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Making E-learning More Engaging with Software Simulations

Bridget, a sales manager of an FMCG company was entrusted with the responsibility of training her sales reps on the newly released asset management software. She approached Jon, a courseware designer in the firm to look for viable options to deliver the training program. Jon presented the idea of using simulations to help learners get a hand-on experience. Well, Jon was right.

Training through simulations can work wonders in helping learners understand complex applications. Simulations have the potential to create an engaging environment that mirrors the actual work environment and promotes deep learning.

In this blog, I am going to talk about how we made eLearning engaging through software simulations.

  1. Designed Courses for Real-Life Applications
    How easy is it to understand the assembling and disassembling of a car engine? Will an animated video help you understand the complexity easily? Will you be able to replicate the procedure just by watching the video? Well, perhaps you can do it to a certain extent. However, if you were to do the same stuff in a simulated environment, focusing on the real-life application, by adding simulations and scenarios, it would make learning more effective for the learner.For instance, when one of our clients faced issues with training their employees online on using and adopting WorkDay HRIS system, they approached us for a solution. The training program had to be categorized into two groups, based on the job roles. Employees had to learn processes so that they could replicate the steps and start using the tool without any time lag. We had to ensure that learners received visually gripping content so that the course could aid knowledge assimilation and retention.We developed videos and job-aids for the two groups, based on the job roles. Our team created a character for each of the groups of workers and developed a scenario. The scenario presented each step of the process, developed in Adobe Captivate and was converted to the mp4 format. These files were then integrated with the character videos and the final software simulation was developed in Adobe Premier.
  2. Made it Short
    Quite often, a training session is bound to stretch for a minimum of 1-2 hours. If the same is to be replicated in an online format for learners, they are unlikely to stay engaged. When eLearning content is of long duration, learners end up losing interest.To retain the interest of your learners, long and boring technical content should be designed in bite-sized fragments of 15-20 minute sessions. We developed bite-sized modules for our client that helped their learners stay engaged in the course.
  3. Made it Interactive
    Most of the time, a classroom session ends with a lot of home assignments. However, that may not really be possible for learners who access courses online. For online learners, just dumping content that is required to be read at the end of every lesson is not going to work. Learners need to be challenged and engaged, and for that courseware designers need to include interactive, hands-on exercises all through the lesson and not just at the end of the course.Another client sought our help to make their procurement process smoother. The company wanted to use Ariba© software for their Procure to Pay process. We created a course that demonstrated the usage of Ariba© and included a ‘DO’ simulation section where learners could try out the software in a fail-safe environment. Through this course, employees were able to work better on the Procure to Pay process efficiently and improved the turnaround time for their clients.
  4. Made it Flexible
    When you give learners a manual with the process to follow, they would jump from one topic to another and skim through the content they are familiar with. They expect that kind of flexibility even in online courses. Most online courses do not offer learners that kind of liberty. Regardless of the interest of learners, they have to go through the entire course. When we developed software simulation courses for our clients, we bore in mind the interests of the learners.We gave learners the flexibility to skip through a slide so that they could read content based on their familiarity and levels of interest. That way, we could ensure that learners had higher engagement in the course, that eventually increased retention.If you wish to make eLearning interesting and engaging, focus on showing demos instead of making it more technical. For instance, if your aim is to teach learners on how to operate a specific software, instead of just showing a flowchart or diagram, you could show them the process in the course and then follow it up with a try-do simulation. This will surely ensure your learners are able to understand the process better. We used software simulations to make learning effective. What strategies did you use to make your eLearning courses engaging? We’d love to hear from you.

    Instructional Design Strategies to Design Engaging eLearning Courses