The Rapid Elearning Blog

Archive for June, 2020


e-learning hero

Did you know that every two seconds, someone needs blood? And one donation can save up to three lives?

2020 has been a challenging year. And on top of it, the news media seems to focus on all the discord and hardship. Where’s the good news? What can we do to make a difference in our little part of the universe?

How to be an E-Learning Hero

Every week we feature various e-learning challenges. The goal is to use the e-learning tools in different ways. Move past the compliance projects we do at work and do something different.

This helps us gain mastery over the e-learning tools, play around with various interactive prototypes, and get inspiration from seeing what others can do.

If you don’t participate, you should. At a minimum, you should check out the round up that David does every Thursday. There’s always some creative ideas that may inspire something for your next project.

Recently, we did a challenge to promote blood donations. Here’s a link to the round up with a bunch of nice examples.

Here are a few key thoughts:

  • There’s more than one way to do things. What I love most about the challenge entries is that it shows there’s a lot of creative ways to do the same thing.
  • Keep your design clean and focused. We tend to be info-centric and push a lot of content out. Try to minimize content on the screen and control when and how it’s exposed.
  • Where’s the personality? Many of the challenges feature facts and various levels of interactivity. The ones that stood out to me are the ones wrapped around stories and people. What’s the story in your e-learning courses?
  • There are a lot of nice examples, my favorite is this one by Przemyslaw Hubisz. I like the simple and clean design; and that the activity is contextually meaningful. It makes me consider the point of the information being presented to me.

e-learning example blood donation

Click here to view the e-learning example.

If you want to grow your skills using the e-learning software and building interactions, the challenges are a great way to do that. If you’re a beginner or more advanced, doesn’t matter. The challenges work for where you’re at and it’s not a competition. It’s all about you.

How to be a REAL Hero

Blood and platelets cannot be manufactured. They can only come from volunteer donors. And not everyone can donate, so everyone who can plays an important role.

Can you donate?

e-learning hero blood donation

I’ll have to admit, it’s not always on my radar. But I was reading an article recently that reminded me how important it is. And while I can’t control a lot of what’s going on in the world today, I can control what I do and how I share what I have. Because of that, I’ve made a commitment to donate blood regularly.

Hopefully it’s something you can to do, too. Find out where you can donate blood today.

Join us in the e-learning challenges to grow your skills. Join us in donating blood to be a hero to someone who needs 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.

 




e-learning assumptions

In a previous post, we looked at how context helps frame the learning experience. It keeps us from just doing an information dump as we add clarity about our learners and the learning objectives.

One way to establish context is by learning what the user already knows. Test their assumptions. This does two things:

  • Expose their current level of understanding. This helps them see what they do or don’t know about the subject.
  • Demonstrate what level of knowledge/competence is required to meet the learning objectives.

How to Test the Learner’s Assumptions

Generally, you can do one of two things to test the learner’s understanding and assumptions around a given subject.

Create a Pre-Assessment

The easiest thing is to create a pre-assessment. Usually, pre-assessments are used to filter the learner. Pass the assessment, go to the end. Fail the assessment, start the course.

For procedural training, that is step-by-step, the filtering makes sense. You either know the procedures or not. For principle-based training, we want to expose the understanding (or assumptions for experienced people).

In this case, we use the pre-assessment to help them understand where they’re at. We’re not using it to filter them away from the course.

Create a Simple Scenario

I like to throw people in the pool and get them to make real world decisions as soon as possible. So, I recommend some sort of early decision-making interactions. They don’t need to be big elaborate scenarios: just a few interactions that test their understanding and help them see what they currently know about a given situation. And then from there, work through the content.

In most cases, the learners already have existing knowledge and probably a pretty good idea of what the course will teach. With that comes some bias and possibly incorrect understanding. By getting them to make decisions related to the content, you expose to them what they know or possibly don’t know.

