Using Facebook For eLearning: The Ultimate Guide For eLearning Professionals

How To Use Facebook For eLearning: What eLearning Professionals Should Know

Facebook is an increasingly popular social networking site that helps us keep in touch with friends and stay up-to-date with the latest news and events. While Facebook was not created as an educational tool, creating eLearning groups, sharing eLearning content and participating in eLearning course-related online discussions on Facebook, have been proven effective strategies for a large number of eLearning professionals. If you are not one of the 90,000 eLearning professionals who follow eLearning Industry on Facebook to keep up with what we’re doing, working on, and seeing great sources focused on eLearning, you are more than welcome to do so!

The nature of this social network enables the enhancement and support of eLearning, as it makes it particularly easy for your audience not only to connect and build relationships with their virtual classmates, but also to exchange eLearning information. In this article, I'll present the advantages and the disadvantages of integrating Facebook into your eLearning strategy, in order to determine whether it will work for you. I will also give you 9 tips on how to use Facebook for eLearning purposes.

Using Facebook For eLearning: Strong Points

  1. It is accessible to everyone.
    Facebook is a tool that almost everyone is familiar with. At the same time, it can be easily accessed anytime, anywhere. By safely assuming that the vast majority of your learners or employees are already using Facebook, sharing knowledge becomes particularly easy and efficient without having to search for another platform for their learning.
  2. It is ideal for social learning.
    There is a variety of ways to use Facebook for social learning, because by nature it encourages open communication, information sharing, and networking. When using Facebook as an eLearning platform, your learners are allowed to discuss ideas, ask questions, share experiences, and discover new information. Given that social interaction positively impacts the way that people learn and work, Facebook is the ideal platform to boost collaboration and active learning.
  3. It enhances learner engagement.
    Because Facebook is so popular and user-friendly it makes it easier for the more restrained members of your audience to motivate and express their ideas and concerns. Social learning platforms foster online discussion, and even passive learners, get motivated to participate in eLearning debates by asking questions or by making comments and suggestions.
  4. It is inexpensive.
    Last but not least, Facebook is probably the most cost-efficient way to share eLearning content with your audience. Imagine it as a default Learning Management System with pre-defined structure and navigation; the only thing you need to do is to decide how you want to organize and distribute your online course.

Using Facebook For eLearning: Weak Points

  1. It is distracting.
    You are probably a Facebook user yourself, so you know how it works; you login to “just quickly check something” and, before you realize it, you have already spent two hours browsing pictures, watching videos, and reading posts on a variety of topics. Facebook empowers one of your worst enemies: learner procrastination. It is the ultimate temptation for your audience to wander around, thus it makes the learning process less effective compared to a more structured and formal learning environment that would probably better enhance knowledge retention.
  2. It is not secure.
    The difference between your Learning Management System and Facebook is that the latter opens up the possibility for fraud and virus attacks. There are many cases where Facebook users have fallen prey to the lure of seemingly legitimate and genuine online scams, resulting in information or identity theft. You certainly don’t want your learners to be the victims of fraud in your eLearning environment.
  3. It limits the control you may have over eLearning content.
    The uninhibited exchange among your learners makes it difficult to determine not only the exact type of information that actually reaches them, but also if this information is in synch with your eLearning content, objectives, and goals. Surely, knowledge is supposed to be as wide as possible; however, Facebook’s open nature may sometimes lead learners to confusion due to lack of specific structure in the presentation of your eLearning content.
  4. It cannot provide feedback on performance.
    Feedback is essential throughout the eLearning process, as it is critical for your eLearning course evaluation. Unlike many Learning Management Systems, Facebook cannot provide you neither with information about your audience’s progress nor about employees’ learning path. This is a major limitation as it makes it harder for you to draw conclusions on the effectiveness of your eLearning activities.

