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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Curating Interactive Microlearning Videos – Leveraging Free Resources

Curate Microlearning videos

Curating Interactive Microlearning Videos – Leveraging Free Resources

“Video is the king of content” is a statement that holds true especially well today. Digital and mobile behaviour analytics indicate that video is the most engaging format of content. Whether is personal or professional, weekends or office hours, our tendency to consume knowledge snacks in bite-sized video format is ever growing. This is why microlearning, especially interactive microlearning videos, fare so well in engaging the learners. However, organisations often see videos as an expensive format to produce (they’re not!), which hinders adoption. This line of thought is failing to see the forest from the trees. There are already massive libraries of free video content available to everyone with internet, so why not take advantage of those? In this article, we look at leveraging free Youtube videos in curating interactive microlearning videos.

What is curation and why is it important?

Content curation is the process of selecting and refining the content to suit the learning objectives. The amount of content in services like Youtube becomes a problem when trying to integrate learning into the flow of work. Simply put, employees don’t have the time to go through several videos in trying to find the one that fits their needs. Hence, the most basic level of curation – identifying the suitable content – is an important task for the L&D team. From thereon, you can go further in incorporating knowledge checks, navigation and other additional elements into the video. Check out the example below.

(this example is a very primitive one, based on the video on our front page, but you’ll get the point!)

What’s the benefit of curating interactive microlearning videos like this?

The benefit of refining the content with embedded comes in the form of increased engagement and content performance. There’s quite a number of things that you can do with the videos:

  • Linking to other content – this helps your learners to find solutions to their problems with other supporting resources
  • Video navigations – these help your learners to get to the right information faster – no more time wasted in watching videos without getting the answers needed. Good navigation is an absolute must for longer videos.
  • Knowledge checks – these provide a good way to engage the learners within the video and test their learning. At the most basic, it can be to check whether the concept was understood. At a more refined level, you can prompt for more qualitative user input and feedback.

Arguably, the whole corporate learning sphere is moving to a more performance- and learner-centric approach. More ‘Pull’, less ‘Push’. More performance support, less assigned compulsory learning. These types of interactive microlearning videos provide a great way of catering to that requirement. And by leveraging on free resources, you can keep the costs down while having access to loads of good content.

Would you like to find out more about curating microlearning videos such as this one? Or would you like to learn more about using free resources in your learning mix? We’ll help you, just contact us here

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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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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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Training Customer-facing Staff with Simulations

training simulations featured

Using Training Simulations to Develop the Competency of Customer-facing Staff

Great customer service wins and retains business. In today’s hyper-competitive business environment, it’s important that companies deliver great customer service across the organisation. However, customer facing roles face a lot of attrition and turnover, which underlines the need for effective training. Furthermore, the old ways of training delivery are proving either too expensive or simply inefficient. Instead of burying your customer facing staff with manuals on brand standards and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), you could do better. Training simulations are a great way to provide engaging, interactive and motivating customer service training for all front-line staff. And here’s why they work so well.

Training simulations mirror real-life scenarios

Training simulations are great thanks to their ability of mimicking real-life situations and decision-making scenarios. Instead of reading things out of manuals, the customer-staff can engage in an immersive experience. This helps to relate the training to their daily jobs, which in turn drives the behavioural change and increases learning application rates. Just like in real life, every action has a consequence. Some of the learner’s choices will make the customer happy, and some will drive them away. The learners need to utilise their own decision-making, prior knowledge and emotional intelligence to solve the simulation. Furthermore, we can make the training simulation work on two levels. First, the learner needs to make sure they adhere to the SOPs and brand standards. Second, they need to make sure they keep the customer happy with their attitude and responses.

training simulations
Training Simulations are a great way to train SOPs and EQ simultaneously.

Simulation-based training provides branched and trackable learning paths

In customer service, there’s always no right and wrong. As emotional intelligence (EQ) plays such a big part in the service process, it’s natural that approaches may vary. Training simulations provide almost endless branching opportunities, where learners move on the scenario based on their previous actions. And this is key for training the quick decision-making required in real-life situations. It enables us to keep up the staff’s creativity and problem-solving hunch by providing e.g. only “right” options. In the end, as long as the learners stick to the SOPs and provide good service, the means don’t matter. By allowing freedom of choice in their approach, we can help the learners maintain their personal touch to customer service situations.

