4 Active Learning Methods for Corporate Training

Active learning methods in corporate training

4 Active Learning Methods for Corporate Training

Research shows that learning methods in which learners participate and engage with the instruction are more effective. While the learners might think they’re learning more via conventional “lectures”, further research indicates that’s a false assumption. Thus, if you want people to retain the knowledge better, you should utilise active learning methods. While self-paced learning is on the rise, there’s no reason you can’t design more active experiences even in online learning. Here are four proven methods to consider.

Flipped learning

The idea of flipped learning is to ‘flip’ the conventional use of time in training. In short, you do knowledge delivery online, and focus the classroom time on active learning, such as workshops, discussions, group tasks etc. This approach enables the learners to get more hands-on, involved and engaged. Consequently, this helps them to retain the knowledge better. Furthermore, the added practice may lower the barriers to implementing the things on the job.

Learning by teaching others

Another common active learning methods is learning by teaching others. In a corporate environment, you could replicate the idea in multiple ways. For instance, you could use user-generated content as part of your online learning programs, effectively letting the employees provide resources for each other. Additionally, you could let employees produce entire courses on their own. If you don’t want to give up control over content, you could also explore different approaches to peer-to-peer learning or digital coaching, pairing learners with willing “teachers” from within the organisation.

Social learning

One of the most meaningful ways of participation is social. There’s a lot of value in letting learners interact with each other. By enabling social learning elements, you can create powerful experience sharing platforms. It’s often highly beneficial to understand not only the content, but how others view it, and how they have perhaps implemented it in their own work. In fact, some of the best online social learning programs are centred around these types of interactions, not the content. Active learning can take many forms!

Learning simulations

Finally, simulations can be a powerful tool of active learning. Instead of just passively going through the content, learners need to interact with situations representing real-life scenarios. This also goes beyond acquiring conceptual knowledge, as it pushes the learner to apply what he/she has learnt. And more importantly, simulations require the learner to activate. You cannot browse through without really looking into it, you must interact!

Final thoughts

Overall, you should prefer active learning methods over passive ones. Naturally, everything cannot be active, but the notion acts as a good reminder to avoid online learning becoming too stagnant. Even if you don’t have the capabilities to work on any of the methods above, just simple interactive exercises can do the trick. If you need help in designing your online corporate learning to be more active, we are happy to look into it. Just drop us a note here.

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How to Enable Self-directed Learning in the Workplace?

Self-directed learning in the workplace

How to Enable Self-directed Learning in the Workplace?

Imagine an organisation where employees would proactively learn the things they need to perform and take charge of upskilling themselves for the future. Sounds like every L&D professional’s dream, doesn’t it? In fact, more and more organisations are exploring for ways to achieve some of that, even if with limited scope. On one hand, we’ve realised that the traditional organisation of L&D activities is not agile enough to respond to the rapidly transforming business environment. On the other hand, there’s also a lot of of talk about 21st century employees having to take charge of their own learning and development. This type of self-directed learning is certainly not a new thing for individuals. However, organisations still have a fair bit to learn in facilitating it.

So, let’s explore self-directed workplace learning in a bit more detail. Here are a few key pieces we think need to be in place for this individual-led approach to be successful.

Organisations need to allow time for learning

This may sound overly self-evident, but in fact is a fundamental consideration. While an added benefit of self-directed learning is the flexibility it provides, organisations can’t expect their employees to learn on their own time. Some employees of course likely will do that, but a large part of them won’t. Thus, it’s important to make it clear that learning is part of the work of every employee, and to allow time within the “office hours” for it. If the whole organisation doesn’t support the approach and promote a self-learning culture, the impact will be very limited.

Managers’ commitment is crucial in facilitating self-directed learning

One of the key stakeholders in enabling a self-directed workplace learning culture are the managers. As previously mentioned, the managers need to firstly commit to the fact that their employees will be spending some of their time learning. But that’s not quite enough. The managers need to also take an active approach in following up with the learners who are having difficulties or are not engaging. They should also take an active role in identifying challenges and guiding people towards the right resources. Some employees will likely require more elaborate coaching on what self-directed learning is, and how they should be going about it. After all, the approach doesn’t necessarily come naturally for everyone.

