Engaging the Long Distance Learner: Part 1

I recently did a webinar called, “15 Ways to Market Your Training Program & Learning Tech.”  (Here is the recording and slide deck.) The session covers a lot in 60 minutes so I thought it would be good to do a complementary blog series.  The first few posts will focus on engaging the long distance learner.

Most organizations these days have at least some employees working remotely.  There are many benefits to working outside of the office, but it definitely adds a layer of complexity for those of us who teach.  Long distance employees have less of an opportunity to engage with colleagues and learn informally.  There are less chances for casual conversation that builds social bonds.  This can cause remote employees to feel they have no connection to their organization, and we know where that goes.  Less motivation, more attrition, and from an L&D standpoint, less engagement.  Why develop your job skills if you don’t know how long you’ll stay with your employer?

Learning and development can solve two issues experienced by the long distance learner.  We can deliver training and hopefully provide alternative ways to learn what informal learning normally provides.  We also support the overall culture of an organization and can give learners the opportunity to know their colleagues.

The trickiest part of teaching long distance learners is finding a way to communicate that is just as natural and meaningful as face to face interaction.  For a population that frequently feels cut off from their colleagues, videoconferencing is an important tool.  Whenever possible, teach virtual classes with your camera turned on.

Consider though that if you are teaching to a global audience, some audience members will encounter difficulty with bandwidth limitations if you leave your webcam on.  Try enabling it for your introduction or for short periods throughout the class.  If there is a registration page for the session, maybe place a photo of yourself there.  It makes it easier for us to hold onto information if we feel a sense of connection to the speaker.  (Personally… if I don’t know what the speaker looks like, I start imagining what they look like… so be prepared for me to imagine you wearing an outfit straight out of The Hunger Games.)

Character from the movie The Hunger Games

Pretty sure this is how you look…

What’s even better than one person on camera?  Everyone on camera.  I’ve frequently held team meetings with nine or more remote employees, and everyone had their webcam turned on, Hollywood Squares style.  When everyone is on video, it’s much easier to tell who is talking, or who wants to talk, or who really doesn’t like something but isn’t about to say anything.

Picture from the television show The Hollywood Squares

Team meetings just got way more fun.

It’s also a lot easier to get everyone to speak one at a time.  People can raise their hands.  When there’s too much chaos, I do interpretive dance until everyone is quiet with admiration of my dancing abilities.  (Or at least I think that’s what it is.)  Works just as well in small classes as it does in meetings.  People are much more likely to stay engaged when you can see them.  And there’s something kind of nice about slurping some noodles in LA while your colleague in New York munches on a sandwich.

Also fun… team meetings or classes where everyone wears an interesting accessory.  Show and tell.  One of my calculus professors made all of us wear party hats to exams – which he called Celebrations of Learning.  I hated calculus but the exams were definitely less painful thanks to his creativity.  You could interoffice everyone a party hat and some candy to celebrate a special occasion.

Back when I was on a Staff Diversity Committee, I tried to get my team to wear items to our virtual meeting that expressed their heritage.  Granted, it didn’t totally work… it was just me with my American Indian feathers and one team member in a Polish babushka.  But it was still an entertaining way to open our meeting.

A grandmother wearing a babushka

When you don’t want to do your hair, just wear your babushka.

Speaking of interesting ways to open a meeting, trying opening by having a different person each week teach the group something work related.  Just a five minute snippet of information before you start the agenda.  Again, this works in meetings or in cohort-style classes that meet on a recurring basis.  It helps the group get to know one another, and gives learners the chance to actively engage.

More musings coming soon.

– Katrina

The post Engaging the Long Distance Learner: Part 1 appeared first on eLearning.

Engaging the Long Distance Learner: Part 1

I recently did a webinar called, “15 Ways to Market Your Training Program & Learning Tech.”  (Here is the recording and slide deck.) The session covers a lot in 60 minutes so I thought it would be good to do a complementary blog series.  The first few posts will focus on engaging the long distance learner.

Most organizations these days have at least some employees working remotely.  There are many benefits to working outside of the office, but it definitely adds a layer of complexity for those of us who teach.  Long distance employees have less of an opportunity to engage with colleagues and learn informally.  There are less chances for casual conversation that builds social bonds.  This can cause remote employees to feel they have no connection to their organization, and we know where that goes.  Less motivation, more attrition, and from an L&D standpoint, less engagement.  Why develop your job skills if you don’t know how long you’ll stay with your employer?

