I recently did a webinar called, “15 Ways to Market Your Training Program & Learning Tech.” (Here is the recording and slide deck.) This blog series expands on the webinar content. The first few posts will focus on engaging the long distance learner.
As we discussed in part one, it’s easy for a remote employee to feel isolated from their larger organization. This is especially true when they first join their employer and are most in need of support.
Sometimes when we develop a new hire orientation curriculum, we think more about what is practical for us as the trainers, and less about what a new hire needs to be successful. We might accidentally create what I refer to as “Two Days of New Hire Haze.”
Here is what a new hire often hears when they begin orientation…
“Step right up, ladies and gentlemen… You have joined our organization and will now be blessed with two days of someone telling you everything you need to know in order to do your job. We will also provide a printout of the 400 slide PowerPoint in case you would like to take notes. Oh, and here is a binder of everything we just told you, but in even greater detail.”
Funny as it may sound, this is actually a common approach to new hire training. It’s unfortunate, because the learners are only able to retain a small percentage of the information provided. They might feel as if they’ve failed their first assignment, because they can’t remember everything they were taught. They may even feel as if they can’t ask questions of their colleagues because it will appear that they weren’t paying attention in class.
There is a practical alternative. We can create a training cohort for new hires.
A training cohort is just a fancy term for a group of learners who take classes together over a period of time, similar to what you would find in a college course. New hires within a cohort attend multiple, shorter classes together. They may primarily learn in a classroom or via virtual sessions, or both. This allows the new hires to process new information and retain it effectively. They may perform assignments in between sessions to reinforce what is being taught. They get the opportunity to get to know each other and also learn from multiple instructors. The feeling of cognitive overload is much less compared to learning everything in a short time frame.
Create Your Training Cohort
Here is a practical example of how you might go about creating a cohort structure for new hire orientation. This is based on a structure I designed and used successfully while managing a learning and development team for a former employer.
Structuring Your Cohort
There are two items to address early on:
- How often will you form a cohort of new hires? Decide how many new hires you would like to have in a cohort, and use that information to determine how often to begin a new cohort. For example, let’s say you decide you want an average class size of ten new hires per cohort. After tinkering around in your HRIS, you calculate that your organization hires ten new people every two weeks. So, you will create a new cohort twice a month.
- Will new hire training be delivered in person, virtually, or both combined? My structure was mostly virtual, and there were often new hires from multiple offices attending virtual training sessions. We also offered for new hires to attend in person if they were in the same office as the instructor, and they could receive one on one coaching any time either virtually or from their resident trainer.
The New Hire’s First Day
Decide what a new hire absolutely must know the first day in order to function. Typically this will include:
- How to reset default passwords and work within your organization’s security protocols
- How to access and use email applications, internal communication systems, and document management systems
- How to contact each department, especially HR and the service desk
- Safety information about the new hire’s primary office location, unless they work remotely
- Anything a new hire is required to review and/or sign from a compliance standpoint
A new hire typically receives their equipment the first day as well as a packet of policies, benefits paperwork, and reference materials.
Keep first day training as concise as possible, and consider structuring your onboarding procedures so that new hires only start on Mondays. That way, you aren’t delivering multiple sessions of the same class each week.
Once you’ve provided new hires with what they absolutely must know, plan to provide additional training over the next 90 days. Create an internal web site for new hires that explains what classes or resources they should access during their first week, first month, and so on. Provide links to content within your learning management system. My team created a web site that included links to virtual classes, short videos, tip sheets, and internal resource pages, so learners could get as much or as little information as they wanted. Make sure managers are also aware of this page so they can remind new hires to access it.
Work out a recurring schedule for cohort classes so they are always readily available to new hires. Make sure there is a class recording or other content that is available should a new hire need information prior to the next cohort class. My team offered recordings and an interactive e-learning course as a substitute to attending virtual sessions.
Consider whether you would like new hires to complete assignments in between classes. If so, upload the assignments to your LMS and post links to them on the new hire training site. You could even have new hires work together on an assignment so they get to know each other.
Offer One on One Coaching
No two new hires are exactly the same. Their skill levels will be different, and someone in Accounting may need very different new hire training than someone in Marketing. It’s good to offer cohort classes for information that is relevant to most or all new hires, and offer one on one coaching on more specialized topics.
