How to Use Formative Assessment in Corporate Learning?

How to Use Formative Assessment in Corporate Learning

How to Use Formative Assessment in Corporate Learning?

Wherever there’s learning, there should always be assessment. Assessment naturally comes in many types and formats, but generally a good distinction to draw is that between summative assessment and formative assessment.

In simplified terms, summative assessment focuses on trying to gauge the learning outcomes at the end of the learning activity. Students may be compared against each other and the assessment is a “high stakes” one. Formative assessment, on the other hand, attempts to measure learning throughout the learning activities. Formative evaluation can be considered less competitive – as the evaluation is based on criterion – and relatively “low stakes”.

How does formative assessment benefit corporate learning?

In our experience, a lot of corporate learning assessment is summative. L&D practitioners may dread the extra effort or may not even be familiar with formative practices. Furthermore, the prevalent tendency to developed slide-based courses with an exam at the end feeds into this behaviour. While building formative evaluation does require a bit more effort, the benefits tend to far outweigh the time investment.

Here are some of the benefits of formative assessment in corporate learning:

  • Trainers / L&D is able to recognise learning problems and skill gaps more effectively – on both individual and group levels
  • Learners are able to identify their own problem areas, self-correct and monitor their own progress
  • It provides valuable feedback to L&D to improve learning experiences and activities
  • It promotes active learning on the employees’ part
  • The focus shifts from achieving arbitrary outcomes (test scores, tick-box compliance etc.) to the learning process itself

In general, a well thought-out formative assessment approach helps all the stakeholders – trainers, learners and managers alike.

How to use formative assessment in practice?

Now that you’ve considered the benefits, here are some practical and highly manageable ways to improve your assessments.

The tools for formative assessment are plentiful, and the benefits are not limited to just evaluation either. By replacing summative assessment with something like this, you’ll also be creating much more engaging and learner-centric experiences. Furthermore, the approach is more data-driven by nature, helping you to make more informed L&D decisions. So start investing the time into it!

If you need help on designing digitally enabled assessments to support your learning strategy, we are happy to help. Just contact us.

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How Should We use Non-Linear vs. Linear Learning?

Linear learning vs. non-linear

How Should We Use Non-Linear vs. Linear Learning?

As corporate learning and education professionals, we tend to classify learning activities in many ways. A common classification that most of you have probably encountered somewhere is the distinction between linear and non-linear learning. However, the knowledge on the topic – especially on non-linear learning – doesn’t often go deeper. Hence, organisations – both corporates and educational – often rely heavily on linear learning. So let’s take a look what that means.

What is non-linear and linear learning?

In short, we could explain the two types in the following way:

Linear Learning is often a highly directed, controlled and program-centred approach. In a linear model, we require learners to complete and master a certain level of content before moving to the next one. Learners complete learning activities following often strict, predetermined paths with little flexibility.

Non-linear learning, on the other hand, is much more flexible in nature. Learners learn by exposure to different topics over time with a high degree of freedom. The emphasis is on self-directedness, the learner’s own interest and resources on demand.

In the context of corporates, you could draw a rough illustration: formal learning represents a linear model, where non-linear learning represents learning on the job (by doing, not through instruction).

The problem with linear learning

As most organisations and even schools still fall for linear learning, you may ask what the problem is. Well, firstly and fundamentally, the way we learn in a natural environment is very much non-linear. In the realm of languages for instance, the sequence in which we tend to learn a new language is quite different from the curriculums imposed in schools. By setting strict boundaries on what can be learnt at a given time, like we often do with a linear approach, we may be significantly limiting developmental opportunities.

Secondly, linear learning can also have a passivating effect. As learners cannot make much choices or take control of their own outcomes, you’re likely to see lower engagement. As we know from educational research, active beats passive more often than not.

How could we use non-linear learning instead?

Transitioning away from the commonly used approach may be difficult. Not because of it’s harder to execute, but just for the sheer reason of having to overcome existing mental hurdles. Here are a few things you could try.