9 Tips On How To Use Facebook For eLearning

Despite the disadvantages, there are a variety of ways to effectively incorporate Facebook in your eLearning course strategy in order to enhance the eLearning course experience of your learners. Below I share 9 useful tips to follow:

  1. Use Facebook to create a strong sense of community among your learners.
    Your learners, being humans, are social creatures; whether you use Facebook as an eLearning platform or not, you must admit that the colossal success of social media in general shows once more that people enjoy interacting with each other. Building a strong community among your audience opens up a wide range of opportunities for learner engagement.
  2. Encourage peer-to-peer discussion via Facebook Groups.
    One of the most convincing arguments for using Facebook for eLearning is that it boosts online collaboration. For example, if you are offering an asynchronous eLearning course where learners have very little, if any, interaction with their peers, Facebook can give you the opportunity to integrate peer-to-peer discussion into your eLearning course. Facebook groups can be used to spark discussions, share feedback on ideas or assignments, and even to work collaboratively to complete a class project. The possibilities are endless when it comes to informal learning on Facebook, especially for those who are thirsty for knowledge and want to broaden their understanding of the subject matter that is being covered in the eLearning course. Encourage collaboration and information sharing in your virtual classroom and motivate your learners to help others and ask for help as often as possible. Show them that they have much to learn not only from you and your eLearning course, but also from each other.
  3. Use Facebook messages to reach out to your audience.
    Facebook gives you the option to use its messaging system to stay in touch not only with learners and with other eLearning professionals too. In this sense, Facebook serves as a great support tool. If your learners have a question, they can check to see if you’re online and get in contact with you immediately. Rather than waiting for an email response, they can have their answers within a matter of minutes, and address any concerns that may be preventing them from fully participating in the learning process.
  4. Break your eLearning content into short and simple Facebook posts.
    Facebook studies have revealed that short posts gain much more likes, comments, and shares than long ones. Keeping also in mind that the average learner attention span is generally short, you might benefit from this data and follow a more “bite-sized” formula for your posts. When you provide your audience with a series of small pieces or sections of eLearning information, it is easier for them to pay attention and retain knowledge. Just remember that being short is not enough; in order for your eLearning content to be fully absorbed, it must also be meaningful and engaging.
  5. Create a group and post supplement resources for your audience.
    For learners who may be particularly interested in a topic, as well as for those who may be struggling to understand key concepts, you can post additional learning resources on the Facebook wall or create a closed group to meet the needs of these learners. You can even post assignments that learners can complete to earn extra credit, or links to videos and articles that they may find helpful. Facebook is a powerful networking tool ideal for eLearning professionals who want to reach out to their audience and provide them with extra resources and tools they need to succeed.
  6. Ask learners to carry out research on Facebook.
    Rather than using traditional research sites, like Wikipedia, you can ask your learners to research a topic exclusively on Facebook. They can do this by reaching out professionals in the field, as well as looking up Facebook groups who may have more insight into a particular subject matter. This not only expands their comprehension of the topic itself, but also allows them to develop their research and technology skills. They can learn how to search for key terms to find the information they need, as well as how to communicate with others in an online environment, which is becoming increasingly important to today’s tech-centric world.
  7. Get invaluable feedback for your eLearning course by using Facebook polls.
    Pinpointing weak spots in your eLearning course and gauging learner satisfaction is easy with Facebook polls. You can create a poll by developing a list of simple questions that can be posted on your wall. Learners then have the opportunity to give you feedback, which you can use to improve their eLearning experience and identify how you can make your eLearning course even more effective and memorable for future learners.
  8. Use Facebook to send reminders and notifications of upcoming deadlines and assessments.
    There are a variety of ways that you can keep your audience updated about upcoming events. You can post on your wall reminders of approaching assessments or assignment deadlines or even use the Facebook events section to let learners know about live classroom sessions or webinars that they may want to attend, particularly those that advanced sign-up is needed. This motivates learners by keeping them focused on projects, and keeps busy learners organized and on-track to successfully completing the eLearning course. You can also use the events sections and reminder posts to inform your audience about new eLearning courses that may be of interest to them, so that they can benefit from any additional eLearning experiences that you are offering in the future.
  9. Focus on visuals.
    Finally, it is obvious that photos and videos are shared and liked much more than text in Facebook, which means that people are more attracted to visual content. Carefully chosen images, animations, graphics, and videos grab your audience’ attention and drive their engagement, as they make it easier for them to focus. Of course, you should not bombard your audience with visual elements; being creative and careful with your text-image balance will both please your learners and effectively support your eLearning objectives and goals.

Facebook is free to use, accessed by millions of users every day, and easy to use, which makes it the ideal tool for eLearning professionals. With Facebook, you can design eLearning experiences that are engaging, interactive, and collaborative for your audience.

Now that you know how to evaluate the use of Facebook for eLearning you may be interested in reaching your audience via another social medium: Twitter. Read the article Using Twitter For eLearning: 8 Pros And 6 Cons To Consider and find out important factors to consider if you want to incorporate Twitter into your eLearning strategy.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Why Blended Learning Still Ticks My Boxes

Blended Learning Still Ticks My Boxes – As Does Mobile Learning Despite What Some Reports May Say!