Depending on your organization, this may mean having a designated trainer from each department reach out to relevant new hires and offer coaching. (Definitely put coaches’ contact information on your new hire training page!) My team created a “menu” of coaching topics a new hire could request, because sometimes a new hire doesn’t know what they don’t know. Coaching not only fills in any gaps within the general curriculum, it also gives new hires a chance to bond one on one with a person who can act as a connection to the overall organization.
Have you used a cohort structure, or do you have questions about how to create a cohort? Comment below!
From being a desirable approach, mobile learning is fast becoming a standard for online training. Now, you hear of debate on mobile friendly vs. mobile first designs. In this article, I share a case study featuring a mobile first design in eLearning.
A Case Study On Mobile First Designs In eLearning
Mobile learning has matured over the last 8 years and has seen a steady increase in its adoption by L&D teams worldwide. With its intrinsic strengths of any time, anywhere access to learners, it comes as no surprise that it is now seen as the future of learning.
- It provides control to the learners with the added advantage of flexibility as they can choose when to learn, how to learn, and which device to learn on.
- It facilitates higher usage and application as it is accessible to all learners within their workflow. They can access the required inputs at the moment of their need.
- From the organizational perspective, it can address the wide spectrum of corporate training needs making it the first choice of L&D teams.
What Are the Key Drivers That Are Increasing Its Adoption?
Besides the flexibility and control mobile learning offers to learners, the following factors are accelerating its adoption:
- Look at the extensive usage of smartphones in our daily lives. Given this, using smartphones for training (to facilitate both formal and informal learning) makes sense.
- More often than not, learners do not log in to the LMS or intranet to seek inputs they need during work. However, if these inputs (formal training/learning summaries/job-aids and so on) are available on smartphones, they will certainly be accessed and processed. This reality check is leading organizations to offer more pieces of training in the mobile learning format.
- For training to be engaging, we need to offer it in formats that engage learners better. Notably, mobile learning uses microlearning techniques that make learning short and easy to internalize. Furthermore, it normally features formats like videos, interactive videos, and apps for learning that resonate better with learners.
- Another significant factor is that mobile learning solutions offer multi-device support. This flexibility allows the same course to be available on desktops/laptops and tablets/smartphones. Learners can begin learning on office desktops but continue the practice or quizzes on their smartphones.
All these factors are accelerating the adoption of mobile learning for corporate training.
Now, let me address mobile friendly versus mobile first designs in eLearning—What do they mean and when should you use these approaches?
To understand this better, let us look at the evolution of mobile learning. Then, I will share a case study that features a mobile first design in eLearning.
How Has Mobile Learning Evolved, And What Considerations Are Important As You Use It Today (Mobile Friendly Vs. Mobile First Design In eLearning)?
At EI Design, our mobile learning practice was established in 2011. In the absence of established authoring tools then, we had created a custom HTML5 framework. During the last 8 years, we have been part of the evolution and maturing of mobile learning solutions.
Let me summarize the evolution of mobile learning. This backdrop is necessary to understand as it leads us to the mobile first aspect:
- The early mobile learning solutions supported formal training, which was rendered in the traditional eLearning format. During this phase, only certain components of the formal training were made available on mobile devices.
- The second avatar was the use of mobile learning to offer informal learning, notably as job aids (Performance Support Tools or PSTs).
- Increased usage of microlearning-based techniques enabled mobile learning solutions to address formal training (with learning paths) and informal training with equal ease. This truly accelerated the adoption of mobile learning to address most of the corporate training needs today.
With the maturing of authoring tools and supporting technologies to create mobile learning solutions, mobile learning solutions are now available in 2 formats:
- Mobile Friendly (Adaptive designs)
- Mobile First (Fully responsive designs)
How Can You Determine If You Should Opt For The Mobile Friendly Or The Mobile First Design In eLearning?
At EI Design, we make the distinction based on how content is consumed by learners (that is, on which device).
Mobile Friendly (Adaptive Designs)
These are multi-device designs and work seamlessly across desktops/laptops and tablets/smartphones.
- The notable aspect is that on smartphones, they map the landscape mode well but will shrink when viewed in portrait mode.