  1. Stop building courses. Instead, design inter-linkable yet independent resources
  2. Allow access to all levels of content regardless of current progress
  3. Allow learners to take control and influence what, how and when they learn
  4. Don’t assume a requirement to study a subject before starting to solve a problem
  5. Adopt a learner-centric approach to both delivery and design

Naturally, there is no one-size-fits-all solutions when it comes to learning. Linear learning may well have its place in certain areas. For instance, some research seems to indicate that a linear approach would be better in training relatively unmotivated or less interested learners when dealing with complex subjects. However, we do believe that it pays to diversify and not stick to forced linearity just for the sake of comfortability. Rather, you’re much better off identifying the best approach based on the topic and resources at hand.

Could your organisation benefit from unconventional, modern and creative approaches to learning? If you answered yes, but feel like there are a lot of things you don’t fully understand, we’d be happy to help you. Just contact us.

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5 Tips for Better Learning Interactions

Learning Interactions Tips

5 Tips for Better Learning Interactions

To guarantee best results in learning, often an approach prompting learners to become active participants is the most successful one. For digital learning purposes, this means that we need to design interactive learning experiences. However, many organisations seemingly struggle with the concept of interactivity and its actual utility in a learning setting. Thus, here are five tips for designing better learning interactions.

1. Understand the different levels of learning interactions

As we’ve explained before, learning interactions come in mainly three different types. Most of the traditional eLearning tends to focus on learner-content interactivity. However, interactions between learners themselves and between learners and instructors are equally important. Unfortunately, these are often disregarded by corporate learning professionals, who pay too much focus on the information itself.

2. Understand different types of learning interactions

Naturally, there are a more tools of learning interactions than you could count. While you might not need all of them, it’s good to know enough of them to ensure your learning materials don’t turn out monotonous. For learner-content interactions you might use micro-quizzes, knowledge checks, interactive videos, simulations and many others. For learner-learner interactions, you may consider discussions, social media features, peer evaluation and collaborative learning activities. Finally, for learner-instructor interactions you should look into the ways learners can benefit from support, feedback or virtual facilitation.

3. Always use a mix of different learning interactions

Like with many other things, doing the same thing over and over again quickly becomes tedious and boring. The same applies to learning interactions as well. So even though you might have just developed an awesome interaction with your rapid eLearning tools, don’t get too satisfied. Rather, look into several different types of interactions working on preferably all the three different levels. Adequate variation helps to retain learners’ interest.

4. Make sure your learning interactions serve their actual purpose

A common mishap with instructional designers is to forget why we are building interactive learning in the first place. Rather than building learning interactions just for the sake of interactivity, we should pay more attention in how they help the learners to achieve their goals and assimilate information better. If using a simulation requires so much instruction that it takes away from the time spent on the actual content itself, the interaction doesn’t really serve a purpose. Likewise, if your game-based learning elements become too much about the game with vague correlation with learning, you might not be doing the right way. Thus, you should always evaluate your designs by asking “how and why does this interaction help the learner to achieve his goals?”

5. Overkill is never a good idea

In addition to the purposefulness, it’s good to understand that quality doesn’t defeat quality. Filling your content with learning interactions to the brim is not a good idea. Rather, you should use them to pace the learning at proper intervals. Often, low interactivity things like reading, glancing and viewing should still constitute the major part of the learning activity. Interactions should then be used to highlight the core focus areas and ensure the retention of them. Once more, less can be more.

Are you using learning interactions in a smart way? If you feel like you or your learning team could use help building a playbook for learning interactivity, we’d be happy to assist you. Just contact us.

