The Rapid Elearning Blog

Archive for December, 2020


effective e-learning

One frustration I’ve had when building e-learning courses is getting the client to understand what makes an effective course. People tend to ask for what they’re used to seeing. And since many experience e-learning as click-and-read content they tend to ask for that type of course, which for an e-learning developer isn’t exciting.

There are many times when a click-and-read approach is appropriate.  So, this isn’t a rant against click-and-read courses. However, there are also plenty of times, where a click-and-read course isn’t the best solution.  In those cases, it can be a challenge getting your clients to see past what they’re used to and consider a different approach that better meets to goals.

What does the client expect as an outcome?

All courses aren’t the same. There are many that are more like certification courses that are annual reminders of company policies or regulatory requirements. In that world, there’s no real performance expectation other than compliance and the desired outcome is to have a record of course completion at the end of the year.

That’s different from a course where the client expects real changes in performance such as improved production or increased sales. In those courses, there’s some desired area of improvement that’s been identified and ideally training offers some benefit to meeting that improvement.

Allocate resources appropriately.

If you’re building simple compliance training, don’t overbuild the course and waste time with superfluous interactivity and other media which can take more time and cost more money. Build the simplest course that conveys the compliance information effectively and meets the needs of the organization.

If you’re building courses to change behavior, don’t get stuck in a click-and-read rut because it’s easy. Build the appropriate learning experience to meet the goals. This usually involves a lot more analysis and commitment. Effective performance-based e-learning takes more time to build and costs more to produce. With limited resources, you don’t want the resources consumed by simpler compliance training and not have them available for more expensive development when required.

Align course objectives to the appropriate metrics.

Once you understand the desired outcomes you can collect the metrics to prove course success. Compliance training is easier because the requirement is mostly to track and report course completion by a specified date. Let’s face it, you’re not building ethics training where 75% of the company is unethical and after the training it’s down to only 10%. You’re reminding people about ethics and company standards.

Performance-based objectives are a bit more challenging. The organization has a desired objective, and they have some way of measuring whether it’s currently met or not. That is good because that provides the basis for clear metrics to help determine if the training is successful.

However, the reality is that training may only be part of what changes behavior and meets those performance objectives. There are other things that have an impact on success that are outside of training such as access to resources, environmental issues, and personal motivation.

You’ll need to work with the client to determine what the course can impact and how you can measure it to report success.

That’s quick overview. Obviously, there’s a lot more to it than that. But if you’re building courses, don’t just start with the easy click-and-read. Work with the client to understand their goals and then build the course that best meets them.

 

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.

 




free background music

I like to add background audio to my screencast tutorials. Like many of you, I don’t record in a profession sound studio. Often, I am recording in a home office and there’s always some ambient noise which I find distracting.

Background music can mask some of the ambient noise. Another benefit is that it helps set a pace and tone for the recording.

Free Background Music

There are a lot of “free” sites, but to tell you the truth most of them are useless.

Here are a couple of options that should provide most of the free background music you need. Like always, be sure to check the license and attribution requirements which can change.

free background music

  • YouTube Audio Library: requires a YouTube account so you have access to the studio; free for commercial use, no attribution search options. Lots of variety and easy to filter to find audio based on mood and duration. This is my go-to for tutorials.
  • Mixkit: free; no attribution. They have a good selection of music.

You can search the Internet for other sites, but for my money, either one of those two above are more than what you’ll need. And the price is right.

 

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.

 




audio

Background audio is not as common as it once was in e-learning. It is a little old school. And often it is distracting. Also, with mobile technology (and some limitations playing multiple audio tracks) it may create some problems playing the way you intend it.

However, there are times where background audio makes sense.

For instance, I like to use background audio to establish some context. It makes sense to have some ambient audio in decision-making scenarios, for example. You can set a tone or create a more immersive experience for the learner.

In those cases, I like audio like the hustle and bustle of office workers and machines, or a busy street with traffic, or a coffee shop with lots of human activity. I prefer that over music tracks because it feels like you’re there.

I do like to use music tracks. One place where they work well is when I am doing quick screencast tutorials. Sometimes the audio was recorded in a less than ideal room with a little bit of ambient noise like my air conditioner. Adding a subtle background track covers the noise. And the right track with a good beat can set a tone and help move the tutorial along.

There are a lot of studies that also show that some types of music can influence how the brain processes information. Perhaps, a background audio track works for your course to help learners retain content. Not sure, but something to explore.

I will add that an audio track won’t make your boring course less boring. It’ll still be boring, but at least they can listen to something entertaining until they’re done.

Next time you’re meeting with learners as part of your analysis, listen to what their world sounds like. Is it possible to add that to your courses?

I know that there are many of you who will trot out the cognitive load arguments. That’s all good. However, I’d say there are thousands of other examples outside of e-learning, where multimedia effectively integrates audio into the experience. Look at advertising, gaming, and other entertainment industries for ideas.

I’d love to hear how you’re using audio in your courses. Got any tips and tricks? Feel free to share them by clicking on the comments link.

 

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.