Visual Learning Elements and How to Use Them

How to use visual learning elements

Visual Learning Elements and How to Use Them

Good digital learning materials and activities should be engaging and interesting. While situations and purposes vary, visuals tend to play a key role regardless of the situation. On one hand, they can illustrate in a way that words cannot. On the other hand, you can use them to pace the material and progression of activities. Whereas 10 years ago we were still mostly thinking of pictures, we nowadays have a whole plethora of visual tools to choose from. Therefore, we’ll take a look at some of the different visual learning elements and how to use them well.

1. Images and Pictures – often undervalued

Nowadays, pictures seem like too static objects, and thus get overlooked quite often. However, they still have their uses. First, you can use pictures to make online learning materials more visually pleasing. Secondly, you can use them like publishers do – to break and pace texts and give a visual connection to key information.

When using pictures, you should never align them left with text. Unique pictures tend to do better than stock photos. Also, pay attention to file sizes – too many big images may kill your loading times!

2. Infographics are a good way to showcase data

Infographics, charts and similar elements tend to be a good way to showcase data and relationships between things. While these have to be custom made for purpose, the workload is not too extensive which makes the costs bearable. However, there are a few things to note from a user experience point-of-view.

First, you need to be careful with text in your infographics. They’ll naturally contain some, but you don’t want to be writing essays in pictures. Second, you should maintain readability across all devices and platforms. When an infographic is displayed as an image file, it should be readable without clicking and zooming even on a mobile device. Too much of pinching and zooming again kills the user experience.

3. Videos are the most prevalent of visual learning elements

It’s quite clear that videos have become the go-to medium for digital learning. However, you shouldn’t overuse them either but rather always consider what format might provide the most value-add. Videos come in many forms and types. Traditional training videos often incorporate talking leadership figures and a bit of marketing flair to them. Animations, on the other hand, can be good, cheap alternatives. Character animations provide a good way of communicating messages. When dealing with complex issues or displays of data, you might consider explainer animations.

As videos come in many shapes and sized, it’s slightly more difficult to give general advise. However, a few rules of thumb tend to provide useful in most circumstances. First, keep your videos concise. If the content is great, length is less of an issue. But often you’re better of trying to deploy short microlearning videos instead of full-length corporate documentaries. Again, pay attention to file sizes and formats. You want the videos to play on all devices and platforms. And if your users are engaging in mobile learning, huge file sizes can easily obliterate their monthly data caps.

4. VR will have a big impact on visual learning

If you’ve been awake for the past couple of years, you cannot have missed the talk about virtual reality (VR) and its learning applications. While VR technology does provide unparalleled experiences when it comes to visual engagement, it still remains a niche tool. At it’s current stage, it’s not scalable or cost efficient to deploy on a larger scale. However, some organisations use it for high-value or high-risk training needs (and some have naturally bought into it because of the gimmick factor).

However, there’s an increasing number of VR tools getting to the market and we’re just scratching the surface when it comes to developing VR content. Expect the scalability to increase very rapidly after we get rid of game engines and the current level of programming required in VR content production.

5. AR will have an even bigger impact than VR

While VR seems to be all the rage in the L&D community, it’s actually augmented reality (AR) currently flying under the radar that will likely end up having the bigger impact when it comes to visual learning elements. Whereas VR perhaps enables us to engage visually in an unfamiliar environment, AR lets us bring objects into our own. Not being restrained by hardware requirements (you don’t necessarily need a headset!), AR’s scalability is a lot higher. Furthermore, at its current stage, content production is a fair bit cheaper. Whereas VR models reality, augmented reality is just another layer of it on top of one’s own. In terms of engagement, AR thus likely goes higher, as association with real things is probably higher than with modelings or representations of those real things.

Organisations are currently using AR for several needs, technical training perhaps representing the biggest opportunity as of current. Once the technology becomes more commoditised, we are likely to see a lot more AR supporting learning in the workflow.

Are you hoping to be able to design more engaging learning experiences through the use of visual learning elements? We can help you succeed, just drop us a note detailing your problem.

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Learning Technology Trends for 2019 – What’s Ahead?

Learning Technology Trends for 2019

Learning Technology Trends for 2019 – What’s Ahead? 

