7 Tips To Create Simple Branching Scenarios With Elucidat

How To Create Simple Branching Scenarios In Your Online Training With Elucidat

Branching scenarios tell a story and pose challenges in a real-world context that learners can understand and identify with. They are a great way for learners to practice their skills in realistic situations. Learners can test out different approaches in a low-risk setting when choosing how to respond to tough scenarios.

Let’s look at 7 ideas that can help you create simple branching scenarios in your online training.

1. Put the learner in control.

A great way to engage learners is to let them steer the program. Consider providing a series of scenarios so they can choose which one they want to do. This has an added bonus of appealing to a wide range of learners in one program.

Here’s an excellent example we made with Elucidat that puts the learner in control:

scenario-branching-elearning

2. Use linked menus.

Elucidat makes it very easy to link a menu item to a scenario. Just select one of the “Menu” page types. These page types allow you to make a button, hotspot, or image box into a link. In the example below, we linked the cupcake image to page 3: “Cupcake kerfuffle.”

cupcake

3. Use real-world contexts. 

Give the training relevance. Consider the real-world contexts for specific topics and issues being addressed in the course. Your training should address real challenges in real situations that your learners are likely to face at work. Making mistakes is a great opportunity to give feedback to learners, so be certain to provide plenty of good advice and practical suggestions if they require a bit more support.

Some of the elements that help drive a good scenario include: Thought-provoking situational contexts with good use of characters, engaging video, and consequence-style branching.

Here’s another example we made with Elucidat that shows how to use real-world contexts:

scenario-learning1

4. Make it challenging. 

Branching scenarios need to challenge the learner. By providing learners with decision-making contexts and a range of choices, they are given the chance to practice their knowledge and skills in a safe environment. The decision-making process becomes critical through the use of branching scenarios; depending on the choices learners make in the scenario, the outcome -or at least the path through the course- will alter and adapt.

Here’s an example of how to pose a challenge to learners:

challenge learners

In another example we built with Elucidat, the Fraud Prevention course, the simple branching scenarios provide a framework for presenting the learner with a challenge and consequence-style feedback. The result of this is that it helps to raise their awareness of how the characters can become unwitting victims of fraud.

In this scenario, the learner is asked to consider what he or she would do when faced with a stranger entering the office:

challenge learners with scenario branching

The interaction is set up as a multiple choice question. But instead of having a “right” or “wrong” response when choosing an answer, each option is instead linked to another screen. The next screen advances the scenario in a way that relates to the answer given by the learner.

If the learner chooses “Phone security or reception” when they discover a stranger in the office, they get the following response from the program:

excellent

This approach of posing a challenge and giving immediate feedback is more effective than simply telling learners what they should do. It is simply more engaging and memorable.

Related: 5 ways to use gamification in online training (that can’t be done with traditional training)

5. Use linked pages.

Pages can be linked to one another with ease. Regardless of what route a learner takes in one scenario, you can always ensure they move seamlessly to the next section by linking to the end screen.

Here we have a screenshot showing how simple this process is in Elucidat. Just select the page you would like to link to and press "Save". Easy!

linked pages scenario branching

6. Start with a storyboard. 

The starting point for any good branching scenario is a storyboard. Some people like to write storyboards through text or use software like PowerPoint. Others like to use the “Project View” in Elucidat to create a visual storyboard that showcases the different pathways learners can take.

Elucidat offers a simple way to structure an online training course so you can design the branching points to be provided.

In the example below, notice how the third page splits learners down two different pathways, and then how each pathway splinters and leads learners down even more branches.

projectstructure2

Related: Why storyboarding is important (4 reasons)

7. Provide extra support. 

Instead of writing a course that simply tells your learner what good practice is, design courses that ask learners to respond to challenges and show where their responses lead. If they need a little extra support, you can build in “information” pages.

Below is an example of a hotspot screen. From this screen, learners can select each fruit and learn about the environmental impact of each before selecting which one they plan to have for lunch.

fruit scenario elearning example

Final Thoughts

Branching scenarios are an effective way to engage learners through challenges that provide a framework to safely practice their skills and knowledge. When done well, scenarios guide learners deeper into problem-solving activities that can help change behavior and improve outcomes.

Creating branching scenarios for your online training doesn’t have to be a headache, provided you’ve selected the right tools. Use Elucidat’s simple authoring tool that empowers non-technical authors to design immersive learning experiences.

