If there is one thing that fails an eLearning course, it’s the capability to differentiate performance of its learners from pre-course to post-course.
For such reasons, it is critical to define the type of improvement you wish to achieve through your eLearning course: Is it information based? Or is it skills rendering?
Measuring performance is an essential tool to determine if the eLearning course has been effective.
How do you achieve a performance boost in your learners? How do you access their learning and ensure that they will apply it in a real word context?
Above all, how do you justify to your top level managers, that your eLearning course is a result of a gap analysis between strategic goals and current performance.? How do you convince them that this course will boost functionality in the employees?
Bottom line – how would you propose (and demonstrate later) a high ROI (return on investment)? Seems challenging doesn’t it?
Whether you are an instructional designer or an aspiring one, this article will boost your performance as an effective e-course designer and developer. Simply read on.
Interactivity, Interactivity, Interactivity
What is the core element utilized extensively in a typical performance-based eLearning course?
Before you think you have guessed it right, let us tell you that interactivity in eLearning is not as simple as it sounds. A simple click and move forward is interactivity. An immersive scenario that leads to branched scenarios is also interactivity.
So, which one will create an effective performance based eLearning course?
For starters, know the difference between incidental interactivity and knowledge-based, decision making interactivity.
So, what is the most common misconception in developing a well-intended performance based eLearning course?
There may be several goals for eLearning. However, the ultimate goal should always be to enable learners reduce limiting behaviors and master new skills.
Knowledge alone is not enough. For performance improvement we need action.
Do near perfect scores in quizzes and assessments lead to A grade performance? Absolutely not! This is where the perceptions of the client and the design of the instructional designer differ.
Unfortunately, this is also where eLearning most often falls short. Rote memorization and recall activities do not lead to better performance. If clients are looking into behavioral and attitude changes that will improve real-world performance, then the drill and recall approach will not work.
The key to building engaging instructional interactivity is that it focuses not on knowledge alone, but on the application of knowledge.
The three essentials of a performance-based eLearning course
Consider integrating these three principles in your performance based eLearning course:
The scenarios and context used in your courses should closely replicate the real-world situation of the learner. Is the training about operating a new CRM (customer relationship management)?
Make sure you not only have screenshots of the software but also a problem situation that can be solved using the provided list of options.
Similarly, if your goal is to cultivate a new customer service attitude, a simple true or false quiz and its scores will not determine transfer, or lack of it, of learning to actual work context.
Provide a customer service scenario in which you show bubble speeches of a customer from being irate to content, depending upon the response of the learner. The idea is to create a situation directly from the performance environment to engage the learner and apply their learning- as soon as they learn.
Building upon the context principle, the challenge principle requires from eLearning developers to offer learning objects, resources, clues and options to intelligently analyze and synthesize the correct solution.
For example, a vignette supported by an instructional video can stimulate prior knowledge.
Challenge your learners to arrive at the best answer through a logical decision making process. Contrast this with a mere drill and practice and recall activities usually associated with interactivity providing strategies.
Research indicates better success rates in terms of performance, associated with eLearning courses that engage, than simply by interacting.
Imagine the impact of a feedback that displays “correct answer”, each time the learner answers correctly.
After a while the experience loses its novelty and becomes pedantic! Feedback definitely needs to be more specific and responsive. If the response is correct, tell the learner why and any alternative answers if possible.
How will this method impact performance?
Using an immersive scenario, create pitfalls that learners avoid using the right decisions. Use an avatar with responsive comments like “that’s much better, now we have all the clues to move forward. Thank you for helping me”.
Talk to front line operators to uncover commonly recurring problems. Render these problems in the form of scenarios in your elearning course.
No matter what your learning goal is, your primary task is to create learner-centered materials. The adult of this era is well-read and an informed knowledge consumer.
Creating learning materials that merely demonstrate information will not be sufficient. Using real-world, immersive scenarios will move your training up a few notches and its impact will unfold during learner performance.
Do you have something to add? I would love to hear from you in the comments section below.