Organisations should offer employees resources and tools

One key part of a feasible self-directer learning strategy is the resources and tools that employees can use. Sure, Google, YouTube and similar platforms exist. However, expecting employees to search for information, assess its value and relevance is likely too much to ask. Especially if you’re only beginning the journey and people are not used to self-directed learning. Thus, it’s important to offer employees resources and tools to take charge of their own learning. These can be a variety of things. Many organisations nowadays choose to curate learning resources, rather than designing everything from scratch. With this, employees get access to material that has been already vetted, and they no longer need to spend time evaluating it.

Increasingly many organisations also offer their employees collaborative and social platforms, where employees can interact with each other. These can provide a valuable informal learning resource. Often, it might make more sense to just ask someone, rather than find videos or other material on how to complete a particular task.

Never try to force people to learn, but encourage them

Finally, this one is a major issue we regularly notice with organisations who attempt to execute self-directed learning. For some reason, organisations expect that they can become self-directed, while they still “direct” people by forcing learning. For instance, this can be requiring employees to complete learning activities, set deadlines or impose other kinds of rules. This is what many L&D departments are used to, but it simply doesn’t work if you want to develop a self-directed learning culture. We cannot force people to learn.

However, that doesn’t remove the importance of encouraging employees to learn. In fact, some studies indicate considerable performance improvements pertaining to self-directed learning. But only in cases where the learning is voluntary. As we’ve mentioned before, organisations should make their absolute best efforts in promoting that culture and committing to it. People won’t take up on it unless they see their superiors and the people around them showing commitment to it.

Final words

All in all, building a self-directed workplace learning culture is by no means easy. It requires L&D to relinquish some control and accept the fact that everything cannot be strictly administered. For many organisations, this sort of change likely represents total cultural transformation. However, if you want to become a truly agile and effective organisation, we see this as a necessary step along the way. If you’d like to explore ways of facilitating self-directed learning in your organisation, don’t hesitate to drop us a note. We can’t promise quick wins or guaranteed success, but we can certainly help you learn about what might work and what might not.

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Fighting the Forgetting Curve – Fact-based Lessons on Retention

Fighting the forgetting curve - how to make learning stick?

Fighting the Forgetting Curve – How to Make Learning Stick?

If you’re in L&D, chances are that you have heard of the forgetting curve effect. This means that people forget things over time at a diminishing rate. This tends to be a consideration for workplace L&D, as if people don’t even retain what they’re learning, it’s going to be difficult to apply it. While there are a lot of numbers being thrown around as facts (e.g. people forget 70% of what they learn in classroom training within 3 months), the reality is much more complex than that. Thus, we decided to embark on an exploration into the forgetting curve and what makes learning stick. Here are a few fact-based lessons that as an L&D professional you should be aware of.

You cannot generalise the forgetting curve

The first fact, and also an important one, is that we cannot generalise. Educational and cognitive scientists have done a considerable amount of research into the topic. While you could even argue that the methodology of these studies doesn’t really represent the nuances of workplace learning, the findings are nevertheless clear. There’s not a single formula to forgetting. Meta-research results show that the rates of forgetting in these pieces of research have been “all over the place” to put it mildly. The amount of learning retained is heavily influences by several factors, e.g. learning methods, motivation etc.

So, as a takeaway, there are no rules of thumb (such as people forget x% in y days) to the forgetting curve. Parties who claim so have generally either been very selective with their research, or are not familiar with it overall.

What kind of factors affect learning retention?

Like mentioned, learning retention is influenced by several factors. Here are a few of them that are particularly applicable to workplace learning. But don’t consider this list as an exhaustive one!

  • The type of learning materials
  • Learning methods
  • Prior knowledge and experience of the learner
  • Difficulty of assessment
  • Context of learning
  • Learning support and feedback

Interesting and engaging learning materials tend to be less “forgettable”. The more relevant the particular topic or concept, the more likely the person is to retain and learn that information. The more support and feedback the learners have, the more seamless the process of learning should turn out to be.

How to make learning stick? How to keep people from forgetting learning?

