3 Traditional Learning Theories and How They Can Be Used in eLearning

Learning Theories are frameworks that are extensively used by Instructional Designers to meet the requirements of the target audience and the situation.

To do justice to this mandate, an Instructional Designer must first understand the Learning Theories in order to apply them. Once they understand the strengths and weaknesses of each Learning Theory, they can optimise their use.

In this blog, I provide an introduction to three traditional Learning Theories, namely:

  1. Behaviourism
  2. Cognitivism
  3. Constructivism

Furthermore, I show examples that illustrate how they can be used in designing eLearning courses.

Before I outline how Learning Theories can be used in designing eLearning courses, let me highlight a couple of foundational aspects on:

  • Why we need Learning Theories
  • How Learning Theories influence learning.

Why do you need Learning Theories?

Learning Theories are conceptual frameworks that describe the manner in which the information is absorbed, processed and retained during learning. Often, the same content can be presented in different ways. Learning Theories provide a framework for such learning solutions.

What factors influence learning and how do Learning Theories help influence it?

The factors that influence learning are:

  1. Cognitive
  2. Emotional
  3. Environmental
  4. Prior experiences

Learning Theories impact learning practices by:

  • Prescribing the right methodology and formats of learning
  • Making it effective, meaningful and engaging for all types of learners

What are the key traditional Learning Theories?

From the range of options that you can pick from, I will focus on three key traditional Learning Theories, namely:

  1. Behaviourism
  2. Cognitivism
  3. Constructivism

Behaviourism

  • Behaviourism is based on observable changes in behavioural patterns.
  • It focuses on a new behavioural pattern being repeated until it becomes automatic.
  • The learner depends on an instructor for acquisition of knowledge.

Example: In an online learning course that required learners to memorise the capital cities of states:

  • Learning outcomes tested how effectively learners imbibed the information.
  • Practice opportunities were provided to the learner using a simple game-based approach.
  • Appropriate feedback was provided.

Cognitivism

  • Cognitivism is based on the change in behaviour through sequential development of an individual’s cognitive abilities.
  • It indicates the thought process inside the learner’s mind.

Example: In an online learning course that involved two sets of audiences with varied knowledge levels taking the same application training:

  • A pre-test was used to define the appropriate learning path for each learner profile.
  • A visual organiser was designed, which allowed the learners to explore the topics relevant to their knowledge levels.
  • The cognitive flow was determined as per the existing skill-sets and the content was accordingly chunked into relevant topics/lessons.

Constructivism

  • Constructivism explains the manner in which knowledge is constructed.
  • It focuses on construction of knowledge when the information obtained comes in contact with the knowledge acquired by experiences.

Example: In an online learning course for Instructional Designers on how to write effective storyboards:

  • A real-life perspective was provided through the use of a character who is an ID.
  • A “story” was created, and the character was placed in real-life situations where she had to understand and tackle different aspects of storyboarding.
  • Practical tips and guidelines were provided to help learners apply their learning in actual work-environments.

Summary

Typically, one Learning Theory may not be adequate as a stand-alone framework and often strategies promoted by different theories would inevitably overlap.

You can pick from a wide range of options to test the learner’s knowledge and decide on the most appropriate strategies and solutions to meet a variety of learning situations.

I hope this blog provides a glimpse of traditional Learning Theories and more significantly, how they can be used in designing eLearning courses. If you have any queries, do contact me.

Need More?

Want more insights on Learning Theories? Schedule a call with our Solutions Architecting Team.

Source: https://www.eidesign.net/three-traditional-learning-theories/

Top 10 Benefits Of Converting Your Instructor-Led Training To eLearning

Today, several organizations are planning to convert their Instructor-Led Training (ILT) to online training (eLearning or mLearning). In this article, I highlight the top 10 benefits of converting your Instructor-Led Training to eLearning.

Converting Your Instructor-Led Training To eLearning: 10 Benefits

The triggers for conversion of ILT to eLearning or mLearning are many. The push is coming from learners on one end (who seek the flexibility of a self-paced eLearning training offers). Organizations see this as an option to reduce costs and reach out to a wider audience in a shorter time.

Before I outline the benefits of converting your ILT/Instructor-Led Training to eLearning, a word of caution – this exercise is not about conversion of the existing Powerpoint slides to an online format. Instead, you need to treat your existing source content as the baseline or raw content, and plan to go through all stages of eLearning development. One of the models used extensively in eLearning development is the ADDIE model, comprising the following 5 stages that you can use as you convert your ILT to eLearning:

  1. Analysis
  2. Design
  3. Development
  4. Implementation
  5. Evaluation

I am highlighting this important perspective because without going through this rigor during the conversion of ILT to eLearning, you will not be able to see the required benefits.

Next, let me outline the top 10 benefits that you will see as you convert your ILT/Instructor-Led Training to eLearning. I have structured these benefits into two levels:

  • Benefits for organizations
  • Benefits for learners

Benefits For Organizations

  1. Savings in cost.
    The most significant benefit that organizations see is cost saving. With a one-time investment on the conversion of ILT courses to eLearning, the online training can be used repeatedly. It helps organizations save on the recurring costs of travel. as well as on the instructor fees.
  2. Scalability.
    The second significant benefit to organizations is the potential of scalability that the online training offers. Now, they can reach out to the entire audience (spread geographically) with one version and at the same time.
  3. Consistency.
    Unlike ILT, which heavily depends on the capability of each trainer, eLearning provides an identical and consistent message to all learners.
  4. Leverage new and emerging trends.
    With changing learner demographics (read that as inclusion of Millennials as a significant part of the global workforce) and the range of learning strategies that are available in online training, organizations are spoilt for choice. Along with the conversion plan of ILT courses to online, they can enhance its impact and eventual ROI by opting for current and trending approaches like:

    • mLearning or mobile learning.
      Provide the online training in multi-device format (across desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones).
    • Microlearning and learning paths.
      A study conducted by Deloitte shows that an average employee can only dedicate 1% of their work week for training, which breaks down to 24 minutes in a typical 40-hour work week, or 4.8 minutes a day. You can overcome this challenge through Microlearning and using personalized learning paths to deliver exactly what the learner needs in the short amount of time they can spare for professional development.
    • Gamification.
      Use gamification elements to pump up learner engagement levels among the modern learner demographic and to encourage them to keep coming back.
    • Supplement formal training with Performance Support Tools (Just-in-time learning aids) to push learning acquisition to application on the job.
  5. Higher training efficiency.
    Show that adoption of online training improves training efficiency. Not only do the learners go through more training material (as compared to ILT), this is done in a shorter time with much lesser disruption to their time on work.