I always relish reports about the learning trends, and the latest 2015 Good Practise UK Learning Trends Index is a really insightful read, casting light on the challenges and issues being faced by senior Learning and Development practitioners, the people with whom I work!

I was delighted. I was to read in the Trends Index about a rise in the use of technology to deliver learning, with 77% of Learning and Development respondents predicting a rise in their use of technology to deliver learning in the coming six months. Of this number, 48% predict a minor shift, and 29% say it will be a major shift. What’s more – and this is the icing on the cake - 62% of respondents are predicting an increase in spend on learning technologies over the next six months. This clearly indicates that more and more companies are continuing to see and really understand the benefits offered by learning technologies.

But according to the Learning Trends Index, the first initial enthusiasm around mobile learning and its practical uptake has slipped. Other types of learning technologies such as e-learning and online performance support tools are growing, but the use of mobile devices for learning has not gained the traction everyone had first hoped. How so? I don’t think it’s time to put in to the side-line, just yet.

The Mobile Learning Value

Mobile learning apps are very useful in certain situations, we all know that. But take BP, for example. The energy company recognizes the value of mobile learning, and in taking an unconventional approach, has chosen videos, checklists and games to deliver engaging learning content to employees’ mobile devices. The information can be accessed on iPads or smart phones anytime and anywhere. The new apps will be used by BP’s 25,000 business leaders and managers, providing them with support for key “transition points” in their careers. These “transition points” are things like new recruits to the company, someone starting their first management position or moving up a level in the management ladder, or a person moving to a new different department.

I think BP’s use of mobile learning and the development of the new apps, perfectly encapsulates a company’s effective use of the ‘right’ technology, for the the ‘right’ learning style, for the ‘right’ group of people, at the ‘right’ time.

Mobile Learning shouldn’t be used in silo: make it part of a blended approach

First of all, let’s remember that mobile learning is not designed to be an educational tool that works in silo, but as a tool that complements other training measures such as classroom style training and virtual classes.

For example, if one were to choose between a computer and a mobile phone for researching a subject in-depth, mobile learning probably wouldn’t necessarily be the best option. (Note that the BP use of mobile technology is to communicate ‘key learning messages’. ‘Messages’ generally won’t include information that is highly detailed). This being the case, the important thing is that BP is using the most suitable method for the delivery of information to specific members of staff in order that they can optimise the way in which their staff learn. If you visit their website, you’ll see that BP also uses structured courses online learning, mentors and a whole host of other methods for continuing its staff development, including the mobile approach; in  other words, blended learning.

Mobile learning was the big buzzword in 2014 and despite what the Learning Trends Index has highlighted, I believe that with more organisations making mobile a part of their learning strategy and as mobile technology evolves and improves, stories of success will increase. The effects of using mobile for learning and development will become more apparent in terms of cost savings and ROI, and this will result in more organisations choosing to incorporate it into their learning blends.

In order that they might target the growing diversity in the workplace, more and more of the companies with whom I work with are looking at new training models that connect and integrate a variety of tools to meet their training needs.  These blended learning models need companies and their training providers to focus on optimising the desired outcomes of learning objectives by applying the ‘right’ technologies to the ‘right’ learning style to the ‘right’ group of people at the ‘right’ time. Again, back to BP and its training app investment - it’s one of a whole range of methods used by the company.

Really effective blended learning goes beyond good, basic training to a more systematic education that delivers ongoing learning within the workplace. By developing learning strategies that incorporate a wide variety of learning activities such as classroom instruction, virtual training, or mentoring, companies can give staff greater, more flexible learning and improved performance support. And isn’t that the holy grail for an Learning and Development practitioner?

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

ICIE 2015

The ICIE 2015 conference is a milestone in the journey towards leadership, creativity and innovation.