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Supporting Bloom’s Taxonomy Learning Objectives with Digital Methods

Bloom's taxonomy digital learning methods cover

Supporting Bloom’s Taxonomy Learning Objectives with Digital Methods

For several decades, Bloom’s taxonomy has belonged to many L&D professionals toolbox. While the frameworks itself are somewhat dated, they still provide good tools for structuring learning objectives. In fact, along with Kirkpatrick’s model for training evaluation, the taxonomy is perhaps the second most prevalent industry staple. While in the future we are likely to move more into performance-based learning objectives, we still continue to educate people in knowledge heavy areas where immediate performance impact is not self-evident. Hence, it pays to evaluate how we can use Bloom’s framework today in the learning space where a digital forms a large part of the delivery. Therefore, we’ll look at Bloom’s taxonomy in more detail and how to support it with digital learning methods. 

The six levels of Bloom’s taxonomy progress as follows: 

  1. Knowledge
  2. Comprehension
  3. Application
  4. Analysis
  5. Synthesis
  6. Evaluation

Delivering “Knowledge” with Digital 

For a long time, digital (or eLearning for that matter) has been a common way of delivering knowledge. However, to fulfil the knowledge part of the learning objectives according to Bloom’s taxonomy, we have to pay attention to the delivery. Firstly, it’s highly important to understand what helps learners to remember and recall knowledge. Tools and methods like spaced learning and microlearning are modern ways of structuring digital content to aid in just that. 

Ensuring “Comprehension” with knowledge checks

When developing learning, we’d naturally like the learners to grasp the concepts beyond just the factual level. Hence, it’s important to build adequate comprehension elements into digital learning experiences. While an increasing part of the comprehension analytics can be accomplished with seamless learning tracking, on many occasions it’s good to build proper assessment. Generally, you should build assessment and knowledge checks that go beyond factual recollection. Furthermore, it’s beneficial to distribute the knowledge checks within the materials and space them over time. 

Supporting “Application” with digital 

Generally, the application part of the Bloom’s taxonomy and learning equation occurs in the workplace. However, that’s not to say we shouldn’t utilise the power of digital to facilitate that application to the best of our ability. Ideally, the scope of your learning analytics would cover the relevant behavioural and performance metrics to find out whether application is actually happening. In case your data capabilities are not yet at that level, you can (besides contacting us for help!) use different techniques to try to gauge the rate of application. For instance, digital surveys and 360 evaluations provide tools to assess behaviours on both individual and organisational level. However, keep in mind that self-reported data is often full of bias! 

Facilitating the “Analysis” of knowledge

A good part of learning deals with understanding what we already know and how that related to the grand scheme of things. Naturally, you can facilitate the analysis part with various types of self-paced assignments requiring critical thinking. In the age of digital, however, you could use the power of social media tools to facilitate social learning. Modern social learning tools provide a good way for learners to develop a deeper understanding of the concepts at hand and their relationship with current workplace practices and strategy. This enables learners not only to rely on their own conceptual understanding but to learn from others’ as well. 

Providing a platform to “Synthesise” information

Building on the analysis stage, the synthesis of knowledge is highly important to bring the learning back to the workplace. With highly abstract topics (e.g. leadership, soft skills etc.), collaborative learning activities can deliver high impact. As synthesis is a lot about creating new ways of working based on the newly learnt and existing knowledge, you’ll want to focus on that. At this stage, the confines of the learning system (e.g. LMS) become too narrow, and we need to find other pathways to success. Collaboration tools (e.g. Slack) provide a good platform to not only support learning, but also to produce and share work and practical applications of the newly learnt. If you’re not yet employing collaborative platforms, user-generated content can be a meaningful way to execute some of this as well. Learners can e.g. share their experiences of different applications and learn from others. 

Enabling reflective “Evaluation” via digital platforms

The highest level of Bloom’s taxonomy is evaluation. Evaluation generally involves presenting and defending opinions based on the developed conceptual knowledge and synthesis. Similar to “Synthesis”, collaborative and social learning tools provide great mediums for facilitating the evaluation level. Learners can share their own opinions, engage with others’ and hence refine their thinking. While there’s a lot of tools for this type of delivery, a proper mindset is equally important. As an organisation, you should encourage the sharing of opinions. To do this successfully, you naturally need to acknowledge that those opinions may be critical or not aligned with the current practice. However, you should not aim to silence all the critics as it is these types of discussions that spark internal innovation in organisations. 