Keep reading: 

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

3 Ways Online Training Providers Can Use Gamification In Their Courses

How Online Training Providers Can Use Gamification In Their Courses  

Let’s look at three ways to create better online training with gamification.

Related: Why gamification in eLearning is important (4 reasons)

1. Challenge learners.

Learners love to be challenged. Challenge them by using multiple variables in each question so that they have to weigh up options and make tradeoffs. Working with multiple variables makes players consider cause-and-effect relationships, weigh multiple options, and prioritize their efforts.

For example, in this Fraud Prevention example by Elucidat, learners are challenged to see if they can detect a fraudulent scenario.

fraud1

Learners win badges if they correctly identify fraudulent scenarios. Multiple variables are at play here – friends are involved and learners must consider how their actions might them. While there is some technical knowhow needed to build this kind of program, modern authoring tools –such as Elucidat– have these features built in. The real skill in building this type of gamification is knowing how to create scenarios and weigh the scoring.

Related: How to build scenario-based eLearning

2. Keep score and track results with meaningful values.  

Don’t just use points; instead, chose something meaningful.

For example, if you’re conducting training for your customer service team, use satisfaction level as the value to keep score. This makes it easier for learners to relate to the scenarios because the score or points system is related to their job.

Let’s look at an example by Open University called To Lie Or Not To Lie. In this game, results are delivered in an interactive graph that represents how other learners have answered the questions. This is more powerful that simply putting up a results screen with a yes or no answer.

lie-1

Related: Discover how easy it is to add scoring to your eLearning with Elucidat

3. Unlock new levels when sections are complete.

Like in a game, consider locking levels or chapters in the online training so that levels only open up when the learner has successfully completed a number of set tasks.

Medieval Swansea (built using Elucidat) is a rich-media instructional game that has learners take on the role of detective to solve a historical mystery.

medieval-swansea-elucidat

Learners go through a series of stories with lots of stages to unlock in solving the mystery. They have to overcome interactive challenges in their quest to gather points and bonuses. Each time a witness is interviewed, learners receive an achievement which unlock the next stage.

This gamification idea can be built using branching scenarios with an authoring tool like Elucidat.

Conclusion 

Yes, gamification in online training is a hot topic, but it shouldn’t be used as a gimmick. Instead of creating online training that mimics a traditional offline game, such as a word search, think about how you can use gamification elements to enhance the learning experience beyond what is possible in offline instructor-led learning.

Experiment with modern authoring tools –such as Elucidat– to see how easy it is to incorporate these simple gamification ideas into your next online training project.

Keep reading:

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

5 Phases To Set Up A Successful eLearning Production Process

How To Set Up A Successful eLearning Production Process (Five-Phase Guide) 

Let’s break down the five phases in the eLearning production process: Analysis, design, specification, production, and evaluation.

1. Analysis: Success starts with a plan and scope.

Analysis and scope

The analysis phase is all about setting up the project for success. Here you need to get the right people involved from the start: Lead author, project owner, and other stakeholders (management, graphic designers and Subject Matter Experts).

Next, you define a scope. Understand the design challenge that you’re about to address. For example, is it going to be a tool, survey, game, resource, course, micro-experience, simulation, diagnostic, reflection, or an app?

It’s important to remember that several factors can affect the scope: Budget, time, resources, and requirements.

If you gather your requirements thoroughly and arrive at an agreed goal before starting, you should find that you don’t get the dreaded scope creep during the production phase.

Once your scope is complete, you can search for any source content or materials that are available and can be reused. Schedule time with your stakeholders and Subject Matter Experts to analyze the content. Use that time to align the content against the goals and objectives to decide what to include or exclude.

Related: How to approach the analysis phase in the eLearning production process

2. Design: Test ideas before they are built.

design phase

The design phase involves benchmarking, prototyping, and testing. During this phase, you want to test your ideas before you build them. The goal is to prove that your ideas and concepts will work so you don’t waste time and money.

  • Benchmarking defines where the project is headed and helps you to set the success criteria against which you will later evaluate. It’s key to make sure the project targets the learner, and is in line with your business values. It can also provide you with guidelines to determine how you deliver future eLearning courses.
  • Prototyping involves testing concepts quickly so you can discard what is not viable in your context. The point is to get a visualization of potential solutions without actually making something that you’ll find difficult to throw out later.
  • User testing during the design phase is specifically about testing your design against the end user. Think who your course is aimed at and how they will use it to solve a problem or fill a gap in their skills or knowledge.

