I was an avid reader as a child and grew up on a diet of Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl and many more. I loved mysteries and adventures (usually featuring an individual or group of pre-adolescent heroes) like ‘The Famous Five’. When one year I was given for Christmas a set of ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ stories my mind was blown and summer set. E-learning has done to Learning & Development (L&D) what ‘Choose You Own Adventure’ did for literature: namely challenge the conception of the sequential narrative and put the learner in the driver’s seat. With this in mind, we have devised three top tips for developing online learning solutions to empower your learners to direct their own learning journey (noting as a minor disclaimer that one size never fits all and we advocate context is king).
Tip 1 # Access via Multiple Devices
To develop an online training solution that is only accessible via personal computer on the local network in the workplace is like caging a bird. Instead give wings to your e-learning program by making it accessible anywhere anytime. If learners must be at their desk to complete the training then they just as well be in a training room with the benefit of a trainer and an interactive group experience. Once this decision is made to produce an e-package, then to optimise the user experience the solution must be customised, configured and accessible across mobiles (analogue or iPhone), tablets (iPad or other) and personal computers (desktop and laptop). Suddenly your learners are getting a heck of a lot more than just training. They are getting convenient flexible learning and business support solutions to fit in with their busy schedules rather than just becoming another relentless demand. They can complete their training during business hours, or on the commute to and from work, or while waiting in the Doctor’s office, or sitting pool side during their children’s swim lessons, and so on. And for the company, you suddenly have a scalable and efficient training solution resolving such problems as the expense of running induction programs for small class groups.
Tip 2 # Bite Sized
By embracing the benefits of online channels, there is no longer the need to compress course content into a discrete number of hours or days such as with face to face training. Instead content can be packaged into ‘bite sized’ chunks. Furthermore it has long been accepted that we all learn at different rates and in different ways. Bite sized e-learning content frees the learner to self-pace their learning based on their ability, prior knowledge and experience, lifestyle demands, and preferences. Most of us have at one point or another experienced what it is like to be struggling to keep pace during a group learning event. Confusion, stress and embarrassment usually compound, and one either feigns comprehension or stops the class to address the learning gap. The skill of the trainer becomes essential to participant outcomes at such times. With bite sized e-learning, one can simply press pause or replay the relevant content until the penny drops, or supplement knowledge with additional self-selected materials or other organisational blended learning resources. But self-pacing is just the beginning of the ‘choose your own’ learning adventure possibilities. Structuring course content into bite sized chunks gives participants the ability to choose what they learn and when. Some participants may systematically work through an entire program. Others may simply access relevant content on a ‘last minute’ basis to support current work tasks. Others still may desire to target specific knowledge gaps or interest areas in their ‘meal’ selection. Trainers may set e-bites for pre-work to ‘flip the classroom’ and align with the 70-20-10 framework.
Tip 3 # E-Learning Pathways (many bites make a meal)
As digital content saturates the market and our brains struggle with retention, it’s important that bite sized learning is not set adrift on the ocean without charting a learning pathway to get your participants from A to B or perhaps to their own chosen destination. Whilst this pathway should not necessarily be fixed or mandatory (think ‘chosen destination’ or last minute learning), ideally learning bites should be akin to building blocks and give learners the ability to build knowledge and capability and the option to convert this into a deeper competency within a discipline such as into a qualification or certification to support their professional advancement. Thus building assessment components into your e-learning solution not only enhances retention and gives the participant and the company valuable metrics to inform future learning and L&D strategy – but can also be the vessel towards accreditation or similar. Many bites make a meal and the accumulation of your meals equals your diet. So ask yourself if your group L&D e-learning is “healthy” and enabling the conversion of learning to serve individual and organisational success for the long term?
Elemental Projects is proud to launch Ecademy, our online video library consisting of over 10 hours of 5-10 minute bite sized project management professional development videos on an extensive range of topics, that can be accessed via any device, and used to support on-demand last-minute learning or used as online pathway to obtaining your Diploma of Project Management (aka qualification by commute). Click here to learn more about Ecademy or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
By Anna Keavney