Learning and development can solve two issues experienced by the long distance learner.  We can deliver training and hopefully provide alternative ways to learn what informal learning normally provides.  We also support the overall culture of an organization and can give learners the opportunity to know their colleagues.

The trickiest part of teaching long distance learners is finding a way to communicate that is just as natural and meaningful as face to face interaction.  For a population that frequently feels cut off from their colleagues, videoconferencing is an important tool.  Whenever possible, teach virtual classes with your camera turned on.

Consider though that if you are teaching to a global audience, some audience members will encounter difficulty with bandwidth limitations if you leave your webcam on.  Try enabling it for your introduction or for short periods throughout the class.  If there is a registration page for the session, maybe place a photo of yourself there.  It makes it easier for us to hold onto information if we feel a sense of connection to the speaker.  (Personally… if I don’t know what the speaker looks like, I start imagining what they look like… so be prepared for me to imagine you wearing an outfit straight out of The Hunger Games.)

Character from the movie The Hunger Games

Pretty sure this is how you look…

What’s even better than one person on camera?  Everyone on camera.  I’ve frequently held team meetings with nine or more remote employees, and everyone had their webcam turned on, Hollywood Squares style.  When everyone is on video, it’s much easier to tell who is talking, or who wants to talk, or who really doesn’t like something but isn’t about to say anything.

Picture from the television show The Hollywood Squares

Team meetings just got way more fun.

It’s also a lot easier to get everyone to speak one at a time.  People can raise their hands.  When there’s too much chaos, I do interpretive dance until everyone is quiet with admiration of my dancing abilities.  (Or at least I think that’s what it is.)  Works just as well in small classes as it does in meetings.  People are much more likely to stay engaged when you can see them.  And there’s something kind of nice about slurping some noodles in LA while your colleague in New York munches on a sandwich.

Also fun… team meetings or classes where everyone wears an interesting accessory.  Show and tell.  One of my calculus professors made all of us wear party hats to exams – which he called Celebrations of Learning.  I hated calculus but the exams were definitely less painful thanks to his creativity.  You could interoffice everyone a party hat and some candy to celebrate a special occasion.

Back when I was on a Staff Diversity Committee, I tried to get my team to wear items to our virtual meeting that expressed their heritage.  Granted, it didn’t totally work… it was just me with my American Indian feathers and one team member in a Polish babushka.  But it was still an entertaining way to open our meeting.

A grandmother wearing a babushka

When you don’t want to do your hair, just wear your babushka.

Speaking of interesting ways to open a meeting, trying opening by having a different person each week teach the group something work related.  Just a five minute snippet of information before you start the agenda.  Again, this works in meetings or in cohort-style classes that meet on a recurring basis.  It helps the group get to know one another, and gives learners the chance to actively engage.

More musings coming soon.

– Katrina

The post Engaging the Long Distance Learner: Part 1 appeared first on eLearning.

3 Tips For More Powerful eLearning Storytelling

The mark of a good story is a lasting effect on the reader, the feeling that they have connected with the story, and the compulsion to share it with others. Here are 3 ways to achieve this experience with your learning. This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Digitize Instructor-Led Training Sessions To Increase Employee Engagement And Performance

The need for enhanced learner engagement in instructor-led training (ILT) today is stronger than ever and organizations are increasingly looking at active learner participation in instructor-led training deliveries. In this article, I highlight how you can achieve this when you digitize instructor-led training sessions through our eSpace tool.

Why You Need To Digitize Instructor-Led Training: What Are The Factors That Are Pushing Organizations To Relook At ILT Delivery?

Digitize Instructor-Led Training

With reduced training and travel budgets, Learning and Development (L&D) teams across the world are being pushed to re-evaluate their existing instructor-led training (ILT) delivery. Alongside the reduction of budgets, there is an added pressure to ensure that there is a demonstrable ROI on the training spend.

On the other side, learners expect training deliveries that:

  1. Appeal to varied profiles (particularly Millennials).
  2. Adapt to their preferences and learning styles.
  3. Are flexible and can be taken “on the go” on the device of their choice (includes smartphones and tablets).

Clearly, both these aspects converge to an increase on:

Online training: Particularly mLearning or mobile learning.

Blended learning.

Digitization of the instructor-led training delivery to maximize the effectiveness of instructor-led and virtual instructor-led training programs.

In this article, I will focus on why it makes sense to digitize your instructor-led training delivery and enhance its value and have more engaged learners. I will also outline how this will lead to a higher ROI on your training spend.

What Are The Benefits If You Digitize Instructor-Led Training?

