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"elearning" Posts

Reflections From DevLearn: Designing eLearning that Gains and Keeps Learner Attention

I attended Dan Myers’ session on how to maintain learner attention. Dan is a Manager of Instructional Design at the Cheesecake Factory.

Getting learners’ attention should be a primary concern for instructional designers creating online courses. (Remember: “Build it and they will come” does not apply to eLearning!) Dan suggests considering the following framework when creating an attention-grabbing course:

  • Cognitive domain (thinking): Content, knowledge checks
  • Affective domain (feeling): Story, characters, music, art, values, conflict, humor
  • Psychomotor domain (doing): Interactivity, hands-on practice opportunities

(This happens to align with the second phase in IdeaLearning Group’s Complete Learning Experience approach: “Think, Feel, Move”!)

He discussed a couple of potential pitfalls to avoid, such as not breaking character. Once you start with a story theme, stick with it. Theme is part of what helps keep learner attention. Interactions should also be integrated into the theme as much as possible.  He also advised against building yet another course to float in what he calls “the sea of sameness.”

Think about the visual experience learners typically have—they see the company logo and the same colors on every screen. In our attempt to create uniformity, we may sometimes prompt learners to feel disengaged. Instead, Dan advises, find ways to give courses a unique look and feel. Throw out templates and incorporate elements of surprise into courses to help create a unique adventure for learners.

Other great ideas Dan suggests for personalizing the learning experience:

  • If you’re writing third-person content in training and it’s posted on LMS, include the learner’s name as a character to personalize the experience.
  • Include an “evidence log” learners can use to take notes within the course.
  • Try putting learners in a place where they’re taking a quiz but don’t realize they’re taking a quiz.
  • Take out the “objectives” slide. Write them, but you don’t need to reveal them. Putting in formal learning objectives and long course description page can kill the momentum.
  • Build in vocal variety into training courses. If you structure it right, it makes it easy to edit.
  • If you have any procedural videos technical in nature, include drag-and-drop items that need to be placed in the correct sequence. Dan shows us a clever interaction involving a Cheesecake Factory recipe. The learner drags and drops images of ingredients to the video area, which activates the relevant clip. He suggests building in remediation clips for incorrect options.

My favorite quote from Dan’s session: If you’re bored making it, your learners will be bored taking it.

Reflections From DevLearn: Trends in Emerging Technologies

This is the first in a multi-part series of posts about what we learned at the annual DevLearn conference in Las Vegas this past week. I attended Koreen Olbrish’s vibrant early-morning discussion on the latest trends in emerging technologies. Here’s a recap.

DevLearn 2012 Trends in Emerging Technology

On Mobile Learning…

As with any type of learning content you’re developing, it’s important to ask: What are the goals/outcome expectations? What’s the business problem? If the goal is to access content or performance support tools, consider developing for a mobile site. Mobile apps allow people to learn within a particular context.

Keep in mind that if you’re developing mobile learning, every time changes are made to an app or a system you have to think through the various platforms: iPads, iPhones, Androids, etc. all have different development requirements.

Koreen also mentions that Rockmelt is a great browser to use for iPad.

On Social Media…

Organizations sometimes hire people in the learning industry and then treat them like they don’t trust them. Many organizations block social media access, but so many employees still access facebook, twitter, and other social media sites directly from their smartphones. In fact, 18% of facebook users only access facebook through their phones.

I learned a new phrase, “Subject matter networks,” which was coined by Mark Oehlert. It refers to the systems of experts we now have access to in our interconnected lives who can answer questions on specific topics. Accessing our network should be a daily exercise in learning—enhanced by social media.

Koreen recommends that learning and development professionals who don’t regularly use social media should still visit social media sites frequently. They should take on the role of anthropologists who observe other people and collect data about how learners are using data and interacting with others. She emphasizes that it’s important to understand the environment in which learners spend time in order to develop content that appeals to them.

On Bandwidth Issues…

Koreen predicts that in 10 years, bandwidth issues will no longer present problems for most users. She talks about quantum networking as a way to teleport data from one point to another, independent from 3G, 4G, etc. She predicts that physicists will figure this out before long.

On Learning Through “Apprenticeships…”

“As a world, we lost the apprenticeship model because it wasn’t scalable,” Koreen says. Now technology has reached a point where we can recreate this model through online experiences. The real proof is when people enter the real world and actually do the things they’ve learned about.

On Feedback and Learning…

Think about games compared with eLearning. The average amount of feedback in eLearning is every 15 to 20 minutes. In a game, it’s every few seconds; games are “designed as feedback machines.”

On Immersive Technology…

Immersive technology and design provide the chance to create experiences instead of just presenting content. The context-based practice is what is usually missing and where immersive learning kicks in—it could be storyline driven, or like “role-plays on steroids.”

Tools like FaceTime are great for observing behavior and providing immersive feedback.

My favorite quote during this session: “If you’re rolling out a game, it shouldn’t be ‘required.’ It should be fun. And you can’t force fun.”

Attend the Collaborative Learning Network’s November Session: Transforming Classroom Content to eLearning

IdeaLearning Group invites you to our new monthly series, The Collaborative Learning Network. Every month, we curate the latest insights, best practices, and techniques around a different topic related to learning and development. Innovative professionals from the learning and development community are invited to gather, share insights, and collaborate—social learning at its best.

This Month’s Topic: Transforming Classroom Content to eLearning

If you’ve ever had to convert instructor-led training materials for online learning, you know it’s not as easy as cutting/pasting and then pushing a button. In 90 minutes, we’ll put our brains together to explore best practices, tips, techniques, and past experiences in a dynamic, small-group setting. Jennie Thede, a Sr. Learning Consultant with IdeaLearning Group, will facilitate the free session.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 from 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM (PST)

Montgomery Park | St. Helens Room
2701 NW Vaughn St
Portland, OR 97210

Registration is free but is required. Please bring your own examples, stories, and insights to share!

Click here to register.

NEW BUSINESS Contact us with business inquiries or to discuss your project needs and vision.
CAREERS We always enjoy connecting with talented professionals in the learning and development field.
CONNECT 503.208.3256
LOCATION 2701 NW Vaughn St #103
Portland, OR 97210

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