ICIE 2015 aims and objectives are:

  • Encourage volunteer spirit
  • Promote excellence and sustain quality
  • Connect Communities
  • Strive for improvement
  • Evolve responsibly
  • Meet community expectations of quality
  • Sustain competitiveness and viability
  • Balance innovation with core essentials

ICIE 2015 provides you with the opportunity to:

  • Explore the latest developments in education in general, and innovation in education in particular
  • Examine the need for sustainable educational systems
  • Integrate the latest technology into the education system
  • Debate the future of education: What are the challenges ahead?
  • Learn from innovative case studies where educational institutions have taken the initiative
  • Engage in a series of seminars designed to debate the theory and practice of real improvement in education
  • Participate in pre-conference workshops designed to develop participants' competencies

ICIE 2015 Keynote Speakers

  • Embodied Creativity: Flexible Brains, Open Minds
    Alessandro Antonietti, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Milano, Italy
  • Improving Intelligence – Changing Brain Activity
    Norbert Jaušovec, University of Maribor, Maribor, Slovenia
  • Edutainment, Games, and the Future of Education in a Digital World
    Linda Jarvin, Paris College of Art, France
  • Questioning: A Window into Productive Thinking
    Lynn Newton, Durham University, Durham, England
  • Creativity and Reflexivity
    Vlad Glaveanu,, Aalborg University, Denmark
  • Stories of Transformation: Memories of a Global Citizenship Practicum
    Lloyd Kornelsen, Winnipeg University, Winnipeg, Canada
  • ‘The Life Expects’ Learning Paradigm
    Gary Hunter, Winnipeg University, Winnipeg, Canada
  • Building on Resilience: Models and Frameworks of Black Male Success Across the P-20 Pipeline
    Fred Bonner II, Endowed Chair in Educational Leadership and Counseling, Prairie View A&M University, USA
  • Habits of the Creative Mind
    Lorenzo Paoli, Novaxia, Milano - Italy

ICIE 2015 12th international conference on Excellence in Education 2015: The Creativity - Innovation Challenge will take place in Kraków–Poland (July 1-4, 2015).

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Test Creation: 12 Guidelines For Writing Awesome Tests

Test Creation

With this article I would like to begin a series of posts dedicated to the topic of creation of tests, as well as the correct formulation of questions and answers to them. I aim to help you learn to create balanced tests full of well-constructed questions, as well as understand what type of question is best used in a particular situation.

Why is testing necessary?

Before proceeding further, let us establish what function do tests and exams perform:

  • They help to understand what knowledge and skills your employees acquired while doing their jobs or after completing a learning course.
  • They serve as a source of feedback about the educational process: the way information is delivered, as well as the course’s structure.
  • They can be learning opportunities unto themselves.
  • They serve as a basis for certification.
  • They give insights regarding the ways the learning process can be improved.

We can see that the principal objectives of tests and exams are to gauge the knowledge of students and provide an opportunity for further learning. In essence, tests and exams are the only all-purpose tools that can help you assess the knowledge of your employees/students. Tests and quizzes help you understand how well the students understood the new material, whether they were able to grasp the new concepts, and what additional clarifications are needed.

To learn actual and actionable information, it is necessary to follow a number of rules. The less ambiguous the questions, the more relevant the results. Here are some guidelines that will help you accurately evaluate the knowledge of your employees:

General guidelines for the test creation 

  1. Construct a mind map of all the topics the course touches upon. Try to have a question about each of them.
  2. Keep it simple. A good question tests the student’s knowledge and not reading comprehension.
  3. Have a diverse range of questions. A good test includes questions of different types and varying difficulty.
  4. While formulating questions, use real-world situations your employees find themselves in regularly. For example, a customer reaching out to a business representative.
  5. Word questions positively - it improves knowledge retention. Questions worded negatively hinder and confuse the student.
  6. Write concise and precise questions, but take care not to make the answer apparent from the question itself.
  7. Make sure that the answers to all questions in a test are constructed similarly and approximately the same length.
  8. Mix it up - every time you give a test to students, shuffle the questions and possible answers.
  9. Keep answers to questions unambiguous, so that they can not be interpreted in different ways. When writing gapfill questions, make sure to specify in what format the answer must be provided.
  10. Whenever an employee answers incorrectly, try to understand what knowledge they are missing. Well-structured questions help in this regard.
  11. Use short scenarios leading up to questions to facilitate understanding and knowledge retention.
  12. If different questions have different weight, clearly mark the number of points awarded for answering correctly next to each question.