- This approach is designed when content is mainly to be consumed on a combination of desktops/laptops and tablets and partially on smartphones.
- In short, these designs are not optimized for smartphones.
Mobile First (Fully Responsive Designs)
While this approach also supports a multi-device approach, the designs here are fully optimized for smartphones.
- The design adapts to the viewable area and as a result, the user gets the same experience in both portrait mode as well as landscape mode of the mobile device.
- This approach should be adopted when you expect a majority of content consumption on smartphones.
Now, I share a case study that features a mobile first (fully responsive design) approach. The learning strategy is Scenario-Based Learning (SBL).
Key Aspects Of Mobile First Designs For eLearning
As mentioned earlier, this approach was used as we expected nearly 100% of the usage of smartphones.
As a result, we had to design learning experiences that were optimized for smartphones. The cues were taken from the way we interact with smartphones as well as from Apps.
- The interactive screen had simple and intuitive interactivities (similar to a mobile app design approach).
- To bring in more dynamic animations and visual effects, the scenario screens were converted to video nuggets.
- Knowledge checks were converted to decision-making activities. Usage of icons to represent key concepts made the processing of content easier for the learners.
- We simplified the conversational screens’ representations by keeping minimal content on the screen and using intuitive mobile first interactivities.
- We also used knowledge checks periodically to check the learner’s understanding by using interesting and contextual visuals.
With this approach, we were able to create a high impact mobile first design in eLearning. The designs are visually engaging and interactions are optimized for mobile devices as the users wanted.
Listen to the audio version of the article:
I hope this article helps you in understanding the differences between a mobile friendly versus mobile first approach and aids you in opting the right approach for your mobile learning solutions. If you have any queries, do contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The post Mobile First Designs in eLearning: A Mobile Learning Case Study appeared first on eLearning.
An Informative Microlearning Case Study
A lot has been said of dwindling attention spans and the need for L&D Teams to have online training that can be short and effective.
Microlearning is a delivery format that owes its wide acceptance not only to the fact that it addresses the attention span challenge but also to the increased adoption of mobile learning or mLearning.
Microlearning-based training finds a natural alignment to the learning on the go that can be consumed by the learners on the device of their choice and when they need it.
What Is Microlearning?
Microlearning refers to short, bite-sized learning (often 2-5 mins long and normally not exceeding 7 mins run length).
Let me outline few of its highlights:
- A worthwhile point to be noted is that it is not “eLearning lite” (that is, a traditional eLearning course spliced into shorter nuggets), but it is designed to have an associated learning outcome. As a result, it can be consumed on its own or as a series of interconnected nuggets.
- Learning through shorter pieces is certainly not a new concept, microlearning has gained momentum in the last 2 years on account of its capability to keep pace with the way learners want to learn. It fits in well with our fast-paced lives and provides flexibility to learn on the go, complete the training in a short time and access it again, when required.
- While its initial foray was for Performance Support (job aids to support learners at the time of their need), today it is being used to offer both formal and informal training.
- Microlearning also offsets the other challenge of low engagement that traditional eLearning programs may have encountered. Given its delivery in wide-ranging, high impact visual formats, and its short run lengths, it normally has a higher completion rate.
- Microlearning also provides a more dynamic training delivery approach. The short nuggets can be quickly updated and redeployed. From a learner’s perspective, they can consume the learning nuggets based on their preference or need. They are no more bound by a rigid learning path often associated with traditional eLearning.
- Microlearning can be used very effectively to meet a specific need—that is, a specific action leading to a specific skill gain or clearing a problem. Thereby, you will see a higher performance gain with reduced investment.
- Microlearning approach also facilitates personalization of learning. Given its granularity, you can offer highly customized or personalized nuggets based on the learner’s preference or proficiency.
How Does It Fare Against Macrolearning Or Traditional eLearning?
Does wider adoption of microlearning means a demise of macrolearning or traditional eLearning? In my opinion—No.
Here is how I see both macrolearning and microlearning co-exist.
There will continue to be training needs that need the run lengths, structure and recommended learning paths that macrolearning or traditional eLearning offers. For instance, when you need to learn a complex application software, you need a traditional eLearning course rather than learning through a maze of multiple, microlearning nuggets.