Are you using Bloom’s taxonomy to structure your learning objectives? Would you like to find out more about different digital methods to support the learning process? If so, just contact us here – we’re happy to share! 

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How to Best Utilise the 3 Types of Learning Interactivity?

Learning Interactivity Types

How to Best Utilise the 3 Types of Learning Interactivity?

Learning interactivity is a major factor influencing retention of information and knowledge development. Research unilaterally shows that active formats of learning generally result in the highest retention rates. However, developing active and engaging learning experiences is a major challenge for organisations looking to shift from classroom training to digitally enabled learning. In many cases, digital learning professionals and eLearning companies have unfortunately cut the corners. Instead of delivering interactivity across the whole spectrum, they have primarily focused on only one aspect of it. Hence, we decided to compile a short guide on effectively leveraging interactivity in learning.

For reference, here are the three types of learning interactivity.

  1. Learner-Content interactivity
  2. Learner-Instructor interactivity
  3. Learner-Learner Interactivity

And here’s what they mean and how to put them into practice.

1. Learner-Content Interactivity

First, the primary type of learning interactivity is between the learner and the content. This is the type of interactivity that much of the eLearning scene has focused on. Research shows that meaningful two-way interactions (e.g. knowledge checks, information overlays, quizzes) generally help to pace the learning and lift up retention levels. However, not all interactions are for the best. An artificial focus on collecting “clicks” may actually result in an adverse effect.

To capitalise on learning interactivity on the content level, organisations could consider tools like interactive video curators, rapid eLearning authoring tools and learning platforms with integrated content tools. However, you should refrain from designing interactions for the sake of interactions. Rather, they should form an integrated, relevant and meaningful part of the learning experience.

2. Learner-Instructor interactivity

One of the forgotten aspects of learning interactivity has been that between the learner and the instructor. When transforming classroom content into the digital space, the future role and importance of the instructor has been often forgotten. Often, that has been an attractive approach to organisations due to the immediate cost savings. However, we have learned that completely self-paced and independent learning does not necessarily produce the desired results.

Instead, organisations should aim to retain the role of the instructor. Often, that could be in the form of blended or flipped learning. And even if you’re looking to deliver learning 100% digitally, there’s still a place for the instructor. Why not have them facilitate the learning on your learning platforms and online portals? This gives your learners access to better support for their development. Furthermore, the instructor is able to assess the learning and intervene accordingly with additional sessions, discussions and knowledge checks.

3. Learner-Learner Interactivity

Finally, we arrive at the perhaps most neglected aspect of learning interactivity of the three: learner-learner interactions. According to social learning theories and scientific research, a major part of our learning experience as individuals happens with the helps of others. We learn through discussions, listening, observing, mimicking and reflecting on knowledge and behaviours as a group. In a classroom setting, this happens quite naturally. Learners engage with each others in discussions, do activities together and help each other succeed. However, these types of interactions have not been easily replicated in an online environment – until the recent years!

In recent years, we’ve seen the emergence of social learning platforms. Leveraging on the power and success of social media, these platforms put the focus back on the learners, enabling them to engage with each other regardless of instructor presence or schedules. Arguably, these platforms are one the most powerful developments in the digital learning industry for a while. Hence, we generally advice organisations looking into implementing new learning systems (LMS, LXP etc.) to really look into the social capabilities of the options available. However, even if you don’t have the resources to commit to these modern learning tools, that doesn’t mean you need to forget learner-learner interactivity altogether. You can always look into leveraging the social media tools your employees are already on and taking the discussions there.