During the past few years, we’ve witnessed an unprecedented speed of development in the learning technology space. Likewise, the year 2019 looks to be no different. At Learning Crafters we are lucky to have an inside view to much of the development happening in the learning technology space thanks to our work with some of the leading technology vendors. Therefore, we thought it would be worthwhile to share some of our thoughts, views and first-hand experiences on what’s ahead for the industry next year. Hence, here are four key learning technology trends for 2019. 

Learning Technology Trend #1: Big Data will deliver exponential impact in 2019

For the past few years, organisations have been adopting tools and technologies to capture, analyse and execute on business data. While the human resources function in general seems to be lagging slightly behind in that adoption, 2019 looks to a be a big year for big data. For learning and development, the holy grail of learning data – the Experience API (xAPI) – has already been available for several years. While adoption of the xAPI standard has been slower than expected, any organisation claiming to do “learning analytics” today cannot remain credible without involving with xAPI. The old, commonplace ways of capturing learning data (e.g. SCORM) are simply not powerful enough. As we move into data-driven decision making in the L&D space, big data capabilities are an absolute requirement – and that will be delivered with xAPI. 

Learning Technology Trend #2: Artificial Intelligence (AI) will undergo rapid developments

Naturally, in the era of machines, the xAPI learning data will not only be used for analytics. Rather, this type of behavioural data (comparable e.g. to Google Analytics) will be used to develop more advanced AI. Now, what is AI good for in the learning space? 

Currently, AI in learning is being used to build adaptive, as well as personalised learning. Furthermore, the currently available more advanced AI applications are able to curate learning content based on the individual roles, needs and preferences of the learner. In 2019, we’ll definitely see major developments in both fronts. Additionally, we predict another AI application in learning analysis. In other words, the use of artificial intelligence to form insights on the link of learning and performance. 

Learning Technology Trend #3: Virtual Reality (VR) will become more “commercial” 

If you’re a learning professional and didn’t hear about VR in 2018, it’s time to go out! While a lot of the hype surrounding VR is arguably just that, hype, 2019 looks interesting. In addition to developing an industry understanding of what VR is good for, we are likely to see some major enablers.

The first major problem with VR currently is the price tag. Arguably, building VR the way companies currently build it does not enable long term adoption. Since VR is currently mostly developed with game engines, there are few possibilities for the non-tech-savvy to build content. If you look at e.g. how videos have grown the their current dominance, that’s because every single individual can produce them. 

The second major problem with VR this year has been the lack of data capabilities. Without the ability to record big data from the VR experiences, organisations cannot possibly prove the investment worthwhile. While VR experiences are definitely a great gimmick, many organisations have vastly over-invested in it. However, there’s light at the end of the tunnel already in 2019. In fact, we are already seeing some of the first VR content editors emerge. These tools require no technical knowledge, game-engines or programming and come with big data capabilities. Hence, they overcome some of the two current major problems and are set for wider adoption. 

Learning Technology Trend #4: Augmented Reality (AR) will redefine workflow learning 

While VR has been on everyone’s news feed, augmented reality has gone largely unnoticed in 2018. However, several companies both in- and outside of the learning field are developing their AR tools. With the current pipeline of technological development, AR is likely to have a major impact on bringing learning into the workflow. A lot of the initial impact will focus on the technical fields, such as engineering. 

For the first time in history, people will actually be able to learn without interruption to work. This will happen with specialised AR headsets, which you can use to open learning content into your additional layer of reality. Best of the tools will have voice control and come with remote capabilities. This enables, e.g. trainers and experts to follow the learners and guide them through activities. Through a live connection, the trainers may influence the “reality” visible to the learner. Furthermore, the advanced headsets will likely incorporate cameras and tracking capabilities to capture great amounts of data. This data will be incredibly useful both for learning and the business as a whole, as it enables a totally new level of recording work, understanding workflows and the learning happening during them.

Now, the four technologies here represent only a part of the future of learning, but arguably they’re the most hyped. Later, we’ll look at some other technologies as well as emerging methodological trends in L&D. 

Is your organisation ready to take advantage of the upcoming technological developments in the learning space? If not, we’re happy to work with you in building that capability. Just contact us. 

