The Rapid Elearning Blog

Archive for May, 2022


e-learning locked course navigation

I haven’t taken a survey, but my guess is that most people will tell you they can’t stand when an e-learning course’s navigation is locked. And to compound the frustration, many of those courses are narrated by the world’s slowest talkers.

If a locked course is a frustrating experience, why do so many exist?

There are usually a few reasons. I’ll cover three common ones and some ideas on how to get around them.

Reason 1: Courses need to be locked so that all of the content is viewed.

The last thing we want is someone to continuously click the next button looking for an exit. If they do that, they’ll never get all of the important information.

In some ways that makes sense. My guess is that many people will try to click through the course as quickly as they can. And in doing so, they may miss critical information.

But locking the navigation isn’t the best solution because exposing them to a screen after screen of contents with bullet points doesn’t mean they’ll learn. It didn’t work in A Clockwork Orange and it won’t work for your e-learning courses.

Reason 2: That’s what my client wants.

Clients want all sorts of things that don’t always make sense. Locking the navigation is just one of them. They usually give the same rationale as the first point above—they want to ensure that people have gotten the information.

Is that really the goal? Getting information?

This is when we need to put on our performance consulting hats. E-learning courses are a solution to meeting an objective. They are not the objective. No organization says, “We need more e-learning!” What they want is people who are able to perform and meet the organization’s objectives. And the e-learning course is one of the ways they get there.

Reason 3: Regulations say we need one hour of training, so we set the course to last exactly an hour.

This has nothing to do with real learning so I have little advice to offer. However, one solution might be to get an enterprise Netflix account and insert that on the last slide using a web object. Let them take the unlocked course and if they finish early, they can watch something on Netflix for the remainder of the hour.

Joking aside, I’ve run into this a few times and here’s what I’ve done.

The mantra “the regulation states…” is repeated so often that we aren’t always sure what the regulation actually states. Review the regulations that dictate your course development. And then work within those constraints. You may find that you have a lot more freedom than you think. And there’s probably more creative ways to consume the time allotment than locking the slide navigation.

Simple Solutions to Locked Navigation

Here are a few simple solutions to help work through this issue.

  • Make it meaningful. The reason people click through the course content is because it doesn’t matter to them. They’re doing the bare minimum to get through the material. One way to fix the issue is to frame the course in a context relevant to their needs. If it’s relevant, they’ll be engaged and see the connection between what they do and the course material. This should slow down the clickfest.
  • Let them test out. If they already know the material, let them demonstrate it upfront. Give them a scenario or quiz to assess their understanding. If they can prove they know the material, then you don’t need to waste their time with the course. If they can’t prove it, then the pre-test failure has demonstrated their need to pay attention. This is also a great way to customize the learning experience and create a more adaptive process because you can direct them to the appropriate content based on how they performed in the initial assessment. An experienced person who makes good decisions gets one type of training and one who needs more support or remedial information gets another.
  • Design specific prove-it activities. Most likely the client commissions the e-learning course so the person can learn to do something. If the client desires specific actions from the learners, then design the course for the person to acquire and practice those actions. Instead of locking the navigation, put them in situations where they have to make decisions. And if you do need to lock it, use the prove-it activity as a way to navigate through the course rather than locked next buttons.  In that sense, the course is still locked. But instead of locking the navigation it’s locked based on the person’s ability to demonstrate understanding.

Those are a few simple tips to help alleviate locked course navigation. What tips do you have for those who want to move past this issue?

 

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.

 





types of e-learning courses

The objective of an effective e-learning program is to create the best courses possible with the resources at hand. From what I see, most e-learning courses are simple, explainer-type content. This is fine in the right context. However, many of those courses tend to be overbuilt with superfluous interactivity.

One way to build the right type of course is to understand the types of courses typically created and where they fit in your e-learning ecosystem.

First Step: Focus on the Right Objectives

We don’t always have control over the course requests we get. If you’re a consultant who is getting paid by a company to build a course, odds are they’re expecting some sort of measurable impact. However, that’s not always the case if you’re an internal training team where the decision to build training is already made and you’re just there to make sure it gets created.

In an ideal world you get your client to identify clear, measurable objectives and you build the right course for them to meet those objectives. This helps prevent the information dumps that many courses become.

Next Step: Understand the Type of Course

types of e-learning courses

In a simple sense, e-learning courses generally focus on sharing information or changing performance. And there are three basic course types:

  • General information. These courses are designed to share general information with no expectation of performance improvement. Think of them like reading an owner’s manual. Good information to support learning, but not a real learning experience.
  • Procedural information. A lot of training is specific to products or processes. This is true when teaching step-by-step instructions that don’t allow for a lot of interpretation. Most software training falls into this bucket. Or perhaps a procedure like how to process a returned item.
  • Principled information. There are many types of courses where there are no clear procedural steps. For example, dealing with employee issues. In those cases, it’s about learning guiding principles on which to base decisions.

While the list above is relatively simple, it doesn’t mean the courses that are built have to be simple. They can be as simple or complex as the subject and budget allow. However, in most cases, principle-based courses require more nuanced decision-making and thus building that type of course will take more time than one where it’s only organized content.

The first step in all of this is to know if the course has performance expectation or not. And then identify and build the right type of course.

 

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 QR code

With Covid-19, QR codes made a comeback. They’re all over the place and scanning them with a phone is so easy. For a recent conference, we created a QR code to access the handouts and examples. They’re worth considering as one more way to share resources in your e-learning courses. Here’s a simple tip on how to create them for your training.

Why Create a Free QR Code for Training

Some training resources have really long links and make it difficult to share. I know that when presenting in a classroom, it’s not always easy seeing the URL on the projection screen. A QR removes this obstacle.

It’s also easy to put multiple QR codes together as a nice resource document. Check out the ones below.

QR codes

How to Create Free QR Codes

I haven’t checked every browser, but in the Chrome and Edge browsers you can create the code quickly. The easiest way to create a QR code is to open the page in your browser, right click and select Create QR code.

create QR code

The images below show the difference between the Chrome and Edge versions. I like the Chrome QR codes best because I can remove the dinosaur image and replace it with my own and easily create a branded QR code by adding a logo or other custom image.

compare free QR code

As you can see, it’s pretty easy to create and download a free QR code. And then it’s just a matter of making the code available.

While I have your attention, here’s a warning about QR codes and how some people are being scammed.

 

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.