Conversations and Dialouges in Articulate Storyline 360

As an eLearning enthusiast, we would love to welcome more challenges in our journey of eLearning. This week’s eLearning challenge was to develop conversations and dialogues in eLearning course. We were equipped with a pool of conversational interfaces in many of our eLearning courses. Among them the most liked conversational interface we have developed for…

5 Eternal eLearning Trends That Have Stood the Test of Time

eLearning has had, and continues to have trends come and go during its relatively short lifetime, with certain trends disappearing into oblivion, while some trends sticking for good, and being followed to this day. In this article, we’ll discuss 5 timeless eLearning trends that stuck, and have become more of eLearning essentials than trends. Let’s go.

  1. Gamification

Gamification tops the list of eternal eLearning trends because it is a sure-shot way to build learner engagement. Gamified eLearning courses have evolved to include more elements in them than simply game dynamics and rules like leaderboards, points, rewards and achievements. Although all these points are what makes gamification so great as a learner engagement and motivation tool, the gamified courses of today utilize augmentations, animations and compelling storylines. Gamification has not only stood the test of time as an eLearning trend, it has improved with it. Which is why gamification is the way to go, and one of the most beneficial trends in eLearning ever.

  1. Personalized Learning

Corporate organizations have now understood that each individual learner/employee is different, and have different professional and personal goals, according to which they should be provided training through eLearning. They should have the freedom to choose their own learning paths, which makes their learning more focused and targeted. By giving the learners the power to choose what modules to complete and which to skip, personalized learning empowers its users. Personalized learning also appeals more to learners, as everyone wants something that is designed based on their personal choices. Personalized learning is thus a trend that stuck, and is being used more and more by corporate organizations that wish to improve their employee learning and development.

  1. mLearning

Talking about learner autonomy and freedom, nothing gives learners more freedom than mLearning. After all, employees have a lot on their plate, even without having to take out the time during office hours to complete eLearning courses. When they’re forced to complete courses during office hours, it leads to a backlog of actual work, as well as discontent. When employees feel resentment towards eLearning courses, and treat them only as a tiring convention that must be done, no learning can take place. mLearning allows employees to complete their eLearning courses on their smartphones, whenever they want to, wherever they want to. This solves all the above mentioned problems. This is the reason mLearning has transformed from an eLearning trend to an absolute necessity in the modern world, as a smartphone is something that every modern-day employee has, and regularly engages with.

  1. APIs (Application Programming Interfaces)

It was SCORM (Shareable Content Object Reference Model) that started the trend of APIs within eLearning by allowing training and course content to be shared with other SCORM compliant systems. SCORM was succeeded by xAPI, also known as Tin Can API as well as Experience API. Basically these programs have built-in instructions for applications to talk to each other, so that the content is compatible and platform-independent. xAPI or Tin Can was considered an improvement over SCORM because it enables learners to collect data online and offline, while helping track learner progress and use content through a multitude of software suites, in addition to certain other features. APIs too have become an essential nowadays, but it wasn’t long before they were considered just a new-fangled trend.

  1. Flash to HTML5 Conversion

Flash is dead. This is a brutal truth. But, Flash didn’t die all of a sudden. It wasn’t long before Flash was the gold standard of eLearning courses, but that was before eLearning professionals realized the magic of HTML5. HTML5 allowed audio, video, 2D/3D graphics and animation to play without a plug-in. In addition, it gave hardware access, offline storage, and supported cloud-based applications. But the clincher was the fact that any eLearning course made on it was automatically responsive! This hastened Flash’s imminent doom. So what about all those Flash courses that were created? Would those become useless? Fortunately, no. It was found that Flash courses could be converted to HTML5 courses, and thus began the trend of Flash to HTML5 conversion, which is a big thing, even today.

You never know which eLearning trend might be here to stay, so never knock one until you’ve tried it.

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Augmented reality in education

Student engagement in the classroom is dropping every year because they may be bored with that traditional stereotypical learning styles, though we can have better learning in this digitalized era. Ever wondered why they become inattentive in the classroom and fond of smartphones and tabs? Imagine what if we can introduce these technologies to school. Students will prefer technology-based learning than choosing a textbook based live class learning. Augmented reality is an emerging technology in education which can be used in human anatomy learning to space-related learnings. It is defined as a technology used to superimpose information in text, image, sound formats. .There are several apps emerged for students to let them engage with interactive learning even though  Augmented reality is still developing. It can bring evolution to the field of education than any other technology.

