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Article Title: Remember Recency?

Publication: Integrated Learnings: eLearning

Summary: Recency is the tendency to be more likely to remember information from the end of a sequence. This article describes how eLearning can harness this simple, yet powerfully effective tendency to help learners retain new skills and knowledge.

I’ve seen many eLearning lessons end with reiterating a lesson’s objectives. This seems to miss the opportunity to take advantage of the recency effect. Instead, we can end eLearning lessons in ways that prompt learners to recall important information or have a meaningful moment of insight.

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Article Title: How to Let Learners Make Mistakes in eLearning

Publication: Integrated Learnings: eLearning

Summary: Research about informal workplace learning frequently describes learning from mistakes as a typical and effective method of informal learning. This article suggests ways that eLearning can allow learners to make mistakes during training and help them learn from those experiences.

Nudge learners to assess their learning by prompting them to answer a scenario-based question. After submitting the answer, an initial round of feedback might suggest a couple of factors learners should have considered when responding, and then ask them to assess whether their responses were on the right track. Then, the training can provide an opportunity to modify their responses or continue, allowing learners to reflect on their learning and potentially recognize mistakes in their initial responses.

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Article TitleEngage Learners Emotionally in eLearning Experiences

Publication: Integrated Learnings: eLearning

Summary: What was the last book you couldn’t put down? The last movie you couldn’t stop talking about? The last song you found yourself playing repeatedly? While you may feel drawn to each of these for different reasons, chances are, you have emotional connections to them all. This article describes simple strategies for engaging learners emotionally with eLearning content.

Inspiring engagement doesn’t require an investment in high-end video production. Rather, a simple yet compelling story can help emotionally engage learners with the content, creating a motivational and memorable learning experience. These stories can also create a challenge that permeates an entire course or lesson.

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Article Title: Draft a Branching Scenario in 6 Steps

Publication: Integrated Learnings: eLearning

Summary:  Scenario-based training prompts learners to solve problems they encounter on the job, helping to ensure they are prepared to perform their jobs successfully. This article describes six simple steps for designing a branching scenario.

In a branching scenario, an eLearning slide might only provide the start of a situation. Perhaps the first segment of a conversation or an initial glimpse into a problem. Based on the information available, learners choose their next step from a few options provided. And instead of giving them feedback like “correct” or “incorrect,” their choice takes them to a slide that describes the next segment of the scenario…a segment that’s a direct consequence of the option they chose. The scenario continues like this, over a series of a few slides, until learners reach an outcome.

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Article Title: Designing eLearning for Cognitive Ease

Publication: Integrated Learnings: eLearning

Summary: Daniel Kahneman dedicates a chapter to the topic of cognitive ease in his book, Thinking, Fast and Slow. This article suggests how some of the findings Kahneman presents can benefit eLearning design.

The amount of time spent on eLearning may influence mood, too. Long lessons may leave learners wondering if they’ll ever end, while a series of short lessons can help create a sense of progress. Shorter lessons can also help prompt learners take a brief break and re-energize if they’re feeling mentally fatigued.

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Article Title: Personify eLearning

Publication: Integrated Learnings: eLearning

Summary: Numerous studies suggest that learners retain more from eLearning when its design creates a sense of human touch. From collaborating characters to conversational language, this article offers ideas for creating that human touch in eLearning.

The main character within an eLearning lesson could be someone who needs to learn along with the learner. Perhaps a fellow new employee or other acquaintance.

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Article Title: Turn These Slides into eLearning

Publication: Integrated Learnings: eLearning

Summary: Ever been handed a PowerPoint slideshow by a client, and then asked to convert it into eLearning? Me too. This article offers advice for producing effective training for requests like this, even with tight deadlines.

If a lack of time or familiarity with the content makes you question your ability to draft decent scenarios, perhaps the client knows someone who can do that part for you. Depending on the complexity of the training, a subject matter expert might be able to draft a few scenarios relatively quickly and easily.

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Article Title: Practice Early and Coach the Details Later

Publication: Integrated Learnings: eLearning

Summary: A typical approach to training begins by telling learners everything they ought to know about a topic, followed by practice activities that apply that new knowledge. This article suggests providing learners with practice activities much sooner, and then presenting information as post-activity coaching.

Research on cognitive load tells us that people can only absorb a limited amount of information in a single sitting. So, if an eLearning lesson begins with several pages of new information, learners will likely forget a portion of that. Why would we spend time presenting information that will likely be forgotten? If we limit the amount of information a lesson initially presents, we increase the likelihood that learners will recall it. Prompting them to apply that new information as soon as possible further helps promote long-term recall. And, it helps ensure that we use training time productively.

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Article Title: Accomplish Spaced Learning with eLearning

Publication: Integrated Learnings: eLearning

Summary: Most of us know that cramming is not an effective path to long-term learning. Yet, many workplace training initiatives attempt to cram as much content into a single training session as possible, with little reinforcement later. This article proposes spaced learning as more effective training approach. It also describes the theoretical foundations of spaced learning.

It just suggests that we retain newly learned knowledge longer when taught repeatedly over a period of time. But simply repeating the exact same learning activity several times isn’t the way to go. After all, even an attentive learner may accidentally zone out when listening to a lecture or reading a passage for a second (or third, or fourth) time. So the trick is to ensure there are variations.

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Article Title: Is Your eLearning Effective for Dummies?

Publication: Integrated Learnings: eLearning

Summary: This article describes a few instructional tactics used in the For Dummies book series. It then suggests how instructional designers can apply those same tactics to improve eLearning.

This flexibility can work well with scenario-based eLearning. Imagine opening a lesson with a scenario or case study. Learners who like to tinker can dive in immediately, perhaps clicking “hint” buttons or accessing job aids as needed. Having the option to work the scenario right away keeps them engaged and helps avoid the zoning out that can come with being forced to read introductory information first. Learners who prefer more guidance could opt to review a job aid or a demo first. Having this route available can benefit learners who become overwhelmed when pushed into something too quickly. Everyone wins.

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