Related: How to approach the design phase of the eLearning production process

3. Specification: Define what the end product looks like.

specification-phase

The specification phase is an important step that helps you focus on creating learning experiences that are tailored to your specific learner. The specification phase defines what the solution will look like and lists the quality assurance acceptance criteria against which the eLearning will later be tested. This can help when you come to evaluate a project.

  • Consistency starts with creating a set of principles by which your team is going to abide. You don’t want to lock it down so much that you eliminate creativity, but you do need to provide support structures that enable team members to understand what it is you’re trying to achieve. Most learning professionals will create a guide as to what tools, style, and branding to use.
  • Functionality helps you lock down exactly how your course will function. There are seven key areas to consider: platform and browser, reporting, media, navigation, accessibility, user interface/creative direction, and acceptance criteria.
  • Identifying the right team involves deciding who will analyze the source content, build, proofread, manage the project, do the art direction, sign off deliverables, test, and integrate with the LMS. If you are working on a large project, allocate roles within your team.

Related: How to approach the specification phase in the eLearning production process

4. Production: Bring everything together and build.

production phase

The production phase is the point at which your planning and design come together. In this phase, you will need to map out content, create screens and templates, and involve graphic designers.

  • Map out the overall experience using a mind map or flowchart (Coggle is the mind map I like to use). For example, let’s say you have 10 core interactions. Map out what will go into each of those interactions. Think about the discussion point, objective, and the experience that’s going to fall into each component.
  • Storyboarding is the method of orchestrating all the elements that will make up the eLearning to create a score. This is much like in musical composition, where all team members can follow along using the same «notes». A storyboard explains how all the elements fit together. Here are 10 storyboarding elements you should include: text, graphics, animation, video, audio, resources, links, references, interactions, and activities.
  • Create screens and templates from the list of the interaction and screen types you have jotted down. Tools like Elucidat come with a range of interaction and screen types already fully built and tested.
  • Involve graphic designers right from the early stages of the project. They should be contributing throughout the eLearning process; helping to create graphics that support what the text is communicating.

Now it’s time to bring all the elements together – a little like an assembly line. The production phase becomes really simple if you’ve completed the work in the previous three stages (analysis, design, and specification). If you haven’t done the upfront work, you can easily waste a lot of time tinkering around and feeling lost.

Related: How to approach the production phase in the eLearning production process

5. Evaluation: Test the product meets the original specification.

evaluation phase

The evaluation phase involves testing the project against the original specification. Use quality assurance (QA) testing, acceptance testing, and analysis to see how the product is performing in a range of the technical environments.

  • Quality assurance (QA) testing can involve any of the following:
    • Multi device testing.
      Use Browser Stack to test in different environments, but if the project needs to run on a touch screen device, you should test it on the actual device.
    • Multi browser testing. 
      Browser Stack can help you to quickly test your course on different operating systems and browsers (learn more in this article by Elucidat).
    • Stress testing.
      Try to break your eLearning. This lets you see how your course performs beyond the specified number of concurrent users.
    • Localization.
      Test different languages to ensure they have been translated correctly.
  • Acceptance testing is done to determine if the course meets the requirements originally set out in the specification. Here you need to go back to your specification and test against all the aspects listed. This is really about making sure the course has the integrity to support a valid learning experience, and that it works in the real world.
  • Engagement analytics can provide valuable information about how people are using your course and how you can improve it. Tools, like Google Analytics, give very detailed stats about how your course is performing. Use Google Analytics to analyze the following metrics:
    • How long is someone spending on a page?
    • Are some pages more popular than others?
    • How long does your course really take to complete?

Related: How to approach the evaluation phase in the eLearning production process

Conclusion

Looking for new ideas to streamline eLearning processes in 2016? Use the best practice advice in this article to implement a better process inside your organization. By setting up a process your team can follow, you can increase efficiency and productivity. This will assist you in delivering more eLearning in less time.

Keep reading:

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

3 Ways To Test And Improve Online Training

Are You Testing? Here Are 3 Ways To Test And Improve Online Training

Learn how to use quality assurance testing, acceptance testing, and engagement analytics to test online training and improve it.

1. Quality Assurance (QA) testing.

QA testing typically covers two broad areas: Content and functionality.