You would get several benefits that help you maximize the effectiveness of instructor-led and virtual instructor-led training programs. Notable being:

  1. Get the best of both worlds.
    • Have the power of traditional instructor-led training delivery.
    • Multiply the impact by leveraging on the flexibility of online delivery.
  2. Create highly engaging and interactive learning sessions with your learners.
  3. Retain the connect (between learners and between trainers and learners) even after the workshop.
  4. Bring in “learning as a continuum”.
    Extend the learning engagement even after the workshop.

Case Study

I share a case study that features our platform eSpace and how it enables you to go beyond the traditional instructor-led training/blended delivery to a new age digital experience.

eSpace retains the edge of the instructor-led training delivery and offers the benefits and flexibility of online delivery.

Introducing eSpace – A Unique Online Framework For Offering Instructor-Led Training And Blended Learning

This unique framework (cloud-based and works on all devices including tablets and smartphones) allows you to offer instructor-led training or blended training through an online platform.

You can create learning paths featuring microlearning nuggets (for blended delivery) and integrate social learning features to provide higher impact learning.

You can use eSpace to:

    • Provide access to a single source for material for instructor-led training sessions.
      Pre-Workshop online material can be shared with learners before the training session. They have an on-going access to it both during and post workshop.
    • Provide control to instructors.
      They can define the learning path and integrate all job aids required for training acquisition and eventually its application on the job (thereby establishing a performance gain that businesses want to see).
    • Communicate and collaborate.
      There are several features to facilitate communication with groups and individuals.
    • Engage and contribute.
      The tool offers different features to take feedback from participants during the training.

How Can You Use eSpace To Step Up Your Existing ILT/VILT Delivery?

It addresses the challenges that are inherent to ILT/VILT delivery. In addition, the tool:

    • Provides higher learner involvement and ensures active learner participation.
    • Reduces the learners’ inhibition to comment/communicate.
    • Tracks the access to preparatory materials by the participants.
    • Provides an easy approach to maintain documentation, preserve it, and keep it accessible online.
    • Provides easy revision of the information.
    • Enables instructors to do an effective assessment of the learning (more rigorous check-pointing pre/post or during the workshop).
    • Provides easy to implement online post-training support.
    • Enables an easy way to integrate Performance Support at work.

How Does eSpace Help Both Instructors And Participants With An Enhanced Learning Experience As Opposed To Traditional Instructor-Led Training Delivery?

Our eSpace platform is more than just an online platform to deliver instructor-led training and blended learning. It comes with a host of features that are bound to take your blended learning experience to the next level.

1. Easy To Set Up Plus Use It Beyond The Workshop.

    • The platform facilitates easy and flexible delivery of learning content.
      You can use it to share material pre-workshop, during the session, and to offer performance support options post-workshop.
    • User-friendly.
      The tool is user-friendly and it’s easy to set up sessions and courses. Instructors need not have the in-depth technical know-how to operate the tool as it is easy to use and extremely intuitive.

2. Truly Collaborative.

With eSpace, users can experience collaborative learning in the true sense of the term as it has:

    • Forums/Discussion Boards.
      The tool has forums to facilitate communication between learners and instructors alike. Categories of forums can be created with each forum having its own discussion thread. These forums can be moderated as well to ensure that appropriate/relevant content is brought up for discussion.
    • Instant messaging.
      The chat tool comes with features like emoticons and smileys that give the learning a personalized touch.
    • Video-conferencing.
      This feature breaks the distance barriers between learners and instructors and helps make learning and interaction as real and effective as possible.
    • Groups.
      Learner groups can be created and they can be defined at the instructor/administrator level. Learners can be given permission to create their own groups as well.
    • An integrated social network.
      The tool comes with an integrated social network wherein all registered users can create their own profile, search for people, send invitations, make friends, send messages, and create groups on different topics.
    • Social bookmarking.
      Learners can exchange links and bookmarks and also link their social network profile to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other external social network platforms.
    • Announcements.
      Instructors can send announcements to learners through emails, text, images, videos, links, and so on. They also have the flexibility to send announcements or messages globally or to individual learners. These announcements will be visible to learners as soon as they log in to the platform.

3. Learner-Centric.

The tool is a learner’s delight as it comes with features such as:

    • Personal notes.
      The personal notes tool is available to learners to take notes on the courses they are taking.
    • Personal calendar.
      The tool facilitates setting up of events, meetings, assessments, and so on in the course agenda. Learners can receive updates when there are changes to their personal calendar and synchronize the calendar with the course agenda.
    • Self enrollment.
      Learners can log in and enroll themselves in the course of their choice.
    • Role swap.
      Learners can be given teacher/instructor rights. They can be made tutors and allowed to create course content.
    • Search course content.
      Learners can use the search option to look for a specific course content.
    • Learning in nuggets.
      The tool allows learners to experience bite-sized learning in the form of microlearning nuggets. Their nuggets can also be used as effective Performance Support Tools to convert acquisition of knowledge to the application of knowledge.