Impact of augmented reality in the education industry

The main advantage of using augmented reality in the education sector is that it completely changes the way of interaction of students to books and learning methods. It makes things easy to understand since augmented reality shows content in the form of  3Dvideo, image, graphics, etc. Undoubtedly, it increases student interaction and attendance in the classroom. Students can learn anytime from anywhere, by the help of augmented reality application installed smartphone devices. This method is definitely an entertaining way of learning that students love to use. The dedicated market of augmented reality devices is expected to reach USD 60.55 billion by 2023. It adequately takes a leading position among the most significant trends in education. In short, a number of applications are available for both ios and android and are easily accessible on mobile phones, thus in classrooms. Many eLearning development companies also leverage the power of augmented reality in their eLearning platforms.

Benefits of  using AR in education

24*7 available study materials

The main advantage of using AR in the sector of education is that it has the ability to replace paper textbooks and printed study materials. As a result, study materials becomes accessible anytime from anywhere. That saves time and expenses as there is no need to buy textbooks and models. The anytime availability of materials helps clear and better understanding of educational concepts.

Increasing student interest and classroom engagement

Most of the AR applications are interactive and gamified so that students have more interest to learn through these technologies than textbook-based education. Students grasp the concepts faster and easier when learning using AR models. Since learning became more attractive, automatically classroom engagement increases. Using augmented reality applications in classrooms brings more student interest and engagement in the classroom.

Practical learning

Practical learning is possible by using augmented reality. Unlike usual schooling, it helps in gaining job oriented practical experiences by using AR applications. For example, the anatomy of an organism can be conveniently learned by Augmented reality, in which users can use many tools to learn each and every part of the human body and can learn them effectively. Completely interactive stunning visuals increase student’s interest and classroom engagement.

Improved and increased learning

Student participation in the classroom increases with the use of augmented reality applications. This helps students to understand the topics and lessons through the provided materials. The provided materials and the style of learning are interactive, that makes learning more easier and interesting. Thus students can learn anytime from anywhere using their materials saved on their smartphone, rather than going through a number of referring books. Also, it saves time.

Less expensive

Usually, in visual-based learning physical equipment and tools such as 3D models, posters, illustrations are expensive. Users have to pay a high amount as, maintaining cost too. But in AR implemented classrooms, It is less expensive as there is no need to invest in physical learning materials and no need for maintaining costs. The AR application installed smartphone is enough for learning. Students can purchase and save the materials, and this reduces the cost of rebuying the materials.

Improved memory

AR learning models are very informative and they cover a wide range of all the topics. Students access informative websites from augmented reality application. These style of learning improves the process of learning and helps students to gain knowledge within a specified time. This increases imagination which results in improved and increased memory.

Some Augmented reality Apps for students

Corinth Micro Anatomy

Corinth Microanatomy is an application accessible on windows phone which is used to display the functioning of internal organs. It helps to understand human anatomy better, as augmented reality provides interaction with reality. Internal organs can be well demonstrated using the same. It helps medical students to create medical models of organs.

AugThat

AugThat is one of the first augmented reality platforms in education, created by an educator in 2013. This both android and ios compatible application is mainly used in classrooms for improving the interaction of students. AugThat helps to display  360°  virtual photographs and 3D representations in devices and hence improve student engagement in the classroom.

Elements 4D

The interactive block application is created by DAQRI studio is basically chemistry learning application, is available on both android and ios. Elements 4D is an application showing 6 wooden blocks having the symbol of elements written on them. Each block is representing different elements. students can put 2 blocks together to learn how they react.

Anatomy 4D

Anatomy 4D is created targetting medical learners, is used to display the human body as a 3D model. It also allows users to interact with the displayed model, thus students can learn about each organ easily. This application is available on both android and ios.

Aurasma

This application helps to blends digital contents in the form of 3D models, animations, videos to the real world. It also helps to share the generated AR experience and your own with friends too. It is based on image recognition technology and is available on both android and ios.

Originally posted in school management system blog

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Neuroplasticity And Its Role In Learning And Memory

What is Neuroplasticity?

The human brain is a complex part of the body and very little of it was understood even a few decades ago. However, increased focus on researching the brain has led to remarkable discoveries related to its functioning in greater detail.

In my previous blog, “Whole Brain Learning To Enhance Your Learning Experiences“, I have presented few ideas on how the brain functions when it comes to processing or digesting information.

