Recently, I was working on a software training project. The objective of the training was to enable users of the software to manage fuel levels of the assets in an effective way. The software is used by many users such as operations manager, equipment manager, administrator etc. Often, simulation-based strategies are used to deliver online software training. But, in many cases, learners find simulations boring. But, there are certain situations where you need to use other approaches along with simulations. So, what are those approaches which make your online software training courses engaging?
In this post, I will share how you can use different approaches along with simulations to make the course engaging.
The client had a requirement that the eLearning module shouldn’t exceed 5 minutes. The ‘raw material’ had content for different users of the software making it huge. Some of the content was common to all users, while some was role specific. Here, the approach was that we will have a separate overview module that is common to all users, which will be around 3 minutes. And, then we have small modules specific to each user/ role, which will not exceed 5 minutes.
For the common module, we set the stage by giving an overview of the tool. We then introduced the roles and responsibilities of the users and what aspects the software can track. To enhance the course visually, we used characters for each role. Here, the user can select his role and learn more about his responsibilities, instead of viewing the responsibilities of all users.
Once the learner knows his role, he is given a set of tasks. Here, a list of tasks specific to the user appears from which he can make his selection. Each task is treated as an eLearning module which is around 5 minutes. The module begins with a task. To complete this task, a demo (simulation steps) on how to do a task is shown. Here, an avatar of a senior manager is used to guide the learners. The manager takes the learners through the simulation steps which appear as callouts in an animation. After this, the learner is given an opportunity practice the steps. Some hints are provided to perform these steps. This way, he can learn easily apply the learning in his real life.
Apart from this, to reinforce the learning and complete the learning cycle, assessments with adequate feedback are provided at the end of each module.
Coming to the development of the course, we used Captivate 8 as it can be used to create responsive online courses which can be accessed on all devices.
To conclude, though we use simulations for online software training, it can still be made engaging by using different instructional design approaches.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2015 and has appeared in learning design category whereas now it is updated in training solutions category.