4 Tips for Modern Instructional Design

Modern instructional design

4 Tips for Modern Instructional Design

Similar to corporate learning, instructional design (ID) is a field that is undergoing a bit of a transformation. While corporates are shifting their efforts into workflow learning and performance impact, instructional designers will see their roles shift as well. This shift is multi-faceted and will require practitioners to learn new skills, adopt new methods and expand their overall role in the organisation. To provide some guidance, here are 4 tips for modern instructional design that you should look into.

1. There are no more fixed models or approaches

Instructional design is a field full of frameworks and models (e.g. Gagne’s nine stages, ADDIE, etc.). However, it’s the overuse of these types of models and frameworks that has pushed the ID practitioners so far away from the business. The problems are multifaceted. On one hand, these models don’t really work with the speed of the business. On the other hand, they produce very boring and homogeneous type of learning. Design is never absolute, but always relative. Thus, instead of pushing subject matter through different dated models, modern instructional designers should focus on solving the business problems at the speed of the business through iterative development and practical problem solving.

2. Instructional Design’s focus is no longer just on materials

A bad system kills good material – and vice versa. If instructional designers want to produce impactful learning experiences, they can no longer focus on just the material. Even the best and most beautifully designed material will never work if it has to be accessed through a system with bad user experience. Hence, ID practitioners have to start working on a higher level, focusing on the learning experience as a whole. User experience is no longer a nice-to-have, but it’s perhaps the most important thing. Additionally, the profession will likely incorporate more and more elements of service design into its normal workflow.

3. IDs should start with the end in mind, not the design

As important as design is, it should never be the starting point. As corporate learning becomes increasingly performance-focused, the goal of the ID work will be to evoke the needed behavioural change in the organisation, not just convey knowledge. We often see unnecessary complexity just because the designer had discovered “a new cool thing” that they felt compelled to incorporate everywhere. No one today has time for that. To really understand the behaviours in the organisation and how to deliver performance impact, instructional designers will be required to align much more closely within the business. ID practitioners have to be ready to deliver solutions also outside of the traditional scope of their jobs- After all, training is rarely the right answer to a business problem. Perhaps one day the ID team will even share the same KPIs as the operations!

4. Instructional designers need to grasp new tech but not get fixated on it

The technology landscape around instructional design is developing very fast. Over the last decade, we’ve seen tools such as videos, animations, simulations, AR, VR and many more emerge. It’s more important than ever that ID professionals know these tools. These are the mediums your learners have and will get used to as consumers. And you shouldn’t expect them to tone down their expectations for your corporate learning. However, it’s again important not to get carried away with one particular technology. A good example of “getting carried away” would be the slide-based eLearning authoring tools and their prevalence. While they’re good tools, many instructional designers and learning professionals seem to know nothing else. The worrying moment comes when we start measuring learning projects in ‘number of slides’ (oops, that might have already happened…). Once again, it’s thus important to keep the end in mind and select the technology based on that.

Overall, corporate instructional design has to become more integrated with the business – or face extinction. The roles within the function will become broader and perhaps represent more “service design for learning”. On a professional level, there are great opportunities for individuals who get this right. Remember, if you need help in developing these modern instructional design capabilities in your organisation, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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5 Lessons from Cognitive Science for Corporate Learning

Cognitive Science for Corporate Learning

5 Lessons from Cognitive Science for Corporate Learning

Design matters. That’s true for many things, corporate learning being one of them. However, the research foundations of learning design can sometimes seem ambiguous. There’s also a lot of invalid information and “myths” (e.g. “learning styles”) floating around. While there’s a lot of talk about neuroscience, that’s still too new of a field for us to comprehend. Therefore, it might be useful to remind ourselves of the things we already do know. Thus, here are 5 lessons from cognitive science for corporate learning design.

1. Make connections with the learners’ prior experience and knowledge

First of all, it’s important that we enable the brain to form the new connections required for learning. Thus, we should guide the learners into putting the newly learnt into context with what they already know. But it’s also possible to flip that around. With a proper use of learning analytics, we can understand that knowledge and those experiences beforehand, and then design the learning accordingly. These types of personalised learning experiences come naturally with a higher contextual value and effect.

