Session Notes: Building elearning that people will want to use

The first session of the day was with Dr. Marc Rosenberg. His session was Building elearning that people will want to use. He began the session by asking the audience about their experience with elearning. How can we move people from a sense of dread to a sense of engagement?

Marc Rosenberg
Marc Rosenberg

Rosenberg pointed out that there has to be a coming together of learning culture, values, and instructional design and technology. He walked us through 40 questions to evaluate our organization. Here are the areas he focused on:

Begin with the end in mind. Don’t start with a solution in need of a problem. Questions to ask: Who is the client? Basically, who pays for the training? What results are important… to the client?

Focus on the right priorities. Align strategy with the strategy of the company or organization. Determine what is critical. In other words, what are the items that are essential to the training, the items that can not be left out because of the consequence. Be able to say no. Remember, training can be made quick, cheap, or good… Pick two.

Put technology in its proper prospective. Technology is not a strategy, it is an enabler. Your training should not be about the technology, it must be about the message. The technology helps to deliver your message. Is your technology focus in balance? Does technology meet critical user requirements? Can all participants access the content through the technology used? Is the program available anytime and anywhere?

Avoid shovelware. In other words, don’t simply place content online and call it elearning. Is elearning appropriate for the message being delivered? Is the course or message any good in the first place? If it is a crappy course, first improve the course. Are you taking advantage of medium? Understand and use the tools to their advantage. A bad PowerPoint as a video is just as bad.

Make sure learners are ready. Are expectations clear for both the course and technology requirements? Take time to let participants know what will be required of them. Do learners have what they need to succeed during training? Do learners have what they need to succeed after training? Most courses fail because they do not support the participant after the session ends.

Make it timely. This is important. If you can not deliver a training solution when and where it is needed with in reason, it will not be used. Training is most useful when it is needed.

Make it real. First of all, is content correct and accurate? Is content authentic and believable? If it is not believable, then participants will not trust the content. It is important to use real world examples.

If it is boring, they will be ignoring. Remember, interactivity is more than just clicking through screens. Rosenberg predicts that the future of elearning will be about games and simulations. When developing simulations and walk thoughts, the challenges must be realistic.

Less talking… More teaching. There must be a balanced instruction of 50% explanation, 35% exercising, and 15% evaluating. Are there adequate opportunities for practice? Is the feedback robust enough?

Get user experience right. This piece focused on how the learner interfaces with the content. Is the program access pain free? Is navigation effortless? Can program be personalized?

Match strategy with learners experience level. Learners sit on a continuum from being a novice learner to being an expert. Elearning at lower levels should look like courseware and at upper levels, it should look like knowledge management. Information at lower levels is pushed whereas for higher levels, information is pulled. Do you know whether learners are novice of master? Are strategies aligned to experience levels? Are you using push and pull methods as appropriate?

Provide for learning transfer. Provide job aids and resources. Develop resources that can be used in the future not just for class. Also, is learning well integrated into work? Are proper tools and resources available on the job? Is knowledge sharing strongly supported in your organization? Do learners know how to learn on their own?

Innovate. Are workers using the Internet to learn? Are people creating their own learning and content? Is the organization open to new ways of learning? Do you have a long term plan to support this change?

If you can adequately address these areas, you are then on your way to creating engaging elearning. For more information, see Marc Rosenberg’s Website.

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