Keep these guidelines in mind when you create tests in Geenio or in another tool for creating quizzes and see the quality and effectiveness of your tests skyrocket. It also pays to remember that besides merely assessing students’ knowledge, tests are meant to help them acquire and retain new information as well. Following this approach you will both benefit your organization and leave the test takers with a satisfying feeling of having learned something new.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Instructional Design Models And Theories: The Cognitive Flexibility Theory

The Quintessential Of The Cognitive Flexibility Theory And Its Application In eLearning

The Cognitive Flexibility Theory relies upon the idea that learners must not only be able to manipulate the means by which knowledge and content are being represented, but also the processes that are in charge of operating those representations. The main principles of the Cognitive Flexibility Theory are:

  1. Knowledge is “context-dependent”.
    Knowledge cannot be perceived out of context. It is the context that allows learners to see any possible relationships between various components of the subject matter presented. In addition, learning activities in any educational setting should be able to provide several different representations of the same instructional objectives in different contexts. Practically speaking, the Cognitive Flexibility Theory suggests that, by doing so, learners have the opportunity to better understand the specific concept or idea because its practical application is clear to them. This is very important, especially for adult learners who usually want to know not only “what”, that is new information, but also “why” they learn something, as well as “how to apply” it in real-life settings.With respect to eLearning course design, this would signify an instructional design, in which for each one of the learning objectives to be mastered, learners would be provided with several examples and online activities, as the Cognitive Flexibility Theory claims that learners’ multiple exposure to the same concept in different contexts facilitates the learning process. Furthermore, offering many different ways to represent the same concepts or eLearning content is of extreme value to the learners and this could be translated to an instructional design that makes extensive use of multimedia, giving learners enough opportunities to get exposed to the same concepts, though at the same time would accommodate to all learning preferences and could motivate learners by offering them variety in the eLearning course. Repetition would facilitate the process of mastering the eLearning content, as increased exposure and practice would definitely have positive effects on learners.
  2. Knowledge cannot be oversimplified.
    Instructional materials to be used must not oversimplify a topic neither in terms of content, nor in terms of structure. Simply stated, knowledge cannot be reduced to its basics.With respect to instructional design for eLearning, this means that the eLearning content should be challenging enough in order to engage the audience in the learning process. Oversimplification of concepts gives adult learners a sense that they already know the eLearning material and therefore, they may consider the specific eLearning course as a waste of time. In terms of structure, problems should be presented to students in more complex and involving structures, rather than linear or simplified ones. Therefore, it’s better for instructional designers to provide learners with opportunities to make their own connections between concepts and principles that are being explored, even if these concepts may be of high complexity.
  3. Knowledge is constructed.
    The instruction that takes place should be “case-based”, wherein there is an emphasis on the construction of knowledge rather than on how it is transmitted to learners. The Cognitive Flexibility Theory follows a constructivist approach to learning, according to which learners are actively engaged in the learning process and they are responsible for their own learning. This principle is particularly applicable to eLearning course design, as it takes advantage of learners free navigation in the eLearning environment through the use of hyperlinks, and gives them the opportunity to explore the eLearning content and learn through multiple case studies and real-life interactive scenarios that expose them to how a particular concept or idea can be applied in different real world settings.
  4. Knowledge is interconnected.
    In order for the learner to grasp what is being taught, the knowledge sources that are used should be “interconnected”, rather than separated and “compartmentalized”.  In other words, this means that knowledge should never be isolated from what learners already know; far from previous experience. Applied to eLearning course design, instructional designers need to take into account learners’ previous knowledge on the subject and try to find ways to connect the new piece of information presented, to learners’ current frame of reference. A quick and easy tip to do so is by presenting a brief summary of prerequisite knowledge before presenting new information. This may serve two ways: first, it reminds learners what they may already know, but they may not remember; second, this summary may make some learners realize that it might be better for them to acquire prerequisite knowledge first, before attending the specific eLearning module. By providing the corresponding links in the summary section, for those who need them, instructional designers guarantee the effectiveness of the eLearning course.

The foundation of the Cognitive Flexibility Theory is that learners are better able to acquire and retain knowledge if they are encouraged to develop their own representation of it. By following the principles and corresponding eLearning strategies mentioned above, instructional designers can give learners the opportunity, to absorb information in a manner that better suits their personal needs, increasing the effectiveness of their eLearning course.

Last but not least, you are more than welcome to view the following video that Rand Spiro, professor of educational psychology at College of Education, Michigan State University, talks about Cognitive Flexibility Theory (CFT).

Join us at the Instructional Design History Journey

A New Instructional Design Model Will Be Added Every Week! You are more than welcome to let us know if you would like us to cover an instructional design model and theory that is not included at the Instructional Design Models and Theories. Simply leave a comment at the Instructional Design Models and Theories.