2. Facilitate the whole cycle of learning

The second lesson from cognitive science for corporate learning is that we should always facilitate the full cycle of learning: absorbing information, active testing, reflection and creation. Hence, learning must not be just passive slide decks and multiple choice questions. Rather, we should be encouraging and inviting reflection at all stages. We’d also probably be better off ditching some of the mundane multiple choice trivia questions for something a bit more intellectually stimulating. Finally, we should ensure there are opportunities to ‘create’ and put the newly learnt into practice. With the modern type of learning in the workflow, that already happens more naturally, but not all learning can take place like that.

3. Put your attention on attention

In cognitive science, attention as a cognitive process acts as a prerequisite for everything else. Without attention there can be no perception, learning etc. Thus, it’s important that we gain and hold our learners’ attention, and also help to refocus it where necessary. This is what the discussion about learning engagement is all about. To combat the loss of attention, you should design learning that is interactive and interesting. To achieve that, you could use mediums like animations, interactive videos or simulations and take advantage of methods like storytelling. You should also make sure your learning materials direct the learner adequately on where to focus.

4. Enable social engagement and interaction

However, that one type of engagement is probably not enough. Rather, you should also find ways to incorporate social engagement in your learning design. Discussions, sharing, mimicking and shared experiences are all integral components of the learning process. In a classroom setting, enabling these means shifting the focus from the trainer to the learners. In a digital environment, it means shifting focus from delivered content to co-created information. Overall, there are a lot of tools out there to facilitate this type of interactivity and social presence in learning. Look into it!

5. Engage a maximum number of senses – start with visual

While the notion of learning styles has largely been proven false, there are some things that seem to hold true when it comes to learning design. Research in cognitive science and aligned fields indicates that multi-sensory learning improves efficacy. The more senses you can activate, the better the learning results – roughly speaking. Furthermore, it seems that the visual element is of great significance. Thus, you should look into many more mediums than just conventional classroom instruction or those “eLearning slide decks”. You can start small and gradually make your learning experiences more visual and then go on as far as activating touch and motion with e.g. augmented reality.

Overall, we should pay more attention to cognitive science in corporate learning. By understanding what makes learning work, we already get so much closer to designing great learning experiences. And remember, if you think you might need help in any of this, we’re here for you. Just drop us a note.

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3 Fundamentals of Great Learning Experience Design

Learning Experience Design

3 Fundamentals of Great Learning Experience Design

Organisations all around face a similar problem: traditional type of eLearning doesn’t really gather interest. Top-down, instructor-centric or content-centric courses don’t really promote engagement, let alone providing actual resources for people to improve their performance. To respond to these challenges, organisations are starting to look for ways to do things better. One area that learning professionals should understand to a great extent is User Experience Design (UXD). While applying the UX practices in the context of instructional design, we’ve come up with something called Learning Experience Design (LXD). While you can call it whatever you wish, we think here are 3 valuable cornerstones of LX that you should keep in mind.

1. LX Design focuses on the learner

The success of corporate learning doesn’t come from merely making information available. Rather, it comes from helping employees adopt new behaviours that enhance performance. Thus, the focus of learning experience design must also be on the learner.

You cannot expect all learners to reach the goal in the same way. The learners also have varying amounts of unique experience and prior context. Hence you should always aim to personalise the learning.

When done at scale, it may sometimes be handy to use tools like learner personas. Personas are highly detailed prototypes or models of learners. These profiles help LX design teams to create experiences that engage and appeal to different types of end users.

2. Usability and sensory experience is important

While understanding what kind of learning is required is incredibly important, it alone is not enough. Rather, it’s imperative that we also understand how the learning is used. The content, platforms and tools we use must all provide good usability. That means that they serve the intended purpose well and help the learners achieve their goals rather than hinder them.

However, the aesthetics are also vital. LX design also focuses on delivering visually pleasing, multi-sensory experiences. This can go as far as defining the tone of instruction, in addition to common elements like visual design of the learning materials or the aesthetics of a learning platform.

