When to use visuals in learning content

Do you really need to include visuals in your learning content, or you should avoid them? Find out by taking this ‘Picture Test’!

  1. Will the visual make the content easy to understand?
  2. Will the visual be more effective than an extensive description?
  3. Will the visual help you structure your content in a better way?
  4. Will the visual make your content attractive enough to grab the reader’s attention?
  5. Will the visual help you reinforce the central idea?

If the answer to any of the above questions is ‘Yes’, then feel free to use visuals in your content.

5 reasons why micro-learning is perfect for today’s workforce

Do you know that the attention span of an average human is shorter than a goldfish? (Source: Microsoft Canada, 2015). A goldfish can focus for nine seconds; people are down to a mere eight seconds.

So, the million-dollar question is – how do you design learning which caters to such a short attention span and ensure that it is effective as well?

Micro-learning is the way out!

Micro-learning deals with relatively small learning units and short-term-focused activities (Hug, 2005). In the e-learning context, it refers to a learner’s short interaction with learning matter broken down to very small bits of content.

Here are 5 reasons why micro-learning is perfect for today’s mobile-oriented workforce.

  1. Easy on memory: Learners are routinely overburdened by unfocused, information-heavy content. Micro-learning reduces cognitive load, making it easier for learners to process.
  2. Low on space: Since micro-learning takes up less digital space, you can avoid digital real estate issues that come with storing and displaying media files – especially on mobile devices.
  3. More focused: Micro-learning is more focused in scope, making it easier for a learner to tie what they learn directly to specific on-the-job actions.
  4. Cost-effective: Short content is cheaper and faster to produce and update, so you can continually test and experiment, even on the tightest budgets.
  5. Learning throughout the day: Micro-learning forces us to consider the small learning moments and opportunities that happen continuously throughout an employee’s day.

If you could think of more reasons, share with me in the comments below!

 

microlearning-framework

INCITE – A Micro-learning Framework

Millennials constitute a majority of today’s workforce.The US Bureau of Labor statistics estimates that this group already exceed 50% of the total employee pool and will cross 75% by 2030. Raised in an era of ‘instant access’, this generation consumes information primarily in the form of multimedia, and their most preferred method of communication is their mobile device.

Devising learning solutions for this mobile oriented workforce requires a completely different approach i.e. Micro-Learning. INCITE is one such Micro-Learning framework, developed through the author’s work with over 40 large companies helping them create Micro-Learning systems.

Download your FREE copy of INCITE to get a unique and effective perspective on Micro-Learning – http://goo.gl/qxlokL

How to make e-learning content better using a story-telling approach

 

Designing an e-learning module is a work of art & diligence, precisely the reason why a regular PowerPoint presentation disguised as an exported online file fails to gain the learner’s attention. An easy way to convert a dull power point into a brilliant e-learning module is through the concept of storytelling. Here are 4 powerful tips to master the art:

1. Develop a script: Come up with a story for your content, and create life-like scenarios for it. This way, the learners will easily be able to relate to the content which will keep up their interest and inquisitiveness.

2. Use a conversational tone: Avoid the formal narrative style and opt for a conversational tone instead. It will keep the content simple, engaging and impactful. Case studies have proved that using a conversational tone in your narration increases results by 20%-40%.

3. Pick the right voice: Even a brilliant conversational script’s impact can be diminished by a robotic voice. Do not compromise on a professional narrator. A friendly and conversational voice will definitely add on to the learning experience.

4. Use Multi-media: Once you have the entire setting together, make the package more enticing by using multimedia. Bring out your creative streak and choose your images, videos from the wide range of multimedia options available online. Powtoon is one such tool for creating videos. Inculcating such media into your module is easier than ever as the online sites have a very user friendly interface. Another element that would heighten the experience would be games and quizzes. Try tools like QuoDeck and Articulate Storyline. These allow you to create learning games & simulations easily and quickly.