References:

  • Jonassen, D., Ambruso, D . & Olesen, J. (1992). Designing hypertext on transfusion medicine using cognitive flexibility theory. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 1(3), 309-322.
  • Spiro, R.J., Coulson, R.L., Feltovich, P.J., & Anderson, D. (1988). Cognitive flexibility theory: Advanced knowledge acquisition in ill-structured domains. In V. Patel (ed.), Proceedings of the 10th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Spiro, R.J., Feltovich, P.J., Jacobson, M.J., & Coulson, R.L. (1992). Cognitive flexibility, constructivism and hypertext: Random access instruction for advanced knowledge acquisition in ill-structured domains. In T. Duffy & D. Jonassen (Eds.), Constructivism and the Technology of Instruction. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Spiro, R.J. & Jehng, J. (1990). Cognitive flexibility and hypertext: Theory and technology for the non-linear and multidimensional traversal of complex subject matter. D. Nix & R. Spiro (eds.), Cognition, Education, and Multimedia. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Cognitive Flexibilty Theory and the Post-Gutenberg Mind: Rand Spiro's Home Page

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Millennials And Faith: Can eLearning Draw Millennials Back to Faith?

Millennials And Faith

The Pew Research Center’s study on America’s Changing Religious Landscape released on May 12, 2015, contained alarming, and disheartening, information about the Millennial Generation’s decline in identifying themselves as Christians. According to the study, the number of Millennials identifying themselves as having no religious affiliation increased by 9% since 2007. Over 30% of Millennials claimed to have no religious affiliation. This statistic has set off alarm bells in the Christian community. Well, honestly, these alarm bells started ringing years ago, but this study raises the volume to a deafening roar. The question has been asked a million times, how do we reach Millennials in a meaningful way and engage with Millennials to show them how they fit into modern Christianity?

How Can eLearning Draw Millennials Back to Faith

I believe the answer lies in the way Millennials are already interacting with the world around us. Churches cannot reach this generation using the same techniques that worked with previous generations. Christians need to meet Millennials where they live, on-line. Many churches have already started to do this, but failed to get the long-term traction that they were hoping for. So, where is it going wrong?

Look at one of the most effective and prolific arenas in which churches engage with their congregation: small group curriculum and discipleship courses. The small group curriculum model has changed very little since Saddleback Church introduced the HOST small group ministry concept in 2001: ordinary people with HEARTS for unconnected people to OPEN their homes, SERVE a few refreshments, and TURN on the VCR. Now it is a DVD or Blu-ray player instead of a VCR, or maybe even a podcast, but this model is still the most prevalent means of engaging members outside of Sunday gatherings. Even the largest churches with a huge on-line presence rely on this model.

More often than not, existing on-line curriculum consists of 45-minute sermons (either a podcast or video) accompanied by a PDF of questions to discuss in person. Sometimes there is a discussion forum included, but typically there are no interactive elements beyond an email address to contact if you have any questions.

Why isn’t this model working to draw in and maintain a relationship with Millennials? The root of the problem is that they are not being equipped with the proper outreach materials. The Millennials that are already attending church and are committed are willing to trudge through a 45-minute audio segment from a pastor that they know and respect, but the chances of an unconnected Millennial dedicating a 45-minute chunk of their day to a recording of a sermon are slim to nil. Small group and discipleship curriculum is all or nothing at this point, either you invest the time or you disengage completely. Millennials need to be given an instructionally sound alternative, an easily digestible substitute to the cumbersome 20th century model.

Start by looking at how Millennials regard eLearning. As of 2012, more than 30% of college students attended at least one class on-line, and that number increases every year. Focus specifically on Millennial students and that number jumps closer to 60%. As Millennials join the workforce, corporate on-line training options have increased by about 9% per year over the past 5 years! Over 50% of corporate training includes some element of eLearning. Millennials are exposed to well-designed eLearning at work and at school, but when they go to church, they are totally turned off by the outdated content being offered to them there.

If the Christian community came to embrace eLearning principles and standards and applied them to their small group and discipleship events, the sky would be the limit for reaching Christians and non-Christians Millennials. The Christian community could use eLearning as an opportunity to engage with an audience that may otherwise never set foot in a church. Engaging, well-designed, “sticky” eLearning content generated with the help of Instructional Design Professionals could be better engagement tools to Millennials than any other outreach tool. This could take many forms: posting micro-videos on YouTube of Gospel-based principles, gamification of small group curriculum, interactive eLearning content posted on church websites, etc. Look at the success of the YouVersion Bible App and reading plans. There is a hunger for this information in an on-line format; we just have to make it palatable.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

ICCELET 2015

ICCELET 2015 invites researchers, practitioners and academics to present their research findings, work in progress, case studies and conceptual advances in any branch of the above fields.

