Speaking at the eLearning Guild’s DevLearn

I'm delighted to be attending the eLearningGuild's DevLearn conference in Las Vegas coming up in late September and early October.

 

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The eLearning Guild always puts on a great conference and I'm excited to learn the latest and greatest on elearning and mobile learning. This year, I'm going to be keeping my eyes out for examples of micro learning and subscription learning -- as I see more an more interest in smaller learning nuggets.

Also, I'll be speaking on "Measuring eLearning to Create Cycles of Improvement." In my session, I'll share research-based findings and their implications for elearning measurement designs.

Come join me 10:45 AM - 11:45 AM Thursday, October 1.

Writing Learning Objectives For eLearning: What eLearning Professionals Should Know

What eLearning Professionals Should Know About Learning Objectives

You have probably already read a lot about how important it is to have clear learning objectives before you begin developing your eLearning course; learning objectives are basically the essence of your online course’s goal, as they describe what you want your learners to achieve after completing it. Therefore, you do understand that when the learning objectives for eLearning are unclear or generic, so is the purpose of your online course, which is not only as ineffective as it sounds, but also very frustrating for your audience.

Having clear learning objectives for eLearning is also a great tool for building the structure of your eLearning content; knowing exactly what you want your learners to achieve helps you organize your eLearning material in a proper way so learning becomes as effortless as possible and thus more immersive.

All in all, there is no doubt that building clear learning objectives for eLearning is more than essential. But to develop them in the right way you need to know a few important things. In this article, I´ll delve into this critical topic and try to share all the information you need to know about how to write effective learning objectives for eLearning so that you will be able to develop and use them to your advantage.

2 Key Facts About Learning Objectives

Let us start by introducing two key points:

  1. Learning objectives and learning goals are not the same thing.
    Learning objectives may be “the essence of your online course’s goal” as mentioned earlier, but they are not the same with learning goals. A learning goal describes in broad terms what the learners will be able to do upon completion of the eLearning course, whereas a learning objective describes, in specific and measurable terms, specific elements that learners will have mastered upon completion of the online course. The key words here are “specific” and “measurable”: Goals are broad; they help you focus on the big picture, though your learning objectives should be much more specific. Goals give you directions to write your learning objectives, but you should never confuse these two.
  2. There is some information which should not be included in your learning objectives.
    Your learning objectives should not include information about a) your audience and b) the strategy you are following to develop them. Both these elements are important, but they have no place in learning objectives. The only thing you need to have in mind when developing them is what your learners will gain by engaging in the eLearning activity.

Bloom’s Taxonomy: What You Need To Know And How To Be Used

Bloom’s Taxonomy was first edited in 1956 by the American educational psychologist Benjamin Bloom and outlined the following classification of learning objectives according to the cognitive processes involved in the mind of learners. From lowest to highest these are:

  1. Knowledge.
    Learners must be able to recall or remember the information.
  2. Comprehension.
    Learners must be able to understand the information.
  3. Application.
    Learners must be able to use the information they have learned at the same or different contexts.
  4. Analysis.
    Learners must be able to analyze the information, by identifying its different components.
  5. Synthesis.
    Learners must be able to create something new using different chunks of the information they have already mastered.
  6. Evaluation.
    Learners must be able to present opinions, justify decisions, and make judgments about the information presented, based on previously acquired knowledge.

Why Bloom’s taxonomy is important for developing your learning objectives? Because it helps you understand the level of cognitive processes involved in human learning, that is the natural order according to which your target audience will process the information you present. For example, the learning objectives for a compliance training course would be about making sure that the employees know the company’s policies and principles (Level 1: Knowledge), whereas the learning objectives of a productivity training course must be about making sure that the employees are able to put what they are learning to use in order to boost their performance (Level 3: Application).

Bloom presented his taxonomy in a hierarchical order; however, often eLearning professionals dismiss lower levels as unworthy, which is a mistake. Lower-level objectives should never be ignored; on the contrary, before achieving higher-order learning objectives, eLearning professionals should first make sure that learners have all the necessary requirements in terms of previous knowledge in order to proceed. A pre-test, for instance, may be used to identify potential knowledge gaps and recommend learners a quick revision before taking the module under consideration.