Benefits For Learners

  1. Providing flexibility to the learner.
    eLearning is “learning on the go” and provides an anytime-anywhere access to the learners. This flexibility is the most significant benefit from the learner’s perspective.
  2. Providing control to the learner.
    By definition, the eLearning approach is learner-centric. The self-paced core of online training empowers the learners and gives them control to take the training at their preferred time, on the device of their choice, and at the pace they are most comfortable with. This is not all; online training is always available to them should they need to refer to it or go back to refresh.
  3. Shorter seat time.
    As you convert ILT to online, you would find that the run length of the eLearning programs is much shorter (typically the reduction can be 50% or, in some cases, even to 33%). As a result, learners are spending much lesser time to achieve the same learning outcome.
  4. Extending the learner engagement.
    Unlike ILT session engagement that normally ends with the conclusion of the facilitated session, with online training, you can continue to engage the learner. After the primary training is over, you can create learning paths to offer reinforcement/remediation and supplementary learning nuggets.
  5. Higher retention of learning.
    Several studies indicate the retention levels of eLearning-based training are significantly higher than those of ILT sessions. A study conducted by the Research Institute of America in 2014 showed that the retention rate was in the range of 25-60% for eLearning as opposed to a mere 8-10% for face-to-face training. This value-add directly impacts the ROI of training.

I hope this article provides the required insights on the 10 benefits of converting your ILT/Instructor-Led Training to eLearning. Do contact me at apandey@eidesign.net if you have any queries.

Source: https://www.eidesign.net/top-10-benefits-converting-instructor-led-training-elearning/

eLearning Trends And Predictions For 2017

As you plan further investment on training in 2017 and are on the look out for ways to enhance employee performance, read on and check out my list of eLearning trends and predictions for 2017 for cues on what may work for you!

2017: eLearning Trends And Predictions

Organizations around the world are looking for some foresight, and it’s prediction time. I’ve got a few, but here’s a little disclaimer – I have no crystal ball, no tarot cards.

  • My list of eLearning trends and predictions is based on my observations of how ideas evolved into trends in the last few years and ideas that are simmering today with all the ingredients to make them the hottest thing in town in the days to come.
  • I also believe that looking at eLearning trends and predictions becomes more meaningful when it provides you with inputs you can use. This was exactly my objective and this article on eLearning trends and predictions for 2017 will provide several pointers that you can use to uplift your current learning strategy (better learner engagement and other measures to create the impact businesses need to see).

And now, it’s time to look at the eLearning trends and get going with the predictions for 2017. I have banded this into 3 parts:

  • What will continue to offer value (what has worked and delivered value in the recent past).
  • Where we will see increased focus.
  • What to watch out for in 2017.

What Will Continue To Offer Value

1. mLearning Or Mobile Learning.

Over the last 5 years, adoption of mLearning or mobile learning has been on an upswing. Flexibility to offer the courses that are multi-device (they run seamlessly on desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones) is the single biggest gain. The next year will see maturing of delivery that is completely responsive that is, the online course will adapt to the device it is being viewed on. There will be a wider adoption of mLearning across all training needs.

EI Design microlearning example 1

2. Microlearning And Learning Paths.

The shift from courses that need 60 minutes or more to bite sized learning that can be easily taken on the go will gain further momentum. Using multiple microlearning nuggets to create a learning path would be another related approach.

Microlearning-and-learning-paths

3. Mobile Apps For Learning.

To offer learning solutions that appeal to learners and engage them, usage of mobile apps for learning will increase. They offer additional flexibility to take the online course when learners do not have access to internet and can be used for both formal and informal learning.

Mobile Apps for learning

4. Gamification.

Predicted as the “next big thing” when it first appeared in Google Trends in Sep’10, gamification for corporate learning has finally arrived. It will continue to be a strong strategy to create high impact, immersive learning. It will also leverage on mLearning, microlearning and social learning to multiply its impact.

EI Design gamification in training

5. Videos And Interactive Videos.

Learning through videos will continue to hold its appeal. As an extension, the capability of interactive videos to flip the passivity of videos to rich, interactive experiences will see an increase and will be used for both formal training as well as performance support.

Videos and Interactive videos

6. Collaborative And Social Learning.

Today, social learning is more than a buzz and is increasingly used by forward thinking organizations to foster collaborative learning and more significantly its application on the job. While there will be a continued need for formal training that meets specific learning outcomes, there would be an increase in platforms for informal or social learning where learners can network, share, collaborate, and exchange ideas on problem-solving.

Collaborative-and-Social-Learning

7. Performance Support Tools (PSTs).

Performance Support Tools or PSTs are learning aids meant to help employees with on-the-job support at the precise moment of their need. With wider adoption of mLearning or mobile learning and varied, innovative formats of microlearning, there would be a steep increase in the use of PSTs.

Performance Support Tools (PSTs)

Where We Will See Increased Focus

1. Learning Portals.

Focused responsive portals that offer a range of assets for formal learning, Performance Support Tools, collaborative and social learning will see an increase. They will extensively use mLearning or mobile learning and learning paths that can be personalized. microlearning, gamification, and leader boards will be an integral part of these solutions. Specific analytics to assess learner engagement and performance will further increase its impact.