ICCELET 2015 brings together varied groups of people with different perspectives, experiences and knowledge in one location. It aims to help practitioners find ways of putting research into practice and researchers to gain an understanding of real-world problems, needs and aspirations.

ICCELET 2015 would cover all the original work in the field of Computing and Learning Technologies . This would lead to spread the knowledge and consolidate the recent advances in the respective fields.

ICCELET 2015 topics include but are not limited to:

  • Philosophies and Epistemologies for e-learning
  • Learning Theories and Approaches for e-learning
  • e-Learning Models
  • Conceptual Representations
  • Pedagogical Models
  • e-Learning Pedagogical Strategies
  • e-Learning Tactics
  • Developing e-Learning for Specific
  • Subject Domains
  • Networked Information and Communication Literacy Skills
  • E- Higher and Further Education
  • Primary and Secondary Schools
  • Workplace Learning
  • Vocational Training
  • Distance Learning
  • Innovations in e-Assessment
  • e-Moderating
  • e-Tutoring
  • e-Facilitating
  • e-Learning to support communities and individuals
  • The future of e-Learning
  • Life long e-Learning
  • Learning Content Management Systems & Learning Management Systems
  • Applications of metadata and virtual reality
  • Content Development
  • Practical uses of authoring tools
  • Knowledge management
  • Advanced use of multimedia
  • Issues in e-Learning Research
  • Evaluation of Learning technologies
  • e-Learning design, usability, evaluation

The 3rd International Conference on Computing , E-Learning and Emerging Technology (ICCELET 2015) will be held at the Corus Hotel (Kuala Lubour, Malaysia) on July 25-26, 2015.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Do You Know What Makes Your Employees Feel Satisfied?

What Makes Your Employees Feel Satisfied

The Statistic Brain Research Institute of the American Institute of Stress reports that job stress tops the list of physical symptoms caused by stress that 77% of Americans experience regularly. Annual costs of stress-related missed days and health care in the United States is a staggering $300 billion. So what is it that today's employees want to feel happy and satisfied in their workplace?

According to a combined Harvard Business Review and The Energy Project study of 12,000 primarily white collar workers indicates that workers need four essential needs to be met in order to be happy on the job. These four needs are:

  1. Physical needs.
    The worker needs to feel recharged and renewed in their workplace. This can come from a comfortable and relaxed work environment.
  2. Emotional needs.
    The worker needs to feel appreciated and valued. Managers that show their appreciation for their employees have an overall more satisfied staff. Having a fun and social work environment can also make the workers more productive as they want to come to work.
  3. Mental needs.
    The worker needs to be able to focus on important jobs without being constantly interrupted and chastised. This is where a micro-manager becomes a problem. Constantly looking over your employees shoulder and telling them what to do can cause more stress and dissatisfaction.
  4. Spiritual needs.
    The worker needs to feel that there is some purpose to the work that they do, a higher purpose than just taking home a paycheck.

Human resources professionals can use this needs guideline in the development of new programs in the workplace.

How To Support These Needs

What are some of the ways you can ensure that corporate policies support these essential needs? Some practical ways include:

  • Ensuring that workers have regular breaks to allow themselves to re-focus. In unionized workplaces, this is often a negotiated item, but in other settings (especially in white-collar environments), often workers take it as a badge of honor to stay at their desks through breaks and lunchtime. This is not conducive to maximum production. Taking a small break every 90 minutes is essential to the creativity and health of all workers.
  • Regardless of the importance of the job and the skills of the worker, people should not stay more than 40 hours in their formal workplace setting. Creativity and innovation fades as the hours after that accumulate. Even a change of setting if the person moves to a home office, dons more comfortable clothing, and feels more relaxed, can spur creativity.
  • Find programs to show employees that their work is valued. One company recently sent a memo to its staff to advice that on the three long weekends of the summer (from July to September), they were giving everyone the Friday before off as well as a way of saying thank-you for their hard work the rest of the year. The response was amazing.
  • Effectively matching a worker's skill and aptitude to their job is another crucial component in reducing job stress and increasing worker satisfaction. When selecting applications for different positions, using programs that match personalities with tasks can also be effective.