Are you using all three levels of learning activity in a meaningful way? If you need to help in fitting these engagement enhancers to your learning mix, let us know. We are also happy to recommend you some of the best social learning tools on the market. 

 

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Gamified Learning Design – 3 Emerging Concepts

Gamified Learning Design

Gamified Learning Design – 3 Emerging Concepts

Gamification is becoming increasingly popular in the corporate learning space – and for a valid reason. Gaming has been a popular pastime for quite a long time, especially among young people. Hence, they are also responding positively to gamified learning activities. However, it’s always important to make the right distinction between games and gamification. Gamification means the application of game-like elements in a non-game setting. For instance, sales organisation have used leaderboards or sales trophies for a long time – effectively gamifying the process.

Previously, we’ve looked at simple tools of gamification like badges and leaderboards as well as learning simulations. Thus, we decided to delve a bit deeper and introduce a few slightly more advanced techniques for designing gamified learning and tips on putting them into practice.

1. Applying progression and levels in learning content

The best games usually come with some kind of built-in or scripted progression. Players are able to progress through levels with increasing difficulty or complexity. This is quite easily applied in corporates as well with gamified learning. Instead of giving the learner all the content at once, you can create a sense of exclusivity and achievement by having the learners “unlock” new content as they progress. By doing this, you’re also effectively chunking the content into smaller pieces, which decreases the risk of overwhelming the learner. Furthermore, learners are able to recognise their own progress more clearly, which helps to boost their motivation.

2. Enabling points and unlocking of rewards

What would games be without points? In gaming, competition and achievements are two of the main ways of keeping the players playing. In a corporate environment, competition is not always the best approach, while it works well for some areas. But you can apply the concept of points and scoring on an individual basis too. Reward the learners with points for all learning activities, whether that’s comments on social platforms, participation in instructor-led training or completion of eLearning modules. You can choose the behaviours you want to reward and design the points collection accordingly.

Naturally, points work much better as a motivator if they mean something. An increasingly popular approach this kind of gamified learning is to link the learning progress into real-life rewards. Instead of just accumulating points, you could let your learners exchange them for something tangible. Potential rewards could include e.g. days off, gift cards, invitations to special events and the like. To each company its own. Concrete rewards like these are not difficult to implement and provide a very tangible method of engaging employees.

3. Applying task-based gamified learning journeys

Many successful games also have the players completing tasks or missions. Building on the two previous methods, you could also design a task-based approach to learning delivery. For example, you could push particular content at defined intervals, e.g. on a weekly basis. The “learning of the week” would be highlighted to the learner and you could also give them additional rewards for completing it – double points for instance.

This way, you have tools of guiding the learning consumption in a seamless way instead of a heavy “push” approach. Organisations could also rotate content based on real-time needs and interventions. This helps the learners to prioritise as well – they are more likely to take up on the featured content as in the hopes of an extra reward. Furthermore, this method of gamified learning helps out in the employees’ time management and allocation. Once employees have completed all the “content of the week” they can confident in their effort. All additional learning is then good extra.

Overall, gamification is a wonderful approach to increase engagement and motivation in the workplace – and not just for learning. Digital capabilities naturally help in the application, but a lot can be done with a shoestring budget or even totally offline methods. Just get creative!

Are you looking to implement gamified elements into your learning? We are happy to help you get started and support you along the way. Just drop us a note

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Learning Content Curation vs. Design – Find What Suits You

Learning Content Curation vs Design

Learning Content Curation Vs. Design – Benefits and Pitfalls of Each Approach

The role of knowledge and information in learning and development has shifted quite dramatically in the last 10 years. Whereas knowledge once was a luxury available to the few, it has now become a free commodity available everywhere. Furthermore, with the impeccable speed of change it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep knowledge relevant and up-to-date. Hence, the old big investments into packaging of knowledge (learning content) have somewhat dried up – and for a valid reason. Organisations are sometimes struggling to justify the costs of designing learning activities from the ground up. As a result, a field of learning content curation has picked up. To clear up the ambiguities around content curation and learning design, let’s take a closer look into both.