4. Classroom Plus.

The tool helps provide learning experiences that are both similar and distinct as far as classroom learning is concerned. This is on account of features like:

    • Sign-up sheets.
      Instructors can use these to track the presence of learners for the courses they take.
    • Assignment submission.
      Learners can upload their assignments in the Assignment section.
    • Quizzes.
      The tool comes with an in-built feature that facilitates the creation of various types of quizzes (SAMC, MAMC, Fill in the Blanks, and so on). The details of how the learners have performed in the quiz can be tracked through the dashboard statistics, giving a clear picture of the percentage of learners who have passed or failed the tests.
    • Surveys.
      These can be sent to registered users as well as others through their email addresses. The statistics related to the data provided by the respondents is graphically represented.
    • Gradebook.
      Scores and grades that the learners have obtained are made available on the assignment tool.
    • Learner tracking.
      Insights on learner progress, activity, the time they logged in, results, scores, and so on are available on the dashboard.

5. An All-Embracing Technology.

The platform is cloud-based and multi-device compatible. Besides, it comes with features such as:

    • Varied learning tools.
      These appeal to different learning types and come in different forms.
    • Document upload, management, and sharing.
      The tool not only facilitates easy upload and download of files but sharing of documents through the platform saving the email attachment hassles.
    • Mobile learning.
      The tool lets you take the learning experience mobile and enable the learners to learn from anywhere they want on the device of their choice.
    • SCORM compliant.
      The tool is SCORM and AICC compatible.
    • Import of any type of content.
      The tool allows importing of content in varied formats and integration of external web content, such as YouTube videos and so on.
    • RSS feeds.
      These can be generated from within the platform by instructors.
    • Easy user management.
      Multiple users can be added. They can be added manually, individually, or group-wise by the administrator.
    • Language options.
      Learners can choose to operate the tool in the language of their choice. They can choose the language interface of their choice. The platform is currently available in 45 languages.
    • Course templates.
      Instructors can make use of course templates in the learning path tool.

Summary

You can also take a look at this video to know about the features of our eSpace platform and how it can be used to enhance the effectiveness of instructor-led training and blended learning deliveries.

I hope this article provides you with insights to help you step up your instructor-led training and blended learning strategy. If you need any further assistance, do contact me at apandey@eidesign.net.

The post Digitize Instructor-Led Training Sessions To Increase Employee Engagement And Performance appeared first on eLearning.

How To Use Responsive eLearning Design For Better Learner Engagement

mLearning provides multi-device support and is undergoing a shift from a fixed layout to a dynamic or responsive eLearning design. In this article, I answer 5 questions on how you can use responsive eLearning design to create better learner engagement.

Ways Responsive eLearning Design Can Create Better Learner Engagement

What is responsive eLearning design? 

Responsive eLearning design draws its inspiration from responsive web design concept that allows the website to be viewed on devices.

Responsive eLearning design is an eLearning format that responds to the screen size of the device on which it is being viewed.

Here’s an example of how responsive eLearning design will look on multiple devices:

Responsive eLearning Design

1. What Are The Important Characteristics Of Responsive eLearning Design?

  • The most significant characteristic of responsive eLearning design is that it enables the content to respond to your device’s viewable area. It offers the best possible layout on your device (smartphone or tablet) that helps you get the right User Experience and the expected learning experience.
  • To ensure that the content is presented in the most user-friendly manner on all target devices, the content needs to be restructured and laid out differently on the screen. Given the fact that responsive eLearning designs are multi-device (they run seamlessly on desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones), they must be optimized keeping note of the availability of real estate on each device. For example,
    • The content in a smartphone may focus on significant aspects first and the related information may be layered (to be revealed on further exploration).
    • Similarly, the interactions must be adapted suitably. Hence, interactions that require manual dexterity just wouldn’t work effectively on smartphones and must be remapped to suit smartphone based interaction to provide the right User Experience.

2. Why Does Responsive Design Matter In eLearning?

Look at the all-pervasive usage of mobile devices in our daily life and it only stands to reason that they should be used for providing access to learning. We have seen the push for eLearning come from learners and the organizations have responded by integrating the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy to provide flexibility to users to learn on the device of their choice.