To fight the forgetting curve, we need to make learning stick. Situations and contexts vary wildly, so this is not an exact science. There’s no single right or wrong way of doing it. However, here are some guidelines on what kinf of things tend to stick based on research findings that also match what we’ve learned over the course of our own work in workplace learning.

Less sticky, more forgettable

  • Information and knowledge that has very little personal relevance
  • Abstract knowledge that is not conceptualised or related to practice

More sticky, less forgettable

  • Personally relevant information and knowledge
  • Emotionally salient material that “stands out” or evokes a reaction
  • Decision making information

Overall, we could summarise what works in single word: meaningful. For workplace learning to stick and fight the forgetting curve, it should be meaningful. Learning that resonates, is relevant and important to the people in their personal and professional contexts. Just throwing information at people without them wanting or needing it doesn’t result in very much anything (other than forgetting!).

Another key method in reducing the chances of forgetting learning is spaced learning. Research shows that long-term retention can be significantly increased with spaced repetition, where learners are exposed to the material over time, and practice and test themselves on more than just a single occasion. While organisation may often neglect the concept of spaced repetition due to the time investment in designing such, it could greatly benefit workplace learning. And with the right learning technology tools, it’s a lot easier to build such learning activities.

Final words

All in all, much of the discussion out there about the forgetting curve is false. However, people still do forget, that’s certain, and the impact may be significant. If people don’t retain knowledge, they can’t apply it and L&D loses all its value in a heartbeat. By sticking to fact-based and evidence-informed practices and models, workplace learning professional can ensure better retention. And it’s no rocket science. Meaningful learning delivered in a pedagogically meaningful format (e.g. spaced learning) can already get you quite far. After reading this piece, hopefully looking into further research about learning retention and still feeling unsure, feel free to drop us a note. We can help you build learning delivery with a big emphasis on meaningful.

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Branding Your Corporate Learning – 3 Quick Tips for Success

Branding corporate learning - how to create a corporate learning brand

Branding Corporate Learning – 3 Quick Tips for Success

Employees nowadays expect more and more personalised company-provided learning experiences. They want activities that are tailored to them, rather than just access to no-name depositories of non-integrated content. This is where branding can play a big part. By branding your corporate learning, you can communicate and showcase to your learners that you value them. Furthermore, a good corporate learning brand can also improve engagement. So, here are three quick tips on how you can create a learning brand for your organisation.

1. Invest in your visual design

Visual design is incredibly important. Familiar designs not only create a feeling of safety, but they also help us to associate to a brand. Thus, investing in your visual design across the board is incredibly important. For instance, all your online learning platforms should carry the colours and signs of your brand. And no, just changing a logo on a platform is not enough, but rather you should look into a variety of things. Here are a few visual design pointers to consider when branding corporate learning.

  • Using consistent fonts throughout all text elements
  • Sticking to the brand colour template in everything. The colour palette should be wide enough to not make everything look the same, but also constricted enough to avoid creating a blur.
  • Using pictures of your organisation, people and locations instead of stock photos. If you don’t have any, get a photographer come over for a half-day, it won’t set you back much!
  • Using your logos, icons and company sigils consistently and holistically

2. Make it about the people and culture

There are two common denominators for great learning brands: people and culture. Whatever corporate learning you do, it should always be about the people. By helping them succeed and go forward, you’re creating value and building brand equity. Likewise, learning requires culture. Not only should you focus on building a learning culture, but your corporate learning brand should embed your company’s culture – otherwise it may seem distant, or at worst, pretentious. Furthermore, creating a feeling of social presence and togetherness helps not only in learning, but also adding to the company culture. Here are a few good practices to consider.

  • Give your people a voice – let them become active creators instead of passive participants
  • Highlight the successes of your people and let them become your brand ambassadors
  • Embed company values as well as cultural artefacts, “inside jokes” etc. in your learning experiences – don’t be afraid to have a little fun!

3. Communicate purpose

Like Simon Sinek says, start with the why. Communicating purpose is one of the most important, however often overlooked part of learning. Often, we just assume that our employees understand why they should engage in learning. But in reality, that’s not always the case. When branding corporate learning, you need to focus on making the case to your people. Why should they engage with your learning experiences? How does it help them in their jobs, careers or personal lives? Why is detrimental to the success of the company? If you answer these kind of questions well and upfront, you’re likely to see a higher uptake with your learning brand. Some practical things organisations have undertaken.

