I know most of you are familiar with avatars in eLearning. But for those who are not, the first paragraph is a quick introduction to avatars.
Avatars are powerful learning agents. They are simple characters that speak straight to the learner throughout the course, making it easier for the learner to understand. An avatar serves the same function in an eLearning course as a host does for an event.
Avatars can be used in a number of ways in eLearning courses.
Avatars can be used to add life to a topic, and to make the course more interesting and engaging for the learner, especially when the content is dry and boring. An Avatar can be an imaginary coach, presenter, expert, client, or a trainee. Avatars are generally used in soft skills training. Apart from that, they can be used in compliance training or process training effectively.
The best use of an Avatar is when it supports the content and adds to it. An avatar can be designed which is closely associated with the main concept. This might involve some extra research and a lot of imagination, but the effort is well worth it.
For example for a course on Supply Chain Management (SCM), we chose a cartoon ant as an avatar, because ants are great at SCM, in all aspects of it: materials planning, inventory, and logistics. As a matter of fact, SCM professionals are actually studying ants to learn a trick or two for their own trade and put them into practice in their own Supply Chain Management. We chose a model ant which looks friendly and intelligent.
This is how the Ant Avatar introduces himself at the beginning of the course – Hi…I’m Alex, the Supply Chain Ant, your guide for this presentation.
Similarly for a course on check weighing we introduced “Gram” as an avatar. This course provides information on a check weighing machine which is used to weigh different products. You will also come across various features and benefits of this machine.
With Avatars, the message can be delivered consistently while providing a virtual human touch, which will reinforce the knowledge imparted to the trainees.
To conclude, while creating an eLearning course, it is important to engage the learner. This can be done effectively by using an Avatar. It is a great tool for keeping the learner’s attention and holding his interest, by serving as a guide, a mentor, a partner to accompany him on the learning process.
Instead of using an Avatar just for the sake of using one, try to create an Avatar which supports and adds to the content. You’ll get great results!
Do share your thoughts on the same.