Off late turning classroom teaching into eLearning is the latest fad. Training managers have realized that opting for eLearning is not only cost effective but also less time consuming. Now-a-days, converting instructor led training (ILT) into eLearning is simple. However creating the same classroom-like atmosphere can be quite challenging. One such area is replicating classroom activities in an eLearning course.
This is one area where even the best of us squander. I had a similar challenge for one of our courses where I was asked to show a classroom activity in my eLearning course. In this post, I will share a few insights on how you can carry out classroom activities in eLearning courses.
1. Comprehend: The first and foremost thing you need to do here is to go through your content and understand the classroom activity given. Jumping right into the creation of the activity will not give you a clear idea on how to go about the subject matter in the activity. One thing about converting an ILT activity into eLearning is that you first need to envision yourself in the classroom.
For instance, instead of thinking how we can present this in the course, you need to ask how this activity is done in a classroom with learners divided into groups of four or five. This helps in understanding the activity better and serves as a pillar in creating the same effect in your eLearning course.
2. Challenge: In a classroom, activities are meant to challenge the learner into doing a particular task. For example, your ILT material describes an activity on identifying the most common hazardous food. Ideally, in a classroom you would present a scenario, let’s say a restaurant that serves delicious food has been shut down by the food regulation authorities and you ask your participants to form into groups and find out what would be the most likely cause of the restaurant shutting down.
Being in a classroom your learner has multiple resources such as a pen, paper, notes made in the classroom and a participant guide that contains detailed description of the scenario presented. As an instructional designer, it is your job to create the same classroom-like ambiance in your course with these very resources replicated and provided to your learner in your course. Seems difficult, but it really isn’t. Let’s take a look at how you can show this very scenario in an eLearning course.
3. Create: Let me break the above ILT activity into sections for an eLearning course.
- The Scenario: This is commonly shown as a case study where your learner reads and understands the scenario. Ideally, this is shown right before the activity exercise. Take a look at the example below.
Although your learner will have a fair idea about the scenario after these screens, it is better to give him a handout in the form of attachments such as PDF files, if he ever chooses to go through the case study or scenario again.
- The Description: Once you have shown the case, the next thing you need to do is explain the learner his task in the activity and describe what is needed to be done here. For example, your task is to identify the three biological hazards in the kitchen. This clearly marks what the learner needs to identify and where.
- The Activity: This is where you need to replicate the classroom resources such as a pen, paper and reference material. Note that the PDF document you have given about the scenario serves as the reference here. Now, you need to let the learner list out his observations. For this, you can provide a text box onscreen where your learner can type out his findings on the case and when he clicks submit, you can show the intended findings of the activity. This way, he can assess his own findings and compare it to the intended findings.
Having an open field text box here serves best as it doesn’t need any kind of coding and can be easily created using rapid authoring tools such as Articulate Storyline.
- Reinforce: At the end of the activity, you can share the intended case findings, once again as a take away for future reference in a PDF document. By doing so, you cover every aspect of the activity right from the start to the end just like it’s done in a classroom.
Commonly, we tend to assume that classroom training and eLearning don’t gel well together. However classroom teaching aids such as documents, PowerPoint presentations `are great resources to create activities in eLearning.
Hope you find this blog useful. Do share your views.