2. LMS (Learning Management System), LCMS (Learning Content Management System) Refresh.

These are already evolving from corporate avatar to dynamic, learner centric platforms from cloud. The shift is on control to learners as more and more learning is becoming “pull” based rather than “push” based. With features ranging from support of mLearning or mobile Learning to personalized learning paths, flexibility of social learning and enhanced learner analytics, they will be a vital tool to engage learners and assess their performance. They will increasingly feature curation with contributions from learners to keep the resources contextual and relevant to the community.

3. Measuring Learning Effectiveness Or Learnability Of Online Courses.

Learning effectiveness or learn-ability has a direct impact on learner reaction, learning, and application on the job. This year is likely to witness increased usage of frameworks that enable you to measure the effectiveness of your courses and also bring in predictive learn-ability for new development.

4. Learner Analytics.

The coming days will see an increased focus on understanding learner behavior and its analysis to assess what can impact it and align the learning experience to the performance gains that the business seeks.

Watch Out For

1. Personalized And Adaptive Learning.

The trend will be on personalization of learning rather than “one size fits all”. This will become a significant aspect of formal learning. It will provide learners with a personalized learning path based on their interaction with learning components.

2. Content Curation For Learning.

Essentially, this is the process of sorting of data on the internet and presenting it as meaningful, easy to process assets for learning. It can be used to support formal training or part of formal learning. While recommended learning paths can be established, the control will still be with the learners to customize and reconfigure the way they want to learn. The initiative will support the “creation” of content and can be used to have wider contribution from users.

3. Usage Of Virtual Reality (VR) And Augmented Reality (AR) For Learning.

While the jury is still out on the viability of this one and if this will be a force to reckon with in creation of immersive learning, I do believe that this something to watch out for. With early adoption in Health and Safety and practical training in dangerous or hazardous fields, this would also find a place for training on behavioral change. Gamification too will leverage on this for diverse training needs. Today it comes with a prohibitive cost tag but over the next 2-3 years, this will change the learning scope dramatically.

4. Wearable Technology For Corporate Learning.

This is truly a trend to watch out for as it enables several prevailing trends to move on to another dimension. On one hand, gamification will also see usage of “wearable tech” like a VR headset to make the learning experiences even more immersive. I believe that we will also see usage of smart watches to provide just-in-time learning (micro nuggets for performance support that are easily available to learners precisely at the moment of need).

Final Word

In this article, I have shared my list of eLearning trends and predictions for 2017. I am sure you will find their application to be useful in mitigating some of your current challenges as well as scaling for the future (in sync with changing expectations).

As a follow-through, I am releasing an eBook shortly that will provide examples on how several of these trends can be practically applied in your organization. Meanwhile, do contact me at apandey@eidesign.net if you need any specific assistance.

Source: https://www.eidesign.net/elearning-trends-and-predictions-for-2017/

6 Strategies You Can Use To Design Effective eLearning For Your Millennial Workforce

With increasing millennial workforce, organizations need to re-evaluate their existing learning strategies. In this article, I will explain 6 strategies that you can use to effectively engage and motivate your millennial workforce.

Why Do You Need A Different Learning Strategy For Your Millennial Workforce?

6-Strategies-to-design-effective-eLearning-for-your-millenial-workforce-EI-Design

Of late, there has been a lot of discussion on the need for corporates to re-evaluate their existing learning strategies so that they can meaningfully engage millennial workforce.

Is there a clear business case for this? Absolutely! The percentage of Millennials in the workplace is increasing steadily and over the next 4 years, they will be a significant part of the workforce in several leading global economies. (For instance in India, over 50% of the workforce by 2020 will be Millennials).

The fact is that this generation thinks, behaves, and learns differently, and this opens up a clear need to re-evaluate your existing learning strategies to make them appealing to this profile.

Why Is The Existing Or Traditional eLearning Not Enough To Engage The Millennial Generation?

The answer to this question lies in understanding what sets the millennial generation apart (in contrast to the Baby Boomers or Generation X who respond well to traditional eLearning).

For instance, there have been reports of folks in the academia in several parts of the world being appalled at the increasing use of the SMS language (or “textspk”) in essays, exam papers, and other stuff written by students. While literature pundits are gnashing at the idea of students murdering Shakespeare with “2 b r nt 2 b”, as Learning and Development professionals, this learner attitude can give you a whole lot of food for thought.

What it tells you is that today’s learners, mostly Millennials, don’t shy away from making their non-conformity to traditional methods obvious besides taking the quick route to gaining and sharing knowledge.

To nail this challenge, we must identify the traits of Millennials, which determine how they work, collaborate, and learn. These factors need to be then incorporated in creating the learning strategy that would engage the millennial workforce and motivate them to apply this learning on the job.

What Are The Traits Of The Millennial Workforce That Impact The Learning Strategy?

Some of the key characteristics of the millennial generation are:

    • First generation “digital natives”.
      They have grown with the internet, smartphones, and the world of social media.
    • Tech savvy.
      Goes without saying, an intrinsic understanding of technology comes naturally to them.
    • Strong multi-tasking capability.
    • Are ambitious.
    • Have short attention spans.
    • Easily distracted.
    • Need a clear and definitive goal and outcome.
    • Need recognition.
    • Need constant feedback.
    • Need flexibility.

Furthermore, their learning styles show the following notable aspects:

    • They understand the value of learning to grow at work.
    • Prefer visual aids (rich media).
    • Prefer exploration (rather than a rigid learning path).
    • Want experiential data that they can relate to easily and apply (real life scenarios).
    • Relate easily to technology and online training, and respond best to interactive and engaging multimedia formats.
    • Love working in groups (collaborate and learn).
    • Bottomline: Have a desire to learn but want this to be short and fun.

Apart from these characteristics, we also need to see the key aspects that determine the learning styles of the millennial generation. Both of these would help us in defining the required learning strategies and training Millennials effectively.

What Learning Strategies Would Engage Your Millennial Workforce?

