The Rapid Elearning Blog

Archive for July, 2019


compliance training

In a recent survey, 68% of e-learning developers told us that they build compliance training. In fact, it’s the majority of what people build. Compliance training is a bit tricky because e-learning contains the word learning, but often compliance training doesn’t really have a real connection to learning. If we’re honest, a lot of it is a big information dump with little real connection to the learner’s day-to-day activities.

For example, you don’t hire a bunch of unethical people and then figure it’ll all work out after they complete their ethics training. Instead, you have ethical people and the training clarifies and reinforces the organization’s guiding principles. But it doesn’t really change behaviors much, unless your work the mob, maybe.

That doesn’t mean there’s not a real learning component to compliance training, it just means that it’s usually more about certification of understanding rather than changing behaviors.

Here are a couple of things to consider when building your next compliance training course.

What does the law say?

“We can’t build good courses because the law requires we do XYZ.”

That may be the case. However, often it’s not. I’ve worked on plenty of compliance training programs that were driven by the myth of legal requirements. I always challenge that statement. If it’s true, it’s true. But prove it.

If it’s not, then don’t use that misunderstanding to dictate how you build your courses.

Let your learners test out.

Since most compliance training is about certification and many of the people already know the content, why not let them prove it upfront?

Give them an option to take an assessment at the front end of the course. If they can prove they understand the content, then they’ve met the compliance certification objectives (outside of any special legal requirements). If they can’t prove it, they understand why they need to take the training.

Keep in mind that assessing their understanding doesn’t mean it has to be a bunch of boring multiple choice quiz questions. It could be a series of case studies or interactive scenarios.

Some employers don’t want people testing out. The argument is usually along the lines that even if they know the information, it’s a good thing to see it again. I’d start with the cost of training and how forcing people to take courses where they already know the information is not necessarily good stewardship of the organization’s resources. And then take it from there.

Compliance training isn’t always the most engaging content we work with; and it does waste a lot of time. Find out what you really have to do to be compliant. And then create the best learning experience you can.

What do you do to make your compliance training more engaging?

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  • October 29: ATD Nashville. Here's Why You Need an E-Learning Portfolio.

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Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for e-learning, instructional design, and training jobs

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Lots of cool e-learning examples to check out and find inspiration.

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We’ve all heard about analysis paralysis where we spend a lot of time collecting data and then worry so much about how to interpret it (or building the right course) that we never get anything done.

I’ve worked on plenty of training projects where that was the case. It was frustrating for the customers, as well as the training team.

Here are a few ideas to help in the analysis and getting things done at the speed of business.

Focus on Relevant Content

Training exists for a purpose. It’s a solution for something. Be sure to keep your eyes on the right goals and objectives. Build training relevant to real needs. Get out of your cubicle and meet potential learners. Find out how they’d use to content in your course. And then build training around those real-world scenarios.

What about compliance training? It doesn’t always meet relevant needs, but it’s important to the organization.

True. Odds are you don’t need to do a needs analysis for compliance training.

Create a Pilot Team to Help

If you can’t get out of your cubicle and go onsite, assemble a team from a pool of your learning audience. They’ll help you see the content from different perspectives. You don’t need a big team. It could be just a couple of people.

If you can’t build a formal pilot team, at a minimum you can send out a survey to collect information and feedback. There are all sorts of free and inexpensive survey tools out there. I like to use Google Forms and SurveyMonkey.

Build Proof of Concept Courses

The nice thing about today’s e-learning tools like Storyline and Rise is that you can quickly prototype your courses and build interactive learning experiences. Then roll them out to test and get feedback. You can send them out to subject matter experts and your pool of learners. Sometimes things missed in the analysis present themselves when used in real life.

I like to use Review to get the courses out there for feedback and then manage it all in one place. That type of simplicity wasn’t available a few years ago.

Who Needs a Needs Analysis?

This may be sacrilegious to some of you, but skip the analysis. Between your customer’s insight and your training instincts, odds are that you’ll be fine without investing a lot of time doing detailed needs analysis.

