Tag Archives: training

Happy work places make happy people

 

While Kamalika Bhattacharya, CEO, QuoDeck Technologies, says, “We, at QuoDeck are a company of gamers and that is reflected in pretty much everything we do, starting from arcade machines to board game afternoons to the monthly escape the room challenges. We care about our team above everything and that’s the belief we live by. They in turn, respect the thought and ensure that our clients and our brand get their very best.”

Click here to view the full article: https://goo.gl/b39biI

Why you should use case studies to make your elearning course more engaging

There is a big difference between a course that is engaging, and a course that is well-documented.

You may create a comprehensive course with interactive branch scenarios and detailed explanation, but, if it is not relevant to the learner, than it will just confuse or worst case, frustrate her. Such a pattern may be good and easy to build, but it is only good enough to share information. It lacks in creating engagement and results in poor retention in the mind of the learner. Such courses are ‘well-documented’, but not engaging.

Engagement requires an emotional connection between the content and the learner. It goes beyond presenting interactive content; it is about designing truly motivating learning experiences.

The biggest challenge in creating an elearning course is engaging the learner, and there is a very simple solution for this – Case Studies

So here’s how you can use case studies to make your course engaging and interesting.

  • It is after all, a story: Humans have used the art of story-telling as a mode of communicating ideas and knowledge since the Stone Age, and there is a reason behind it. We tend to remember a story better than just facts, and it provides a very practical, firsthand account of events that happened, and the appropriate solutions to them.
  • It is simple: The simpler your story, the clearer is the message and the easier it is for the learner to remember and use it when required. If you stuff your course with extra details, your course will end up being a clutter of abstract information, making it tougher for both – you and the learner.
  • A relevant perspective: If you tell your story from the perspective of the customer, or anyone other than the learner, she will receive insights on the situation from a different perspective too. Also, this will raise the interest of the person enrolled in your course. Instead of telling the learner what they need to know, show them how not knowing affects others.

Even as a trainer, this makes things simpler for you as well.

Case studies need lesser time to build, and they rarely result in an information dump. Thus, you waste lesser time and energy, thinking and pondering over your course, and tweaking it time and again by introducing gimmicks to make it more engaging.

A case study is still mostly linear, but I see it as a first step in an iterative process of moving away from the boring click and read style. What is your take on this?

P.S.: If you are interested in knowing about micro-learning, then this one is a good place to start – 5 reasons why micro-learning is perfect for today’s workforce

 

microlearning-framework

8 reasons to use serious games for training

1. Highly Engaging
Serious games are very engaging and communicate in a fashion that is easily acceptable by the human mind. Use of elements like story, interesting characters, relevant settings, etc engage the user emotionally.

2. Safe Environment
Users learn to deal with real life-like situations in a safe and engaging environment. They can make mistakes and keep on practicing till they are well-trained, which in turn boosts their confidence.

3. Instructional Design Based
Serious games are always designed after conducting an instructional design study (the study of creating instructional experiences which make knowledge acquisition more efficient and effective). It foresees and tackles the possible roadblocks that might hinder the learning process.

4. Reusable & Cost-effective
Once designed, Serious Games can be used multiple times. You don’t need a facilitator or special sessions to use this. The cost for maintenance and updating a serious game is negligible given its extensive uses.

5. Easy to Understand
Serious games are great when it comes to delivering complicated knowledge. These games communicate complex pieces of information in a fun and engaging way.

6. Reporting & Analytics
Serious games allow you to capture the users’ data. This is one of the main advantages they have over offline or classroom training. These reports can be used later for optimising the training content.

7. Acts as a Booster
These games can boost any learning methodology i.e. These games provide a welcome break in between modules or learning schedules and engage the user by means of its gameplay.

8. Tried & Tested
Serious games ARE effective! Several Research Studies have acknowledged the fact that serious games do add on to the overall learning experience. These games have been used in different sectors like defense, retail, insurance, etc and have been found useful.

 

microlearning-framework

 

Is micro-learning the solution you need?

Micro-learning (a.k.a. micro learning or micro-learning) is an emergent learning strategy known for quickly closing skill and knowledge gaps. It seems to be an ideal instructional approach for many situations because:

  • Information changes quickly
  • People find it difficult to keep up with things
  • Resources are freely available online
  • Newer technologies support it

What is Micro-learning?

Some in the industry conceptualize micro-learning as a small and informal self-directed learning experience arising from one’s personal learning environment, such as watching a Ted Talk or taking a lesson from Khan Academy.

Others think of micro-learning as the planned organization of brief learning experiences designed to meet an extended learning goal. Still others think that micro-learning is synonymous with performance support or mobile learning.

Want to know more about Micro-learning? Read the complete article by Connie Malamed.

(Connie Malamed is an eLearning, information and visual designer. She has a Masters Degree in Instructional Design & Technology and many years of experience in the trenches.)

 

microlearning framework

How to design a micro-learning system for your organisation in 6 easy steps

Designing a learning system for any organisation is a critical task. It’s not easy, given the fact that one has to consider the various departments in an organisation and understand their training requirements. Not to forget, coordinating and collaborating with different entities like Learning Consultant, Human Resources, IT and so on. One often gets confused on where to begin.

The good news is, once you finish reading this article, you will know exactly how to start and where to start.

Ladies and Gentlemen, presenting … The INCITE Micro-learning Framework – a step-by-step framework to help you design a Micro-Learning system for any organisation’s training need.

I am going to write down a brief synopsis of this framework which should be enough to help you get started. (Download the full whitepaper here)

Step 1 – Implementation

Understanding the objective of the micro-learning system

The first pillar of this framework is to discover the ask from the micro-learning management system and establish the constraints around organizational processes, technology and learner psychology. This will ensure that you stay focused throughout the process and will help you in your decision-making process.

Step 2 – Navigation

Establishing the flow of the learning content

Depending on the objective, the flow of the learning has to be established next. An established concept in Formal Learning design, creating a learning flow is akin to establishing curriculum and lesson plans for a course. In simple words, how do you want your learner to access your content. Should all the topics be accessible at the same time as a library? Or one needs to go through all topics in a particular sequence?

Step 3 – Content

Creation of micro-learning content

Micro-learning content is very distinct from regular e-learning content. It is driven by criticality of information, which in turn drives size and form of the content. Ensure that the content is developed keeping in mind that it is for a micro-learning system. (Read more: How to design micro-learning content in 4 easy steps)

Step 4 – Interactivity

Deciding on the interactive elements in the course

A learning system targeted towards the modern learner has to engage first and explain quickly. This makes it essential to embrace a participative pedagogy delivered through interactivity. Decide on the level of interactivity and the elements which would go well with your learners. It could be a quiz, or a video, or a game.

Step 5 – Testing

Deciding on the assessment criteria for the learner

The modern learner has typically grown up in a very connected social context, with high doses of competition and a healthy dose of skepticism towards authority. Modern testing methodologies have to account for these attitudes. The usual ones like online quizzes might not work here. Try exploring options like games or simulations. These are more engaging and effective.

Step 6 – Effectiveness

Measuring the learning outcome

Of all organizational processes, learning is perhaps the least measurable, reducing the focus and importance of this function in spite of its criticality for the organization. Measurement of learning effectiveness is critical to the success of any learning system.

That’s it! You are ready.

In case you want to know more about The INCITE Micro-learning Framework, you can download the complete whitepaper here – http://goo.gl/47iWZn

Also, if you need help in setting up a micro-learning system for your organisation, feel free to get in touch with me at deepak@quodeck.com.

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.

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)