Also, we can track and collect learning data on all the interactions happening over the course of the simulation. This means that we can follow the learning path of each learner individually and see what kind of choices they make. We could then use this data to get insights on the employees’ EQ and effort, which could correlate to the employee’s capabilities for more advanced roles. And with the data collected and insights produced, there is no need to formally test employees.

training simulations
The learner has 3 options to choose from, and each will produce different outcomes.

Instant feedback reinforces the learning and ensures SOPs are adhered to

Perhaps the greatest thing about simulation-based training is the amount of feedback that we can provide our learners with. We can address practically all possible situations and the best practices on approaching them and communicate that to the learner. This level of instant and constant feedback keeps the learner engaged and motivated. Their effort is recognised even though they might not have chosen the best course of action and we can encourage them to try again. Also, as there is not really “right and wrong” in many cases, we can point out the pros and cons of each approach. Perhaps the right approach in terms of SOPs would have been slightly different, but the learner showed good EQ and gets rewarded for it.

Furthermore, we can add a little bit of gamification and visual cues to ensure the learners are on track with their progress and keep striving for the best.

training simulations
The simulation provides the learner with constant feedback, praising for creativity and effort. Also, the learner earns points or stars based on decisions made, and can immediately see the customer’s reaction with the happiness meter on top right.

 

Have you tried simulation-based training for customer service and front-line staff? We can help you to produce effective and measurable simulations according to your SOPs and brand standards. Just drop us a note here

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Interactive Learning – What Does It Really Mean?

Interactive learning

Interactive Learning – What Does It Really Mean?

For the past few years, interactivity has been a buzz-word in the learning technology industry. Every other organisation out there claims to be doing interactive learning. While many of such companies are doing good things in terms of providing engaging learning, rather few actually provide interactive learning.

Interactivity, per its definition, means a two-way transaction. When it comes to learning content, the main two-way transaction forms between the content and the learner. Unfortunately, formats that we generally think of as interactive only provide one-way transactions. For instance, videos interacts with the user with moving picture and sounds. However, in the case of normal videos, the learner doesn’t really interact with the video (unless you count the push of the play-button as interactivity – we sure don’t!). This interactivity from learner to content is extremely important for both learning retention and tracking the learning activity. If there are no interactions, how does the L&D manager know that anyone really watched the video? How do the learners monitor their own learning if they don’t get instant feedback on whether they have understood the concepts being learned?

By enabling true two-way interactions, the learning professionals get access to a whole new depth of insights into how their employees’ skills develop. The learners, on the other hand, receive tools of monitoring their own learning better. As with all content, our minds tend to deviate without us really noticing it. Relevant interactions in the digital learning content help us to stay focused and alert us if we don’t. Learners are more likely to keep going with the material as they know when they are gaining results.

This is what interactive learning looks like!

As usual, show works better and tell. That’s why we have prepared a video illustration of the digital interactive learning tricks that you can use to derive better insights and increase learning retention. Have a look at the video below and see different kinds of interactions that improve the learning experience!

 

In terms of technology, the interactive learning elements seen above certainly require no rocket science. This all can be done with simple HTML5. The great thing about HTML5 is that it works on mobile platforms as well. HTML5 in itself is something that should be in every learning professional’s toolbox to cater for mobile learning audiences.

What about other types of interactivity in learning?

As mentioned, the primary interaction in learning generally happens between the content and the learner. However, we should not limit ourselves to just that. By implementing simple strategies, we can enable interactions between learners and trainers as well as learners to learners. This type of social learning and peer-to-peer communication can be a very powerful tool in facilitating knowledge transfer in an organization when used correctly. For more detailed description of the possibilities of social learning, you should check out this article here.

Are you struggling with learning engagement? Would you like to improve your interactive learning? Let us know, and we’ll get you started on the right path. 

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