Knowing the order that cognitive processes involved in learning take place, will significantly help you set your learning objectives accordingly. But how can you make sure that you are communicating them clearly to your audience? We mentioned earlier that learning objectives need to be as specific as possible. Anderson and Krathwohl, back in 2001, worked on a revised version restating the Bloom's Taxonomy in verb format, facilitating the process of writing learning objectives by providing Instructional Designers with a list of verbs they can use to help their audience understand exactly what is expected of them. Here is a list of specific, measurable verbs you can use when writing learning objectives for each level of the revised Bloom's Taxonomy:

  1. Remember.
    Memorize, show, pick, spell, list, quote, recall, repeat, catalogue, cite, state, relate, record, name.
  2. Understand.
    Explain, restate, alter, outline, discuss, expand, identify, locate, report, express, recognize, discuss, qualify, covert, review, infer.
  3. Apply.
    Translate, interpret, explain, practice, illustrate, operate, demonstrate, dramatize, sketch, put into action, complete, model, utilize, experiment, schedule, use.
  4. Analyze.
    Distinguish, differentiate, separate, take apart, appraise, calculate, criticize, compare, contrast, examine, test, relate, search, classify, experiment.
  5. Evaluate.
    Decide, appraise, revise, score, recommend, select, measure, argue, value, estimate, choose, discuss, rate, assess, think.
  6. Create.
    Compose, plan, propose, produce, predict, design, assemble, prepare, formulate, organize, manage, construct, generate, imagine, set-up.

6 Extra Tips To Consider When Working With Learning Objectives For eLearning

Now that you know how to write your learning objectives depending on the level of cognitive processes involved in learning, let us have a look at some extra tips to ensure that you’re on the right track:

  1. Align eLearning assessment with your learning objectives.
    eLearning assessment
     is used to evaluate what your audience is learning; the more consistent they are with your learning objectives, the surer you can be that your learners are onboard with your eLearning course.
  2. Remember to use specific and measurable verbs when writing them.
    Consider using the aforementioned list of verbs and their synonyms.
  3. Make sure that your learning objectives are appropriate for your learners.
    Whom are you writing your learning objectives for? Managers? Customer service? New hires? The sales department? What do they already know and what is absolutely necessary for them to learn? Consider analyzing your audience before you begin developing your learning objectives.
  4. Ask yourself if your learning objectives are achievable and realistic.
    In other words, ask yourself if they are achievable within the time-span of the eLearning course, and if they are supported with the appropriate tools and resources.
  5. Use simple language and keep them short.
    Simple language is direct and engaging, whereas limiting your learning objectives in one sentence will help your learners focus better on what is expected of them.
  6. If several, organize them in subcategories.
    Dividing your learning objectives into subcategories, if needed, will help you avoid overwhelming your learners.

Now that you know how to create good learning objectives for eLearning, you may be interested in focusing on their alter ego: learning goals. Read the article Why and How to Develop Learning Goals Into your eLearning Course and find out how to use the learning goals to provide meaningful, interactive, and informative eLearning experiences for your learners.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Why Salesforce LMS Integration Could Be The Future Of Your Learning Management System

Salesforce LMS Integration Explained

An LMS on its own is something that can keep staff better informed, ensure that channel partners and customers are up-to-date with the latest product information and guarantee that all employees have taken the latest compliance tests. This, at least, is a very simple explanation of what an LMS can do for you and is what a basic, non-customized learning management system, such as Moodle, performs. However it is integrations with popular software and applications that truly give your LMS legs and unlock its true power. Integrations give your LMS the ability to work alongside and support programs and systems that your company uses on a daily basis and that, on the face of it, have nothing to do with training. Salesforce claims to be the world’s most popular CRM, so it is important that something as fundamental to a company’s success - training - to be closely linked with it.

Paradiso LMS

Quite aside from simply managing and delivering training for educational establishments and businesses, Paradiso LMS, the learning management system from Paradiso Solutions, has a number of features that make it quite a lot more than just an LMS. It has a built in authoring tool, Paradiso Composer, for creating courses from scratch. It has various social learning features that bear more resemblance to Facebook than to classic eLearning. Most importantly from an instructor’s point of view is that you can run highly detailed reports and track your learners’ progress with ease. Salesforce LMS integration gives Paradiso LMS a huge boost by consolidating key aspects of your CRM and LMS in one place, where they are easily accessible.