Now I say this knowing that most of us don’t build overly complicated training. If you work for NASA or are in an industry where the training has life or death consequences than make sure to do a proper analysis so that you get things right. But the reality is that most training needs exist because the client or someone has already identified it. In those case, a needs analysis is probably less critical.

I’m curious, what type of needs analysis do you do when asked to build training? Are there times where you skip it?

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • October 6: Amsterdam. 10 Production Tips from the E-Learning Challenges by David Anderson. Register here.
  • October 21: Sydney. 3-Hour Articulate Virtual Event: 10 Production Tips from the E-Learning Challenges, Creating Engaging Software Training in Rise 360, and more. Register here.
  • October 29: ATD Nashville. Here's Why You Need an E-Learning Portfolio.

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for e-learning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly e-learning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool e-learning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This e-learning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

 




The Rapid E-Learning Blog - compliance training jail

Every two years I take my car in and have the emissions tested.  The goal of the test is to certify that my car meets specific emissions standards.  If the car passes, I am certified and I can move on.  However, if it doesn’t pass, then my car has to go under a different series of tests (and perhaps repairs) to get up to the appropriate standard and certified.  Of course, this takes more time.

As I was waiting in my car, I was reminded that a lot of what we call “e-learning” is similar to the emissions testing process.  The purpose of the course is not to learn, but instead to demonstrate what we already know.  If we don’t pass the certification, then just like the car, we have to go through a remedial process.

When I worked for a healthcare organization, we did a lot of training like that.  We weren’t really training the staff since they already knew the subject matter.  Instead, we were certifying that they knew it.

Like the healthcare industry, there are many industries that require annual refresher or certification testing that has little to do with learning.  In those cases, the goal is not so much to teach new skills; instead it is to certify existing knowledge.  Of course, when a person doesn’t pass the certification, it identifies a clear learning opportunity.

One of the frustrating parts of the emissions testing is that, while the actual test only took a few minutes, waiting in line to take the test took a lot longer.  This is especially true if you wait until the last Saturday of the month when all of the other procrastinators also show up.

The Rapid E-Learning Blog - I know this elearning

Sitting in the car and waiting in line is not very productive.  The same can be said for those people who already have existing skills and yet have to go through an “elearning course” before they can be tested.  The ideal situation is to create an environment to assess the person’s skills and then direct them based on their results.

If the person can demonstrate the skills and knowledge, then go ahead and certify them, so they can go back to work or surf the Internet.  If they can’t demonstrate the skills and knowledge, put them on a path to get it, and then reassess them later.

Compliance Training: A Real-World Example

I was talking to a colleague recently who works for a very large financial institution.  Needless to say, they have many certification and annual refresher training programs.  The problem he ran into with his courses was that many of the employees already knew the information, but the organization still made them go through the entire course before they could be tested and certified.

This was a great source of frustration for the employees.  In addition, most courses took anywhere from 30-60 minutes to complete and each employee had to take a number of them throughout the year.

Let’s look at this from a financial perspective.  The organization has over 30,000 employees.  Just a ball park figure shows that 30,000 hours at $50 per hour is $1,500,000…for one course!  That’s a lot of money and lost productivity.

Surely there was a more efficient approach to meet the regulatory requirements and get the employees certified.  There was!  Here’s what his team did to create a more efficient elearning certification process.

The Rapid E-Learning Blog - what does the elearning law say

  • They contacted their law department to better understand the real legal requirements and certification process.
  • They found that in many cases they weren’t legally required to deliver a “course.”  Instead they only had to document that the employees were certified and had a certain level of understanding.
  • With this new information in hand (and the legal department’s blessing) they changed the structure for many of their courses by allowing the employees to test out of information they already knew.

And, what type of results did they get?

They found that for the more complex information, if they offered a pre-assessment, about 30% of their employees could skip past the course.  They also found that in some of their simple 15-30 minute courses, almost 70% were able to skip past the course and be certified.  Run some numbers on paper and you’ll see the savings add up quickly.