3. Learning experience design is never ready

Finally, a worthwhile thing to note about learning experience design is that it’s never ready. Rather, it’s all about constant collection of feedback and data, early testing of ideas, validating them and refining the approach accordingly. Learning content analytics provide a great way of doing this rapidly, seamlessly and at scale.

Especially in workplace learning, it’s important that we constantly observe our learners’ behaviours in the workplace. By understanding what happens in that application phase, we can design the learning experiences to be even better. To do this, LX designers should involve themselves deeply with the business. Likewise, they should be using comprehensive measures to collect data about the learning experiences they provide.

These fundamentals may seem slightly abstract, but overall they provide good guidelines and focal points on learning experience design. As we go along, these concepts will become more and more important. Disregarding the learning experience and simply making information available simply doesn’t work in terms of learning. If you’d like to give LX design a try, but not quite sure how to put it into practice, we can help you create design practices that fit your organisation. Just contact us here.

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Converting ILT to Digital Learning? Don’t Overlook These 3 Things

Converting ILT to Digital Learning

Converting ILT to Digital Learning? Don’t Overlook These 3 Things

As organisations are increasingly exploring the opportunities of digital learning, the transition process from face-to-face to online becomes an issue that needs to be managed. Thanks to increased efficiency and even efficacy, digital offers a lot that face-to-face. However, you should never blindly digitalise learning experiences without thinking it through. Online learning lends itself to some topics better than others. Furthermore, you should always try to augment learning experiences into workflow, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to that. Thus, the digitalisation process should be about finding ways to find meaningful ways of using technology to support learning. That being said, if you’ve gone through the consideration and notice there are instructor-led training (ILT) activities that should be transformed from classroom based to digital, there are a few things to consider. Here are 3 often overlooked considerations when it comes to converting ILT to digital learning.

1. You cannot afford to lose the social context of learning

A major thing that most people don’t seem to realise about converting ILT to digital learning is the social aspect. It’s not just the content or instruction that defined a classroom experience, but it’s the social interaction. People learn from each other, and there’s a lot of value in facilitating discussions and sharing outside of the immediate corporate-defined scope of instruction.

Thus, you should really look into ways of integrating collaborative activities and peer interactions into the digital learning experience. Nowadays, there are a number of good social learning platforms out there that get you quite far. But it’s also about building the content in a way that sparks spur-of-the-moment interactions, discussions and reflection.

2. Don’t forget the instructor either – self-paced is not always the best answer

The other element that many tend to cut right at the start of converting ILT to online learning is the instructor. While self-paced learning is on the rise, and much of workplace learning is experiential, everything shouldn’t be. While you can use gamification to keep your learners engaged, the instructor can still play a big role in that. Even with fully online learning experiences, you can still retain the instructor as a facilitator. The facilitator doesn’t necessarily deal with the content or “present” it in any way, but rather he’s there to spark those discussions and encourage interactions. Furthermore, the facilitator can really focus on helping to solve the individual’s learning challenges and provide learning support.

3. You shouldn’t cut corners and try to just reuse existing materials

Finally, you shouldn’t hope for quick wins by just uploading the existing materials to your online learning platform. When converting ILT to online learning, that simply doesn’t work. ILT materials are often presentations and documents. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that both of these are terrible formats of learning in a digital environment. First of all, the user experience is simply horrible and neither of them work on the mobile. Both require pinching, zooming and often display text sizes that are simply not viable for anything less than a desktop computer. Secondly, these traditional ILT content pieces don’t have any engagement once you remove the instructor. They are just words and pictures, and there’s really nothing interactive about them.

So, instead of trying to reuse your old pieces, you should completely redo the components. Modalities like videos, animations, simulations, games and even simple native text work much better.

By avoiding all these practices and focusing on redefining the learning experience as a whole, you’ll unlock the most value. If you want to deliver great learning experiences, there are no short-cuts or quick wins to be had when converting ILT to digital learning experiences. However, the time and resources will pay themselves back quickly!

If you feel you need help in managing your learning content transformation or creating a strategy for it, feel free to reach out to us. We’re happy to help.