On a related note, the same training can certainly gain by an addition of Performance Support (job aids) to offer tips, shortcuts, FAQs and so on.
My assessment is that macrolearning and microlearning will co-exist to address certain types of training needs. However, a lot of the training needs will map fully to microlearning approach with the flexibility to personalize.
What Is The Gain As You Opt From Traditional eLearning To Microlearning?
As I have highlighted, the wider adoption of microlearning will not see an end to traditional eLearning. I do see the following key gains:
- Microlearning-based training empowers learners by giving them higher flexibility and better control on how they want to consume learning.
- Learners are likely to show higher usage/referencing (particularly as Performance Support).
- It costs less and can be developed in shorter time as compared to traditional eLearning.
- It is easier to update and redeploy.
- It demonstrates higher completion rates.
- It is flexible and can be used to offer both formal and informal training.
- It can be used very effectively to bridge a gap.
- It can be created in diverse, appealing formats that suit the content and context best.
- It encourages sharing within the employees.
Microlearning Case Study
To help you see the difference in the 2 approaches (macrolearning vs microlearning), I pick a microlearning case study featuring a course on professional skills training. The traditional eLearning course is part of a suite of 15 courses for Instructional Designers.
This microlearning case study reflects how the learning path and the learning experience was updated as we transitioned the source content to microlearning.
Approach 1: Macrolearning Case Study
This demo uses a story-based approach (a storytorial) as an innovative and engaging strategy to present the information. The story revolves around a team of Instructional Designers creating an eLearning course.
Through the story and the interaction between the Instructional Designers, various content types and their visualization techniques are shown to the learners. This approach also helps showcase the ways in which Instructional Designers process and ideate to create a course.
Team introduction: Cast of characters, who are part of the storytorial approach.
Usage of storytorial: Used real-time situation to explain the various content types.
Knowledge checks: At the end of each topic, a knowledge check question is provided to the learner. This helps the learners to recall the learning from the respective topics.
Tips: The course also covers the tips on usage of content types.
Impact: The course enables learners to understand the different information types and map them to suitable and relevant visualization techniques. Using a story, the key concepts are presented in a way that can be practically applied to the actual work environment.
Approach 2: Microlearning Case Study
With the same content, we built a microlearning-based course with a simple but compelling narrative-based visual wrapper. Different microlearning formats were included in the flow of this course. The learner scrolls through to reveal the content and interact at specific points to view the microlearning nuggets.
Learning journey through multiple, microlearning nuggets: Simple and intuitive learning nuggets are used to create different interactions and videos.
Knowledge checks: These are used periodically to check the learner’s understanding of each content types.
Impact: As you will note, the usage of microlearning nuggets can infuse a different learning experience. Given the more specific focus and shorter run length, it is likely to resonate better with learners. Usage of high impact formats like videos will certainly aid in higher recall and retention.
Listen to the audio version of the article:
Fueled by acceleration in adoption of mLearning or mobile learning, microlearning-based training is here to stay. Given its flexibility, it can be used to offer both formal and informal training. I hope the featured microlearning case study gives you insights on how the technique can be used in contrast to traditional eLearning or macrolearning. If you have any queries, do contact me at email@example.com.
The post Microlearning Case Study: Just-In-Time Information For Faster Learning appeared first on eLearning.
PowerPoint to Captivate Process outline:
- Content Outline
- Rough Draft in PowerPoint
- Build 1st Draft from PowerPoint using ‘Print – Notes View’
- Revise, improve, build ToC,
- Republish as 2nd Draft
- Add with note, generate Text to Speech audio
- Generate 3rd Draft / Print using PrintOutput for Live Narration Script
- Capture and Edit Audio
- Add audio to Captivate file
- Generate 4th draft with Recorded Audio
- Add Quizzing, revise ToC, set scoring options, add SCORM metadata then
- Publish to PILOT LMS
- Verify ToC, Quiz & Scoring, validate SCORM
- If PILOT LMS allows, do walkthrough with SMEs
- Publish to Production LMS
- Verify course title, assign to target audience, and launch into production LMS
PowerPoint to Captivate Process Description
Our workflow has been to build a content outline in Word, this is typically shared as a PDF. I’ll post it, or email to SMEs, and request revisions. (It may not get reviewed until edits to the PPT slides.)
