Adults bring in a lot of experience with them. Unlike children, they are not new to the subject matter and come with a lot of experience of their own. Learning is NOT one sided, where the instructor passes information to learners, and the learners passively assimilate it. On the contrary, learning is collaborative with active exchange of information.
So, how can you promote active learning instead of making learners passive receptors of knowledge?
Courses need to be interspersed with a series of learning activities that help learners retain, remember and recall information at the time of need. Activities need to be well-integrated into the course content, so that the key learning is emphasized. Activities should strengthen the critical-thinking and problem-solving ability of learners.
What are these learning activities we are talking about?
- Case studies
Make learning authentic and relevant with scenarios
There is no point testing learners on theory as this would have little meaning, unless it is applied in a real-life context. For example, in a compliance training course, it will not be effective to ask a learner to state or recall a particular rule. Instead, it would make sense to have a scenario where an employee is stated to take a particular stance and ask learners if the employee is complying with the regulations.
Advances in authoring tools have made it easier to design scenarios. In-built scenes, default characters, their poses and moods help in easy designing and development of courses.
Example: We used a scenario on the importance of information security. It shows security threats at the manger’s workstation, how he failed to secure the files in a safe place, how he left confidential IT documents in the bin.
Build on the prior knowledge and experience of learners
We know that adult learners come with their own set of experiences and knowledge. Design activities should acknowledge their knowledge. This can be done by providing case studies. At the end of the case study, provide assessments where the learner has to select an appropriate solution if he were in that situation.
Start with an Icebreaker
Icebreaker is an excellent way to start your eLearning course and catch the attention of learners quickly. It will help your learners get into the right mood. They can be a series of questions, posed to the learners in the context of their learning need.
The icebreaker can be in the form of a ‘Do You Know?’ screen, where a simple question is asked to evaluate how much the learner already knows. Different interactivities such as drag-and-drop, multiple choice questions, drop down, matching, arranging, sequencing, etc. can be used.
With in-built templates in Articulate Storyline, you can easily incorporate all these interactivities quickly.
I hope these suggestions help you promote active learning. Do share your thoughts.