Why Salesforce CRM

Salesforce is the planet’s premier CRM system and is used by thousands of companies, with millions of active users. Although split into various business units, Salesforce still has the largest market share of any CRM with a capitalization of $50bn. It invests heavily in philanthropy and especially marketing, having not reported a GAAP profit since it was founded in 1999. Salesforce has been recognized as the world’s most innovative company five times and is one of America’s most commercially successful cloud-based organizations. In short, it’s something that many, many different companies across the world use in some capacity and it makes perfect sense to integrate both training and customer relationship management.

As previously explained integrations are what gives your LMS the edge it needs to really carve out its own place in your company. The tools and apps that you use everyday to coordinate, design, implement, share, collaborate, schedule or record tasks and information can indeed work with your LMS in such a way that they help streamline the company, foster growth and reduce operating costs. After all, training your employees and ensuring that everyone is on the same page and has the information they need to do their job right is one of the most important facets of a sustainable business.

Paradiso LMS has been designed to work seamlessly with the programs that you use everyday, in such a way as to complement how they help your business. Part of this is our integration with Salesforce, which consolidates the power of both your CRM and LMS and streamlines the experience, giving you access to your training, learner records and data from the Salesforce dashboard, as well as instant access to over 5000 courses from the Paradiso Course Library.

Features Of Salesforce LMS Integration

Paradiso Solutions Salesforce LMS integration includes Single Sign On (SSO), so you need only one set of login credentials to access both platforms and there is no need to switch between the two. Training is embedded within the Salesforce platform and all you have to do to access it is click on the training tab on the dashboard. This tab also lets you view learner records and data and run custom reports and analytics, drawing on data from both your LMS and Salesforce. From the dashboard you can launch and assign courses, view eLearning material and use social tools.

One difficult side of maintaining so many different systems - HRIS, LMS, CRM etc. - is that employee, partner or customer information sometimes gets out of sync if these systems are not coordinated. Our Salesforce LMS integration automatically synchronizes this information whenever a new individual is added to the CRM or a registered user completes a course or milestone in the LMS. This way you can be sure that the most up-to-date information is always where it needs to be, and that hugely important information such as compliance is passed on to your CRM.

Collaboration Is Key

A big part of all new learning management systems is social learning and group collaboration, as it is now accepted that learner engagement and knowledge retention are strengthened through working together, and learning continues even in social environments away from the classroom. Paradiso LMS Salesforce integration works alongside Salesforce Communities, Chatter and Partner Portal, bringing the social aspects of your CRM to your LMS.

Paradiso Solutions Salesforce LMS integration is a complete solution for your company. Paradiso works with you to help you decide which features suit your needs, and how we can best combine the powers of Salesforce and Paradiso LMS for the benefit of your company.

By setting up these two platforms to work together you are streamlining two integral parts of your business, which can in turn have an effect on revenue. Your LMS takes on a host of new and exciting features and becomes an even more valued cog in the overall system. This adds a great deal of value and acts as a safeguard for the future of your learning management system within the company.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Are Subject Matter Experts Slowing Down Your eLearning Production Process?

How To Speed Up eLearning Projects By Involving Your Subject Matter Experts  

You’ve jumped through hoops to get an eLearning project scheduled with your busy team and they are all ready to run, but your Subject Matter Expert hasn’t yet come up with the content. Or, you’ve busted your bones turning around a great eLearning project in record time only to be left with your team waiting idly to get the review back from your Subject Matter Expert. Sound familiar? If you’ve been in the eLearning industry for even a short amount of time, you’re probably nodding knowingly.

If Subject Matter Experts are holding you up, this article will give you some ideas on how you can speed up production by involving them more effectively.

1. Empower Subject Matter Experts to add content directly inside your authoring tool. 

Simplicity

Allowing your Subject Matter Expert to create courses themselves can help you save time and keep costs down. If you are concerned about instructional and design standards, there are eLearning tools that let you easily create courses from a Master Theme (template). Since these themes are already designed and developed, Subject Matter Experts have the structure needed to produce high-quality eLearning that is consistent with your other courses. This will help you create more projects quickly and reduce the costs associated with hiring additional staff.