Looking at the traits of the Millennials in the workplace and their preferred learning styles, there are 6 learning strategies that are bound to work and engage Millennials. These include:

    1. Offer responsive mLearning or mobile learning.
      Researchers say that Millennials check their smartphones 43 times a day on average. As Learning and Development professionals, there’s a huge cue you can take from this millennial demeanor. You can offer them responsive mobile learning solutions and the flexibility of device to learn (from desktop/laptop to tablets or smartphones).
    2. Use microlearning.
      As pointed out earlier, Millennials have short attention spans. You can make their life a lot easier with microlearning, that is by breaking the bigger chunks of learning into snackable bites that can be taken on the go.
    3. Extend to Social learning.
      Millennials spend 5.4 hours every day on social media. Now that tells you something. You can use this inclination towards social media that they have to your advantage with social learning: Create forums and communities of practice that facilitate collaborative learning, knowledge sharing, and curation of learner created content.
    4. Engage with gamification of learning.
      How gamification of learning boosts learner engagement? Well, the Baby Boomer population would have been more than content watching Batman and Superman do their stuff on the silver screen. The typical Millennial of today wants to be the Batman himself and bash up the bad guys with the gaming console in his hand in a bid to outdo the Superman (being played by the guy with a gaming remote sharing sofa space with him). You can tap into the competitive spirit that gamification induces and offer learning that is aligned to a learning outcome while making no compromise with the fun bit.
    5. Use videos extensively and offer learning nuggets in rich media formats.
      According to a research, 72% of the millennial population turns to video-based information hubs such as YouTube for their various infotainment needs. You can leverage on the video technology, microlearning approaches, and social learning to offer high impact learning nuggets.
    6. Offer a learning path based approach.
      Rather than an intense but discrete training program, you can use a series designed as a learning path to create a journey that helps learners learn, practice, and take remediation as required. More significantly, these assets are easily available in their workflow, on the device of their choice.

These approaches will certainly appeal to your millennial workforce, engage them, and motivate them to perform better. If you have any queries or would like to see examples of how you can use them in your organization, do contact me.

Source: https://www.eidesign.net/6-strategies-you-can-use-to-design-effective-elearning-for-your-millennial-workforce/

Migration From Flash To HTML5 – Warning: You May Be Losing Money

If you are reading this, you have decided to adopt mLearning or mobile learning and are evaluating an efficient way to migrate your legacy Flash content to HTML5. Your objective is to provide enhanced flexibility and a better learning experience to your learners. However, there are several issues that you must be aware of as you move forward with migration from Flash to HTML5. Otherwise, you may be losing money in the process and might not meet the required ROI on your investment.

How To Make A Successful Migration From Flash To HTML5

In this article, I will outline what aspects you should watch out for and how the measures recommended here will help you in making a successful migration from Flash to HTML5.

Let’s begin with the two key triggers that include the need for migration and the solution. I quote these two from my earlier article 8 Tips To Convert Flash To HTML5 That Will Help Your Business.

    1. The need.
      Over the years, all of us would have created courses that predominantly used Flash for development. With increase in demand to offer mobile learning, you would have realized that Flash courses do not work on most mobile devices. As a result, you need to plan to migrate the existing legacy Flash content to HTML5.
    2. The solution.
      HTML5 supports all mobile devices (tablets and smartphones). Additionally, the more recent browsers support HTML5 enabling you to run the mobile-ready courses on desktops and laptops as well. This flexibility now allows a single build to work seamlessly across all devices starting from desktops/laptops to tablets and smartphones.

If we look at the solution, the answer to the challenge seems quite straight-forward. So why the warning that you may be losing money? Let me elaborate this further.

At EI Design we have been working on migration from Flash to HTML5 for nearly 5 years now. During this journey, as we converted several hundred hours of Flash content to HTML5, we were able to clearly identify what can potentially go wrong and what one should watch out for. To mitigate this, we established some best practices that will ensure that you avoid losing money during the migration effort.

Prerequisites

The success of any project is in direct proportion to the effort put in the pre-planning stage. We have noted that the success factors during this stage can be enhanced through the following four measures:

  1. Ensure readiness of supporting aspects.
    This includes browser support for HTML5, Learning Management System support for mobile learning solutions, and updates to your security policy.
  2. Draw up the priority list of courses to be converted from Flash to HTML5.
    Begin the migration exercise by picking a small number of courses, migrate, and perform a user testing for the feedback. More significantly, assess if the impact you had envisioned is being created (that is, better learning experience for the learners).
  3. Validate that all assets and prerequisites are in place.
    We often see delays (typically post the pilot phase) on account of all assets not being accounted for and accessible. Again, this must be in place and availability of assets should be in line with the migration project schedule.
  4. Understand the pros and cons (the trade-off between the punch of learning design capability that Flash offers and what HTML5 can offer).
    This is probably the most significant aspect to watch out for. The kind of user experience that HTLML5-based designs offer is different from the Flash-based approach. It is very important to understand this, identify the frames that will have a different user experience and have a clear Instructional Design support in place to map certain frames of legacy Flash courses to HTML5.

Scoping

Watch out for the following three aspects:

1. Identify the need: Technology update vs. complete redesign.
As highlighted earlier, the nature of value addition sought in a course or a series can vary. You must ascertain how you should plan the migration. Some of the cues could be:

  • Recent courses.
    These may need technology uplift only (conversion to HTML5 – no Instructional Design and Visual Design enhancements).
  • Compliance courses.
    The migration cycle in compliance courses can also factor for textual updates as well as visual enhancements.
  • Legacy courses.
    You can only re-use the content and then completely re-design (both from Instructional Design and Visual Design perspectives).

2. Identify what more do you want to achieve as you craft your mobile learning strategy.
Besides providing flexibility to the learners to learn on the device of their choice, it is important to identify the other aspects you may want to address (user experience, learning experience, better retention and performance gain, and so on).

3. Identify the devices to be supported (including the testing methodology).
With the ever expanding range of options available for tablets and smartphones, there is no way you can check your HTML5 courses on all. Instead, identify the key models (for both tablets and smartphones) and have exhaustive test cases for this. During release, do caution the learners on this aspect.