  • Short videos by senior leadership to communicate the importance of any particular training
  • Testimonials from employees who have participated before and benefitted from it
  • Clearly communicated, personalised goal posts, e.g. “this training will prepare your for a promotion” or “by learning this, you enable a lateral move to another team”.

Final words

There’s great value in creating a good corporate learning brand. A great brand promotes culture, creates a shared sense of purpose and enables people to take ownership of their learning. Like most good brands nowadays, the focus is not on the “product” but the people and how the brand aligns with the goals of the the individual. So, put your people first, be consistent, communicate well and deliver on your brand promises and you’re up for good things. And if you need help along the way, don’t hesitate to shoot us a message. We’re happy to help.

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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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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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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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Visual Learning Elements and How to Use Them

How to use visual learning elements

Visual Learning Elements and How to Use Them

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

1. Images and Pictures – often undervalued

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

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

2. Infographics are a good way to showcase data

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

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

3. Videos are the most prevalent of visual learning elements

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

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

4. VR will have a big impact on visual learning

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

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

5. AR will have an even bigger impact than VR

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

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

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

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Corporate Learning Webinars – Are They Still “In”?

Corporate learning webinars - are they still in?

Corporate Learning Webinars – Are They Still “In”?

When the technology for live video streaming first took off, we saw webinars emerge as a concept. For learning, webinars were the first attempts to mimic face-to-face training in a digital environment. Ever since then, we’ve witnessed and incredible surge in popularity of video as learning content. But where does that leave us? Is there still a place for corporate learning webinars?

The problems with corporate learning webinars

Webinars are no longer the technological breakthrough they were back in the day. With the surge in content delivery technologies throughout the spectrum, we’ve become to notice a few problems with webinars.

The quality of video, and especially audio, are the first noticeable problem. With the advent of ever-better cameras and studio tools, we’ve grown accustomed to high quality videos, especially with long-form content. While we can utilise some of that tech for webinars, the challenge is the live aspect. For instance, the audio tracks are not edited (since it’s live!) and can thus become quite painful to listen, especially if the presenter’s microphone is not properly placed.

When it comes to corporate learning webinars, engagement is also a problem. Yes, the learners might be logged in to the session, but they space off just as easily. Overall, webinars are still quite a passive medium of engagement, where there’s limited interaction from the participants. As the learners are not interacting, they’re not retaining as much either. Furthermore, the benefit of instructor-led training should be the ability to interact with the trainer and fellow trainees; to ask questions and share opinions. That benefit doesn’t often realise in corporate learning webinars.

Solutions to the problems

Naturally, developments on technological fronts have, and continue to, enable us to solve some of these problems. Microphone technologies are becoming better and better, helping to filter out background noises and unwanted extras. Cameras have also improved tremendously, and many of them even have integrated live streaming capabilities.

While there has been progress with the hardware, the major developments have happened on the software side. First of all, webinar tools have become much more user friendly. Secondly, they have introduced a lot of possibilities for interactivity: live polls, live quizzes, chat rooms, whiteboards, document sharing and engagement monitoring are just a few examples. These have enabled us to bring the needed three levels of learning interactivity into the webinars. Thus, the audience is no longer a passive listener, but rather an active participant. For learning purposes, that makes a whole world of difference.

Should you still use corporate learning webinars? Is there a future?

Learning webinars may have that slightly outdated connotation. But if they work for you, there’s no reason to stop using them. However, do keep in mind some of the problems with webinars, and engage with your users (learners) to find out how they see your offering. If your webinars lack interactivity, you might consider delivering through some of the newer technologies on the market (we are happy to provide recommendations).

In the future, webinars will be challenged by the rise of other technologies suitable for instructor-led training, such as augmented reality. However, webinars will continue to provide the required scalability for the time these technologies are still developing. In terms of digital instructor-led training, live video is not the only solution though. Many organisations are trying out things such as instructor-led facilitation in online environments – with good results!

If you’d like recommendations for good webinar tools or help with refining your approach to digital ILT, we can help you. Just contact us to set up a meeting – even a virtual one!

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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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