A simple diagram was presented as below:

It’s not that different people use only a part of the brain, it’s just that different people due to nature of their profession, tend to focus on one part of the brain. For example, a chess player’s brain becomes accustomed to think everything in terms of black and white, whereas a painter’s brain is more in tune with the right side which is all about images/pictures.

While whole brain learning does explain how to design learning for different types of learners, it does not give us complete picture about how people can become more smarter or can learn newer things. This is where Neuroplasticity comes in.

Neuroplasticity as the name suggests that brain cells can reorganize themselves and create new connections. We will next see how this can be achieved.

Hippocampus-What is it?

The brain houses thumb sized structures deep within the center that helps humans to learn and remember new things. This structure looks like seahorse and is known as Hippocampus. It is Hippocampus that generates new brain cells everyday and these neurons form new connections.

An example of the evolving brain is difference in the size of hippocampus for a sales agent and a bus driver. While a sales agent travels multiple routes in a city and gets to know newer routes and meets many people, the bus driver drives in only a limited number of routes as assigned to him. The sales agent develops an ability to talk to various types of customers, sometimes to people who speak different languages or communities. If you compare the size of the hippocampus of both the professionals, the size of the hippocampus for the sales agent would be bigger.

Neuroplasticity and Learning

It has been suggested by researchers that by learning new things such as languages, art or even working on different musical instruments, our brain creates new synapses and forces us to expand our intellect. A synapse is the gap between one neuron cell and another. It is this synapse that carries electrochemical information between neurons. In other words, synapses are the key to neuroplasticity in learning.

Neuroplasticity in learning can be best observed in children as their brain is growing till the age of 16. Another case of neuroplasticity in learning alternate motor functions is observed when injury to the brain forces other parts of the brain to compensate for the loss of a function. Neuroplasticity is slightly static in adulthood; however, research has suggested that by learning new skills or acquiring new knowledge, neuroplasticity continues to evolve.

It is found especially when learning a new language, the brain’s grey matter grows and forms new synapses and forces neuroplasticity . The left inferior parietal cortex of a person learning a new language is bigger than that of a person who knows only one language. This is a good example of neuroplasticity in learning.

It was also found that those people who practice more on a particular skill such as learning music have bigger hippocampus and have greater grey matter in their brains as compared to those who practice less.

Training and Neuroplasticity

Having understood the power of neuroplasticity, we can now delve into how training interventions, games and other modalities can increase efficiency and productivity.

Apart from the regular training that is provided to the learners, the role of performance support in the form of interesting videos, new and varied supporting information via microlearning nuggets, short eLearning modules, games and gamified assessments helps challenge learners constantly and make them more engaged and interested in work.

Organizations can leverage or utilize the power of neuroplasticity in improving learning experiences to make their employees perform better.

A disengaged employee who has no support in the form of training or new information is likely to tune off and be less productive than his/her potential would suggest.

These are some tips to improve neuroplasticity:

  • Cross-functional training on other functions that are relevant to the job
  • Providing content curation on latest trends of a domain
  • Providing regular assessments and trivia on a subject
  • Microlearning nuggets to improve recall of key concepts learnt

Conclusion

To conclude, neuroplasticity and learning is an important concept and has helped us understand a bit more about how the brain functions. Let’s utilise this knowledge to provide interesting and varied trainings to learners.

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Leverage eLearning Courses with 3D Models in Articulate Storyline 360

This week we had an interesting eLearning challenge #232 on Articulate Storyline to use 3D models in eLearning courses. At the end of this blog you can preview and download the sample on how to use 3D models in  Articulate Storyline 360. Case Study: We developed an online course for one of our clients from…

Game Based Learning – Custom Claw Machine Interaction

We would love to unravel the challenges that are requested by our clients. Recently we got a game based customization request from one of our clients from Dubai (UAE). The requirement was to develop elearning courses for their academic curriculum (K12). They possess raw materials and need to convert paper-based material into elearning. The courses…

Gamification Mechanics – What Are They and Why Are They Important?

Gamification is one of the most popular trends in eLearning. Gamification increases learner engagement, makes eLearning fun and interactive, improves learner’s knowledge absorption and retention and enhances the learning experience for learners from all age groups. eLearning professionals, L&D (Learning and Development) professionals, as well as learners that have experience with gamified eLearning courses would have heard the term “gamification mechanics” a lot of times in passing. But what does this term mean and why is it important? In this article we’ll discuss the same.

