My eLearning guru once talked to me about a simple technique that will help identify whether a training program is successful or not in no time. The interesting thing about this technique is that you can know the result, without looking at the course. All you have to do is place a voice-recorder in the development floor and once the course development is complete, ask one of your staff members to listen to the recording and note down the number of times, the words “client” and “learner” appeared in the recordings. If the number of instances in which the word “learner” is uttered are more than those of “client”, we can assume that the course is effective.
The reasons for this and other signs that tell you whether your eLearning program has delivered or not will be discussed in this series of blogs. In this first installment, we will discuss the first sign – failure to identify your real client, the learner.
1. If You Fail to Identify Your Real Client- The Learner
I’ve always felt that the clients of IDs and their employers are different. Strange as it may seem, it is true. This is because the client, in most cases, is not the end user of the program but facilitates access to the latter. E-learning firms often say that they accord the highest priority to learners while developing digital courses. They also claim that they work to provide the best learning experience, in an effective manner. This might not be always true.
The target audience analysis, which is done during the initial stages of eLearning courseware development, is only a small input to IDs. It helps understand the “probable attributes” of the learner. The extent to which the ID utilizes this information in the subsequent stages of eLearning development makes or mars the online course.
It is not always possible to identify a potential end user for the program and involve him in the development phases to test your success. The eLearning QA/testing process is currently limited to checking only deals with the parameters of the course such as design, look and feel, language, and hygiene (in terms of interactivity and user interface). Hence, it is the responsibility of the ID to put himself in the shoes of the learner and identify the pros and cons of the build that is being developed. This might not be possible for everybody, especially for people like me who find it difficult to find mistakes in their own work. Therefore, it is advisable to go for a “third eye” review. Get preferably someone who has at least 2 out of 6 attributes of the potential end user or the learner to have a look at your course and share his experience.
You might argue that your courses are already being reviewed by many other people in the team such as the leads, project managers and other higher level people, before reaching the client. Yet, you receive feedbacks that aren’t what you expect to see. Why? One thing that separates these people from the third eye, I was referring earlier, is the learner perspective. This is because the immediate client (firm which wants the course to be developed) is the higher priority for these people. Hence, they tend to work towards satisfying this immediate client. However, the immediate client and ID have the same goal – impart top-notch training to the learner. Hence, if you take some time to get your course looked by someone out of this loop
(an ID sitting next to you or a graphic designer working in the opposite cubicle), it would result in a noticeable change in your course that helps you meet your client’s as well as their learners’ expectations.
Finally, I would say, “Do not deliver to your client what they want; instead, give them what they need which they are often ignorant of.”
That’s it for this day. In the coming post, we will discuss the next sign – which is If you fail to limit the interactivity in your course; Interactivity- A Blessing or a Curse. Feel free to share your views and experiences in the comments box below. Happy eLearning!!
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