What is learning content design? What is learning content curation?

Traditionally, the corporate approach to learning – and eLearning in particular – has been a design-led approach. The basic units, courses, are built from scratch. Learning content design generally starts with collection of subject matter, followed by scripting, storyboarding, building interactivity, visual design and technical execution, just to name a few. Overall, it’s a very tedious and resource-consuming process, but the results can be excellent if the designers are at the top of their game.

Learning content curation, on the other hand, relies on existing and readily available content. The fundamental principle is that of packaging, re-engineering and linking content to form coherent and relevant learning experience. Whereas a learning designer would build from scratch, a learning curator would compile material from sources available, with very little time spent on technical execution.

What’s the better approach then? Learning content curation or design?

As any complex problem, there’s no straight right or wrong answer to this one either. However, here’s a list of pros and cons with each approach that may help you to form an educated decision for your next project.

Learning Content Curation – PROS: 

Learning Content Curation – CONS:

  • There may not always be learning content available for your specific needs
  • Content cannot reach the same level of tailoring and customisation as with traditional design

Learning Content Design – PROS

  • Possible to deliver beautiful, tailored learning experiences
  • Better ability to address company specific issues – you control the type of content you have

Learning Content Design – CONS

  • Very time – and resource-consuming. Building learning content from scratch takes a very long time
  • Inflexibility in responding to rapid changes in the business and learning needs
  • Traditional top-down learning content design approaches have not produced good results (you may try more learner-centric design instead)

Finding a strategy that fits your learning needs

Overall, we expect a large shift towards a more curative approach to learning content in the future. The benefits of significant increase in flexibility and lower costs are too much to overrule. However, the design approach is not going to die either. If we were to build a corporate learning strategy on a clean table, we would advise our clients the following way. “Build capabilities for using a learning content curation approach for most of your learning content needs. Yet, consider using more comprehensive design processes to deliver training in high-impact areas”.

Are you curating or designing? Do you need help in shifting from a design focused strategy to a more agile curative approach? We can help you on the journey, just contact us.

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User-Centred Learning Design – Using the 5Di Model

User-centred learning design 5Di

User-Centred Learning Design – Using the 5Di Model for Learning Activity Development

A few weeks back, we touched on the topic of delivering engaging experiences with learner-centric design. While that article covered some general principles of user-centred learning design, we wanted to further introduce you to an actual design framework. Naturally, we picked a framework that we’ve adopted and keep adapting at Learning Crafters, called 5Di. The 5Di is not something we’ve developed ourselves, rather it was actually spearheaded by Nick Shackleton-Jones. We recognised the value-add in the approach and have since adapted it to our learning design process. So what’s the 5Di all about?

The 5Di User-centred learning design model

The model outlines a 6-step learning design process, the five Ds and the I.

  1. Define
  2. Discover
  3. Design
  4. Develop
  5. Deploy
  6. Improve

And here’s a rundown of the activities within each part of the process.

1. Define

As with any project, user-centred learning design should also start with identifying the problem. It’s important to partner with the business to define the desired outcomes. The desired outcomes should be based on results, not learning objectives per say. After all, you’re developing learning to achieve business impact. However, don’t be too confined to a familiar set of solutions when in the definition – a course or even training is not always the right answer.

2. Discover

Then, partner with the assumed audience of the learning to gain deeper understanding of the business problem. Involve subject-matter experts to identify the behaviour required and barriers for improved performance. It’s very difficult to translate learning into behaviour later on if you don’t take the time to understand the line of business initially.

3. Design

Next, develop a formulated approach into solving the learning problem and document it for presentation to the decision-maker. Develop scripts, wireframes or storyboards outlining the approach. A good wireframe helps to divide up tasks later on to enable a quicker and more agile development.