  • Testing content at this stage is about checking whether your content matches your style guide.
  • Testing functionality is technical; does the project behave correctly in all required technical environments?

QA testing can fall under the following categories:

  • Multi-device testing.
    This involves testing your eLearning on each device type. Services like Browser Stack enable you to test in different environments, but if the project needs to run on a touch-screen device, you should test it on the actual device so you can see how the touch screen behaves.Some authoring tools –like Elucidat– can make it easy to quickly test what your training looks like on different screen sizes. Check out Elucidat’s responsive slider in action below:

Elucidat-responsive-slider

  • Multi-browser testing.
    Browser Stack can also help you quickly test your course on different operating systems and browsers. Remember to test both portrait and landscape views.
  • Stress testing.
    Stress testing is the try to break it approach, seeing how your course performs beyond the specified number of concurrent users. For example, services can help you bombard your course with requests from servers so you can analyze how it handles the increase in traffic. Stress testing is important because you don’t want your eLearning to crash when learners are actively completing it.
  • Localization.
    If your course needs to be in different languages, make sure you test to see if the languages are translated correctly. If you're stuck for time, Elucidat’s Master Course feature can make it easy to create and test different versions of your course for each language you support.

Related: See how easy it is to handle translations with Elucidat’s authoring tool

2. Acceptance testing.

Acceptance testing determines if a course meets the requirements originally set out in the specification phase. Here, you need to test how actual users might interact with the course.

For example, test against the workflow that a group of people might embark on. Acceptance testing ensures the course works in the real world and has the integrity to support a valid learning experience.

Here are some examples of things you might build into your acceptance testing plan:

  • First impressions: Is it clear what the user is being asked to do?
  • Navigation: Is the layout intuitive? Could users find what they needed?
  • Functionality: Did users experience technical issues?

3. Engagement analytics.

Too much eLearning is released and then forgotten. Engagement analytics can provide insights to help you understand how your course is performing. For example, Elucidat’s integration with Google Analytics lets you track valuable information about how people use your course and how you can improve it.

Take a look at this screenshot to see what I mean:

elucidat-google-analytics

Here are some metrics you should assess from Google Analytics:

  • How long is someone spending on a page? Spending a long time on pages could indicate the page is hard to understand. 
  • Are some pages more popular than others? Do learners want to focus more on a specific topic? 
  • How long does your course take to complete? Does the 10-minute course really take 30 minutes? 
  • Where are people accessing the course? Mobile or desktop? Office or home?

This data help you tweak and improve the learning experience. You may also use data to visualize correlations and identify interesting trends. For example, you might find that the time of day affects the pass rate. You can use this information to suggest the ideal time for people to work on the course.

Conclusion

If you’re not testing and improving your online training on a monthly basis, you risk losing students to competitors. Use QA testing, acceptance testing, and engagement analytics to find new ways to enhance the learner experience. By improving your eLearning, you can increase learner satisfaction, which will help you create a great product that attracts and retains more learners in the future.

Related: The new way to measure the performance of your eLearning

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Modern Learners Want The Convenience And Flexibility Of Mobile Learning

The Need For Mobile Learning 

Significant growth in smartphone ownership has ushered in a new way of consuming training material. 91% of the US population now owns a smartphone device with 3G/4G connectivity; the mobile revolution is changing the way your audience learns. Instead of blocking off a day to partake in compliance training, modern learners now complete it in small, bite-sized chunks.

Your learners’ behaviors are changing, but are you changing the way you deliver eLearning?

If you are stuck delivering desktop-only eLearning, you are ignoring the needs and wants of modern learners. In this article, I’ll show you how Johnson & Johnson Vision Care has used Elucidat to build interactive mobile learning that learners actually want to consume.

Why Mobile Learning? 

Mobile learning is often undertaken by people away from the office. They might be travelling to-or-from work, waiting for an airplane, or sitting on the couch at home.

With less time to put aside for training, modern learners want mobile learning https://blog.elucidat.com/why-mobile-learning-is-important/ to be bite-sized. Trainings need to be smaller and focused on specific learning topics. Bite-sized learning is easier to digest when a learner only has an occasional 15 minutes to focus on training.

This training style gives learners flexibility in what they learn and when they learn it. For example, they don’t have to spend an hour going through a detailed course; instead, they can opt for a five-minute video focusing on the specific area they seek to master.