Gamification mechanics, also called game mechanics or verbs of gamification are actually the elements that are used in an eLearning course to gamify it. These include the actions, control mechanisms and processes that are usually found in games, which help put the learner in the middle of the action as well as restrict them in certain ways in order to create a challenge. The term “mechanics” refers to how anything (in this case a game or gamified eLearning course) operates. Different publications list different number of gamification mechanics, but there are 7 key gamification mechanics which are recognized globally and used the most often. These include:

  1. Points
  2. Badges/Achievements
  3. Levels
  4. Progress bars
  5. Leaderboards
  6. Rewards
  7. Learner Interaction

Let us discuss these gamification mechanics in detail:

  1. Points

Well, it wouldn’t be a game without a scoring system, would it? In case of gamified eLearning, learners should earn points by progressing through a course or by unlocking achievements. Points should also be tied to either a reward, badge or an achievement itself. Points are also often used to level up (by collecting a certain number of points), to appear on leaderboards or as currency in the game to buy badges, rewards and other in-game items.

  1. Badges/Achievements

Badges are usually awarded when the gamer/learner achieves something, and are thus, usually linked with achievements. Badges are usually displayed alongside a learner’s username, in leaderboards or any other places in the LMS (learning management system) where usernames are displayed. Badges boost learner ego, and let learners boast about them in front of colleagues.

  1. Levels

Most games have levels. A ‘level up’ occurs usually when a gamer/learner gains a certain number of points, completes a task, unlocks an achievement or reaches a specific stage in the game or course. Leveling up also usually means that the course or game is about to get harder. It also means the introduction or unlocking of new opportunities, new skills, new learning material or new modules or courses.

  1. Progress Bars

Progress bars give the learner a visual indication of how much of the course they have completed, and how much of the course is still left. Progress bars should be visually appealing, and should move smoothly with animations after every progress.

  1. Leaderboards

Leaderboards are one of the most important gamification mechanics, as they propagate healthy competition. They are basically tables with the names of top 10 (or top 20) highest scorers in the game/course. Leaderboards are used to display learners with the most points, most badges, most progress, highest level. Top scorers gain the opportunity to boast in front of their colleagues, but could also gain a badge or an achievement.

  1. Rewards

Rewards could be anything from points, badges, levels, appearances on leaderboards, the advancement of a progress bar to even branded merchandise which are offered when the learner either accumulates a certain number of points, reaches a particular level, progresses to a certain stage in the course, or passes an assessment or evaluation.

  1. Learner Interactions

Interacting with other team members is something that has become a prominent feature in a number of games recently. Interacting with other players/learners can be a really powerful motivator, whether they are cooperating, competing, discussing new skills and new ideas, or just showing off their accomplishments. There should be a chat option in the game/course, and learners should also be encouraged to discuss courses on office’s social media groups or personal groups.

In order to integrate all of the above mentioned game mechanics in your eLearning course, you require a powerful LMS. That is something that should be kept in mind when going for gamified eLearning courses.

 

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To Improve Education – Focus on Pedagogy Not Technology

Zugegeben, der Ruf „Focus on Pedagogy Not Technology“ ist nicht besonders neu oder originell. Aber Mike Sharples (Open University/ UK) verbindet ihn mit dem Hinweis auf die „‚big four‘ overarching pedagogies“: „feedback for learning, cooperative learning, visible learning and personalized learning“. Diese Prinzipien sollten auch, so der Autor, den Einsatz neuer Bildungstechnologien leiten. Eine gute Strukturierungshilfe, wie ich finde.

„Giving a student immediate feedback on performance, especially in online learning, is one of the most effective ways of improving retention and exam scores. Cooperative learning – through group projects and collaborative research – is the great success story for education of the past fifty years. It works best when students have shared goals, know when and how to contribute, share rewards, and can reflect on their progress. Visible learning involves students setting explicit goals, the teacher seeing how each student is progressing, and each student understanding what the teacher requires. Personalized learning works best when students have group as well as personal tasks, the classroom is designed to support personalized acitivty, and students can discuss their performance.“

Mehr von Mike Sharples gibt es auf der Online Educa, der OEB2019. Oder in seinem neuen Buch: „Practical Pedagogy: 40 New Ways to Teach and Learn“. Ich habe es mal auf meine Leseliste genommen.
Mike Sharples, oeb Insights, 10. Mai 2019

How To Choose The Right Kind Of Video For Your Employee Training

Video-based learning has become an important part of corporate training delivery today. In this article, I share pointers that will help you identify what training videos would work best for your employees.