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How to Incentivise Corporate Learning? 5 Quick Ideas

How to incentivise corporate learning?

How to Incentivise Corporate Learning? 5 Quick Ideas

While designing engaging learning experiences goes a long way, it’s likely that you may need a bit more to get engagement from your audience. You need to create the “pull” – whatever it is that keeps your learners coming back. Trying to push learning to unmotivated learners is a project doomed to fail. Even if you manage to activate them, the retention will be abysmal compared to their motivated peers. Thus, it’s important to create incentives that motivate all kinds of learners across the board. Here are 5 quick ideas on how to incentivise corporate learning.

1. Reward learning “streaks”

Learning in short bursts, over a period of time and multiple touch points generally gives out better results in the context of corporate learning. Thus, that’s the kind of behaviour you should try to encourage with your corporate learning incentives. Instead of rewarding the ‘fastest’ or the one who does the ‘most’ during a day, reward coming back. By rewarding learning streaks, e.g. consecutive active days, you’re encouraging recurring positive behaviour. By keeping the streak qualification thresholds low and the rewards real, you’ll avoid overwhelming your learners.

2. Give meaningful public recognition

Another way to incentivise corporate learning beyond the minimum required could be public recognition. After all, who doesn’t cherish to opportunity to showcase one’s achievements? However, the prevalent ways of social recognition, like badges and certificates are a bit dull. Yes, they do work to an extent, but they easily become such a commodity that they lose meaning. Thus, instead of quantity, you should rather focus on the quantity of the public recognition. This could take the form of e.g. a “learner of the month” type of recognition. The learner who has developed/worked/created/improved/contributed the most, could be showcased on intra-company newsletters, social media etc. The professional branding value of something like this would definitely interest a good number of your employees.

3. Use content easter eggs

Easter eggs are a concept used in the gaming world, and “an easter egg” is something hidden within the actual experience. To incentivise corporate learning, you could use content easter eggs to keep your learners coming back and keep a sense of mystery and buzz around it. You could hide e.g. funny videos, company specific memes, internal jokes or cultural artefacts within the content. Or if you want to stay serious, it could be even another layer of the actual learning content. By letting learners explore, stumble upon these kinds of things, share them and talk about them could help to create a lot of buzz around your corporate learning activities. Psychologically, knowing that there is something to be found will evoke us to search for it, even if we don’t know what exactly it is.

4. Use other hidden rewards

In similar fashion to the content easter eggs above, you can also incentivise learning through other hidden rewards. Instead of content, you could hide in artefacts that could with real-life benefits. For instance, you could stumble upon lunch coupons, half-days off, small gift cards, items to personalise one’s workspace etc. All of these are small things that don’t cost much but can go a long-way in keeping your learners coming back. Furthermore, as you’re the one controlling it, you can introduce things on the fly, e.g. to support company initiatives.

5. The house always wins – so how about a raffle?

If you find that small value incentives don’t work as well as you thought, you could revert the method. Study of human psychology has taught us that we prefer very low chances to earning high rewards than higher chances to earning lower rewards. You could use this psychological finding to your advantage and incentivise corporate learning through a ‘raffle’ or a ‘lottery’. For all the learning activities you choose, you could let your learners earn entries to a raffle or a lottery ballot. The more you learn, the more you earn. At the end of each month, or a year, or whatever time suits you, you could then raffle a major reward. Again, making it easy to participate (quick learning activities) and giving the chance of a good reward (e.g. a holiday trip paid by the company), you can create a lot of recurring engagement.

Overall, there a lot of cheap ways to incentivise learning in an organisation. While rewards are a necessity, they don’t have to be financial. By giving it a bit of thought and taking a few lessons from social learning and gamification, you can go a long way. If you need further help in designing corporate learning incentives, we are happy to help. Just drop us a note here.

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Social Learning Tips to Enable More Meaningful Discussions

Social learning tips enable better discussions

Social Learning Tips to Enable More Meaningful Discussions

Learning is largely a social process, whether we acknowledge it or not. Furthermore, your learners are social by nature. Thus, you should cater to that quality and enable learners to interact with each other during learning experiences. However, you shouldn’t expect any of this to happen automatically. Rather, it’s something that you need to enable and facilitate through technology and design. There are however a few good practices that we’ve compiled that you should look into. So, here are 3 social learning tips to facilitate better interactions.