Later, during reviews and iterations, instead of having to copy and paste new content or amendments, ask your Subject Matter Expert to add it directly to the course themselves. This saves you from having to repeat the work that they have already done. Cloud-based tools, such as Elucidat, help make the process easy. Simply give your Subject Matter Expert access to edit the course and they can jump online from their own computer.

There’s no need for you to package the files up and send them via email, nor is there a need to manage multiple versions of the course. All changes are automatically saved and synchronized so anyone working on the project is always using the latest version.

2. Keep Subject Matter Experts in the loop throughout the entire project. 

in_the_loop

Instead of just bringing Subject Matter Experts in when you need them, involve them early so you can make sure they clearly understand your eLearning development process, your project goals and your objectives.

Early collaboration can help your Subject Matter Expert buy in to what you’re developing. By involving Subject Matter Experts early, they will feel more like a part of the team. This will make it easier to keep communication channels open and avoid any mistakes.

3. Embrace online collaboration. 

elucidat-collaboration-tool1

Subject Matter Experts are busy people with full-time jobs. You’ll often run into delays when you’re waiting for your Subject Matter Expert to review your projects. To keep costs under control, you should try to remove any bottlenecks.

It can be particularly challenging when you have two or more Subject Matter Experts working on one project. To ensure you keep everyone on track, make sure you use tools with inbuilt review and feedback functionality so you can track changes and monitor version control.

If you’re still asking stakeholders to review eLearning in a Word document with screenshots, you’re wasting valuable time and money. This process is difficult to track and manage. Instead of relying on email and Word docs, use online tools to collaborate, review and share feedback in real time.

Related: Why online collaboration is the answer to your team's efficiency problem

Final Suggestions To Help You Better Involve Subject Matter Experts

  1. Make sure everyone reviewing the project has access to the most up-to-date version.
    The best way to do this is to use an eLearning tool that automatically updates and keeps the project current.
  2. Use a tool that tracks and manages review cycles and changes.
    For example, Elucidat has an easy-to-use comment tool that lets Subject Matter Experts add notes for the rest of the team. You can quickly see what changes or additions have been made and who made those changes.
  3. Use a tool that lets you sign off on changes inside the project itself.
    This makes it easy to keep the updates and changes together in one place.

Stay on top of the latest eLearning ideas, trends and technologies by subscribing to the Elucidat weekly newsletter.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Speexx Exchange 4th annual survey calls for HR and L&D managers to speak their mind about current talent management issues

Munich – Thursday 3rd September 2015 – Speexx, the leading provider of online and mobile language training for large organisations, is inviting HR and L&D professionals to share their thoughts about the key talent management challenges facing their organisation and how these issues are being addressed.

Custom Mobile Learning Solutions: 5 Common Misconceptions

5 Common Misconceptions About Custom Mobile Learning Solutions

As I had mentioned earlier, with the increased usage of mobile devices as the preferred device for learning (particularly tablets and in recent times smartphones), mobile learning, and as an extension, custom mobile learning solutions are on an upswing.

Integration of Tablets and Smartphones provides increased flexibility to learners as they can access the same course across multiple devices. Technology allows them a seamless learning across devices.

In spite of this momentum, custom mobile learning solutions do face certain challenges and this often leads to elusive success factors. I will outline the 5 common misconceptions that I have seen so far and will provide pointers on a work-around for you to overcome them.

1. Mobile learning is eLearning lite. 

This is probably the biggest misconception and often the reason why custom mobile learning solutions fail to hit the mark. Mobile learning is not eLearning lite and when you opt for custom mobile learning solutions, you need to extensively revamp your learning strategy.

2. One size fits all. 

I see this as the second biggest misconception and it is related to the first misconception. When you opt for a custom mobile learning solution, you need to identify which devices would be used to access mLearning solutions. Essentially, there are two options:

  • Adaptive.
    These are multi-device custom mobile learning solutions that support PCs, laptops, and tablets.
  • Responsive. 
    These are multi-device custom mobile learning solutions that support PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

The inclusion of smartphones needs a reassessment of how your custom mobile learning solution needs to be designed. There are certain trade-offs in the overall learning experience when you design for the limited viewing area of a smartphone and this needs to be factored during the learning design phase. If the percentage of users opting for smartphones is very low, I would recommend the adaptive approach rather than a responsive approach. This will ensure that there is no trade-off and the same learning experience that is offered to PC/laptop users will also be available on tablets.

