Taking out your supply chain workforce from their regular duties, for the sake of training, may become an impediment to your daily workflow. At the same time, you should not lose track of the fact that training your workforce, on supply chain management is critical for running your supply chain effectively. Unfettered training option to solve such an issue, can be online training. Critics argue that even though self-paced training purports to have numerous benefits, it faces huge dropout rates and the objectives of the training tabled, are difficult to meet.
One thing I would like to mention here is that if your online training looks like PowerPoint presentations, with no mechanisms of instructional and visual designing strategies, the argument of the critics stands.
How to make your Supply Chain Management eLearning course effective?
To ensure the active participation of learners, in the training, they should be internally motivated. An effective eLearning course should motivate them and keep them engaged. According to John Keller ARCS model, there are four steps involved in motivating adult learners, in an online environment.
In Commlab India, we designed many courses related to supply chain management. Some of them are about material replenishment planning, supply chain basics and inventory management. We have followed the ARCS model in our design approach, to make the learner internally motivated to complete the course successfully in the following way:
According to ARCS model, grabbing the attention of the learners is an initial objective, to motivate the learners. In the course, we have used an avatar of Ant, which acts as the presenter of the course. It interacts with the learner all through the course, just as an instructor in the classroom. At the beginning of the course, Ant introduces itself to the learners and explains them about the learning objectives of the course, i.e. what can they do after undergoing the training. The amazing agility of Ant, especially in picking up the enthusiasm and putting away the boredom, helped to catch the attention of the learners.
This animation of an ant avatar, is complex to design. The authoring tool we used to design such an animation was Flash. Flash can be considered as the best authoring tool to design such complex animations.
The next consideration in the ARCSdesign model is “relevant”. When adults find the training relevant to them, they get connected. For this, we took the supply chain model of our client and related it with the standard concepts of the supply chain to be taught. Learners, after knowing the learning objectives, go through the concepts and find it related to their organization’s supply chain process. With the use of scenarios, real images and videos of the client working, we tried to make the course more relevant to them.
According to ARCS model, ‘Confidence’ means creating a feeling in learner’s mind that they can achieve the learning goals. In this setting, the clear learning objectives are very important. Moreover, the course should create a confidence in the learner that he can complete it. For this, we divided the course into separate modules, with each module having clear learning objectives and is of short duration.
This is the final step in Keller’s ARCS motivational design.The learner feels satisfied when he is rewarded and the knowledge he has acquired, can be applied in the practical settings. Good feedback and reinforcement of knowledge, are very important, after the completion of course. For this, at the end of the course, interactive assessments are given to check the learners’ understanding and reinforce the knowledge he has gained. Upon successful completion of the assessments, the learners are rewarded with a certificate of completion. Celebrating the success of the leaners upon completion of the course, gives them immense satisfaction.
This is a learner centric approach we adopted in designing the SCM course. Please do share your thoughts!