Key Selections

Here you need to watch out for two crucial aspects:

1. Select adaptive vs. responsive designs.
You have two options as you begin the migration from Flash to HTML5. You can opt for:

  • Adaptive.
    These are multi-device custom mobile learning solutions that support PCs, laptops, and tablets.
  • Responsive.
    These are multi-device custom mobile learning solutions that support PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

2. Select the right authoring tool.
Selection of the right tool is a tough decision and this must be done so that it can help you deliver the gains you want to accomplish. Today, there are multiple options to choose from. Besides offering adaptive or completely responsive design capability, the tools can be further classified into rapid development (Articulate Studio 13, iSpring, Adapt, and so on) or standard mobile learning authoring tools (Adobe CS6 with CreateJS, Adobe Captivate, Trivantis Lectora, Articulate Storyline, and so on).

I hope this article will help you in an effective and efficient migration from Flash to HTML5 (without losing money). If you have any questions on how you should create your approach plan for success in this endeavor, do contact me.

Source: https://www.eidesign.net/migration-from-flash-to-html5-warning-you-may-be-losing-money/

How To Measure The ROI Of Online Training?

Today, most organizations use eLearning as a significant part of their training delivery. As traditional eLearning moves towards mobile learning or mLearning and provides learners the flexibility to learn on the device of their choice (notably tablets and smartphones), the eLearning adoption is gaining further momentum. eLearning and mobile learning provide several benefits to organizations. However, the focus is now shifting to determining its impact and the Return On Investment or ROI of online training.

Measuring The ROI Of Online Training

In this article, I will begin with a quick summary of the benefits that eLearning offers, what ROI is, and how you can measure it. I will also outline the ROI methodology we use.

What Are The Advantages Of eLearning?

I am quoting extensively from my earlier article Return Of Investment (ROI): Are You In?. This article had originally appeared in CrossKnowledge’s Learning Wire Blog. It also outlines the measures to maximize the ROI.

Over the last two decades, most organizations have made investments in eLearning primarily for the following benefits:

    • Anytime, anywhere access (on demand availability).
    • Self-paced, interactive, and more engaging learning (learner perspective).
    • Less disruptive delivery (in contrast to ILT).
    • Cost-effective (particularly when reaching out to a large audience).
    • Consistency of message and easy updating of content.
    • Easy tracking of learner progress and completion (business perspective).

While the eLearning advantages are well accepted, increasingly organizations are seeking ways and means to determine its impact on learners as well as on business. Let’s see what Return Of Investment (ROI) is and how you can assess if your eLearning or online training initiatives are generating the required ROI.

What Is ROI?

ROI is the return on investment that an organization makes (ROI = Gain or Return/Cost). It can be determined through two factors namely the Investment made (or cost incurred) and Value/Gain accrued (or return).

A successful eLearning initiative should be able to demonstrate gains that are more than the investment.

How To Determine Costs And Assess Returns?

Costs are fairly easy to define and would normally include the cost of eLearning course development as well as associated costs of team members (including teams that are associated with the development process and Subject Matter Experts).

Typically, there would also be associated costs of the supporting delivery (Learning Management System, Administrative cost of managing the initiative, and other related infrastructure required for delivery).

Determining the “value” or “gain” is far more tricky. We nail this by looking at the gains for the organization as well as for the learners.

  • Organizational perspective.
    Let’s begin by re-looking at the gains most organizations seek when they adopt eLearning and see how many of these translate to reduction in costs and hence improvement in returns.

    • Less disruptive delivery.
      This translates to man-days available now to the organization that would have been allocated to travel and training in the ILT mode.
    • Reduced travel costs.
      These can be determined easily.
    • No associated costs for trainers.
      These can be identified easily.
  • Learners’ perspective.
    Next, let’s take a look at the gains that accrue on account of effective eLearning course designs:

    • Immersive and engaging learning translates to better assimilation. This in turn leads to proficiency gain and a tangible increase in productivity.
    • More learners across the organization can be trained in lesser time (while they get the flexibility to learn at their own pace).
    • Coupled with tracking, the eLearning initiatives can be scheduled and completed faster as compared to ILT sessions.

What ROI Methodology Can Be Used?

Most of us are familiar with Kirkpatrick’s model of evaluation. In today’s context, adding Phillips’ ROI calculation as the fifth level makes this framework even more useful and relevant. By using Level IV evaluation data, we can convert the results into monetary value. Then we can easily compare them against the cost of the eLearning program and determine the ROI.

EI Design Kirkpatricks Model

To give you a sense of how it can be practically used, let me summarize the approaches we typically adopt:

    • Level 1:Reaction is measured by taking feedback from learners. We have used online surveys in the past but now we add features of “Like the course” and “Recommend the course” options within our eLearning course framework.
    • Level 2: Learning can be easily measured through scoring patterns in the end of course assessments.
    • Level 3: Behavioral changes are certainly more difficult to assess. We use a combination of techniques to assess how much of the newly acquired learning is being applied on the job. This could be measured through improvements in efficiency or doing the same task with a new approach.
    • Level 4: Business impact is generally measured through productivity gain, impact on quality measures through reduction in re-works, getting higher number of work assets first time right, and so on.
    • Level 5: ROI is normally calculated by converting the business impact gains (as shown in level 4) to a monetary value.

I hope this article was useful in understanding the ROI definition and more significantly, what ROI methodology will enable you to measure the ROI of online training. At EI Design, we do workshops that can enable you to adapt the standard ROI methodology to your organization. Do reach out to me if you need further details.

Source: https://www.eidesign.net/how-to-measure-the-roi-of-online-training/

What is social learning and how can you use it to foster collaborative learning

What is social learning and how can you use it to foster collaborative learning

As learning professionals, most of us are familiar with the 70:20:10 Model for Learning and Development that describes how learning happens. According to this, most of us pick:

70 percent of our knowledge from our on-the job experiences
20 percent from interactions with others
10 percent from structured or formal training


It is no surprise that today more and more companies are using some form of social learning solutions in their learning strategies that enables employees to learn from each other. In this article, I will touch upon the concept of social learning, its benefits and how can it be used meaningfully in an organisation to enhance collaborative learning. I will also share some best practices.