4. Develop

Next, develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to get user and stakeholder feedback on. Reiterate and refine the learning design accordingly. Test the “product” for usability, interoperability with existing systems etc. And remember, collecting feedback is adamant. If you don’t focus on gathering user feedback, the whole concept of MVP renders itself obsolete. Furthermore, it’s important that designers continue to partner with subject-matter experts to guarantee a truly user-centred learning design.

5. Deploy

Roll out the learning activity to the users while drumming it up with communications and marketing using common channels available to you. Good communication is needed for a successful learning activity. Therefore, you should treat it as a marketing campaign. Thus, a single informative email is not enough. Rather, you should drum it up over time and involve user feedback, referrals and success stories where possible. In business units, it also often pays to get line managers to recommend the learning activities to their teams.

6. Improve

Finally, we arrive at the most important step! The learning development process doesn’t stop even after learners have completed the course. Rather, you should keep monitoring the content performance and user engagement levels and make improvements accordingly. A learning data driven approach is well suited for this, and xAPI capabilities help tremendously in analysing engagement. Remember, it’s not only the subject-matter refinement you should focus on! Rather, it’s the delivery and user experience that are often more important.

That’s 5Di, a user-centred learning design approach, in a nutshell. With this agile method, we’ve been able to actually reduce our learning development times. Also, the results have been a lot better in terms of measurability, user experience and learning results.

Are you using 5Di or a similar learning design approach? If you’d like to implement a more agile learning development approach with your learning designers, we can help you. Just drop us a note

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Rapid eLearning Authoring Tools – 3 Behaviours to Avoid

Rapid eLearning Authoring tools

Rapid eLearning Authoring Tools – 3 Behaviours to Avoid

During the past several years, we’ve seen rapid eLearning authoring tools become massively popular among instructional designers and learning professionals. Generally, rapid eLearning tools comprise of different slide-based authoring tools. Compared to the “old”, programming-heavy eLearning development, these tools provide huge advantages. Learning professionals’ work becomes faster and easier, thanks to the built-in capabilities and massive content libraries. Due to the efficiency, these tools have become a standard of sorts for eLearning development. This has led to a worrying development – professionals believing these tools solve all eLearning needs. Don’t get me wrong, we love the tools and use them on a daily basis ourselves. However, there are a few things that we like to remind learning professionals of when working with these.

Slide-based learning is not the answer for everything

A vast majority of the most popular rapid eLearning authoring tools are slide-based (e.g. Articulate, iSpring, Captivate). As wonderful as these tools are, the slide structure empowering them is also their biggest problem. Sometimes e.g. videos or animations will provide a much better result than slide-based elements. Instead of automatically resorting to a storyboard or slide-based course, learning professionals should consider what could be the most effective modalities out there. The rise of mobile learning has brought about another problem for these rapid eLearning tools. The slide-based output is not really mobile friendly. Sure, all the major providers support HTML5 and have even worked on built their own mobile players. Yet, the user experience leaves a lot to be desired, e.g. readability, font sizes, image scaling etc.

You should never sacrifice interactivity for faster development

The wonderful quality of rapid eLearning authoring tools is in their name. “Rapid”. The unique value proposition of these slide-based tools is that you are able to build much more interactive material with them. You can prompt learners with questions, build adaptive branching scenarios, gamification, assessment and much more. The unfortunate fact is that many learning professionals don’t take advantage of these capabilities. The result of eLearning authoring may be a slide deck with very little interactivity, except an integrated test in the end. In terms of learning value, the result is very close to a powerpoint presentation (read: very little value). Digital learning needs to be interactive, and unfortunately it takes a bit of time. But if you’re not using the rapid eLearning authoring tools to build interactive learning, you might as well not use them at all.