Every company has it's own method of making employees feel satisfied. There is no one-size fits all method, but as long as the employer is taking the initiative workers will feel appreciated. There is nothing worse than an organization that does not put effort meeting employees needs.

Share with us your thoughts and opinions about what keeps employees satisfied and personal experiences you've had while on the job. 

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

6 Marketing Tips To Promote Your eLearning Courses

Marketing Tips To Promote Your eLearning Courses

Creating memorable eLearning courses for your audience is just half the battle. The real trick is knowing how to promote your eLearning courses, so that it ends up on the screens of those who can truly benefit from them and potentially turn a profit to your business. But have no fear; below you’ll find 6 useful marketing tips to promote your eLearning courses.

  1. Identify your target audience.
    In order to market to your audience you first have to identify just who you are addressing to and what they expect. This often involves a fair amount of market research, surveys, interviews and focus groups. Learn as much as you can about the type of educational and cultural background of your target audience. Are you addressing to novices or advanced learners? What the current knowledge base of your target audience should be? What type of information they need to acquire while taking your eLearning course? Once you have a grasp of who you are marketing to, you will have the ability to custom tailor your marketing efforts to reach out to them and attract learners who are actually interested in what your eLearning course has to offer.
  2. Tell them how your eLearning course meets their learning needs.
    Ultimately, organizations and individual learners rely upon eLearning to offer a solution to a problem. Whether they need to improve the skill sets of their employees or to achieve specific goals, your audience is looking for a way to improve some aspect of their personal or professional lives. This is why it’s essential that you clearly state what your eLearning course can offer them, what benefits it will provide and how it will go about doing this. Tell them exactly how it will solve a problem they face on a daily basis or the advantages that they can expect to receive if they successfully complete your eLearning course. In some cases, you may also need to specify why your eLearning course is more beneficial than traditional learning, especially when dealing with organizations that may be hesitant to convert to online training.
  3. Show them how your eLearning course is time and cost effective.
    There are two types of value to consider here. The first is the value that your learners are going to get for their money. If they are paying for your eLearning course, then you need to emphasize the fact that it offers a great ROI. On the other hand, if their company is footing the bill, you need to also stress the idea that it’s worth their time. Bear in mind that your learners are pressed for time, so they are looking for an eLearning course that can give them the skills they need in the shortest amount of seat time.
  4. Give them a sneak peek.
    More often than not, people need to be convinced before clicking on the “enroll” or “buy” button; giving them a free preview of your eLearning course may be just what they need. Why not offer your learners a sneak peek of your eLearning course to get them hooked and to give them an idea of what to expect? There are still some individuals who may be resistant to eLearning, or may not even know the advantages of taking an eLearning course, but giving them a glimpse of the forthcoming eLearning experience can change all of that and can even make them loyal lifelong learners. Be sure to include contact information, such as your website or email at the end of the preview, so that they have a way to purchase the full eLearning course once they’ve thoroughly enjoyed the free version.
  5. Ask satisfied current learners to endorse your eLearning course.
    People generally like trying new things. In the case of eLearning, however, they prefer to first see reviews and testimonials from other satisfied learners who have already successfully completed the eLearning course. But, how do you get these endorsements? While you can ask your learners to give you a glowing review, you can also opt for surveys and questionnaires. If a learner gives you positive feedback, you may use that on your website or in your marketing materials. In case that learners are on the fence about whether to enroll in your eLearning course or not, they are more likely to commit if they know that it has made a difference in other learners’ lives.
  6. Remind them of your online presence.
    Learners have a tendency to forget information after they have learned it if they don’t refresh and review it from time to time. The same rule applies to your marketing efforts. If someone signs up for your mailing list, then keep your eLearning course fresh in their minds by sending occasional emails that offer them value or letting them know about special eLearning events you have planned. For learners who have already participated in one of your eLearning courses you can reach out to them via social media or emails to tell them about special offers or new eLearning courses that may be of interest to them. Also, on all messages or posts, be sure to include your website and any important contact information, so that learners always know how to get in touch with you if they decide to take you up on your offer.

These tips can give you the opportunity to increase your eLearning sales and reach a wider audience. You’ve put so much time and effort into designing and developing your eLearning deliverable. So, why not get the most out of your marketing strategy by utilizing these techniques?

Want to learn more about how to boost your eLearning course sales? Read the article 6 Marketing Tips To Boost Your eLearning Course Sales where you will find a variety of marketing ideas to promote and build the buzz for your eLearning deliverables.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.