Using Readable Fonts And Type Sizes: How To Write And Organize For Deeper Learning (Part 2)

With hundreds of fonts available, choosing the right one for making your content readable may be a daunting task. In the second and final part of this article we’ll solve this problem.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Video Games and Instructional Design

For this post I’ll be talking about video games and their impact on instructional design. This idea came to me earlier today while playing Mario Kart Wii with my son. At 36, I’m three decades older than Avery, but as I watched him play, I couldn’t help but find a new appreciation for the Mario Kart franchise that I, too, played when I was younger, in that it serves as a great generational equalizer. You may have another game that allows you to relate to younger ones just as I have with my six year old.

Watching him have so much fun with a game I also love got me thinking about how this phenomenon can be applied in the work place.  And there’s no mistake about it, it is a phenomenon. As a father, I’m in uncharted waters in my family in exploring this method of connecting with Avery. When I was his age, video games were just coming to market (The Nintendo Entertainment System, for one). And sure, my dad could play the games with me, but he didn’t have the nostalgic privilege of reacquainting himself with characters he met as a child.

The same is true for today’s workforce. With millennials on the rise in the workplace, I would be a fool not to consider ways to lessen the generational gap when developing corporate training modules. Take a look at the image below (from Mario Kart Wii) that players are presented with after a Grand Prix – a series of four cumulatively scored races – and try to pick out the instructional design concepts that are in play on this screen alone. Then, read on to learn my take on it.

IMG-2888

Here’s what I see when I look at this image:

  1. Object States – Think of each box that displays a character name as an object. After scanning all of them, you’ll see several differences. Each difference, no matter how minute, is considered a different State, and serves as a way to provide meaningful information to players…I mean learners.
  2. Opacity – Still looking at those objects from item 1, let’s ‘focus’ on opacity!  And that’s just it; altering opacity allows designers to direct learner’s attention, or focus, on a particular area of the screen.  In this case, Adam (the player) can find himself among several others with a quick glance thanks to his solid color state which really stands out among the other transparent ones.
  3. Alignment – Naturally, our eyes initial scan anything we look at until something ‘catches our eye’. And we do so primarily in a left-to-right fashion. Notice how the winning team (red in the image above) is positioned on the left of the screen. Upon this screen loading, our eyes don’t need to scan for too long before their attention is caught!
  4. Animations – Even though the image above doesn’t show motion, I assure you that fireworks flew in celebration of Avery’s top score. If you don’t believe me, see that pink streamer coming up from the bottom right of the image? Boom. I wonder if fireworks would bombard the screen in the event that Avery lost the race, or if there would be a gigantic trophy rotating triumphantly in the background?
  5. Audio – Ok, so maybe this was a bit of a trick! The image doesn’t have any sound, but the game certainly does. And for winning the race, any guesses on whether the jingle was of a celebratory or ominous tone? (HINT: ‘Ding, ding’, as opposed to ‘Dum, dum, dummmm’.)
  6. Leaderboard – In addition to all of this, we are presented with a leaderboard, which allows learners to gauge their progress among their peers. I realize, as a designer, the potential implications with displaying other’s scores that may land a bit scornful on some learners. But take it from me, consider de-identifying learner names in order to build anonymity into a scorn-free leaderboard you can present to users. Talk about ‘Ding, ding’!
  7. Branding – Here, I’ll reference the Mario Kart franchise as doing a great job in branding their characters, courses, and clickables in a way that a 36 year old who hasn’t played Mario Kart in over a decade, can easily recognize the brand at a glance!
  8. Consistency – The image above is just one of the over five dozen different race results screens in the game. Is there any question that any of the above would differ in any way, shape, or form in the many other results screens? My point exactly.

Lastly, by no means do I claim this to be an exhaustive list, and am certain I’ve overlooked or missed some things entirely. Let me know what you see, or your thoughts on my explanation, by leaving a comment below.

Until next time, go BE the YOND!

Top 4 Proven Instructional Design Strategies to Enhance eLearning for Corporate Training

Top-4-Proven-Instructional-Design-Strategies-for-eLearning

Be it any game, you need a right game plan or a strategy to succeed. And the same applies to eLearning design for corporate training. “eLearning when designed correctly with sound instructional design strategy has the potential to bring organizational excellence with a positive eLearning ROI. ” An instructional strategy is an action plan or a method to help people learn. It defines the approach to achieve learning objectives using various learning devices, techniques, resources, and various learning theories.