Social learning tip #1: Encourage participation and contributions

Firstly, you should always encourage participation and contributions in your learning experiences. For instance, you can create initial engagement by having the learners introduce themselves and submit testimonials of their own experience with the topic. Overall, user-generated content can be a valuable driver to the overall learning activity. You should also think about different collaborative learning activities that your employees could engage in to bring a practical aspect to their learning.

You shouldn’t be afraid of constructive criticism either. By creating a safe discuss for argumentations and discussions, you’ll show that the discussions are not just for going through the motions. Similarly, you should never punish for inactivity on “being social” or introduce very strict success metrics of social learning. Commenting just for the sake of increasing one’s comment count doesn’t really contribute to anything.

Social learning tip #2: Keep the discussions with the content

No matter what kind of tools or social learning platforms you may use, you should try to integrate the social aspect into the natural flow of the program. Instead of having a separate forum or space for discussions, you should keep the interactions near the content. Annotations or different types of “social overlays/feeds” are a great way to do this. As your learners don’t have to move to a different “portal” or “page” to share their opinion, the discussions become more spontaneous. This results in a much more fruitful, relevant and to-the-point commentary, instead of manufactured posts on general topics.

If you’re using a lot of content with a playback content, such as videos or animations, it might be beneficial to time stamp the discussions. This way, comments e.g. on a video will appear as the video progresses. This even further improves the relevance and context of discussions.

Social learning tip #3: Initiate discussions and ask for comments

As you might guess from the previous section, totally free-form discussion is hard to evoke. Learners may refrain from commenting feeling that their experiences or thoughts might not be relevant or “right”. If that happens, you won’t be getting a lot of contributions.

Therefore, it pays to guide the discussions ever so slightly. While you shouldn’t censor discussions or restrict topics, you can discreetly point your learners to the items and topics you’d like them to discuss. For instance, deploy a few sample questions to start discussions at any point where you want to activate social interaction. However, remember to focus on quality as empty discussions are pointless. Thus, ask the learners for their own reflections and experiences on the learning topic instead of mundane things like whether they liked the content or not. Sharing of real opinions, ideas and experiences brings a lot more value not only to you, but even more importantly to the other learners.

Overall, you should attempt to make social interactions a seamless part of the learning experience. Forced and manufactured interactions don’t really serve a purpose. If you need help in designing better social learning experiences, contact us for more social learning tips and advise.

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How to Set Better Corporate Learning Objectives?

How to set effective corporate learning objectives?

How to Set Better Corporate Learning Objectives?

When designing learning activities, one of the first things to consider is what you want to accomplish with the training. Without proper goals, you can’t really know what to measure, let alone demonstrating the effects of the learning. While all L&D departments probably do set goals, not all of the goals are very meaningful. Specifically, learning professionals tend to set knowledge-based goals (e.g. “after this training, the participant will know good practices of leadership in the workplace”). However, the accumulation of knowledge, while a noble goal, doesn’t really provide any value to the business. It’s the enactment of new, desired behaviours and change, i.e. implementing the learning on the job, that determines the value-add. Thus, to effectively demonstrate the value of learning in our organisations, we need to set our corporate learning objectives in another way. And here’s a 4-step process to do that.

1. Define the workplace behaviours that you want to affect with training

First, you need to determine the specific behaviours you’d like to affect through training. And really, it means getting specific (you’ll run into trouble in #2 if you don’t). To continue with the leadership example: “we want our managers to become better leaders”. Bad. “We want our managers to have more frequent conversations with their direct reports”. Better.

The behaviours will naturally vary by topic, and some are easier to drill down to than others. However, “loose” learning objectives like masked as “performance objectives”, like in example #1 will turn out to be near impossible to measure.

2. Figure out what to measure and how. Don’t rely on self-reported data

If the first step is already a critical, the what and how of measurement is often the detrimental one in the context of corporate learning objectives. When trying to assess behavioural change (i.e. the impact of said learning) in organisations, there are two major mistakes that happen across the board.