3. Need to factor for technology (HTML5 support), otherwise the same content and same learning strategy would work on all devices (including mobile devices). 

This is another misconception that often causes a gap in the desired and the actual learning experience. While custom mobile learning solutions factor for the technology (HTML5 output), this alone is not adequate to craft the learning strategy. Mobile devices require bite-sized learning that certainly needs repurposing of the content. Similarly, you need to have user interactions that are intrinsic to mobile devices but they are equally intuitive for usage on PC/laptop. Only then can the learning experience on mobile devices be meaningful for the learners.

4. Tablets and smartphones both support HTML5, so the same learning strategy should work.

Yes, from a technology perspective, both tablets and smartphones support HTML5. The need for distinct learning strategies that should be part of your custom mobile learning solutions arises from two factors. The first one is the fact that there is a limited viewable area in a smartphone. There is another associated challenge of providing flexibility in portrait and landscape viewing on smartphones that is not very relevant for tablet users. So, the custom mobile learning solution should be crafted bottom up; that is, begin with smartphone and then move up to tablets and finally to laptops/PCs. This approach will ensure that the learners will get the same learning experience as they move across devices on the same course.

5. A complete learning experience cannot be delivered on smartphones. 

This is a misconception that is very common. A complete learning experience can be delivered on smartphones provided your custom mobile learning solution factors for their limitations and builds on how learners are likely to use them in their overall learning journey.

Summary 

Like all new approaches, an effective and successful implementation of mobile learning or mLearning needs a different learning strategy. I hope with the clarity on the common 5 misconceptions and, more specifically, my pointers on how you could handle the intrinsic challenges, you will be able to create custom mobile learning solutions that work.

Over the last 4+ years, we have crafted custom mobile learning solutions of over 400 hours for both formal and informal learning (Performance Support Tools). We have crafted learning strategies that work for both individual learners as well as for collaborative (social) learning. If you have any questions on how you can successfully integrate mobile learning into your current learning strategy, do reach out to me.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Why Adobe Captivate Prime Announcement Is Exciting AND Disappointing

The Pros And Cons Of Adobe Captivate Prime  

This subscription-based Learning Management System allows all SCORM-compliant content to be uploaded, regardless of whether the content was developed using Adobe Captivate or other non-Adobe course authoring software. The subscription pricing is based on the number of registered users, and the minimum number is 100 users per organization. Captivate Prime includes enterprise support, so the “early adopter fear” can be mitigated with 24/7 Adobe support. There is also an inbuilt Learning Content Management System (LCMS), adding a rapid authoring element to the system. Best of all, in my opinion, Captivate Prime features “The Fluidic Player,” which should enable smooth content integration for the designers and unified playback experience for the learner.

Why Adobe Captivate Prime Is Exciting?

If you are an Instructional Designer who has spent countless painstaking hours authoring SCORM-compliant content only to find out that the Learning Management System designated to host your content does not support that type of content, then you are probably as excited about Captivate Prime as I am. If you are authoring content for a traditional Learning Management System, like Blackboard or Moodle, then you probably have not run into this specific issue (although both Blackboard and Moodle do have unique hiccups when it comes to hosting certain file types, but that is an issue for another day).

However, if you are a freelancer like I am and you work for a variety of different clients with a variety of technical capabilities and training budgets, you have learned first-hand the getting interactive files loaded onto a Learning Management System can be a challenge. Especially if your client is a smaller organization without the budget to support using anything more robust than open-source Moodle, or one of the variety of hosting sites who label themselves as eLearning sites floating around out there.

If your organization or client wants you to deliver a training video with no interaction, then you are good to go with pretty much every Learning Management System and pseudo- Learning Management System out there. But adding any level of interaction, or a quiz element, produces a file that many of these sites cannot support. The “fluidic player”, which provides a single playback option for a variety of eLearning file types, eliminates the risk of uploading content that is not compatible with the Learning Management System because it makes the content plug-and-play. This benefits the learner because they will not have to run an external application, like Real Time Player or Flash Player, and have to worry about whether it is up-to-date, or whether they even have to application installed to begin with.