Note: You need to analyze the learning needs, learner profile and desired learning outcomes before you could finalize the learner-centered instructional strategy for your online training.

In this blog, we will take a closer look at the top 4 proven instructional design strategies to enhance online training experience.

1. Story-Based Learning – Keep Them Intrigued

For instructional designers, designing eLearning content that keeps the learners engaged throughout the course is a challenging part. Having said that story-based learning breaks the monotony and avoid Clicky-Clicky Bling-Bling in the eLearning courses.

Story telling is the powerful approach to captivate your learner’s attention creating an engaging, emotional and perceptual learning experience. It contextualizes learning with interesting elements such as a strong narrative, interesting and thought-provoking plots, relatable characters, suspense and a strong message.

How to create Story-Based eLearning?

Crafting compelling story-based learning involves:

  • Weaving a story around the content establishes relevancy and makes it contextual
  • Using conversational narrative (tone) as if you are talking to learners
  • Creating a conflict or tension

Used in trainings like Behavioral Training, Sales Training, compliance training, Leadership training Coaching and Counseling.

2. Scenario-Based Learning – Get Them Involved

Scenario-based eLearning is an active learning strategy that not only improves learner engagement, but also challenges them to take right decisions – changing behavior and performance. The interactive branching scenarios put learners into real-life challenging situations and elicit behavioral response. Here the learners need to solve them using their critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

This provides them an opportunity to make decisions, experience consequences and learn from their mistakes in a safe environment.
Building challenging scenarios involve:

  • Making sure that the scenario mirrors the real-life experiences
  • Using authentic characters that learners can relate right away
  • Identifying the critical situations that challenge the learner to make the decision
  • Providing a customized feedback for each decision point

This strategy is appropriate for Compliance Training, Safety Training, Induction and Onboarding Training, etc.

3. Microlearning – Providing Just-In-Time Performance Support

Microlearning is an emerging instructional design strategy that is designed to provide just-in-time performance support as part of corporate training. This strategy is best used to supplement formal training accessed on demand to reinforce what was just taught. Given the heavy distractions, low attention spans and boring information dump makes no more sense to the modern learners. In such cases, Microlearning can be the best learning strategy that reduces cognitive overload. However, the microlearning strategy is not a silver bullet for training.

Microlearning could be a 5-7 minute bite sized learning nugget with a key takeaway. For example, an interactive video couple with augmented reality / virtual reality, an infographic, a checklist/job aid, etc.

To create an effective microlearning course, you need to:

  • Analyze whether microlearning is really the good fit
  • Identify the specific “Learning Objective” and make it more objective focused
  • Organize & Analyze the earning content
  • Ruthlessly edit the learning content and keep what is relevant and essential
  • Use conversational tone with active voice
  • Grab learner’s attention with a story, visual and/or context

This microlearning is the best strategy to deliver mobile learning as part of refresher trainings. For example, Sales Training and Soft-Skills Training.

4. Gamification

Gamification is one of the hot trends in eLearning. It refers to the use of game-design techniques in non-game context. Adopting gamification strategy helps you create immersive learning experience taking learner engagement to the next level with increased knowledge retention and performance.

To design Gamified eLearning courses, you need to:

  • Analyze the need for gamification of eLearning:
  • Is gamification apt for this subject (eLearning content)?
  • What is the main idea or theme behind the gamification?
  • Align the gamified elements with learning objectives
  • Make the gamified elements more relevant and simple
  • Incorporate gamified elements such as points, levels, badges and leaderboards for intrinsic motivation, but go beyond it
  • Provide clear instructions and ensure your learners understand the whole concept before they start the game
  • Use a compelling narrative with relatable characters, goals, challenges and obstacles
  • Challenge and excite the learners by offering reward points
  • Let your learners experience the consequences for their decisions and sense of accomplishment
  • Eventually, evaluate the game to see how it works

Gamification can be used in Safety Training, Induction and Onboarding Training, Compliance Training, Product Training, etc.

Conclusion

Apart from these four instructional design strategies, there are other strategies such as case studies, reflective learning, inquiry-based learning, analogies, mnemonics, etc. However, the skill in creating impactful eLearning courses lies in selecting the right instructional design strategy for corporate training. In the next blog, we will discuss the considerations to select the right instructional design strategy. What other ID strategies do you think make an impact in creating engaging elearning?

Feel free to Share your thoughts.