First, not understanding what to measure. In similar fashion to setting the learning objectives, the ‘what’ is often too vague. If you’re doing sales training, measuring sales growth directly is too broad: you’re cutting a lot of corners and making dangerous assumptions. Sales may increase, but it may have no correlation with the training. Rather, the effect could be due to external environment, team relationships, incentives, seasonality, etc. Therefore, you need to drill down deeper. A proper level for example in sales training would be individual metrics, such as conversion ratios, time on calls, etc. These may or may not result in performance improvement, but that’s for you to find out without making ill-founded assumptions.

Second, the ‘how’ part of measurement is often lacking as well. If you really want to make an impact through better corporate learning objectives, it’s important to get this right. First, never rely on self-reported results. People lie, exaggerate, underestimate and aim to please, and even anonymity doesn’t remove the barrier to give honest answers. Rather, you should always use hard data. If the data is not readily available through non-learning channels (e.g. HR systems, performance management systems, ERPs, CRMs etc.), find a way to capture the needed information.

3. Quantify your corporate learning objectives

The relieving thing is that once you really drill down on the specific behaviours and get objective data sources, quantifying your learning objectives becomes much easier. In e.g. sales, finance, marketing or operations that is already a lot easier naturally. But even in the previous leadership example, there’s quite a large difference between “we want our managers to be 50% better leaders” vs. “we want our managers to have 50% more conversations with their direct reports”. The first is impossible to measure accurately, hence the quantification is moot and void. The second can be measured e.g through internal network analysis, communication meta-data and even calendar appointments.

Furthermore, once you quantify the learning objectives, you’re setting a transparent set of expectations. Consequently, you’ll have a much more easier job to sell the idea to your management and subsequently report the results. Once we analyse things a bit more deeply, we can assign “dollar values” to the changes in workplace behaviour. The value of sales staff converting 10% more of their calls is real and tangible, and it’s easy to track whether the learning investment is paying off. When the behaviours become less tangible (e.g. that leadership practice), you should agree with the business heads on what the value of those behaviours is to the business. For e.g. learning company values etc. it might seem silly, but you should consider doing it nonetheless to enable transparency in assessment and reporting. Of course, as you probably haven’t measured learning this way before, it’s important to acknowledge that in the beginning. So don’t punish yourself if you don’t “hit the target” right away.

Final words

By using this simple 3-step approach to setting corporate learning objectives, understanding the link between learning, impact and performance becomes a lot less burdensome. On an important note, once you’ve put this in place, you really need to actually measure things and commit to using the data. Collecting the data and insights, even if done properly, is itself a bad investment if you or your management still resort to making assumptions rather than trusting hard facts.

If you need help in understanding your organisation’s learning on a deeper level or to develop a data-driven learning strategy, contact us. We’ll walk you through what it takes.

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Online Learning Accessibility – Practical Tips for Inclusivity

Online learning accessibility

Online Learning Accessibility – Practical Tips for Inclusivity

If there’s a single universal fact about learning, it’s that there’s not a one-size fits all approach to it. Learners come in various shapes and sizes, each with different profiles and personal traits. Yet, as learning professionals, we should strive to provide each of them an equal opportunity to learning experiences. We should recognise that people learn differently – to some it may seem more difficult than others – and design learning accordingly. To facilitate that in the digital space, here are a few quick tips on improving your online learning accessibility.

Online Learning Accessibility Guidelines

For starters, for learning professionals who wish to remain inclusive, there are two general frameworks that you should be aware of. The first is the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) which should provide useful even for technology developers. The second important framework is the Universal Design for Learning (UDL). At times, these might feel dated, but there are a lot of good information there. As is common with learning difficulties in general, it’s hard to understand them without practical examples. These frameworks help in that.

For now, let’s focus a bit more on the 3-fold division of the UDL and what it should mean in practice.