Today, most of the corporate training needs can be offered on mobile devices with the flexibility to learners to take up part of training on desktops/laptops and balance on the go (on tablets/smartphones).

Supporting this is the transformation in authoring tools where earlier adaptive tools are now giving way to fully responsive tools that create significantly better User Experience leading to higher learner engagement.

3. What Tools Can You Use To Design Responsive eLearning Courses?

As I have mentioned, there has been a steady evolution of the authoring tools and currently, there are 3 tracks:

Responsive Design Tools

These offer layouts that are optimized across devices.

  • Tools that offer rapid development to design.
    Adapt Learning, Articulate Rise, CrossKnowledge Mohive, dominKnow Flow, Elucidat, and Gomo are the leading options in this category.
  • Tools that use multi-device layouts based approach to design.
    Adobe Captivate and Trivantis Lectora.

Adaptive design tools.

These too offer multi-device support but the content will shrink to fit smartphones. The popular options here are dominKnow Claro, iSpring, and Articulate Storyline.

4. What Are Some Tips You Can Use To Create Effective Responsive eLearning Design?

Here is a list of tips that you can use to create effective responsive eLearning design:

  1. Responsive eLearning design must factor for feasibility for the smallest real estate (smartphones-including how it would work in the portrait mode) first, and then move up to tablets, desktops/laptops. This is crucial in ensuring that required User Experience can be provided on each device.
  2. In spite of pre-planning and following the right approach, it is very difficult to predict if the User Experience across all devices will meet the required mandate. The litmus test is validation with users, and this must be factored in the development cycle.
  3. As highlighted earlier, you need to factor for eLearning content customization to do justice to different real estates and the way information appears across different devices.
    • For smartphones, focus on absolute essentials in the first pass and provide related information in a layered manner (available for exploration).
    • It goes without saying that the User Experience on mobile devices is hampered if the content takes an inordinate time to load. Optimize the file sizes, even look at alternate imagery that is light and smartphone friendly.
  4. Navigation should be simple to factor for the smaller real estate for the smartphones. You can opt for different formats across devices so that they offer the best User Experience in each device.
  5. Interactions need special attention. You need to stay away from interactions that need manual dexterity and may come in the way of big thumbs.
  6. Across the designs, ensure that the buttons and any other clickable asset is large enough. Otherwise, the required impact will not be created.

5. How Can You Use Responsive eLearning Design For Maximum Impact?

So far, we have noted how you can use responsive eLearning design to create an optimal User Experience on each device. Another interesting and highly significant aspect is to use the device (given its main characteristics) to be used for a specific type of learning. For instance,

  • It is unlikely that you will take a 60-min course on a smartphone but you will certainly take the course of similar length if it were offered as shorter microlearning nuggets of 3-7 each.
  • Similarly, once you provide the option to users to learn across devices, they may choose the formal training on desktops/laptops but would prefer informal learning on a smartphone/tablet. You can achieve this by offering a combination of formal training with Performance Support Tools (PSTs) or learning aids that are designed to help learners apply their knowledge on the job.
  • Additionally, you can use the mobile devices to push sessions for practice, reinforcement, and remediation.
  • You can also push challenges (assessments) that keep the learners on their toes and encourage them to review the formal training assets till they gain the required level of mastery.

I hope this article showcases possibilities that responsive eLearning design offers and how you can use it for high impact training and better learner engagement. You can go beyond its capability to lay down the eLearning content to the device’s size and dimensions. Instead, you can use each device to play a significant part in the learning journey. Do contact me at apandey@eidesign.net, if you have any queries.

Source: https://www.eidesign.net/use-responsive-elearning-design-better-learner-engagement/

 

Digital Learning And Development (Part 3): How To Run A ‘Resources-First’ Initiative

A ‘resources-first’ initiative can take just a few days from initiation through to go-live, equipping vast teams of people with context-specific know-how. No more waiting to find vendors, waiting for courses to be designed, and waiting for eventual attendance on ‘the course’. Resources are built, shared, and tapped into in real-time.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

How To Use Responsive eLearning Design For Better Learner Engagement

mLearning provides multi-device support and is undergoing a shift from a fixed layout to a dynamic or responsive eLearning design. In this article, I answer 5 questions on how you can use responsive eLearning design to create better learner engagement.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

5 Amazing Reasons Τo Try Personalized Learning In Online Training

Organizations are now looking at new ways to improve Learning and Development at the workplace. A personalized learning experience can be created based on role, experience, skill level, or need. This article covers the benefits of personalized learning in online training programs.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.