So, Then, Why Is Adobe Captivate Prime Disappointing?

“Beth, you are impossible to please! Why isn’t this enough for you?” I hear you, dear reader. I hate to look a gift horse in the mouth, I am thrilled that Adobe has thrown its hat into the Learning Management System ring, but I am not ready to shout from the rooftops just yet.

The problem I have run into over and over again as a freelancer working with entrepreneurs and small businesses is the fact that most legitimate Learning Management Systems are unattainable for these clients. They do not have the quantity of users and/or the budget to justify using a traditional Learning Management System. The Learning Management System model is pretty much exclusively aimed at academic institutions and corporate training organizations with hundreds of users and millions of dollars to spend. My average client is a one-person company looking to sell their course to their audience, which could be hundreds of people, or even thousands of people, but could also just be tens of people, especially at the initial launch of the content.

There is a fast-growing market out of independent eLearning content generators who are posting their content on any site that is capable of supporting it. More often than not, it is a WordPress site with a plug-in that enables embedded videos, with zero built-in interactive elements. There are Captivate plug-ins for WordPress sites, but the plug-ins simply allow the user to view the Captivate file. They do not allow for self-grading of quizzes, or recording quiz grades (or any grade book element, really), or completion tracking. A robust, subscription-based Learning Management System like Captivate Prime could be a perfect solution for small quantity content producers, and for non-traditional eLearning content generators like retailers and public figures. Many of these content generators are not looking for a quizzing or grading feature, but would still benefit from the Learning Content Management Systems and fluidic player. Including interactions and widgets would vastly improve many of these eLearning events.

If Adobe could create a subscription level for this niche market, it would open a world of possibilities for the non-traditional eLearning market. However, Captivate Prime does not solve this problem quite yet, because of the 100 user minimum and the lack of eCommerce support in the Learning Management System. If these issues were addressed, Captivate Prime could be a key tool for legitimizing eLearning content from non-traditional content generators.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

CUEBC 2015

CUEBC 2015 conference is renowned as BC’s foremost Educational Technology professional development experience for K12 teachers of all backgrounds and skill levels.

Sharing & Collaborating

Meet over 500 passionate and inspiring educators all gathering to share experiences and broaden their Pro-D in the world of educational technology.

Hands-On Workshops

A variety of workshops will provide you with hands-on opportunities to try a variety of innovative hardware and software experiences.

Inspiration and Motivation

Have an exciting educational technology idea but don't know where to start? Experts will be on-hand to point you the right direction.

The CUEBC 2015 Conference will be held at Byrne Creek Secondary in Burnaby, Canada, on October 23, 2015.

 

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

The Top 10 TED Talks For eLearning Professionals

Top 10 TED Talks eLearning Professionals Should Not Miss

TED talks are inspirational and innovative speeches that delve into the presenter's topic of choice. Each video features stories, tips, and helpful insights that you won't find elsewhere, all packed into an 18 minute time limit. Here are the top 10 TED talks that eLearning professionals won't want to miss!