Modern learners also want to use their own familiar devices. Instead of wasting hours trying to learn a new operating system, learners prefer to consume mobile learning via their personal smartphones or tablets. In response, you need to deliver eLearning via mobile-friendly browsers and applications that can be accessed across mobile operating systems.

Introducing The Eye Education App 

jjvc-why-elucidat

A great example of mobile learning in action is the award-winning piece of eLearning created by Johnson & Johnson Vision Care (JJVC) and Elucidat. The Eye Education App takes its inspiration from its audience’s busy schedule. Eye practitioners do not have time to complete cumbersome trainings due to patient schedules. They also lack access to desktop computers in their workplaces.

JJVC used Elucidat to create interactive, bite-sized training modules that made it easy for eye practitioners to complete learning modules during breaks between patients. Elucidat’s responsive slider helped JJVC design mobile-friendly learning that worked across all smartphone and tablet devices.

elucidat-responsive-animated

The Eye Education App has been a big hit. JJVC is now delivering twice as much training to its eye practitioners and has increased course completion by 740%.

Why JJVC chose Elucidat:

  • Multi-device compatible.
    Elucidat’s responsive slider made it easy for JJVC to create mobile learning that eye practitioners could access on their mobile devices.
  • Hosted in the cloud.
    Elucidat’s cloud hosting made it possible for JJVC to instantly make and publish changes, allowing them to stay in step with any new regulatory requirements.
  • API.
    Elucidat’s API made it possible for JJVC to embed content into a smartphone/tablet app, thus taking advantage of native app functionalities like push notifications.

Related: Elucidat & JJVC win eLearning award for best use of mobile learning

What Makes Elucidat An Award-Winning Authoring Tool?

elucidat award winning

Elucidat’s award-winning authoring tool (Gold Brandon Hall Award and 2015 UK eLearning Award) helps large companies, training providers and publishers streamline eLearning design, production and deployment, enabling them to deliver multi-device eLearning 50% faster.

In addition, Elucidat’s simple point and edit functionality empowers all team members (even non-technical ones) to create beautiful eLearning that stands out from the crowd.

Interested in learning more? Take the 80 second video tour or sign up for a free 14-day trial.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Online Training Providers: Here Are 3 Simple Ways To Create Online Training Faster

3 Simple Ways To Create Online Training Faster  

Here are three simple ways to save time and create online training faster:

1. Use a content map to structure your ideas.

content map

Before you do anything else, you need to map out the big ideas for your training. Use a mind map or flowchart to map out the overall experience.

For example, let’s say that there are going to be ten core interactions. Map out what will go into each of those interactions. Think about the discussion point, your objective, and the experience that’s going to fall into each component.

You should already have a clear idea of one or two key outcomes you want to achieve with this training. If you don’t know why you’re creating this training, go back to the analysis phase in the eLearning production process.

Pull together and organize your ideas and content into a series of chunks. Make sure you are very disciplined here so you can get rid of any extraneous bits you don’t need.

Coggle is the mind map I like to use. Paste in your chunks, ideas, and snippets to see how everything fits together. Identify where there are questions for which you need help from your Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). The best way to get information from SMEs is to be very specific about what you want.

2. Use storyboards to visualize your end product.

projectstructure2

Storyboarding is the method of orchestrating all the elements that will make up the training to create a score. This is much like in musical composition, where all team members can follow along the same “notes”.

Here are 10 storyboarding elements you will include:

  • Text.
  • Graphics.
  • Animations.
  • Video.
  • Audio.
  • Resources.
  • Links.
  • References.
  • Interactions.
  • Activities.

A storyboard explains how all the elements fit together. In other words, it acts like an instruction manual for the team.

Related: Why storyboarding is important (4 reasons)

Some people may choose to create storyboards with applications such as PowerPoint or Word. I prefer to work directly in authoring tools such as Elucidat. The advantage of working inside an authoring tool is that you have a visual layout to work with (instead of words in a document). This makes it a lot easier for all stakeholders to interpret the screens and interactions.

For example, take a look at this storyboard screen created in Elucidat. Stakeholders can see the visual screens and make comments directly on the areas they want to leave feedback. This can help you can get accurate feedback and faster approval from your stakeholders.

elucidat-screen-project-builder

3. Use prebuilt page types and interactions.

Your map and storyboard will give you a list of the page types and interactions for the project. You may be tempted to create each of these components from scratch. But, this can be a lengthy process. Instead, use a tool –like Elucidat– that comes with a range of built-in page types and interactions that have already been tested.

