The Rapid Elearning Blog

Archive for June, 2022


effective online training starts with an activity

As we’ve mentioned throughout this blog, the default for many e-learning courses is to focus exclusively (or mostly) on content presentation. This is fine for some courses, but effective online training requires that the content is wrapped around some performance expectations and corresponding activity where the learner can practice and demonstrate competency.

In previous posts we looked at two approaches to the Tell, Show, and Do model:

In today’s post, we’re going to kind of flip the process and present an activity first and then build from there. I call this the HAT model (because training people like acronyms).

  • Hands-on activity: Before you dive too deep into the details of the instruction, create an activity. It’s a great way to assess where they’re at. Even if you don’t use it as a formal assessment, it helps the learner see where they’re at. It also assists in clarifying objectives as they work through an activity to solve some problem. If you want to create an adaptive process, you can use the activity as a way to filter beginners from tenured learners.
  • Advice: During the activity you provide advice in response to the decisions the learner makes. You can also collate the decisions and results of the activity and then provide advice as an option to progress. For example: do the activity, offer advice, review the activity, and then final decisions. The advice is a way to fill in the gaps that may be exposed during the activity since they haven’t gotten all of the content upfront.
  • Tell: Complete the activity. Provide feedback as required during a debrief and then go into tell mode where you can present more structured content and add additional detail.

I like this approach because it engages the learner at the front end. It does require more forethought in the analysis and design phase than just slapping together screen after screen of content. And sometimes it can be a hard sell to customers because they expect more linear type presentation where every possible bullet point is exposed.

Regardless of the model or technique you using in constructing courses, the most important part is getting the learner to apply and practice doing what they need to do. This provides opportunities for feedback and a means to evaluate their understanding of the content. It also helps you move the courses away from linear presentations to something more dynamic and effective.

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.

 




tell show do practice review instructional design model

“Tell, Show, Do” is a common instructional design model. We featured that in a previous post. The model is a simple reminder that steers the course design away from the common content dump and focuses on the action in the learning, mainly the doing part.

But I like to add, “Tell, show, do! Then practice and review!” It rhymes and is another easy thing to remember about course design. I like discussing this with clients and subject matter experts who tend to focus too much on content.

Here’s a quick recap:

  • Tell them what they’ll learn. This communicates the expectations and goals. It also provides context which allows the learner to see how the course is relevant and fits into their world and expectations.
  • Show them what they will “do” so they can see it in action. Seeing it before practicing allows people to build some familiarity with the process and helps eliminate some of that “just getting started” anxiety.
  • Do the task. At this point, the learner should do the task that they’ve been exposed to and seen in action. In an online course, the task is usually some sort of simulated decision-making. That can be something like a role-play activity or even software simulation where the user inputs data.
  • Practice the task. This is a subset of the “doing” however, the key point here is the repetition that comes with practice. E-learning courses often are weak on practicing the task more than once or twice. And when the people are outside of the course, there should be some support to practice the task in a real-world setting. The more touches they get the more opportunities to learn.
  • Review what they did. This is also a subset of “doing” and goes with the process of practice, feedback, practice, feedback…At the end of the day you need to assess their level of understanding and proficiency and provide next steps, such as certification of skill or perhaps some sort of remedial process to get more practice. One challenge in the e-learning and training space is that the manager or team leads tend to abdicate the learning to the course or training program. However, there’s a lot of opportunity to enhance the training with a consistent and thorough review process outside of the e-learning course.

This is a more fleshed out Tell, Show, Do model that considers more of the practice and feedback part of the learning process. I like this technique better than the first one because it includes the review and debriefing which includes the social part of learning where new learners get a sense of where they fit and how they’re doing.

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.

 




tell show do instructional design

From an ideal perspective, when we build courses, we’re trying to change performance and not just share a bunch of information. That means we need a course design model that goes beyond content-sharing. One common approach for online course design is the Tell, Show, and Do model.

It makes sense because it’s simple, covers the basics, and steers us towards the course’s performance expectations.

Tell People What They Need to Know

What do they need to know and why?

The goal is to establish expectations and clarity around objectives. This helps create a framework for learning. It also establishes context. Instructionally, “telling” allows us to curate content, package, and present it in a manner that saves time compared to self-discovery (which is in its own way an effective strategy).

Show People What They’re Supposed to Do

Knowing and doing aren’t the same. The next step in the process is to move beyond content and towards application. What are they to do with all of the content you shared? Avoid showing what happens if they do something wrong and instead focus on the positive action.

Document the process, steps required, and where to find the content to make the decisions they need to make.

Do the Activity to Practice What They Need to Do

Unfortunately, most e-learning stops at the Telling and Showing part of the process. As a younger instructional designer, I learned that the instructor does the telling and showing and the learner does the doing. If the end goal is for the learner to do something specific (and measurable) then the training needs to integrate the activity and decision-making required to do what’s learned.

Build into the course the application of what’s learned so that the learner can practice and get feedback, and ultimately demonstrate understanding. Keep in mind that not all of those types of activities can be built into the e-learning course. In those cases, design some sort of offline learning component where the learner can do the “doing.”

The Tell, Show, and Do model is a simple and common instructional technique because it lets you build context and demonstrate the desired performance while the learner gets to practice applying what they learned. In addition, by focusing on the “doing” it moves your course design away from the all too familiar linear, click and read model.

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.