Many organizations are increasingly offering their training programs to a worldwide learner base. This practice enables organizations to expand their brand globally, gain recognition and demonstrate their business practices to potential clients.
In this article, we share four ways to convert your existing eLearning programs into globally extended courses.
Statistics tell us that there are more than 2 billion potential eLearners worldwide. Instruction design strategies need to adapt to the growing number of learners per course.
eLearning courses, when extended beyond the borders, provide additional income for corporations and training centers. For this reason, the concept of developing a wider learner base for the eLearning environment is becoming an increasingly common practice in organizations.
If you have existing eLearning courses, you can easily tweak them to cater to a geographically dispersed audience.
1. Upgrade the role of a facilitator for extended audiences
Due to varying learning styles and preferences existing in the wide audience of an extended eLearning environment, there is very little opportunity to cater to everyone’s needs. This makes it necessary for instructional designers to create alternative methods for eLearners to receive feedback from their facilitators.
In order to improve the online learning experience of the worldwide audience, elevate the role of a facilitator from the course mentor, to a guide and consultant. This enables the eLearners to receive guidance, tips and enrichment in achieving their learning objectives.
The best way to do this is to establish a rapport between the learner and the facilitator. Effective strategies include one-on-one communication through email to introduce each other. Breaking the ice between the facilitator and the learner is the key to being available when needed.
The idea is to create a comfortable environment that makes reaching out between learners and facilitators easy.
2. Provide choices for compulsory and optional learning activities
When developing assessments and activities for a massive audience, aim for a medium-level difficulty. A one-size-fits-all approach is rarely beneficial for an extended eLearning environment. Provide options for the learners to choose when working on activities.
Those with average achievement levels will work on activities they are comfortable with. Learners who are over-achievers will try to complete all levels of activities. Adult learners strive on autonomy. Move the control from the facilitator to the learner so that the learners are responsible for their own learning.
Flexibility in tackling the order of the chapters enables learners to complete the chapters they are interested in before the others. This way you create a satisfying learning experience for all audiences.
3. Enable automatic grading
In order to create an efficient extended eLearning course, create closed-ended activities that quickly grade your learners and inform them of their progress. This frees up the facilitator role for providing quality feedback and reflection services.
When facilitators have their time freed up, they can focus on learner feedback on the course and help organizations improve the course. A great way that does take a lot of time initially but saves more time in the long run is to create a grading scale rubric. In this rubric you explain the desired quality expectations and vice versa and their associated grades.
4. Create synchronous and asynchronous activities
An instructional design for an extended course should comprise of both synchronous and asynchronous learning activities.
Asynchronous assignments and projects require learners to upload multimedia and slideshows for grading.
Synchronous activities enable the development of online work groups or online teams that discuss, share and exchange information. Providing a combination of such activities creates an enjoyable learning experience.
Here’s something pro active facilitators could do. Find a group of strongly motivated and overachieving learners (through classroom and assignment performance) and make them leaders of several working groups. This ensures that each group has at least one member who can guide them towards the learning objectives.
eLearning courses are quickly reaching out to a global learning audience. Instead of a redesign process, use these four tips to quickly create extended eLearning courses to positively represent your organization.