Our industry is always talking about demonstrating a return-on-investment and this seems to be a slam dunk.  There’s no better way to show your value than to demonstrate that you’ve created a more efficient way to certify your employees.

  The Rapid E-Learning Blog - return on investment - ROI

Of course, this approach doesn’t work for every industry or every elearning course.  But it does for many. If you do a lot of regulatory training, now might be a good time to rethink your elearning strategy.  Get with your legal department and find out what the exact requirements are; and then build a course that helps you meet them.

Many of you are in industries that require certification and regulatory training, I’m interested in hearing some of your best practices.

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • October 6: Amsterdam. 10 Production Tips from the E-Learning Challenges by David Anderson. Register here.
  • October 21: Sydney. 3-Hour Articulate Virtual Event: 10 Production Tips from the E-Learning Challenges, Creating Engaging Software Training in Rise 360, and more. Register here.
  • October 29: ATD Nashville. Here's Why You Need an E-Learning Portfolio.

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for e-learning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly e-learning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool e-learning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This e-learning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

 




gamified e-learning template

Many of us are challenged to convert our linear content into something more interactive and engaging. I was digging through some old workshop files and stumbled upon one I built a while back but never ended up sharing it outside of the workshop. In the workshop activity, the objective was to not build completely from scratch. We started with an existing template that was shared in the community, and then we explored a few ways we could add some gamified elements to create something that is a bit more effective and engaging.

Here’s a breakdown of some ideas from the workshop activity.

From Linear Content to a Gamified Experience

We started with a nice clean template designed to meet the team. It’s interactive, in the sense that you click to learn about each team member. This is great for an exploratory interaction where you need to collect information.

Original Template Example

original meet team pre-gamified template gamify

See original template in action.

In our activity, we used the template as a mechanism to interview team members and collect information to make the right decisions. We also added some other elements to gamify it a bit.

Gamified Template Example

gamified template

Click here to view the gamified example.

Gamified Learning Challenge

The assumption is that there is some sort of challenge and the learner has to determine what to do. But first they need to collect information. They do this by interviewing the team members.

  • Each team member has something to say. Some of it is relevant, some not. That’s part of the learning experience. The learner will have to determine what’s what and whether the information is useful.

gamified e-learning interview

  • Each team member is assigned a point value. Some are low points and some higher.
  • You can only collect a specific number of points before you’re asked to stop. Thus, who you ask is important. You don’t want to waste time or opportunity. Another part of the learning experience.

gamified e-learning escorted out

  • The information you collect is added to a notebook and you’ll be able to review it later to make a more informed decision. Thus, the more information you have the better.

gamified e-learning notebook gamify

Gamified Template Modifications

Here’s a video tutorial where I walk through some of what I did to modify the template to go from the original meet the team structure to the gamified interaction. I’ve also included a download with the original and modified files.

  • There were ten possible interviews. We added a progress meter to track how many were interviewed. We used a number variable and added 1 for each interview.
  • Created a disabled state for each character so you can interview only once.
  • Collected information by clicking the star. This is tracked with a T/F variable that we use in the notebook to determine whether to display the interview content or not.
  • Added a notebook that shows which answers are collected. The notes have hidden states and the T/F variable is used to show the information that is collected.
  • Each character gets a point value. Too many points collected and you’re cut off. Used a number variable to track total points. Each interview adds X points to the variable. Once it exceeds 12 points, the interviews are stopped.

Gamified Learning Opportunities

There are a number of ways to create gamified learning experiences. Of course, this mock up isn’t complete, but here are a few things that I added to the template to increase engagement:

  • Put the content into a relevant context. Instead of just sharing information, frame everything around an event where the learner would use the information in real life.
  • Challenge the learner to make a decision. For the demo, it’s assumed something happened and the person needs to make a decision. To do so, they need to have all of the information. The more information, the better…maybe. Some of it could be false or irrelevant.
  • Create a means to explore and collect information. They can choose who to interview and what information is relevant and add it to the notebook for use later in the course.
  • Add risk and pressure. Choosing the wrong people means they collect less information and may not be able to complete the task. This is all part of the learning process: knowing what’s important and what’s not, and where to get the resources or correct information. Again, the demo isn’t completely developed, but you can see how this is important to decision-making opportunities.
  • The person gets to demonstrate their understanding of a given topic through the decision-making process and how they use resources. The decisions made produce consequences which create opportunities to add feedback and additional instruction.