I guess that should be enough to give you a head start. In case you want to read more about storytelling, I recommend this one – 7 tips to integrate storytelling in your next elearning course

Image Source – Shutterstock

Mobile Learning is not E-Learning on the Mobile…

The other day, I found myself sitting across the learning manager of a large pharmaceutical company. He was faced with a daunting task – training his company’s medical reps, and if there’s one thing we all know about medical reps it is that they are always on the move. 2,000 medical reps running around the entire western zone are not a pleasant lot to get together in a room for training.

E-learning had naturally been the top suggestion internally, and our creds were impressive enough for him to ask for my suggestions on the matter. I hesitated for a bit (It was a sitter of a large deal if we just churned out the e-learning they wanted) and then suggested that a possible potent solution for the problem could be mobile learning. What surprised me though was the response I received…

“Well, we are planning to build a robust e-learning course with a specific focus on product knowledge and to host it on our internal LMS. I think it has a mobile interface as well. Won’t that be enough?”

For those of you who think that the solution is viable, do consider the difference between e-learning and mobile learning before any implementation.

  • For starters, the purpose of e-learning is to provide in-depth knowledge on a subject, while that of mobile learning (m-learning) is to support an on-going learning process where the learner needs quick access to information, usually on the go.
  • M-learning is designed for smartphones and tablets with each screen having not more than 1 idea, while e-learning is designed for consumption on a large screen that has the space for complex and detailed information.
  • Lastly, m-learning is designed to be completed in 3 – 10 minute bursts, while e-learning requires the learner to go through each module with an average duration of 20 – 30 minutes.

I explicitly stated these differences to the manager, and not surprisingly, he took the point. Now, convincing his company is another matter, but he seemed up to the task. Whether the deal goes through or not finally, I am inclined to believe that it is better to do it right or not at all. Everybody should know that mobile learning requires expertise and specificity of thought and design. It is not simply e-learning on the mobile. It is not.

Things to cross-check before launching your elearning course

elearningbestpractices

Designing an e-learning course is a comprehensive task. After spending diligent hours working on your course, there would be nothing worse than encountering errors post the launch of your course. More importantly, the USP of an e-learning course is that it is learner-centric.  It would dilute the whole point of the course if the learner is unable to understand the content due to crude finishing. Below is a check-list that will help you to have an error-free course launch.

1. Make sure the content fulfills the course objective

The first and the foremost priority of any course developer is that the course should fulfill the learning objective. Have clear learning goals & outcomes and make sure that every element of the content reflects it.

– Incorporate real-life and practical aspects to the content. The learner should be able to relate to them.

– Give links to external resources that you may have used in the course

Chunking is an effective & popular tool in e-learning. Chunk your content into groups using bulleted lists & highlighted key phrases that will allow the learner to process and retain the information effectively. If necessary, use videos or images to make the content interesting.

2. Break down the course into relevant and consumable blocks

Divide the course into modules. Make sure each module is complete and all the modules deliver the course cohesively. Provide an overview before each module to give the learner a gist of what is going to be covered. This could be a list or an introductory video by the Head of the Company or Department Head. Similarly, provide a summary and a short quiz at the end to test his learning.

If possible, have a marker or an indicator, like a bookmark, to show how much content has been covered. It will help the users to set a timeline for the course.

3. Be ruthless with editing

Once the course is ready, make sure you invest generous amount of time in its editing. A proper edit will eliminate repetitive points, grammar/spelling errors and ensure that there are no distorted images or multimedia.

4. Ensure that the course has a user-friendly interface

Your e-learning course should be easy to use with working links and buttons to guide the learner. The navigation should be simple and effortless. Using a narrator or mentor throughout the course would help here.

5. Make sure there are no brand/ trademark violations

There are 2 aspects to consider here. Firstly, you should work to make the course reflect the brand value of your company. Then importantly, take meticulous care that the course has zero trademark violations. Cross-check the font type, logo, colours, images, case studies/ examples used; and ensure that they are in sync with the brand guidelines. Trademark violations may even result in legal issues.

6. Test the course rigorously

An e-learning course is bound to have a lot of interactive elements like quizzes, videos and other multimedia. It will make the learner extremely disappointed if he is unable to access the information due to an unsupported browser or if he has to download other software to access the course. Have a through technical testing to confirm that it can run on multiple browsers & is mobile-friendly (if you plan to go that way. Another way to overcome this issue is by using a tool which works on both – desktop as well as mobile. QuoDeck is one such tool). All links should be functional and the submission of forms/ quizzes should run smoothly without any technical delays.