What is social learning?

In simple terms, social learning is learning with and from others. This can either happen online (for instance over popular social media tools like LinkedIn, Twitter and so on) or offline (during group discussions, over coffee or during conferences).

What are the aspects that most of the popular social networks provide that can be used to learn or collaborate and learn?

All of us use their standard communication and collaboration features like comments, posts, instant messaging, group discussion boards, wikis, video chats and so on. As an extension, you can bring a semi-structured approach to encourage this collaborative learning by building virtual communities to encourage them to provide a forum to share ideas, share knowledge and curate new inputs into a knowledge centre.

What is the relationship between social media and social learning?

Social media provides basic technology to connect people. All of us use it to keep in touch with our friends or for networking with business contacts and often to share our thoughts and opinions. But its capability does not end here. It can also be leveraged as an effective tool for collaborative or social learning. The key being, how we use this meaningfully to encourage exchange of ideas and knowledge sharing.

How can social learning help people learn?

According to Mason and Renniet (2008)*, there are four major benefits of learner-generated content that these tools provide:

  • Users have the tools to actively engage in the construction of their experience, rather than passively absorbing existing content.
  • Content will be continually refreshed by the users rather than require expensive expert input.
  • Many of the new tools support collaborative work, thereby allowing users to develop the skills of working in teams.
  • Shared community spaces and inter-group communications are a massive part of what excites young people and therefore should contribute to users’ persistence and motivation to learn.

Is there a flip side?

The jury is still out on determining the value of social learning and the time it takes to create an impact. While it is true that the process of going beyond individual learning to learning collaboratively can take time, it is still a worthwhile approach.

Are there any best practices that can help?

Yes. Some of these best practices can make your online Learning design initiative a success are as follows:
Facilitating a social learning platform where learners are spaced apart; this will help:

  • In distributed problem solving whereby small problems could be nipped in the bud without being allowed to cause bigger challenges later on
  • Nurture a creativity-fostering environment
  • Form temporary workgroups to tackle business challenges
  • Create a flexible work environment

Encouraging learners to build collaborative knowledge base of their own rather than depending on others’ assistance.

Bridging the distance gap between learners and fostering team spirit through:

  • Increased participation
  • Projecting them as representatives of the corporate brand
  • Developing a community

Providing them adequate motivation and learner engagement as it is a prerequisite for any learning to take place

How to use social learning meaningfully?
Social media has a number of benefits and uses. Some of the ways in which it can be used to good effect are:

  • It can serve as an auxiliary element to formal learning in the form of discussions, sharing of experiences, lessons learned and so on.
    • It can be used as a tool to encourage employees to generate, gather, explore, get access to, learn and relearn and review knowledge and skills to unravel hidden information.
    • It can also help learners with “personal knowledge management” or “smart working”. For example, they could use blogs to gain that extra bit of information or learn on demand using forums such as Wikipedia or YouTube to seek answers to any queries that they may have.
  • It helps create “Communities of Practice” for groups such as those of new employees, teams, project team members or other similar groups.
  • It facilitates the creation of a structured social learning framework. With social learning, one can accumulate informal content from learners and extract useful ideas and find solutions to problems that formal training may not be able to address.
  • With social learning, managing the inflow of informal content effectively and measuring of the benefits accrued on account of the same is possible.

I hope this article was useful in understanding what is social learning and how you can apply it to foster collaborative learning. Do contact me if you have any questions on how you would like to supplement it with your current learning strategy.

Source: https://www.eidesign.net/what-is-social-learning-and-how-can-you-use-it-to-foster-collaborative-learning/

Best Practices to Migrate Legacy Flash Courses to HTML5 the Right Way

Today, mLearning or mobile learning is an integral part of learning strategy. If you haven’t opted for it, chances are that you are evaluating it. Besides new online training development, you certainly need to evaluate to migrate some or all of you legacy Flash courses to a format that is compatible with Tablets and Smartphones.

In this article, I will begin the challenge that you face (existing Flash courses that are not supported on most mobile devices), the way forward (how to migrate your legacy Flash courses to HTML5 that supports multi-devices including Desktops, Laptops, Tablets and Smartphones). Additionally, I will share some of our best practices that will help you plan this migration exercise effectively so that you can achieve a positive ROI on your investment.

Background

In my earlier article 8 Tips To Convert Flash to HTML5 That Will Help Your Business, I had highlighted the challenge (associated with legacy courses) and the solution (how HTML5 addresses the challenge). Let’s begin with this recap:

The challenge

Over the years, all of us would have created courses that predominantly used Flash for development. With increase in demand to offer mobile learning, you would have realized that Flash courses do not work on most mobile devices. As a result, you need to plan to migrate the existing legacy Flash content to HTML5.

The solution

HTML5 supports all mobile devices (Tablets and Smartphones). Additionally, the more recent browsers support HTML5 enabling you to run the mobile-ready courses on Desktops and Laptops as well. This flexibility now allows a single build to work seamlessly across all devices starting from Desktops/Laptops to Tablets and Smartphones.

Best practices

EI Design Best practices

At EI Design, we have partnered with several organizations globally in their mandate to successfully migrate legacy Flash courses to HTML5. In the last 5 years, we have successfully migrated hundreds of legacy courses. In this journey, we have seen what worked and what did not. Here is a listing of our best practices.

Our best practices map to 3 stages of your planning. Essentially, these are aspects you should put in place prior to the migration exercise. You will see that using these simple and easy to implement best practices will make your migration effort worthwhile and create a positive ROI on you investment.

