunting movie”. But, thanks to our teachers who would try out all possibilities to make these difficult subjects interesting, we could learn them effectively. The same is the case with instructional designers. They need to act as teachers and make eLearning interesting, so that learners are engaged effectively.
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Preparing the audio script for an eLearning course is a very important task which must be done carefully, as a small mistake in it may lead to a lot of rework. If we take care of a few things before sending the script for recording, we can avoid mistakes.
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Do you believe that you can get better results by including games in your online courses?
Companies across the world have following the trend of globalization for new market opportunities. This led to the expansion of their workforce exponentially. Now, a big question arises as to how quickly can you train this workforce, so as to make them ready for the job. In this regard, cost-efficient training methods like eLearning could help companies meet training challenges in the age of globalization. Let us see how eLearning can help reduce training costs.
A picture paints a thousand words and is very effective in communicating what often can’t be said through words. A picture can also break the monotony of words and present a breath of fresh air. Right from childhood, all of us are fascinated by pictures, their vivid hues and the depth of emotions they evoke.
What is content in the context of an eLearning course? It is the training material that is made available for developing an eLearning course. This is collected by instructional designers from various sources. Some of the content is provided by the subject matter experts, other materials may be shared by line managers or training managers. The content is usually developed by multiple authors and therefore lacks consistency in the way it is presented. After all, each author has his/her own style of writing and expressing thoughts.
It is common knowledge that an interactive eLearning course engages the learner very effectively. But, how can you make an excellent course that captures the imagination of your learners? Well, you can create wonderful learning experiences using videos.
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Most of the eLearning experts concur that learning requires learner’s engagement. The aim of any instructional designer is to engage the learner in an online learning environment. How to create learner’s engagement in eLearning courses? In this blog I would like to share some ideas and approaches to engage learner in eLearning courses.
According to Edward Tufte, “Graphical excellence is that which gives to the viewer the greatest number of ideas in the shortest time, with the least ink, in the smallest space”.
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The Successive Approximation Model (SAM), which was first proposed by Michael Allen, has become the preferred design and development methodology for most eLearning companies. This iterative or agile model enables you to develop a quality product within the stipulated timeline and meet customer needs effectively.
As instructional designers, we need to create a few documents based on which the developers work and come out with an online learning course. We use applications such as MS-Word and MS-PowerPoint to create Design Documents, DCOs, Storyboards, Audioscripts, etc. In this post, we will look at WHAT these documents are and WHY they are important.
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