7. Tests/ Assessments should serve the learning outcomes

Take care while drafting the assessments. The assessments should cover the entire course and should incorporate real-life problems and decision making scenarios. Also, make sure that the level of questions should not be too simple or too complex for the learner. Use tools to give them feedback on their performance. It will motivate them to do better.

I guess I have covered all the important points in this check list. Do let me know if I have missed any.

Want to make your training memorable? Read this one – How to make your training unique and memorable

Image Source: Shutterstock

How to make your training unique and memorable

how to make training effective

Training is an integral part of employee development, but it is often frowned upon. Employees generally tend to find these sessions repetitive and boring. This negativity associated with training can be frustrating for both – the Trainer and the Trainee. So, what can be done to change this and make your employees look forward to your training sessions? Let’s find out!

1. Market Your Training

We live in an age where you need to market everything. Sadly, most trainers do not realize this. Therefore, it is necessary to build excitement around your training campaign so that people wait impatiently for the training day. Send out teaser emails using tools like Mailchimp to create hype around your session. These emails can also act as reminders for registration and RSVPs. You can go a step ahead and make this more interesting by launching a few video trailers before the training. Try Powtoon for this. It’s a wonderful tool which allows you to create marketing videos in a couple of minutes.

2. The First Impression

Start your training with a bang. Do not let your marketing efforts go waste by having a mediocre start to the session. Exploit the beginning of the session by doing something interesting to captivate your audience. It could be an inspirational video, an ice-breaker or a game. Keep trying out different things to sustain the excitement.

3. A Different Approach

Rather than going for the usual and mundane way of conducting training, use personal experiences or a storytelling approach to engage your audience. Building a story around the training topic will generate curiosity in the learner’s mind and personalize the overall experience. Know more: 4 tips to make elearning content better using a story telling approach

4. Gamify The Session

Gamification is a unique and sure-short way of making training sessions productive. It should be designed in such a way that the learning objectives are aligned with the game. Use simple techniques like Leaderboard or Rewards or Bonus points to encourage the learners. This will motivate your employees to perform better. Companies like Deloitte and Cognizant have been successfully implementing gamification for their training and development needs. Know more: 8 reasons to use serious games for training 

5. Make Your Courses Interactive

Since you will be using technology for your session, take care to use the correct interactive elements. Your learners should have fun during the session but ultimately the learning objective should be fulfilled. Integrate elements like push-buttons in assessments and voice-overs during the training. Try out tools like QuoDeck, Articulate Storyline, Powtoon, etc to make your courses interactive. Know more: Key elements of an interactive elearning course

6. Feedback and After-movie

Do not forget to take feedback post the session. Try to find out in what manner the training session helped out and if there are any recommendations for the future. You could even make an after-movie of the training session. After-movie is a trending concept used to market events, seminars, conferences, etc. It is basically a short video capturing moments from the start to the end of the training. You may add a couple of interviews from the audience in the end. It is a great way of showcasing the impact of the training and making people look forward to such sessions.

That’s it! You have any more tips? Do share in the comments below!

Image Source: Kungfu Panda (The Movie)

What is Mobile Learning?

Mobile Learning, also known as Mlearning, is at present, the most confused term, if not misused, in the world of elearning. People often describe mobile learning as what is done on your laptop, as you can do it anywhere. But this certainly cannot be categorized as mobile learning.

So, what is Mobile Learning?

Here’s how eLearning Guild describes Mobile Learning:

“Any activity that allows individuals to be more productive when consuming, interacting with, or creating information, mediated through a compact digital portable device that the individual carries on a regular basis, has reliable connectivity, and fits in a pocket or purse.”

Let me simplify it further for you.

M-learning is any kind of learning that takes place via a portable, hand-held electronic device.

And in most cases, mobile phones, PDAs and Tablets.

Mobile learning is a form of distance learning and can be formal or informal, structured or unstructured.

Insights on corporate e-learning, mobile learning, learner engagement, and all things game-based…