    1. During pre-planning phase (Pre-requisites)
    2. During scoping (To improve and maximize the effectiveness of the migration initiative)
    3. Key selections (To select the right output through the right authoring tool)

Pre-requisites

EI Design Pre requisites

The success of any project is in direct proportion to the effort put in the pre-planning stage. We have noted that the success factors during this stage can be enhanced through the following four measures:

    1. Ensure readiness of supporting aspects: This includes browser support for HTML5, Learning Management System support for mobile learning solutions, and updates to your security policy.
    2. Draw up the priority list of courses to be converted from Flash to HTML5: Begin the migration exercise by picking a small number of courses, migrate, and perform a user testing for the feedback. More significantly, assess if the impact you had envisioned is being created (that is, better learning experience for the learners).
    3. Validate that all assets and pre-requisites are in place: We often see delays (typically post the pilot phase) on account of all assets not being accounted for and accessible. Again, this must be in place and availability of assets should be in line with the migration project schedule.
    4. Understand the pros and cons (the trade-off between the punch of learning design capability that Flash offers and what HTML5 can offer): This is probably the most significant aspect to watch out for. The kind of user experience that HTLML5-based designs offer is different from the Flash-based approach. It is very important to understand this, identify the frames that will have a different user experience and have a clear Instructional Design support in place to map certain frames of legacy Flash courses to HTML5.

Scoping

EI Design Scoping

Watch out for the following three aspects:

    1. Identify the need: Technology update vs. complete redesign: As highlighted earlier, the nature of value addition sought in a course or a series can vary. You must ascertain how you should plan the migration. Some of the cues could be:
        1. Recent courses: These may need technology uplift only (conversion to HTML5 – no Instructional Design and Visual Design enhancements).

       

        1. Compliance courses: The migration cycle can also factor for textual updates as well as visual enhancements.

       

        1. Legacy courses: You can only re-use the content and then completely re-design (both from Instructional Design and Visual Design perspectives).

       

    2. Identify what more do you want to achieve as you craft your mobile learning strategy:Besides providing flexibility to the learners to learn on the device of their choice, it is important to identify the other aspects you may want to address (user experience, learning experience, better retention and performance gain, and so on).

 

  1. Identify the devices to be supported (including the testing methodology): With the ever expanding range of options available for Tablets and Smartphones, there is no way you can check your HTML5 courses on all. Instead, identify the key models (for both Tablets and Smartphones) and have exhaustive test cases for this. During release, do caution the learners on this aspect.

Key selections

EI Design Key selections

Here you need to watch out for two crucial aspects:

1. Select adaptive vs. responsive designs: You have two options as you begin the migration from Flash to HTML5. You can opt for:

  1. Adaptive: These are multi-device custom mobile learning solutions that support PCs, Laptops, and Tablets.
  2. Responsive: These are multi-device custom mobile learning solutions that support PCs, Laptops, Tablets, and Smartphones.

2. Select the right authoring tool: Selection of the right tool is a tough decision and this must be done so that it can help you deliver the gains you want to accomplish. Today, there are multiple options to choose from. Besides offering adaptive or completely responsive design capability, the tools can be further classified into rapid development (Articulate Studio 13, iSpring, Adapt, and so on) or standard mobile learning authoring tools (Adobe CS6 with CreateJS, Adobe Captivate, Trivantis Lectora, Articulate Storyline, and so on).

I hope this article provides insights on how you can craft the right approach to migrate legacy Flash courses to HTML5. If you have any further questions or would like to see how we have done this exercise for some of our global customers, do contact me.

 

Source: https://www.eidesign.net/best-practices-to-migrate-legacy-flash-courses-to-html5-the-right-way/

5 Tips to Design eLearning to Match Different Learning Styles

‘One size does not fit all.’ This statement is particularly relevant in the ways we learn, as each one of us has a particular learning style. When we go through training that matches our learning style, we are interested, engaged and are able to internalise it effortlessly.

In this blog, I begin with the key learning styles and then move on to 5 tips that Instructional Designers can use to design eLearning or online training to match the different learning styles.

What are the key learning styles?

In real life, each one of us tends to learn through a combination of styles (this is called multi modal learning). However, we do have one key (or preferred) learning style.

A common model that is used to define the learning styles is the VARK model, which classifies learners into the following 4 categories:

  1. Visual learners: They prefer strong visual cues in learning.
  2. Aural or Auditory learners: They respond best to facilitated sessions.
  3. Reading learners: They prefer structured, text-based cues to learn.
  4. Kinaesthetic learners: They lean on their senses and need an experiential mode to learn.

Can you design eLearning that can match different learning styles?

By definition, eLearning courses are rolled out to diverse and heterogeneous learners. While Instructional Designers have good pointers on Training Needs Analysis, learning outcomes, expected gains (for learners and business), learner’s current proficiency and so on, they have no cues on the learning style of each.

Practically, it is difficult to create an eLearning course that will resonate equally with learners of diverse learning styles.

What tips can be used to design eLearning that can match each learning style?

Instructional designers can use the following 5 tips to cater to different learning styles:

  1. While keeping the focus on the learning outcomes that must be met, identify a combination of approaches that will work across different learners.
  1. The methodology to nail the predominant/combination approach to be used (text, visual, audio or simulations, etc.) must be arrived at by looking at the nature of content.
  1. Additionally, use techniques like Microlearning which provide tremendous range of delivery formats that would resonate with different learners.
  1. Give the control to the learner by doing progressive build-up through a series of steps like ‘Teach’, ‘Try’ and ‘Test’; and at each stage, use multi modal approaches and mix Personalised
  1. Last but not the least, when you opt for one predominant approach, ensure the learners with other learning styles have adequate options.

I hope this blog provides some easy-to-apply tips that will enable you to design eLearning courses to suit different learning styles and score well with all your learners. If you have any queries, do contact me.

Need More?

Want more insights on how to align your eLearning or online training programs so that it resonates with each learner, irrespective of their learning style? Schedule a call with our Solutions Architecting Team.

Source: https://www.eidesign.net/5-tips-design-elearning-match-different-learning-styles/

10 Reasons Why You Should Use Mobile Apps For Learning In Your Learning Strategy

Mobile apps are increasingly being seen as the future of learning. Popularity of mobile devices and widespread adoption of mLearning or mobile learning is providing them the required push. In this article, I outline 10 reasons why your learning strategy must include mobile apps for learning.