  1. Eddie Obeng: Smart Failure For A Fast-Changing World.
    One of the most valuable teaching tools we can offer our corporate learners is the ability to benefit from their mistakes. Failure is not the end; it is the beginning of a learning experience that leads to personal and professional growth. Eddie Obeng delivers an amazing Ted Talk about our quickly changing world, the constant struggle to create bigger and better things, and shares three essential changes that everyone must understand in order to boost productivity. He also encourages viewers to believe in the power of “smart failure” to keep up with the ever-changing environment.
  2. Salman Kahn: Let’s Use Video To Reinvent Education.
    Salmam Khan, founder of the Khan Academy, shares the inspiration behind the concept and why he chose to create the online video curriculum. He also delves into the benefits and educational power of interactive eLearning materials, and challenges all instructors to make the switch to a blended learning approach. His suggestions include viewing eLearning videos at home using tech tools in the classroom. This Ted talk will offer you new ideas that you can integrate into your training strategy to increase interactivity and improve performance.
  3. Anant Agarwal: Why Massive Open Online Courses (Still) Matter.
    Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and their importance in online learning is the discussion topic in this fascinating TED Talk hosted by Anant Agarwal, head of edX. It emphasizes how open courses can be used to supplement learning and deliver "high level learning" to the masses. Agarwal also offers insight into the future of blended learning, and the role it might play in the 21st century classroom. If you've been looking for additional ways to use MOOCs in your training plan or want to learn more about the benefits of open courses in modern training environments, this is the talk to watch.
  4. Tom Chatfield: 7 Ways Games Reward The Brain.
    Gamification is quickly becoming one of the most popular training approaches, thanks to the wide range of motivational benefits it brings to compliance and performance management courses. Chatfield delves into the psychology of games and how reward systems engage learners' minds and prompt them to keep coming back for more. This is a must-watch for training developers who ate thinking about adding gamification to their design strategy.
  5. Chris Anderson: How Web Video Powers Global Innovation.
    A presentation from one of TED's own, Chris Anderson, who discusses the growing popularity of web video and "Crowd Accelerated Innovation" it is fueling. He specifically talks about the power of this "self-fueling cycle of learning" in online training experiences, and how organizations can use it to their advantage by encouraging open-minded innovation and radical thinking.
  6. Adora Svitak: What Adults Can Learn From Kids.
    Adora Svitak, a spirited child prodigy, explores the idea of child-like thinking, and how adult learners could benefit from dreaming big and sparking their creativity. She makes the point that kids' wild ideas deserve respect and that adults should be willing and ready to learn from the younger generation. It is a refreshing talk from a unique perspective that every eLearning pro should watch, particularly those who are searching for new ways to engage and emotionally connect with corporate learners.
  7. Ramsey Musallum: 3 Rules To Spark Learning.
    Ramsey Musallum, a chemistry teacher, offers 3 rules that training developers can follow to stir imaginations and spark learner interest. Musallum also shares his personal back story of how he transitioned from “pseudo-teaching” to taking on the role of an educator who encourages curiosity. The talk is packed with valuable information, but still retains a fun and lighthearted atmosphere.
  8. Carol Dweck: The Power Of Believing That You Can Improve. 
    Carol Dweck, a researcher who specializes in motivation and personal success, speaks on the topic of having a "growth mindset". She explores the idea of expanding the brain's ability to overcome challenges and acquire new knowledge. Dweck presenters viewers with two ways to approach a difficult problem, then ponders whether the problem is impossible to solve or if your brain simply has not come up with the solution at its current capacity. She stresses the fact that learners can improve if they believe they can, thanks to the power of the "growth mindset". This is the ideal talk for relearning pros who are trying to empower their audience and motivate them to succeed in their own terms.
  9. John Maeda: Designing For Simplicity. 
    John Maeda from the MIT Media Lab, and former president of the Rhode Island School of Design, goes back to the basics in this TED talk. He shares how to use modern tech tools and software to create beautiful, but simple eLearning designs, which can make for amazing onlinetraining experiences. The presentation centers on blending technology and design to strike the balance between form and function.
  10. Richard St. John: 8 Secrets Of Success. 
    Richard St.John, an analyst and success researcher, dives into the "secrets of success". His presentation is filled to the brim with tips and advice on success, motivation, and personal growth that St.John has collected over the span of 10 years of research. Best of all, it's all contained within a 3 minute slideshow. Helping corporate learners achieve professional success is a common goal that all training shares, and this TED talk gives you a wealth of ideas to help them in this endeavor.

Be sure to have a pen and paper ready for note taking, as these TED talks offer a wealth of information. If you have a few free minutes, why not venture over to one of these videos today, no RSVP required.