Source Link: http://www.swiftelearningservices.com/top-4-proven-instructional-design-strategies-to-enhance-elearning-for-corporate-training/

The eLearning Project Toolkit Every Instructional Designer Needs

This eLearning project toolkit is a brilliant example of how you can curate content for online learning. Not only that, it’s also a helpful resource for all stakeholders involved in eLearning with free tools, inspiration, and dedicated services for both old hands, and those new to the concept.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Why We Should Apply The Golden Circle Model To eLearning

We have jobs because organizations need help. They hire someone who can help to improve their employees' performance, and help them to achieve milestones. I think suggesting the best tool or strategy could help, but not until we identify "why".

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Instructional Design Tips to Create eLearning to Train Corporate Millennial Workforce

Millennial-Employees_Swift-Elearning

“Modern Instructional Design can address the millennial learning needs and help you create an effective eLearning.” In this blog, we will discuss the modern digital learning needs along with the corresponding instructional design tips to create learner-centered corporate eLearning.

But What is the Need?

Retaining talents is one of the biggest challenges in the corporate world. Despite every effort, corporates now have a hard time to retain employees and achieve their strategic business goals.

In the current business landscape, Millennial generation also known as Gen Y represents a major proportion of the workforce. Typically, they keep on switching their jobs throughout their career. One of the major reasons for this could be the ineffective learning and development initiatives. And traditional training approaches may not address their learning needs and preferences. Therefore, it essential to assess, review and modify the learning and development practices to effectively develop Millennial talent. The best solution would be to devise online training based on modern instructional design.

But Who Are Millennials?

Millennials, are the most diverse, tech-savvy, confident generation who tend to be little impatient at times. And surveys suggest that the good work-life balance and appropriate learning and development opportunities could create an ideal job environment for them.

Characteristics of Millennials

Tech Savvy Conventional Ambitious Team-oriented
Highly Optimistic Multitaskers Gadget Lovers Self-directed
Open-minded Competitive Self-centered Impatient
Collaborative More Diverse Flexible Skeptical

How to Design Training for Millennial Employees?

As an instructional designer, it is imperative to understand the learning preferences of millennials and design the learning that better aligns with them. So, before we move further, let’s meet Mr. Jack, a young professional. Lets understand his learning preferences better along with the top four instructional design tips to create effective eLearning.

Are you ready?

Meet Jack, Gen Y, to Know His Learning Preferences

Learning-Preferences_Swift-Elearning

I love relevancy: Well, I am driven by a strong sense of purpose. I feel disconnected when the training is no more relevant to me. I always wanted to know what am I doing and why am I doing it. So make the learning more meaningful, contextualized and personalized for me.

Bite-sized learning interests me: Though I am a quick learner, my attention span is considered to be short – less than gold fish. Bite-sized learning or microlearning strategy would be ideal for me because I can digest the short, sweet, succinct learning nuggets easily. So please do not dump the text-heavy content and increase my cognitive load. Video-based eLearning can as well be effective for me to retain the information.

Encourage me during the training: Appreciations and rewards give me a sense of accomplishment during learning and this certainly motivates me to do better. I also need immediate feedback and direction to proceed. You can provide me virtual rewards such as badges, points and currencies throughout the course. Gamification can be the best strategy to completely engage me.

Traditional learning methodologies are boring: As an experiential and exploratory learner, I prefer active learning methods that incorporate more multimedia, gamification and collaboration. In one word, the learning should be interactive and provide me with immediate and continuous feedback.

Embrace digital learning technologies such as mobile learning, learning analytics, gamification, augmented reality and virtual reality to get the best out of online training.

Conclusion

So let’s adapt the modern instructional strategies as part of on-going training to meet the needs of ever growing digital millennial workforce. Hope this post would help you focus on the areas in creating an effective and engaging eLearning courses.

Please do share what other instructional design strategies do you adopt to bring the desired learning outcomes in the corporate online training.

Source linkhttp://www.swiftelearningservices.com/instructional-design-tips-to-create-elearning-to-train-corporate-millennial-workforce/

Instructional Design Tips to Create eLearning to Train Corporate Millennial Workforce

Millennial-Employees_Swift-Elearning

“Modern Instructional Design can address the millennial learning needs and help you create an effective eLearning.” In this blog, we will discuss the modern digital learning needs along with the corresponding instructional design tips to create learner-centered corporate eLearning.

But What is the Need?

Retaining talents is one of the biggest challenges in the corporate world. Despite every effort, corporates now have a hard time to retain employees and achieve their strategic business goals.

