As we know that learner engagement is always considered crucial in a self-paced environment such as eLearning. It is quite natural for learners to quickly lose interest in such learning environment which does not offer human interaction like a classroom. Hence, it is very important that such courses include interesting and motivational elements so that learners’ engagement can be observed.
In this regard, I would like to share with you about the recent project on which my team has been working on.
One of our clients, an FMCG conglomerate, asked us to come up with an eLearning course to train employees on its newly implemented software suite that was intended to be used for Procure to pay process. For this, we were required to design a simulation to represent the actual Procure to pay software suite of the company and to explain and teach the steps involved in the software process. Here, the challenge before us was to present the training course in an interesting but effective way, so that the employees do not get tired or bored while going through the technical stuff while at the same time achieve their training goals.
Let me show you the instructional strategy which my team has used to present the training course in an interesting way.
We used two animated characters. Let us meet them.
1. In the first scene, we have shown our first character, named ‘John’ appearing on the screen who imitates a newly appointed purchasing manager in a company.
We have created a situation for John where he was required to understand and then use his working company’s software product that is designed to streamline Procure to pay process. While John was thinking to get some help regarding this situation, he suddenly come to know about a training manager, called ‘Lily’ (our other character) who trains people on various corporate processes, including Procure to pay. John contacted Lily over phone to ask her help in making him understand the whole operation of Procure to pay software suite, to which Lily has agreed.
2. In the second scene, we have shown how both characters, John and Lily meet with each other and discuss over this situation.
3. In the third scene, our character Lily is shown as explaining to John about the importance of Procure to pay process in a company. She quickly explains about the various policies that a company adopt while purchasing the raw materials for the manufacture of products, which is one of the important parts of procure to pay process. Immediately after this, our character Lily introduces the software suite (software simulation representing our client company’s actual Procure to pay software suite) to John and starts demonstrating and explaining the steps required to complete the Procure to pay process in the software.
We had a firm belief that such demonstration of software process can foster better understanding in employees as they can clearly watch the steps involved in the software simulation. This was intended to help employees to get the basic idea about ‘what’ and ‘why’ of the software suite. We have also added text and narration to some of the steps to aid learning. After the demonstration part gets over, John will be asked by Lily to try and perform the steps in the software simulation. At this point, the employees are required to try the steps themselves and complete the process. Throughout the simulation, we ensured that learners are guided appropriately whenever they are stuck. Finally, at the end of the training course employees are provided with the quiz so that their learning can be accessed.
Although the combination of software demonstration and software simulation in itself is a powerful medium of creating a positive impact on learning; but the essential factor for us was to kindle the interest of learning such a course and keep learners engaged for long time. Hence, we decided to integrate characters in our eLearning course. So how do you like to design your eLearning course to make it more engaging for learners? Please do share your views. We would really appreciate your response.