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360° Training Immersions – Examples of Use Cases

360 Training Immersions

360 Training Immersions – Examples of Use Cases

With the introduction of virtual reality and augmented reality technologies, companies are increasingly realising the opportunities in immersive learning experiences. However, neither quality AR or VR are yet at the reach of organisations with limited budgets. Both the hardware and software need to develop a bit further to achieve feasible economies of scale. However, the technology is already available for 360 training immersions requiring no dedicated headsets or other hardware. Thus, employees can consume this type of learning content on mobile as well as desktop, which increases learning accessibility and penetration. Furthermore, these types of 360 training immersions are cheap to produce.

Take a look at this example some of our staff put together while staying at a hotel.

Example of 360 Training Immersion

*Use full screen for best experience regardless of device, whereas if on mobile, tilt horizontally!*

 

 

The great thing about the 360 training immersions is that you can embed additional content within the immersion, similar to augmented reality. Text, pictures, videos, documents, surveys, navigation etc. The user can handle and access it all within the simulation.

What are the use cases for 360 training immersions?

For use cases, there are several where immersive experience could bring additional and needed flavour for otherwise sometimes dull topics. Some viable use cases include:

  • Safety training – Using immersions to help illustrate and visualise concepts related to fire safety, evacuation, emergencies etc.
  • Security training – using 360 tools to get staff acquainted with the security features of any facility, displayed as hotspots
  • Property management –  helping staff to visualise layouts, enable digital walkthroughs, and familiarise them with e.g. different tasks in a property using short videos.
  • Onboarding of new employees – how about introducing the new joiners to all the company’s offices and sites as well as new colleagues with an immersive experience?

Naturally, the use cases are only limited by imagination. 360 training immersions are becoming more popular due to increasing learning engagement and interactivity. But more importantly, they are cheap to produce and can be implemented with relative ease. Thus, even organisations with limited budget and a low-risk approach can use them.

So, can you figure out a use case for 360 training immersions in your organisation? We can help you to produce them, or just guide you to the suitable tools. Just drop us a a note.  

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Virtual Instructor-Led Training – 3 Value-add Cases

Virtual Instructor-led training

3 Value-add Cases for Virtual Instructor-Led Training

In the era of mobile and digital learning, teachers and trainers are becoming increasingly obsolete. With the help of modern technology, we are able to design engaging and interactive learning experiences. Results speak for themselves and often we find that there is fairly little value-add by the traditional trainer for ordinary topics. However, instructor-led training still has value. And by transitioning to virtual instructor-led training (VILT), we can often achieve even more value thanks to the added agility and flexibility. Here are 3 value-add cases for virtual instructor-led training.

1. Instructor-Led Technical Training with Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) technology has and will continue to have a tremendous effect on the way we teach and learn. In addition to providing fun experiences for e.g. onboarding, AR will likely provide the most value in technical training. With technology available already today, we can leverage AR for live virtual instructor-led training.

Lets consider a training for complex engineering jobs. Instead of moving experts across the globe, they can comfortably train these tasks from their home office. The trainee will be equipped with a wearable device similar to smart glasses. Meanwhile, the trainer on the other side of the world only needs a tablet computer. After connecting, the trainer is able to see what the trainee sees through his glasses. Furthermore, the trainer is able to influence the trainee’s scope of view by e.g. drawing and pointing to objects. These interactions appear on the trainee’s view as augmented reality objects, in real-time. The trainee can also open supporting resources such as videos, manuals and documents to his own view without having to let go of the task at hand. Naturally, the trainee’s headset is equipped with an integrated camera that records all the tasks completed automatically.

These kind of scenarios will likely be commonplace for technical trainings in just a few years’ time. The increased safety, agility and flexibility and the sheer cost savings of this way of training are too great to ignore.

Want to find out more about AR and its use cases in learning? Contact us

2. Learning Interventions and Support through VILT

As much as we can do with digital learning, sometimes we do need a face-to-face and human-to-human interaction. Perhaps a group of learners are not performing as expected or we encounter behaviour that requires rapid change. In these types of situations, it’s great to have a chance to have a live video call between the trainer and the learners. This way, the trainer can help clarify the topics at hand or provide the support the learners need to keep performing.