The benefit here is you don’t need to spend time and money on costly development. You can set up a project and very quickly add in page types and interactions.

For example, take a look at these different page types and interactions you can create out of the box with Elucidat:

page-types-interactions

As you add the page types and interactions, they are automatically created inside your project. The project builder then gives you 100% flexibility to customize these pages to meet your requirements.

Conclusion 

To create online training faster, you need to find new ways to streamline your processes and systems: Why not try some of the ideas presented in this article?

Consider using tools –like Elucidat– that can streamline your processes. Elucidat’s prebuilt page types and interactions can speed up the time it takes your team to create online training.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Stress-Free Responsive eLearning: 3 Examples Of Responsive eLearning Built With Elucidat

3 Examples Of Stress-Free Responsive eLearning 

Here are 3 great examples of how to create stress-free, interactive responsive eLearning with Elucidat:

1. Open University: To Lie Or Not To Lie?

Open University’s To Lie Or Not To Lie lets learners analyze their own moral compasses by placing them in non linear scenarios that vary from the Lewinsky affair to the Bloodgate scandal.

openu-responsive-elearning

Why we like it: 

  • Interactive, engaging, and entertaining.
  • Good use of touch-screen capabilities to enhance usability.
  • Great use of relevant images and videos –rather then text– to explain ideas and concepts.

Visit eLearning: Open University: To Lie Or Not To Lie?

2. Marshall ACM: Be Smart, Be Safe.

A brilliant personal safety project for Barnado's from Marshall ACM – the leading eLearning consultancy for online diversity and safeguarding training.

marshallacm-responsive-elearning

Why we like it: 

  • Clickable regions makes it easy to browse on mobile devices.
  • Menu enables seamless navigation between different pieces of content.
  • Good use of HTML5 technology to ensure multimedia content is optimized for mobile and tablet devices.

Visit eLearning: Marshall ACM: Be Smart, Be Safe

3. Delphi: Counterperson “Fuel” Training.

An engaging, mobile friendly course for Delphi –a global supplier of vehicle technology– created by Elucidat’s US partner, Learning Evolution.

delphi-responsive-elearning

Why we like it:

  • Good example of a responsive eLearning template – Delphi can reuse this theme to build multiple modules quickly (learn more about Elucidat themes).
  • Simple learning design allows the user to control how much – or how little – they want to learn.
  • Built with HTML5; ensures the video and audio files are mobile friendly.

Visit eLearning: Delphi: Counterperson “Fuel” Training

Why Companies, Training Providers And Publishers Use Elucidat To Create Responsive eLearning 

  1. Faster to create.
    Author once and deliver beautiful looking content to all devices. Use Elucidat’s responsive slider to quickly test and customize how your eLearning looks on mobile and tablet screens.
  2. Faster to publish.
    Quickly publish courses online or export to an LMS with one click (supports SCORM, Tin Can (xAPI) & MOOC).
  3. Faster to maintain.
    Rapid release technology makes it easy to quickly update one version of your eLearning and see the changes delivered to instantly to your course.

Interested in learning more? Take Elucidat’s 80 second video tour or sign up for a free 14-day trial.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

3 Effective Ways To Create Memorable eLearning Endings

How To Create Memorable eLearning Endings   

A clear objective can guide the way you create your course. By starting with a defined end in mind, you can create an overview of the course prior to its start. Think of your eLearning course as being similar to a story. If you develop clear objectives, they will facilitate your ending.

Related: First impressions matter too. Learn how to create a beginning that engages and motivates learners

Let’s consider 3 ways you can build effective eLearning endings:

1. Offer a challenge.

Try using a challenge with real life implications to end an eLearning program. Give the learners a “real” problem to solve. Quiz for understanding by asking a multiple choice question related to the course learning objective.

Follow the question by using the final screen to review the original goal and report how well the learner has done.

Consider this final screen wrapping up a fact based challenge:

1_reflect_on_original_goals

Call to actions are another effective way to end eLearning courses. Simply design an activity for learners to complete offline what they learned during the course. This method promotes learners' application of their new skills in their daily work or job tasks.