In the current business landscape, Millennial generation also known as Gen Y represents a major proportion of the workforce. Typically, they keep on switching their jobs throughout their career. One of the major reasons for this could be the ineffective learning and development initiatives. And traditional training approaches may not address their learning needs and preferences. Therefore, it essential to assess, review and modify the learning and development practices to effectively develop Millennial talent. The best solution would be to devise online training based on modern instructional design.

But Who Are Millennials?

Millennials, are the most diverse, tech-savvy, confident generation who tend to be little impatient at times. And surveys suggest that the good work-life balance and appropriate learning and development opportunities could create an ideal job environment for them.

Characteristics of Millennials

Tech Savvy Conventional Ambitious Team-oriented
Highly Optimistic Multitaskers Gadget Lovers Self-directed
Open-minded Competitive Self-centered Impatient
Collaborative More Diverse Flexible Skeptical

How to Design Training for Millennial Employees?

As an instructional designer, it is imperative to understand the learning preferences of millennials and design the learning that better aligns with them. So, before we move further, let’s meet Mr. Jack, a young professional. Lets understand his learning preferences better along with the top four instructional design tips to create effective eLearning.

Are you ready?

Meet Jack, Gen Y, to Know His Learning Preferences

Learning-Preferences_Swift-Elearning

I love relevancy: Well, I am driven by a strong sense of purpose. I feel disconnected when the training is no more relevant to me. I always wanted to know what am I doing and why am I doing it. So make the learning more meaningful, contextualized and personalized for me.

Bite-sized learning interests me: Though I am a quick learner, my attention span is considered to be short – less than gold fish. Bite-sized learning or microlearning strategy would be ideal for me because I can digest the short, sweet, succinct learning nuggets easily. So please do not dump the text-heavy content and increase my cognitive load. Video-based eLearning can as well be effective for me to retain the information.

Encourage me during the training: Appreciations and rewards give me a sense of accomplishment during learning and this certainly motivates me to do better. I also need immediate feedback and direction to proceed. You can provide me virtual rewards such as badges, points and currencies throughout the course. Gamification can be the best strategy to completely engage me.

Traditional learning methodologies are boring: As an experiential and exploratory learner, I prefer active learning methods that incorporate more multimedia, gamification and collaboration. In one word, the learning should be interactive and provide me with immediate and continuous feedback.

Embrace digital learning technologies such as mobile learning, learning analytics, gamification, augmented reality and virtual reality to get the best out of online training.

Conclusion

So let’s adapt the modern instructional strategies as part of on-going training to meet the needs of ever growing digital millennial workforce. Hope this post would help you focus on the areas in creating an effective and engaging eLearning courses.

Please do share what other instructional design strategies do you adopt to bring the desired learning outcomes in the corporate online training.

Source linkhttp://www.swiftelearningservices.com/instructional-design-tips-to-create-elearning-to-train-corporate-millennial-workforce/

A Case Study on Microlearning as Performance Support to Reinforce Existing Training

Microlearning Case Study_Swift Elearning

Microlearning, one of the hottest eLearning trends, is catching attention amongst eLearning fraternity like never before. Our recent discussion on a LinkedIn group received a stream of thoughts and perspectives on microlearning. In this blog, we will discuss the microlearning case study that illustrates how we’ve developed and delivered microlearning course/application as performance support to reinforce existing training.

Before we could explore the case study, let’s first understand what microlearning actually means. “Microlearning is not just bite-sized eLearning content that is chunked to deliver short bursts of information, but it is more than that…”

Then What is Microlearning?

Microlearning is a modern instructional design strategy that:

  • Aligns with the modern, tech-savvy workforce with shorter attention spans
  • Focusses on one specific learning outcome
  • Provides just-in-time performance support to reinforce learning and improves retention
  • Enables learners to choose when and what they need to learn at the moment of need
  • Is most cost-effective way to develop and deliver online training

Microlearning Case Study Overview:

  • Instructional Design Strategy: Microlearning Solution as performance support
  • Industry: Agriculture – Livestock Industry
  • Target Audience: Veterinary Paraprofessionals
  • Technology: HTML5 & Adobe Captivate and Android

About Client

Our client, a reputed Veterinary Research agency, is responsible to control and prevent the spread of livestock diseases. As part of their mission, they hired young veterinary professionals and trained them on:

  • preventive measures,
  • recognition of clinical signs and
  • veterinary best practices to minimize the diseases and improve animal health.