The main point in all of this is to get them to think about what they know about the topic before going through the topic. People can easily figure out and compare what they thought versus what they’re presented. But your interaction gets them set up to do so.

In either case, get them to test what they know before giving them the content.

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.

 




contextual learning experience

We can use the same words, yet they don’t always mean the same thing. They call that “complex equivalence.”

If we use the same words but don’t mean the same thing we’ll never have clear communication. This is very obvious in today’s culture, especially with our quick tweets and meme screaming where we pack so much inferred meaning into small bites of text. I suspect there’s a lot of miscommunication in between the grandstanding.

Think of it like an iceberg where the bulk of the iceberg is underwater. What’s on top, doesn’t fully communicate how big it really is.

clear communication complex equivalence

Think of a concept like “online training.” It means all sorts of things. Without clarifying how we use the word, we may be saying one thing but our audience hears something else. And what they hear, they frame in their understanding of that concept.

This is also true for the learning experience we seek to craft in our courses.

Context Comes from Understanding the Learners

People aren’t monolithic where they all think the same and understand the world around them the same way. There’s a lot that goes into crafting who we are and how we think such as age, experience, ethnicity, and cultures. And all of that helps us construct a mental model of the way things work. And we generally, we wrap our experiences and the things we learn in our model.

This needs to be a consideration as we teach online where we don’t have the same type of back and forth communication as we’d have in a classroom.

It’s important that we don’t assume that our learners understand what we mean. Understand your learners and then build context around the content.

Context Comes from Clear Objectives

An e-learning course needs to be more than a bunch of information. A first step in the process is to have clear objectives. This helps the person know what expectations exist and what they should learn. Where are we at today? Where will we be at the end of the course?

Courses also need context. Where does this training fit in relationship to other things?

upstream downstream customers

In many of my past training programs, we’d focus on the upstream and downstream relationships and workflow so that the learners understood where their work came from and how it impacted the work of others.

Regardless of the content, there’s usually some way to position the content in context to other things and then from there build measurable objectives.

With context, you create clarity. And with clarity, you eliminate misunderstanding.

What are things you do in your course design to build a contextual framework for the content?

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.

 




effective online training

A lot of online training starts with pre-existing content, usually some policies, manuals, and PowerPoint presentations. The key is figuring out how to convert a lot of this content into an effective e-learning course. Most of it starts with the objectives of the course. Here are a few things to consider.

Effective Online Training Has Clear Objectives

You can’t build a good course without clear objectives. This seems obvious, but based on what I see, it isn’t. Many organizations confuse content with objectives. Content is just that: content. It may be valuable, but it’s a means to an end. The course objective is never to consume content. Otherwise you’re just wasting time.

Effective Online Training Has Actionable Objectives

At the end of the course, the learner will be able to do _______. That’s basically it.

The online training is a solution to meet an objective such as installing a new part, closing a sale, or inputting data. If the course is only focused on content, they may learn a lot of about something, but they may not know what they’re supposed to do with what they learned.

A course with actionable objectives is focused on what the person will do.

Effective Online Training Has Measurable Objectives

The two points above are obvious to most course developers. However, the reality is that a lot of training we’re asked to build isn’t actionable because the managers or customers tend to think that the issue is a lack of information. Which may be true on the surface. So when I build courses, I like to put them into one of two buckets: information or performance.

With an information-based course, the objective may be to present the information and the measure of that is tracking whether a course was completed or not. This is true for a lot of annual refresher training. This isn’t ideal, but some organizations have information they want to present, but they may not have fully formed ideas around what that information should produce.

A performance-based course is different. It’s tied to a desired action. And that action is measurable. For example, if the training is on how to install a product. I know you’re trained if I can observe you install the product correctly. Or if you’re a manager and you’re learning to give feedback, I can build training that puts you in a situation where you give the desired feedback. Those are things that I can observe or measure.

In an ideal world, training has clear actionable and measurable objectives. Without those, why are you building the course?

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.