The following illustrates an effective call to action:

3_comparison and social links

Key elements to include when using a challenge:

  • If the system’s training is part of the eLearning course, ask the learners to apply their new skills to using the actual system.
  • Include follow-up activities or list action items for learners to download, complete, and carry with them. Good examples of these are personal development plan template, or a SMART goals template.
  • Compose a screen which summarizes key learning points, possibly using a scenario or case study. Ask learners to show parallels with their own context. For example, instruct them to rank the points based on their relevance to their own role. This will help them to reflect on key learning points and this will improve retention.
  • Conclude with an assignment that reestablishes the key learning points and benefits learners with personalized feedback and possibly allows them analyze their results as they relate with others’.

2. Add personalization.

The future of eLearning lies in personalization. New technologies and platforms enable learning to be personalized to meet user needs and accessed anywhere and whenever desired.

By approaching the end of your course with an eye toward personalization, your course will do a better job of engaging individual learners.

I like the following example created by the team at Elucidat. It provides a link to a takeaway overview document which gives the learner a personally customized takeaway recognizing his or her achievement.

4_recap

Key elements to include when personalizing a course ending:

  • Design courses with individual learners in mind.
  • Allow users to select their course materials, so they can learn the most personally relevant information.
  • Give learners a customized takeaway document highlighting their results and learning objectives the learner needs to study.

Related: How to design personalized learning experiences

3. Link to supporting information and/or resources.

Use the end of a module as an opportunity share additional learning opportunities and to get the learner to apply what they have learned. Consider the final screen an opportunity to launch learners into something else.

This example –built with Elucidat– offers learners an opportunity to continue their learning:

2_recap and resources

Key elements to include when linking to other resources: 

  1. Post a link to end of course information.
  2. Show learners additional resources like job aids, links to beneficial websites, or lists of important contacts.
  3. Provide learners with any follow-up information such as the availability of a certificate.

Good Stories Need Good Endings

Your eLearning course is just like a story. When you give it a good ending, you offer a resolution, provide a reward, and help your course exceed expectations.

  • An effective resolution gives the learner a sense that they’ve completed a journey. Use your course objectives to summarize how the journey has met the objectives.
  • A reward acknowledges the learner's accomplishments and gives feedback on their performance. For example, a certificate or badge, and accompanying feedback.
  • A memorable experience with creative elements. The last screen needs to avoid clichés and do something unique.

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This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

3 Ideas To Help You Create Better eLearning Beginnings

How To Create Better eLearning Beginnings 

People make split-second judgments about an eLearning course. If your program gets off to a slow start, learners won’t continue. Let’s look at how to design programs with great beginnings that get your learners off to a good start.

1. Set Objectives.

A good beginning informs learners about the program’s objectives. Rather than listing learning objectives, try to grab their attention and make them care about the subject.

There is a number of ways to do this:

  • A wake-up call: Instead of throwing bottles in the regular garbage, have you considered recycling?
  • A challenge: Can you help Dave save money? 
  • A target or goal: Can you achieve a 90% success rating?

Through these approaches, the learner engages with the program, understanding what is going to be required of them and, crucially, what they will get out of it.

Take a look at the example below:

1_set_a_clear_goal

You can see the scenario draws the learner into the topic. The goal is to help a fictional character increase his investment, and the challenge is set quickly and simply.

Here’s another example:

2_goal_and_overview

Here you can see that objectives are communicated as challenges: the learner is invited to become actively involved and to explore each one further.

2. Describe What’s In It For The Learner.

A question or call-to-action is a great way to entice learners at the start of your eLearning. They can be encouraged to take a specific action and offered something irresistible as a reward for completion.

I particularly like to use thought-provoking challenges where learners compete against the clock.

Here’s a great example of an opening scene that invites learners to take up a challenge:

-3-set-scene

In this example, the five-minute time limit helps to create a sense of urgency and competition.

3. Challenge Preconceptions.

A good beginning presents compelling information that challenges learners’ preconceptions.

For example, take a look at this opening used in Joanna Kurpieska’s Global Food Waste:

Global Food Waste

I love the way Joanna uses full-screen, impactful graphics that pose interactive, myth-busting questions. They pack a punch and help challenge preconceptions about food waste.

Here’s another example:

4a_mythbuster

Here learners are presented with a compelling fact and then challenged to recognize how much they actually know about the topic.

Challenging preconceptions is a fun way to get learners engaged in finding out more about a topic. If they get it right, they get an instant reward –a sense of achievement– and want to go on to see how much more they know. Alternatively, if they get it wrong, they have discovered a surprising fact that challenges their preconceptions and entices them to go on to learn more.