Too many templates result in too little variety

Another factor considerably speeding up the content development process with rapid eLearning authoring tools is templates. Just like in powerpoint and other slide deck builders, you can build pre-defined templates to use across the spectrum. With a good template master, you could potentially save yourself almost all the visual design work. However, the problem with using too many templates is the variety of end products. If you’re using rapid eLearning authoring tools, I suspect you’re not only building one course. Instead, you’re building many. And when you build many, the courses start to repeat themselves very fast, even though the actual content is different. This is a killer for learning engagement. Learners grow easily frustrated with the lack of variety and learning becomes just a click-through exercise rather than immersing in engaging and fresh content.

Overall, many companies do use these tools to their full potential. However, as they are so easy and quick to use, it’s easy to space away and forget what really makes a great learning experience. Be vary of that, and try to avoid the behaviours above!

Are you using rapid eLearning tools or would you like to give them a try? We can recommend you some of our favourites that we frequently use. Just drop us a note

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Spaced Learning for Corporates – Maximise Learning Retention

Spaced learning

Spaced Learning for Corporates – Maximising Learning Retention

‘Repetition is the key to all learning’ is a statement that holds a lot of truth in it. Unfortunately, in the context of corporate learning we tend to forget repetition and the time required to learn new skills. Instead, we expect our employees to pick up on things and change behaviour with just a single classroom session or eLearning activity. Treating learning as a transaction rather than a journey is an approach bound to fail. Instead, corporates could use a spaced learning approach to create greater impact, while staying efficient and keeping costs under control.

What is Spaced Learning?

Paul Kelley developed the spaced learning concept and methodology based on the neuroscience work of R. Douglas Fields. The methodology recognises that all learning is subject to a forgetting curve. By enabling adequate repetition, we can help our learners fight the forgetting and transfer knowledge into long-term memory. The backbone of the idea is to segment learning in short, repetitive activities, spaced by pauses. A simple spaced learning cycle could be only 5+10+5+10+5 minutes. The 5-minute sections represent learning activities, whereas the 10-minute stints are pauses to take the mind of the learning. In the research, Kelley found that just a simple 3-layered cycle could increase learning results significantly.

Using Spaced Learning in Corporate L&D

As results oriented entities, corporate L&D departments are always looking to do things better and more efficiently. Spaced learning can be a good approach to maximise learning retention while not going overboard with resources or budget required. Here’s how you could get started with the method.

1. Structure learning into shorts bursts as a journey over time

The two key aspects of spaced learning – repetition and pauses – are easy to build into any learning program. Instead of developing a large chunk of content or a time-consuming one-time activity, you should develop learning into short bursts. Microlearning is a great way to do this. Learners can complete one activity in the morning, another in the afternoon or next week. Naturally, topics come with different complexities. Thus, you should adjust the content and spacing accordingly for different learning items.

2. Incorporate creative repetition and deliver condensed nuggets

Furthermore, instead of constantly introducing new knowledge with every activity, focus on creative repetition. Find ways to explain the content in different ways, e.g. animations, simulations or collaborative learning activities. Just repeating the same content over and over again is a surefire way of losing the learners’ attention. As with any impactful learning activity, less is more. Make sure to deliver the knowledge as concisely as possible – you don’t have much room for “nice-to-know” things with this type of delivery.

3. Pick your use cases for maximum impact

We can roughly divide the benefits of spaced learning into two categories. You should ideally aim to reap the benefits on both.

  1. Increase in learning results (retention, application)
  2. Increase in efficiency & productivity

Therefore, you should be using spaced learning to reinforce desired behaviours in the organisation. The more you expose your learners to the materials and activities, the more likely they are to apply the new knowledge. Also, spaced learning can help to increase productivity and efficiency. When you deliver learning in short segments over time, the loss in productivity is smaller. Instead of going into a classroom or taking a lengthy digital course, your employees can consume the bite-sized knowledge on the job.

Are you using spaced learning in your organisation? Want to find out more about structuring spaced learning activities for various use cases? Just contact us and we’ll help you get started. 

 

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