Our workflow has been to build a rough draft in PowerPoint, this is typically shared as a PDF of the slides. I’ll post it, or email to SMEs, and request edits to the PPT slides.
I print out in Notes view for a storyboard, or 1st draft. Once those revisions are made, I utilize a Cp template with our branding, import the PPT (also with our branding), and work to build navigation, question pools, and pilot reporting in our LMS. (The dual branding of the PPT and CP files ensures that the course drafts have a ‘polish’ to them, where other company course materials have been presented with standard PowerPoint templates.)
Once I’m satisfied with the Cp file, I run through each slide looking at the notes view to confirm draft narration, generate TTS audio and set timing on each slide, build a TOC, then publish to estimate timing for each slide an overall project, this becomes our 2nd draft.
Depending on SME availability, I’ll ask for a meeting do facilitate a group review (which is preferable), or share for individual review and feedback.
Edits are made from earlier feedback
From there, I ‘print’ to word, and edit the narration text while listening to the TTS. If there are misspellings, or serious corrections, those are made in Cp and Word, and as a last step I publish from Cp again, yes a 3rd draft.
This 3rd draft serves multiple purposes –
1) a SME review to the slides (masters still in PPT) and draft audio (from TTS);
2) an Editorial review for style, grammar and diction; and, once those key revisions are included, a working version for the voice talent to use for familiarization and rehearsal.
Capture and Edit Audio
Some audio can be recorded direct to Captivate for editing.
After the voice talent is ready for recording, a recording session is scheduled, preferably in a quiet room, when the surrounding area is quiet, with minimal traffic. Definitely not in an open area or at a cube / shared workspace, as your quiet recording space can suddenly turn into a group work session.
Our recording process requires a laptop with power, microphone, USB cable, and specialized software: Adobe Audition has been purchased as part of the eLearning suite.
Recording Work Session
Once the talent appears, I open the saved file, I prep the talent to be sure they don’t need a walk-through, have a cold, or need water or a restroom visit. Often the first timers need time to read through the script.
Then I prompt my talent to be sure they are ready, I begin the recording and ask them to begin reading.
Following the recording session, segments of audio are exported from Audition as WAV files with the slide number in the filename.
As the segments are saved, notes were made on a copy of the narration script with the filenames.
For slides with no audio, I select a small section of blank audio and I’ll export as a segment with the incremental slide number. If I try to skip a slide or two, I’ll spend more time trying to relocate which slide had no audio recorded, or renumbering files.
Now, a 4th draft can be created in Cp, by adding the audio segments, with the printed narration script and noting any bad audio segments that may need further edits, or a re-recording. The Cp slide timing may need adjusting for the human voice over the TTS timing generated earlier.
Visually, this appears similar to earlier versions, but the audio has changed from TTS to a live narrator.
Later edits to the Cp file might be to place graphics, build animation segments, or just to build Cp slides that replace the PPT drafts generated earlier.
A late-in-the-game SME review can cause changes in the PPT file that ripples down through the audio and graphics that have been created. For this reason, it is critical to get SME and stakeholder buy-in as early as possible, literally.
Verify ToC, Quiz & Scoring, validate SCORM
If PILOT LMS allows, do walk-through with SMEs
Note that the error is displayed while serving from a local webhost, we use WAMP server, and is shown here to display signs of SCORM packaging. (LMS installations can vary so much, I’m not sure it adds value to display the steps for one particular LMS.)
Verify course title, assign to target audience, and launch into production LMS.
In general, Captivate does not appreciate any text from MS Word, or MS PowerPoint, via copy and paste. I’ve sporadically encountered this with PowerPoint, as well.
In short, if Cp asks if you want to ‘paste with formatting,’ the answer should always be ‘No.’
Otherwise, it will cause havoc with alignment, formatting, spacing, etc. inside your Captivate file.
You would think the worst case it may cause a crash, but at least a crash gives immediate feedback.
The worst case is that it doesn’t crash immediately, but silently corrupts the file.
Ensure you have Captivate backups enabled, you save to your local drive, and you make copies (outside of Cp) of the working files to another drive. Save your word files as text, open in another application, and copy and paste from the text only file.
I’ve learned these lessons over and over!