Knowledge is not enough, we must APPLY. Willing is not enough, we must DO. – Bruce Lee
Knowledge yields fruit when it is applied to resolve the issue at hand take appropriate decisions, or achieve its intended purpose. If learning is not put into application or not practiced, it loses its sheen. We may remember the textbook definitions but tend to forget their practical implementation. Thus, it’s essential to reinforce theoretical knowledge with real-life applications.
In the current scenario, where eLearning is gaining prominence as the most preferred medium of facilitating knowledge, we have excellent instructional principles to deliver knowledge to learners. But how do we ensure its application?
In a classroom scenario or with ILT (Instructor-Led-Training), there is ample scope for knowledge application in the form of open discussions, debates, group activities, and the like. But in eLearning, infrastructure in the form of classroom props and aids is almost non-existent, and the absence of a human instructor is profound. So, how can we surmount these issues and facilitate not just knowledge transfer but knowledge application too?
E-learning provides simple yet effective solutions to overcome this issue. In this blog, I will dwell briefly on two of those solutions – scenarios and games.
Using scenarios is the best method to present learners the opportunity to apply the knowledge in eLearning. Scenarios are a very flexible option and can be scripted to reflect real-life issues which learners are most likely to face in their day-to-day work/domestic life.
Questions must be so drafted that they compel learners to pause, think about the situation in the context of the current learning and come up with the most appropriate solution. Hence, scripting realistic scenarios and options without scope for ambiguity is the major challenge.
The trick is to make the scenarios compact and realistic. Try not to cram the scenarios with too many details or trivia. Let them be precise and convey the issue without any embellishments. The options too must be quite distinct and not lead to confusion.
Scenarios also lend visual support as they can be presented with realistic backgrounds and characters. But remember, simplicity is the most effective parameter.
Example: In a safety related course, learners can be presented with a fictitious scenario in which a major hazard has occurred and asked to identify the lapses which lead to the occurrence of the hazard, the person(s) responsible for the incident, what went wrong, what would be the likely course of future action, the next steps to be done, etc.
Hence, a single, simple scenario in eLearning is sufficient to allow learners synthesize and apply all that has been learnt thus far to the issue at hand and demonstrate their understanding.
Though similar to scenarios, games are usually very small in terms of the situation description and invite learners to make a quick decision. They can be presented visually in multiple settings such as physical games, board room activities, etc. wherein each correct answer will earn a point, goal or move you up the corporate ladder.
They can be designed to provide hints (at the cost of a few points), to be timed etc. You are constrained only by your imagination, but do remember the mantra of simplicity.
The main aim should be to enable leaners apply their knowledge, not to overwhelm them visually or cognitively and not to distract them from learning.
I hope these two options have given you a fair idea of how to provide opportunities for knowledge application in eLearning. Explore them and make your eLearning courses comprehensive, engaging, and learner-friendly.