Online learning accessibility tip #1: Provide multiple means of representation

Providing multiple means of representation means to give learner different ways of acquiring knowledge and engaging with the learning materials. While nowadays video is one of the more prevalent formats in corporate learning, it may not be suited for everyone. Moreover, whole lot of traditional learning materials come in text format (handbooks, manuals etc.) – again not suitable for everyone. To really provide all your learners with an equal opportunity to succeed, you should strive to provide the resources in as diverse set of formats as possible, e.g. audio, visual, text.

To put online learning accessibility into practice, you might consider the following easy implementations:

  • Providing text transcripts of videos or multimedia
  • Embedding subtitles on videos
  • For long text content, enabling the possibility of listening to an audio version (easy, free and quick to do with text-to-speech tools)

Online learning accessibility tip #2: Provide multiple means of expression

While it’s important to provide equal access to information, it’s equally important to facilitate equal assessment! Wherever there’s learning, there’s usually some type of assessment involved. While in general you should consider more formative assessment methods, these principles apply across the board. Firstly, it’s important to provide varied means of assessment: simple text-based multiple choice questions might be limiting for many. Secondly, it’s important to enable activities different from “final exams” where the learners can use their strengths to demonstrate their learning.

To facilitate online learning accessibility for assessment, here’s a few easy things you can do:

  • Instead of text-based quizzes, incorporate more visual methods like drag-and-drops, flashcards and simulations.
  • Enable users to demonstrate their knowledge in various forms: writing, audio/video recordings or through their daily tasks.
  • Try to provide alternatives to “exam-based” assessment, such as journals, reflections and portfolios.

Online learning accessibility tip #3: Provide multiple means of engagement

While there are countless formats for learning content, engagement isn’t only limited to that. Rather, in terms of accessibility, engagement refers more to the ways of finding, accessing and consuming learning resources. You should promote autonomy and individual choice by letting your audience engage with learning when it best suits them. Group activities can also help to increase engagement. Whichever deliver formats you choose, always strive for high-context and relevant experiences.

Here are a few easy to implement tips on providing multiple means of engagement:

  • Use omnichannel learning to provide a unified experience and increased ease of access across different platforms
  • Use social learning and group activities to build social presence and consequently increase engagement
  • Create a safe learning environment and a modern learning culture where learners don’t fear making mistakes
  • Provide access to instructor even in case of online learning experiences for personalised guidance and assistance

Overall, we should pay much more attention to inclusivity and accessibility in both offline and online learning. Ultimately, it’s really all about finding ways to help our talent reach their full potential the fastest and providing various of ways of getting there.

If you wish to provide better corporate digital learning experiences or need a helping hand in developing or auditing your online learning accessibility, we are happy to give you a hand. Just drop us a note here.

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From Transactions to Learning Journeys – Tips for Great Learning Experiences

Learning journeys - better learning experiences

From Transactions to Learning Journeys – Tips for Great Learning Experiences

While learning happens in many ways, places and times, something we can all agree on that it’s not a singular event. Rather, learning happens over time. However, in the realm of corporate learning, we often resort to one-time events (training session, eLearning course). Employees go through these “transactions” and soon forget most of the learning. In business, time is naturally of the essence and that creates a pressure to get the learning over with fast. After all, when people are learning, they are generally not producing immediate revenue. However, the lack of time should be no excuse to resort to this type of one-off thinking. When putting in a little bit of effort, you can actually provide your employees with much better learning experiences by changing the way you deliver learning and here’s how to do it. Here are tips on going from “learning events” to learning journeys.

Understand your learners’ needs

When designing learning experiences, it’s imperative that you spend time on understanding your audience. Mapping out the learning journey is a good way to get things started. By listing all the various touch points and changing needs, thoughts and feelings of your people, you can get a better understanding on what the optimal set of activities might look like. You can also employ methods such as learner-centric design to ensure personalisation.

Also, you should note that when you run out of content, the learning doesn’t end. A very natural way of reinforcing learning is through performance support: employees consuming job aids and quick knowledge snacks to support their tasks. Thus, you should design the learning journeys with performance support components.