Here’s the response screen:

4b_mythbuster_reveal

Final Thoughts 

A good beginning motivates learners and gives them a reason to engage further with the program. If you want to catch and keep the attention of your learners, you should consider applying these ideas to the start of your eLearning programs.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

What Makes A Good Ending? Here Are 3 Ways To Create An Effective eLearning Ending

3 Ways To Create An Effective eLearning Ending 

In the words of Stephen CoveyBegin with an end in mind. In terms of eLearning design, that means having a direction that guides the structure of your course. Having a clear end in mind can help you visualize an overview of the course before you even begin. Developing a script or storyboard provides a framework for the beginning, the middle and the end of your course, it creates a clear pathway for your learners. Very much like a story. Being clear about your objectives and the outcomes to be achieved will drive your ending.

Let’s look at 3 ways you can create an effective eLearning ending:

1. Set a “real world” challenge.

If your eLearning has included a scenario or case study, try to bring it to a conclusion with a “real” problem for the learners to solve. This can be done in a multiple-choice format. You can position the results in relation to the original learning goal, using the final screen to recap on the original goal and to report on how well the learner has done.

Here’s a quick example to show you what I mean:

1_reflect_on_original_goals

Another effective technique is to end your eLearning course with a call to action. Design activities that learners can do offline using the information and skills they’ve taken from the course. Encourage them to apply these skills in their everyday work or function.

Here’s a good example of a call to action:

3_comparison and social links

Key points to remember:

  • If the eLearning course has involved systems training, invite the learners to move on to apply what they’ve practiced using the real system.
  • Include a “next steps” or “to do” list that learners can download, work on, and take with them. This could involve a template for a personal development plan, or for SMART goals.
  • Create a screen summarizing key learning points, possibly from a scenario or case study, and ask learners to draw parallels with their own context. For example, invite them to rank points in order of relevance to their own role. This will help them to reflect on key learning points and this will improve retention.
  • End with a task that reinforces the key learning points and rewards learners with personalized feedback and possibly lets them compare their results with others’. For example, by using a poll or quiz screen, you can design a task like the one shown below. Including a “share this” function can also cement engagement by allowing learners to share their results and see how others performed.

2. Personalize the learning.

Everything is more memorable if it relates directly to you and your personal context. The same is true of eLearning courses. At the start of a course, it’s a good idea to let learners choose their own pathways through the material, especially if the course is aimed at a range of learners where not all of the content is relevant to everyone. The same principle is true for good endings. Consider designing the end of your course so that it speaks to the individual.

For example, if your course contains an assessment or quiz, the summary screen could show the learner’s score and provide some advice about next steps. Are there more topics they should revisit if they scored low on certain questions, or is there a way to improve their score and retry the assessment?

I particularly like this example below that provides a link to a take-away summary document. This gives the learner something tangible that recognizes his or her achievement.

4_recap

Key points to remember:

  • Design courses that are personalized to individual learners.
  • Let users choose their pathways so they can focus on learning what is relevant to them.
  • Provide a personalized takeaway document that highlights scores and key points the learner needs to work on.

3. Link to further support and/or resources.

An eLearning module is often part of a blended learning experience. The end of a module is a great opportunity to point to further learning opportunities and to encourage the learner to act on what they have learned. Think of the final screen as a launch pad to go and do something else.

The example course below demonstrates how you can present personalized results, using badges to indicate the tasks or topics that this learner has completed successfully. I also like how the final screen links to further learning resources.

2_recap and resources

Key points to remember:

  • Provide a link to post-course information.
  • Point learners to additional resources such as job aids, links to helpful websites, or a list of key contacts.
  • Give learners any follow-up information, for example, if a certificate is available.

Final Thoughts

Every good story needs a good ending. Your eLearning program is no different. Good endings offer a resolution, provide a reward, and stand out from the crowd.

  • A good resolution makes the learner feel like they’ve completed the journey. You can go back to your course objectives and summarize how the journey has achieved these.
  • A reward gives your learners a pat on the back and feedback on how they’ve done. This may come in the form of a certificate or badge, and advice be accompanied by some next steps and how to continue improving.
  • A memorable eLearning program stands out by being creative. The last screen should break the mold and do something different.

Try something different like this fun example:

gangster-ending-optimize

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This post was first published on eLearning Industry.