Choosing The Right Kind Of Video For Your Employee Training

Using videos for training employees has been around for a while. Of late, there is an acceleration in their usage. This is on account of the wider adoption of mobile learning and microlearning as they both leverage extensively on video-based learning.

Video is an immensely high-impact medium and when used as training videos for employees, they offer:

  • High engagement quotient
  • Sticky learning experience leading to higher retention and recall

The value of using training videos for employees lies in their ability to offer:

  • Formal training which can be consumed “on the go”
  • Instant job aids that are within the learners’ workflow and can be accessed at the moment of their need
  • Informal learning
  • Social learning

How Can You Use Training Videos For Your Employees?

You can use training videos for employees to supplement your corporate trainings and step up their impact. Some of the key trainings that can leverage on videos for employee training include:

  1. Induction and onboarding
  2. Soft skills training
  3. Product training
  4. Sales training
  5. Application simulations training
  6. Compliance training

The flexibility of training videos enables you to use them for:

  1. Formal training (online)
  2. Support Instructor-Led Training (ILT) or Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT)
  3. Performance Support (learning aids/job aids to support formal training)
  4. Social learning

This is not all. The true power of videos for employee training lies in their ability to contribute beyond learning or performance support intervention. They can contribute to other levels of the learning and performance ecosystem, notably to:

  1. Create a buzz or awareness (before the launch of the training program)
  2. Support crucial change management initiatives
  3. Continue the connect with the learners (post the training program)

Are There Any Drawbacks Or Limitations That You Should Be Aware Of As You Opt For Training Videos For Employees?

As I see it, there are a couple of aspects that you should note:

From The Development-And-Cost Perspective

The cost of video-based learning for formal training or as Performance Support is higher as compared to traditional eLearning development. You also need to be aware that any updates or enhancements do entail significant costs and lead time.

From The Learning-Impact Perspective

Even though video-based learning offers an immersive learning experience, the video does have an intrinsic limitation of “passivity”. It allows learners only to start/stop or pause.

This can impede the learning impact when you have long run length videos.

Additionally, you cannot track the learners’ progress as they go through videos for training.

What Kind Of Video Formats Can You Opt For In Order To Create Training Videos For Your Employees?

You have wide-ranging options that you can offer as training videos for your employees:

  1. Teaser videos
  2. Context-setting videos
  3. Explainer videos
  4. Scenario-based videos
  5. Story-based videos
  6. Complex decision-making branching simulation based videos

Are There Other Interesting Approaches That Can Enhance The Impact Of Training Videos For Employee Training?

Here are 3 interesting options that you should certainly consider:

1. Interactive videos
This is a Next Gen approach that creates highly interactive and immersive video-based learning solutions. It includes:

  • Learning interactions that are similar to traditional eLearning (Hot spots, Click and Reveal and so on)
  • Quizzes and assessments
  • Learning paths that branch to different tracks based on learners’ choices
  • Gamification elements
  • Unlike traditional videos, interactive videos allow you to track learner performance, and they also offer SCORM output

2. Microlearning videos
These short, focused, bite-sized videos use rapid development approaches. They are particularly useful as a social learning tool. They are designed to be available within the learners’ workflow so that they can access the relevant bite exactly at the time of their need.

3. 360-degree videos for VR and AR
These can take your user engagement and stickiness of learning to an all high level.

What Kind Of Training Videos Would Resonate With Your Employees?

Modern learners face challenges of distractions and multi-tasking, and they certainly do not want to carve out a block of time for training. They want the training to be flexible, short, focused, and available on the go. So, as you opt for videos for your employee training, match it with their lifestyle and accordingly, craft the learning journey.

Here is a list of my top 5 strategies you should adopt as you offer training videos for your employees:

  1. Create the buzz or awareness and establish WIIFM (What Is In It For Me)
  2. Set context or teach concepts
  3. Offer learning followed by practice, application, and summaries
  4. Checkpoint learners’ progress and understanding
  5. Reinforce and keep the “Forgetting Curve” at bay

What Would Be The Impact Of Using Training Videos For Your Employees?

You would see:

  • Higher engagement
  • Better completion rates
  • Better retention and recall
  • Better performance support leading to better application of the acquired learning
  • Increased focus on informal learning
  • Higher ROI on your training spend

I hope this article gives you great ideas that you can use as you implement training videos for your employee training. If you have any specific queries, leave a comment below.

Source: How To Choose The Right Kind Of Video For Your Employee Training

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