Last but not least, you may find valuable the following two free ebooks:

  1. How To Become An eLearning Professional
    23 eLearning Experts Help You Become a Top-Notch eLearning Professional! The Free How to Become an eLearning Professional eBook is filled with the knowledge, wisdom, experience and inspiration of carefully selected eLearning professionals.
  2. How To Become An Instructional Designer
    24 Highly-skilled Instructional Designers share their success stories as well as their personal views on the ideal traits good Instructional Designers should possess. They also give valuable tips and tricks to follow that will help you reach your dream Instructional Design career on a single condition: that you have a true passion for Instructional Design.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

The Problem With Modular Learning And 3 Easy Ways To Fix It

The Problem With Modular Learning  

One of the biggest challenges organizations have today is managing their capacity to produce learning that meets all of their training needs. The struggle to create a wide variety of effective learning materials that cater to a broad range of needs for different departments, roles, and competencies can be a daunting and extremely costly endeavor.

At Learnkit we see a lot of organizations attempt to overcome this challenge by developing an extensive content library. Human Resources and training departments try to create large content repositories that can satisfy all of their employees’ learning needs. However, these content libraries can be hard to navigate (for learners and administrators alike), have content that is too general, and can really decrease the effectiveness of your learning initiatives.

The problem with creating a large content library is that the courses are usually catered to one department or job function. This can end up leaving many employees feeling disconnected from the material. If I’m in the marketing department, then I want all my learning to be tailored to me as much as possible. If the learning I’m going through speaks more the sales department, I’m not likely to internalize anything. What’s more, a lot of content ends up packaged in longer courses and it can be hard for administrators to tailor learning paths for the needs of different departments.

For example, a restaurant will offer their staff an online learning module for dress code training. A kitchen employee will take the training and find themselves having to sit through the first portion that goes over dress code for front of house staff and servers; information that has little to no value or relevance to their job. If your employee makes the time to do their training, only to be submerged in learning that is catered to another department, they will get bored, disconnect, and likely not complete the training.

Employees want personalized learning. We hear the need to create learning that is personalized to the learner time and time again. However it is extremely costly to create a learning module tailored to the needs and realities of your sales team and then re-create similar learning modules with customized content for marketing, operations, and customer service. Many organizations don’t have the staff, time, resources, or money to build out personalized learning modules for each department or role.

So how do we address these learning module challenges? The trick is to find ways to reuse content so that you aren’t reinventing the wheel.

3 Simple Ways To Create Great Learning Modules That Increase Employee Engagement While Staying Within Your Budget  

  1. Axe the content library -quite literally- by creating easy to use, agile, and truly “bite-sized” content.
    When dealing with huge content libraries, we often see courses embedded in long training modules that take ages to move content around or take out small learning modules. To create amazing modular learning it is crucial that your content is developed into small, independent bite-sized chunks. All of your modules should be built as small, separate files. This will allow you to have 5-6 minute training sessions that employees can use throughout your organization, opposed to being embedded in a larger training course. When you create your training and learning courses as separate files, rather than menu items embedded in a larger file, you are given much more flexibility to slice and dice your learning for different purposes. This means, next time you want to put together a larger course you can simply pick and choose some of your small files to bring them together into a 2 hour course with just one click through your Learning Management System.
  2. Plan ahead to maximize learning effectiveness and efficiency.
    When we create digital learning for our clients we spend time upfront carefully planning how to build the content for multiple roles and departments at once. Simply asking your users in their training which department they belong to in a course (and then directing them there!) can help you make small adjustments. A simple “Choose your department” question at the beginning of a course will allow you to direct your employees to the course modules relevant to their department or role. The rest of these changes can range from little text changes to larger changes branching off from core content. Small items include changing the department name and role-specific language. Larger changes include things like the uniforms in the above example, or changing the dialogue in a branched scenario to match a learner’s role. All of these, large and small, go a long way to improving engagement and retention.
  3. Ask more open ended questions to encourage the personalization of knowledge.
    Would you tell me about a time where you feel like you learned quickly? Rather than have a multiple choice test with various questions and static four choice answers, make your employees feel like it is really applicable to their day-to-day job and responsibilities by adding open ended questions at the end of each module. Use general language when crafting the questions, so that they will be applicable to everyone. This will help your employees be more engaged in the learning by requiring them to reflect on their own role and experiences with the new material they are learning. When an employee goes through training and is asked an open ended question, the internalization of their own experience in their role and with the company will not only improve their engagement, but will  also increase their knowledge retention because they are actively processing the learning.

How does your organization stack up against the common learning module problem? What other strategies have you applied to help solve the problems with modular learning?

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.