However, instead of guess-work and irrelevant interventions, it’s important to combine this with an analytical approach. By leveraging learning data and seamless tracking technologies, we ensure that the interventions are relevant. Furthermore, by employing proper analytics we ensure that the interventions are proactive rather than reactive. By solving both individual and group learning challenges before they arise, we can ensure minimum down-time and maximum efficiency.

3. Virtual Instructor-Led Training in Coaching and Mentoring

As with the learning interventions and support, coaching is also an area where digital can provide added agility and flexibility. Thanks to constant connectivity, coaching and mentoring can become on-demand. Whenever the mentee encounters a challenge, they can connect to their coach and mentor to get assistance. Instead of managing traditional appointments and daily schedules, a quick pulse check over the internet is often the more efficient alternative.

Similar to any other functions, the virtual coaches should use analytics as well. By pulling data from HRM systems, learning systems and performance tracking platforms, the coaches can get an unmatched view to the learners’ activities. This enables the coaches to recognise not only the learning problems, but also the business challenges their learners are facing. Hence, they are able to provide much more personalised and relevant advice and focus on what matters – the business.

 

Are you looking for new approaches or leveraging technology for Instructor-led training? We can help you craft an efficient approach. Just drop us a note here

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Augmented Reality Learning for Onboarding and Team-building

Augmented Reality Learning

Augmented Reality Learning for Onboarding and Team-building

Augmented reality is a technology that captured the world’s attention roughly two years ago with the launch of Pokemon Go. The Pokemon game became instantly popular and gained massive media attention. However, the game’s popularity would start to decline rapidly only a few months after the launch. As a game, this AR phenomenon might have been short-lived. However, the underlying technology has endless applications when it comes to training and development. And it’s highly likely that augmented reality learning experiences will form a key part of our learning mix in the future.

In fact, some early adopter companies had been experimenting with augmented reality already before Pokemon Go. Later on, as the game’s popularity declined, we started to see more and more corporates as well as educational institutions adopting the technology. To illustrate its use cases, here’s an example of how you could use similar AR technology in a corporate setting.

Example: AR onboarding and team-building experience

Onboarding and orientation form an integral part of the employee’s learning journey. It’s the first touch point with the corporate learning culture and an area for the L&D department to show off their A-game. The last thing we want to do is overwhelm our new joiners with information in a short time-span (cognitive overload). Rather, we’d like to ensure they get the essential information to be productive while establishing relationships with their new colleagues. Also, letting our new employees have a bit of fun in the process is not going to hurt. Rather, having fun while doing it can relieve the anxiousness and stress of joining a new company. So, let’s combine the formal onboarding with augmented reality learning technology and have some fun while doing it.

Mimicking the idea of Pokemon Go, we could build a location based augmented reality experience. Our new employees would set out to the city in teams, equipped with their smart phones. They would visit different hotspots defined on the map. When arriving within a certain proximity of a hotspot, their phones would buzz. A piece of onboarding learning content would pop up. The content could be videos explaining company vision, history, lines of business – practically anything. This way, we can bring the “formal” part into an “unformal” setting to ease tensions.

Furthermore, we could prompt the learners for different types of input, e.g. shooting a video of their own, doing introductions or answering quizzes as a group. To take it a step further, lets enable a playful, competitive element. Let’s have teams compete against each other in shooting the video or answering the quiz. Putting people to work together in a non-stressful environment should bode well for camaraderie and forming new relationships. And that could just make the onboarding process much smoother.

What other areas of training could AR excel in?

Augmented reality learning experiences have major opportunities for many training tasks. Whereas the future of interactive VR will be great for training for hazardous, inaccessible and difficult situations, AR might just have equal potential. Augmented reality will revolutionise several tasks including technical training, engineering and maintenance work. With technology that will soon be available, we are able to combine augmented reality and live situations. Physical location is no longer a barrier, as trainers and managers are able to see what the learner sees. Furthermore, they’ll be able to augment the reality of the learners and influencing their actions.

Are you interested in finding out more about the future of AR in technical training tasks? We would be happy to share you about an upcoming technology that will revolutionise the technical training industry. Just drop us a note here

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