Archives for: June 2015

These eLearning Courses Are So Dang Boring

Boring eLearning Courses

eLearning Courses Should Be More Immersive and Interactive Than Ever Before

Instructional design teams need to leverage advances in learning technology to transport learners on a sensory voyage and make elearning courses more immersive and interactive than ever before.

Comics Vs Textbooks
In the battle of Comics Vs Textbooks, the comics always won. As a child, I always found my collection of comics far more interesting than my school text books.

Thanks to DC and Marvel in no small measure, I could spend hours lost in fascinating stories of legendary superheroes in epic battles. These stories were always far more interesting than math text books filled with quadratic equations which refused to be solved!

Ignoring the basics tenets of learning
It was only much later, when I was exposed to the science of learning, that I began to understand how the human brain is better tuned to understand concepts that are explained pictorially and made interesting by weaving stories around them.

Yet, through much of my career spanning 18 years with large corporates, I have been exposed to eLearning courses that ignore these very basic tenets of learning. As we grow older and busier we also suffer from an information overload which causes the attention spans of adult learners to diminish – drastically reducing their ability to process any information that is not of immediate interest or essence. Studies have shown that the average adult attention span is 8 secs, lower than that of a goldfish!

Not very flattering for humans and definitely not a statistic that corporate training departments would like to hear. The bulk of eLearning courses being churned out by organizations today contain content that is staid, serious and plain boring. Amen.

Training departments have the unenviable task of regimenting learning and churning out volumes of prescriptive eLearning courses for a generation of millennial learners who are already being bombarded by external stimuli like social media. But as Uncle Ben (Spiderman’s late uncle) aptly said “With great power comes great responsibility” Corporate training and development teams will need to respond to this challenge by using creativity in transforming eLearning courses and content.

Rediscovering the basics
No wonder then that we are rediscovering the basic fundamental principles of active learning. Scenario based learning, 3D simulations, game-based learning and video-based learning are attempting to put the joy back in learning by creating an immersive learning experience that is truly enjoyable. Advances in learning technology have empowered instructional designers to think out of the box and move beyond creating courses to creating new learning experiences.

Further advances in learning technology promise to transport learners on a sensory voyage and make learning more interesting than ever before. It’s only when training managers script this transformation of content that we will begin to see legions of learners take to imbibing learning experiences that start to define them.

After all as Batman said, “Its not who I am underneath. But what I do that defines me.”

eLearning Courses Should Be More Immersive and Interactive Than Ever Before Instructional design teams need to leverage...

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We Never Liked English

We Never Liked English

We never liked English – not until Ms. d’Souza was made our English Literature teacher; and then things changed dramatically and we came to look forward to English class, eagerly anticipating her arrival, and soaking in every single word she spoke. She had a way of making English prose interesting and gave dull poetry life. We heard not just about the meaning and beauty of the lines, but we heard about the people who wrote them and how they lived. She even brought photographs of authors and poets to make us realize that some of the most beautiful works in history were created by ordinary people like us. I didn’t realize it at the time, but she was the first true professional that I had come across. She taught effortlessly and commanded respect in her class by simply understanding our needs – even the most recalcitrant of us. She would sometimes come down to our level in the class, squeezing behind a small desk and speaking in a low voice so we had to gather around to hear, and she would recite a poem and explain the words to us in a way that made us appreciate and love it. We learned without realizing we were learning. Not for Miss d’Souza was rote learning; she revealed to us the beauty of words, which unlike rote learning cannot be forgotten. She brought us to literature outside of the curriculum too, always encouraging us to read.

Years later, as a teacher myself, I realized that Miss d’Souza was just like a beautiful swan, gliding through placid lake water, seemingly effortlessly, but with two tiny legs paddling furiously – out of sight. What she did demanded a lot of work by way of preparation and honing of the course’s content that must have taken lots of thought, effort and preparation; but it was worth it all – she was an awesome teacher! I then started to think about the way I work now, and how the eLearning industry that I work in operates.

What is it that is uppermost in our mind, when we present information to people – clients or adult learners? Are we all obsessed about the quantity of the content, and about how quickly a course can be completed, without giving any thought to how much of it stays learnt? Our propensity for more of everything and our love for everything “larger than life” dictate how much we push into courses.

These are some important factors that dominate learning today:

  • It’s not quantity but the quality that matters
  • Today’s learner is a busy learner
  • The adult learner is a seasoned learner who, unlike the young learner, brings his own experiences into learning

Designing a course is no different from a teacher preparing for a classroom session; it requires a lot of dedication, hard work, forethought, preparation and the ability to perceive different types of learners needs and the best way to get information across to a learner. Course designers have a two-fold task:

  • To identify and segregate important information from the ‘not-so-important, but good-to-know information’
  • To present information in a way that will enhance interest and retention

This is exactly what Ms. d’Souza did several decades ago – and it holds true for today’s content developer as well. Today’s content must possess those qualities that will seamlessly lead to learning and retention – exciting, fun, easy to grasp and absorbing. While a lot of thought and hard work goes into creating a course, it must be clean, uncluttered, and easy to find information and convey the right message to the reader. Not all teachers can be Ms. d’Souza; not all content developers can design and develop quality content.

As a leading customized content development organization we know that while there are several organizations that develop content, there are only a handful of them that take the human aspect of learning into consideration while developing a course. Technology has taken over the whole business of training; but technology is not human and there is no way of technology knowing what learners need. But we know what learners need and instead of relying on technology alone to enable learning, at 24×7 Learning we use our knowledge on learners’ needs to use technology to create it.

We never liked English – not until Ms. d’Souza was made our English Literature teacher; and then things changed dramatic...

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