What was the Challenge?

The paraprofessionals will go through the online training which will be 2 hours seat, attempt the final quiz and get certified. On the field it was difficult for the paraprofessionals to remember every bit they learned in the training. And when they are on field they cannot access the course and look for the symptoms.

As a result, they couldn’t translate their learning on the field. Most of them would call the agency or their peers to identify clinical signs and other issues instead of resolving themselves.

Our client realized these shortcomings and approached Swift for a better learning solution that could be developed cost-effectively in a shorter timeframe.

How Did We Help?

The long training sessions and lengthy eLearning courses loaded with lots of information, but everything cannot be remembered all the time. We then proposed bite-sized microlearning approach to provide just-in-time information to supplement primary eLearning or ILT programs.

Our Microlearning Strategy Was Simple…

We ensured that the microlearning content is:

  • Well organized and easily accessible – Allowing learners to search and sort the required learning content needed at that point of time
  • Concise and contextual with bite-sized learning nuggets of 5-7 minutes focused towards one specific learning objective
  • Interactive and visually appealing with simple interface to drive learner engagement through mobile learning
  • Cross-device compatible, delivered through mobile platform – multi-device learning
  • Embedded with short videos highlighting the best practices
  • Mobile friendly and responsive – published in HTML5 via Adobe Captivate

What Was the Impact?

The quick and cost-effective Microlearning strategy yielded better results. Learners could pick and choose the relevant lessons at the point of need. There was a drastic improvement in their performance.

Short and specific learning nuggets along with reduced cognitive overload and reinforced what has been learnt. This just-in-time solution resulted in active learning.

Though microlearning is a good strategy, it is not a silver bullet for every learning solution. We must be wise enough to choose the appropriate learning strategies before we could actually design it.

Source Link: http://www.swiftelearningservices.com/microlearning-case-study/

Action mapping book now available

action mapping bookMap ItMy new book, Map It, is now available in print and Kindle from Amazon sites around the world. Learn more here.

The book walks you through action mapping in way more depth than I’ve been able to use in this blog. You get 418 pages of detailed how-tos, examples, and even scripts for specific things to say (and not say!) to your client. Plus, of course, some gentle snark.

It’s all written with Cathy’s characteristic dry wit and humour and with a running story of a couple of learning developers in content hell. It’s as entertaining as it is informative. — Norman Lamont’s review

Free stuff

You can read a big chunk of the book for free on Amazon by using the “look inside” feature.

You can also download some action mapping job aids and see activity examples that relate to specific chapters in the book.

Lessons learned

In the interests of working out loud, here are some advantages I enjoyed from writing a book instead of, say, a series of blog posts.

  • Freedom to dig deep: I enjoyed having the room to write in depth. When you create blog posts, course modules, or those other quick snacks we’re expected to produce, you can feel pressured to simplify too much and smooth over too many rough edges. Expectations for a book are different. For example, I was able to dig way deeper into client management and problem analysis than I’ve been able to go in my other materials.
  • Freedom to take risks: In the book I felt freer to say things that could irk some people, because those statements are surrounded by a ton of context. A blog post or slide in a presentation is easier to misinterpret.
  • Freedom from a publisher: Some years ago, I sold a non-fiction manuscript to a publisher and it was turned into a book in the usual way. I also wrote a lot for trade magazines. These weren’t terrible experiences, but there was no doubt I’d be publishing this book on my own. I wanted to use my natural voice, which in my experience publishers want to tone down, and I wanted to make sure that the marketing fit my brand, not theirs. This meant that I had to learn about book publishing, but it wasn’t too painful. (Interested in publishing your own book? Patti Shank has been presenting on this and sharing resources, as well as publishing useful books for learning designers.)

I also confirmed a couple of lessons.

  • Reinforce the base before you add any more weight: The book was late in part because I needed to overhaul how I process the many emails I receive. I knew that a book would inspire more emails, and I was already unable to deal with the current amount. This required experimentation with several solutions and policies.
  • Seek professional help: I wanted to focus on writing, not production. So I hired this excellent book formatter to create custom Kindle and print designs, and this professional, responsive cover designer to make the outsides pretty. They both have far more skill than I could ever develop and left me free to write. (That’s one reason why I say that instructional designers should analyze and design, and someone else should produce the materials.)

Thanks, everyone, for your patience while the book slowly crawled out onto the market. I hope you find it useful.