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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: 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: Teach Learners to Use Job Aids

Publication: Integrated Learnings: eLearning

Summary: Many organizations have job aids available in a company intranet or performance support system to help employees perform job tasks. This article makes a case for designing eLearning that trains learners on how to use job aids rather than solely focusing on the tasks themselves.

It’s consistent with how we learn. The January/February issue of Scientific American Mind described the Google effect of how people learn. In short, research suggests that the internet has changed the way our brains store information – instead of remembering the information itself, we’ve become programmed to remember how to access information for future reference.

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Article Title: Writing Distracters for Multiple Choice Questions

Publication: Integrated Learnings: eLearning

Summary: Training frequently includes knowledge assessments with multiple choice questions to evaluate learners’ potential performance. Although multiple choice questions are not ideal for testing every performance objective, well-written questions can offer a more robust assessment than many may realize. This article describes some best practices for writing high-quality multiple choice questions.

Another common offense is offering distracters that are obviouslyflawed. A good option surrounded by three really bad ones is often easily recognized, even by someone who may not understand why the correct answer is the best option. Simply writing “bad” statements as distracters misses an opportunity to show learners valid examples and non-examples of applying a skill.

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Article Title: Isolating the Results of eLearning Impact

Publication: Integrated Learnings: eLearning

Summary: To show clients how their organizations benefit from training, it helps to measure improvement in key business metrics. Though it sounds simple, other factors can complicate the ability to do this accurately, such as related marketing campaigns and other organizational initiatives that occur within a similar time frame as the training effort. This article summarizes approaches for isolating the results of training.

Thankfully, the book acknowledges the challenges many organizations face with using a control group approach, such as the difficulty in forming two equal yet randomly selected groups and the eagerness of clients to apply a training solution broadly in the organization. With that in mind, the authors not only describe the ideal approach to using a control group, including what to keep in mind when selecting individuals for those groups, but they also describe alternative control group approaches. Even if you’re already familiar with the basic concept of a control group, you might pick up some new ideas from this book.

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Article Title: Building eLearning Scenarios in Working Sessions with SMEs

Publication: Integrated Learnings: eLearning

Summary: Many instructional designers attempt to write training scenarios independently, based on their knowledge of the client’s needs. While sometimes this can work, scenarios written in this way often lack the details to realistically simulate workplace situations. This article explains how collaborating with subject matter experts (SMEs) helps instructional designers create robust scenarios for training. The article also includes a short case study that illustrates how this collaboration can occur.

From your analysis efforts at the start of the project, you likely have a sense of how a particular scenario should be structured and what skills it should prompt learners to exercise. You might even know which situations to base the scenarios on. You probably know enough to build a basic structure, but you need the help of a SME to fill in blanks with realistic details.

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Article Title: Being a Good Coach through eLearning Feedback

Publication: Integrated Learnings: eLearning

Summary: The principles that coaches follow to work with children’s soccer teams also apply to writing feedback for eLearning scenarios. This article urges instructional designers to go beyond telling learners that an answer to a question is “incorrect,” and it suggests methods for working coaching techniques into feedback.

This approach could also feed into a larger remediation strategy for struggling learners. For instance, learners who answer all questions correctly might only need to complete a couple of scenarios. Learners who answer several questions incorrectly could move into another segment of training with additional practice scenarios. In doing so, you might transition to the remediation portion with a slide that reminds learners of key content, urges them to apply lessons learned from earlier scenarios to the ones that follow, and offers an encouraging statement about their probable success.

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Article Title: Employee Engagement Matters for E-Learning

Publication: Elearning! Magazine (March/April 2011)

Summary: This article first appeared on the Integrated Learnings: eLearning site, and was reprinted (with permission) in Elearning! Magazine.

According to most definitions, an “engaged” employee is a high-quality performer who takes personal responsibility to work toward the success of an organization. This article explores how an organization’s level of employee engagement influences the effectiveness of eLearning. It also suggests how training professionals can use their core skills to help to enhance employee engagement in their organizations.

Click here to read the full article in Elearning! Magazine.

Click here to read the full article on Integrated Learnings: eLearning.

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Article Title: Manager Engagement in eLearning Transfer to the Job

Publication: Integrated Learnings: eLearning

Summary: For a training initiative to succeed, learners’ managers must reinforce new skills and behaviors on the job. However, busy schedules or a lack of coaching skills often cause reinforcement to slip through the cracks, weakening the benefit of training to the organization. This article describes how a meeting-in-a-box approach can increase the likelihood of management follow-up with employees after training.

If the purpose of an eLearning course was to meet a specific business need – something that would increase revenue, save money, or protect the organization from risk – it makes sense that a learner’s manager would be accountable for goal-setting and coaching for new skills after training is complete.

The logic makes sense, but it doesn’t always work that way.

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Article Title: In Defense of the Four Levels

Publication: Integrated Learnings: eLearning

Summary: Many in the training industry posit that Kirkpatrick’s four levels of evaluation is outdated, and they challenge the field to propose a more relevant model. Although the model dates back to the 1950s, this article argues that it remains comprehensive enough to address today’s training evaluation needs. The article reviews the model, the arguments against it, its shortcomings, and invites readers’ position on the debate.

We talk a lot about the need for improved diligence in the field with measuring job performance and business results. I agree that we should do this consistently. And so does the model (levels 3-4).

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