High frequency and high context win

Naturally, the aim of moving to learning journeys is to introduce more frequent touch points. This follows the principles of spaced learning, where increased retention is derived through recurring exposure. As the frequency increases, the bite size must naturally decrease. While learning resources should be concise and to-the-point – just like in microlearning – they should also be of high contextual value. Don’t deliver resources that the learners don’t need, and be careful about it. Use feedback and analytics to help in determining whether you’re delivering the optimal type of resources.

When it comes to technology, mobile learning tends to lend itself quite well for this sort of high frequency, high context delivery. Rather than trying to activate new behaviours, you’re utilising the existing ways of quickly consuming content.

Use data to constantly refine your learning journeys

Finally, a journey-based learning approach really calls for an increased use of data. Since you have vastly more touch points than before, you’ll also be able to collect a lot more learning data. You should use this data to constantly improve the learning experiences. You can analyse what kind of resources or content are working and what are not. Current and future skill gaps become a lot easier to identify as well. Overall, good analytics help you in going back to the first phase – understanding your learners. The better the understanding, the better the learning experiences.

Ultimately, moving from one-off events (transactions) into more comprehensive learning journeys can even help you to save time. With constant, quality exposure you can achieve remarkable improvements in retention and results.

Are you looking to deliver great digital learning experiences but don’t quite know where to start? We can help you in developing a future proof learning strategy. Just start the discussion here.

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How to Use Learning as Performance Support?

Performance support learning and training

How to Use Learning as a Performance Support Tool?

Corporate learning today should pay much more attention to how it enables performance. While there’s a time and place for long-form learning activities, often we’re better off just learning by doing. Adults learn through experiences in contextual environments. Thus it seems that nothing beats learning experienced on one’s own job – or workflow learning. Meanwhile, formal experiences like classroom training and eLearning courses are giving way to more nimble approaches to delivering content. This is partially driven by learners who don’t see the value in sitting through hours of training just to forget things soon after. So, let’s take a look at performance support and how we can use it to learn on-the-go and help people perform better.

The shift from learning beforehand to learning on-demand

Many organisations tend to approach training the same way as schools and universities do, by trying to prepare the employees for everything. Unfortunately, the laws of retention and the forgetting curve are not on their side. The learning offering ends up being a lot of “just-in-case” rather than things employees really need and can apply immediately. In the end, the organisations waste a lot of time, money and resources to deliver learning that doesn’t translate into actions or gets forgotten soon after the fact. Wouldn’t it make sense to focus on what matters – performance – and gear learning towards that?

How to design performance support learning?

To understand how to design learning for performance support, let’s look first at how it differs from traditional learning. First, employees engage with performance support while working and don’t want to interrupt their flow. Secondly, the circumstances are less about learning new, but more about finding ways to apply the already known. Furthermore, whereas the goals of corporate learning may sometimes be bit ambiguous, the goal for performance support is clear: help to finish the task at hand.

Keeping that in mind, here’s a quick checklist on key characteristics of good performance support resources.

  • User-friendly – no one wants to spend effort in navigating complex systems when they need the information quickly.
  • Accessibility – employees must have access to the resources anytime, anywhere, regardless of the devices they have on them.
  • Short-form content – performance support resources should be quick to consume and concise (microlearning, anyone?).
  • Searchability – all content should be tagged, indexed and easily searchable, enabling the employees to get to it quickly.
  • Relevance – all content must be up-to-date, and relevant to the employees and their roles and functions. Don’t deploy “off-the-shelf” resources, but give solutions to problems specific to your business.

The bottom line

By giving your employees access to these kinds of tools, you’re assisting them in the most problematic part of learning – putting new skills into practice. Employees will surely value that, as you’re helping them to do their jobs better. Also, you’ll likely save up time on non-productive formal learning and keep the people at their jobs. That should have a direct bottom line impact.

Overall, a performance support approach to some learning activities helps to support the changes in the workplace. As skills, businesses and the environment change rapidly and constantly, it’s important for the corporates and employees alike to learn on-the-go. While this is not meant to replace all of traditional learning activities, it does provide a much better alternative for some of it.

Would you like to explore modern and more meaningful ways of workplace learning? We’re happy to share some ideas and hear about your challenges. Just contact us.

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