Why You Need To Use Mobile Apps For Learning In Your Learning Strategy

Before deep-diving into the reasons why you should integrate mobile learning trends such as mobile apps for learning in your learning strategy, let’s take a quick look at 3 important, basic aspects (What, Why, and How):

  1. What: What are mobile apps for learning?
  2. Why: Why you should invest on them?
  3. How: How exactly can they be integrated into your learning strategy?

What Are Mobile Apps For Learning?

Mobile apps are a type of delivery format designed for offline viewing of Learning material for learners on mobile devices. Although the course needs to be downloaded to the device first using internet connection, it can be accessed without internet access from the mobile device for subsequent visits once the course has been downloaded to the device. Internet access is also necessary when it comes to tracking of learners’ progress via Learning Management Systems.

People are increasingly taking to mobile apps and the number of mobile app downloads that take place every year justifies that. According to a report, the number of mobile apps forecasted to be downloaded worldwide in 2017 stands at a whopping 2.6 million! It comes as no surprise that mobile apps for learning are an area you must invest on.

What Are The Advantages Of Using Mobile Apps For learning?

There’s a reason why more and more companies are pumping money into mobile learning technology and mobile app development year after year. Mobile apps are one of the hottest mobile learning trends driving the market today. According to reports, the global annual revenue generated by mobile apps will be $70 billion by 2017. The format comes with a host of benefits after all.

Some of the benefits of mobile apps are:

    • Ideal for people looking for information on the move.
    • Suited for online as well as offline viewing.
    • Immensely popular with Millennials.
    • Facilitate higher completion rates.
    • Provide access to just-in-time information.
    • Ideal for performance support.

How Can You Use Mobile Apps For Learning To Uplift Your Existing Learning Strategy?

Mobile apps are a good fit for both formal as well as informal training.

They can be used to offer bite-sized formal training or supplement formal training.

When it comes to informal training needs, they are an ideal platform to offer Performance Support. They can be used as Performance Support Tools (PSTs) and embedded in the learners’ workflow. If they are made available to learners on their mobile devices, there will be greater chances of them using them for just-in-time information and on-the-job support.

There are many ways to integrate mobile apps for learning into your learning strategy. Specifically:

    1. For primary learning (formal training).
      Mobile apps can be used for formal training in the form of short learning nuggets and the nuggets could be part of a learning path
    2. As a supplement to formal training.
    • They can be used as pre- and post- assessments for formal training (online or blended).
    • They can also be used to showcase videos, examples, and scenarios to reinforce learning.

At EI Design, we have used mobile learning technology and mobile apps for learning for both formal learning as well as a Performance Support Tool. You can gain further insights on these through my previous articles:

    • How to boost your workforce performance with mobile apps.
    • How can you use mobile apps for microlearning-based training.

Now, let’s see why it makes business sense to invest in mobile learning trends and integrate mobile apps for learning to enhance your current learning strategy.

Why Are Mobile Apps For Learning The Right Fit For Your Learning Strategy?

Here is my list of 10 reasons why mobile apps are the right fit for your learning strategy:

1. Flexibility Of Usage (For Learners).

According to a survey, people spend 30 hours a month on average on mobile apps. They have become part and parcel of people’s lives because of the flexibility and ease of looking up information that they offer. The power of mobile apps can be leveraged to offer training to learners even when they are not connected to internet.

2. High Completion Rates.

The anytime, anywhere flexibility that mobile learning technology and mobile apps offer help learners take the training when they “want to” rather than “have to”; thereby resulting in higher completion rates.

3. Engaging.

If you’re a smartphone user, you’d know that pretty much everything you do –dropping in a message to someone, hunting for a restaurant nearby, getting your daily scoop of news, and so on– is through apps. You’ve ditched your traditional SMS and switched to WhatsApp messaging for a simple reason that it’s far more lively and engaging and comes with a host of features. The formats of mobile apps and mobile learning technology for learning are remarkably different from traditional eLearning. They provide very high engagement to learners thereby increasing recall and retention manifold.

4. Appeal To Millennials.

We spoke about people spending 30 hours every month on mobile apps. When it comes to millennials, the number of hours spent on mobile apps shoots up to 90. Millennials love mobile apps and these survey figures second that. If you’re looking at creating engaging learning experiences for millennials and mobile apps aren’t on your list yet, you’re missing out on something big time!

5. Easy To Push Updates.

Mobile apps are extremely user-friendly and offer organizations the flexibility to easily push updates.

6. Enable You To Further Leverage Trending Approaches.

From the social media platform you visit most frequently to your favorite game on your mobile device, they all come packaged as mobile apps. Here’s a huge cue you can take to enhance the impact of your training using mobile apps. You can leverage further on trends like microlearning, social learning, and gamification.

7. Can Be Adapted To Varied Training Needs.

You can craft mobile apps for learning to address varied training needs including compliance, soft skills, products, and change management.

8. Can Be Used For Performance Support.

Mobile apps are designed to offer “just-in-time” information. They are ideal for Performance Support intervention and can directly influence the organizational mandate to push the learning acquisition to its application on the job.

9. Can Be Used As A Supplement To ILT/Blended Training.

You can support ILT or blended delivery through assets (pre/post work-shop) or Performance Support Tools. An intervention like this will show a drastic gain in application of gained knowledge on the job.

10. Positive Impact On ROI On Your Training Spend.

By improving the learner reaction, learning gain, and finally its application on the job, mobile apps for learning will provide a demonstrable gain on ROI.

You can also take a look at this video to see why mobile apps are the right fit for your learning strategy:

I hope this article triggers a re-evaluation of your existing learning strategy and helps you leverage on mobile learning trends such as mobile apps for learning. If you have any queries or need support on integrating mobile apps for learning into your learning strategy, do contact me.

Source: https://www.eidesign.net/10-reasons-why-you-should-use-mobile-apps-for-learning-in-your-learning-strategy/