I love doing this activity in the workshops. It forces us to work with the constraint of existing templates and find a few simple things we could do to make it a more meaningful and engaging learning experience.

Take the Gamified Template Challenge

Find a template (or a slide with content) that is mostly static or linear content. Convert that linear content into a decision-making interaction. What do you need to do? How do you do this at the speed of business where you don’t have the luxury of working from scratch or building the most complex gamified experience?

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • October 6: Amsterdam. 10 Production Tips from the E-Learning Challenges by David Anderson. Register here.
  • October 21: Sydney. 3-Hour Articulate Virtual Event: 10 Production Tips from the E-Learning Challenges, Creating Engaging Software Training in Rise 360, and more. Register here.
  • October 29: ATD Nashville. Here's Why You Need an E-Learning Portfolio.

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for e-learning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly e-learning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool e-learning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This e-learning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

 




e-learning tip

I’m asked to review courses all the time and one of the most frustrating things is to go through the course and find the developer has locked every slide. This requires that I have to click through every screen, interaction, and quiz before I can get to specific places for review.

For those asking for feedback in the community, it’s extra frustrating trying to troubleshoot a course and having to click through everything to get to a specific place in it.

An easy solution is to create a secret menu that lets you, as the developer, gain access to any place in the course.

Two Ways to Create Quick Access Points

Create a shortcut button. I usually put a button in one of the corners that gives me quick access to slides. Sometimes, the button just skips the slide. I may do that if it has longer narration or animations. Other times, I may add a link to a menu area where I have access to all of the slides.

  • During production, I keep it visible so I remember it’s there or can easily direct reviewers to it.
  • After production, I either delete it or hide it by making it transparent or use a hotspot. It is nice always having access to it once the course is live.
  • Put the button on the master slide so it’s available on all the slides that use the layout.

Create a menu tab on the player. The benefit of a player tab is that the link to the shortcuts is available regardless of the slide and layouts. It’s ever present. And then when you’re ready to publish, just disable the player tab.

  • Create a slide with menu links. I usually create a separate scene and make sure it’s not visible in the player menu.
  • Insert a custom player tab and link to the secret menu slide.
  • Hide the player tab when the course is published.

One of the benefits of this over the slide master is that the slide master sits on the bottom. It’s possible that the slide content is on top of the button and not available on a given slide.

secret menu in e-learning course

Click here to view demo course.

Above is a demo course where you can see both options in action. I locked the sidebar navigation and each slide is locked for five seconds. The first three slides don’t have access to the onscreen shortcut button.

Create Quick Access to Variables

In a recent post, I showed how to do something similar with variables. Instead of going through an entire interaction (or course) to see if the variables are working properly, create access to a variables dashboard. There you can assign custom values to the variables for testing and to see if everything is working as it should.

e-learning variables dashboard

Click here to view variables demo.

Having quick access to specific slides or be able to jump to certain places in the course is a big time-saver when reviewing the course.

I’m curious how many course designers do something similar and what you do to create shortcuts.

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • October 6: Amsterdam. 10 Production Tips from the E-Learning Challenges by David Anderson. Register here.
  • October 21: Sydney. 3-Hour Articulate Virtual Event: 10 Production Tips from the E-Learning Challenges, Creating Engaging Software Training in Rise 360, and more. Register here.
  • October 29: ATD Nashville. Here's Why You Need an E-Learning Portfolio.

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for e-learning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly e-learning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool e-learning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This e-learning 101 series and the free e-books will help.