In the development of eLearning, we’re always creatively incorporating great technology into our interactive courses, including videos, infographics, and animation. Cinemagraphs are the latest trend to join the multitude of resources at our eLearning fingertips, but what makes them so great? A photograph with a spot of subtle movement, a cinemagraph is quite literally a photo come to life, and its simultaneous naturalness and unusualness can be utterly arresting. When trainers custom design courses, the eye-catching nature of cinemagraphs can be used to enhance learning programs with visual cues, to create easy and relatable graphics, and to strengthen marketing and memorability for learners. The actual creation of cinemagraphs used to be a complex process, but newer technology make these great graphics simple to create and great candidates to incorporate into and enhance eLearning.
As you begin to learn about the different ways to bring e-learning into your organization, you will invariably come across the question, "Which is a better option: self-paced e-learning or live, on-line training?" It is not an easy question to answer because there are benefits and drawbacks to both methods.
How many binders do you have on your bookshelf? A lot, right? Just about everyone has taken a training class and been given a training binder, taken it back to their desk, and never opened it again. It's crazy. So many people have have all these training binders on their desks just collecting dust.
Training and performance improvement professionals work hard every day trying to make training more engaging. Our goal is not to make the training more engaging by itself; we want to improve participation in class, increase learning and retention, and ensure application on the job that improves performance. Increasing engagement does not have to be difficult. Here is a list of nine ways you can easily make your training more engaging.
Yes, I know. The business is putting more pressure on you to deliver more training and you just don't have the resources.
The problem is not that “they” do not understand. The problem is that “you” do not understand. Everyone in the business is under the same pressure. The VP of Customer Service who is putting pressure on your team to deliver more training than you can develop, has been asked to service more customers with fewer customer service representatives, and she needs those she has to learn about five new product launches this quarter, not to mention the new CRM system that is being installed in the same quarter.
By the way, your competitors are under the same pressure and might just be working a little harder than you are.
There is no going back. Things are speeding up, and you cannot go back to the VP of Customer Service and tell her that, “based on our development process (ADDIE), we can have that new product training ready in 4 months.” Bzzzzzzzzzzz. Wrong answer! The product launch is in one month and by the way, customers are already calling about it. Yikes!
So what do you do? It takes time to create effective training. No doubt about that. “If I speed up, quality will go down, and I don’t want to develop low quality training,” you say.
There are four things you can do to speed up the instructional design process without decreasing effectiveness. In fact, you may increase effectiveness. And isn’t that what matters most? Isn’t the goal of effective training that a person is able to perform a job well? Consider four things you can do to speed up your instructional design process and quite possibly increase its effectiveness.
It will never be done anyway
The first thing you need to do is begin with the premise that learning programs you design are a work in progress. Ultimately, you will never fully complete a task because as soon as you do and get everyone trained, the product will change or be replaced. Think like a software developer and focus on getting version one of your training designed and delivered. Then, continuously update it as necessary.
Have instructional designers do the job
Have instructional designers do the job for a few days. Send them over to the call center. Let CSRs show them how to take calls and then have the instructional designer talk to customers for a few days. They will have a new appreciation for what tasks need to be learned. This will speed up the ISDers ability to understand the tasks and then design the learning experiences required.
Workbooks, not manuals
Don’t bother to write too much text into the learning materials explaining how to do each task or understand each concept. No one reads it anyway. If you understand cognitive load theory, you know that people cannot listen, read, look, take notes, and process it all at the same time. Make your training materials look more like structured outlines and less like manuals. Put all that text on a wiki.
Lots of practice activities and live work
There is an Estonian proverb, The work will teach you how to do it. So, the more you do, the more you learn. It does not take much time in the design process to create two days worth of training if the two days are spent practicing. Repetition is good. Bring an experienced CSR into class for the practice and let that person answer the tough questions and give feedback to the learners. Have that person act as a customer in these practice exercises to make it seem as real as possible. Then, have the learners talk to live customers while in training. Do.
Remember, you do not need to sacrifice quality for speed; you just have to change the premise of what you design and deliver. Your job is not to create training, it is to serve customers, just like the people in customer service. The only difference is that customer service answers the phone to talk to customers, and you prepare customer service with the knowledge to help customers.
On the Mindflash blog before we’ve pointed out there’s plenty of evidence for a training crisis in American business, with various experts and surveys bemoaning a "sink or swim" approach to on-boarding new employees. But is one group in particular especially underserved by current approaches to training?
On Thursday, August 18, I attended the first ever Evernote Trunk Conference in San Francisco. I have been a light user since early 2010, but recently I have taken on so many projects that I have been searching for an organization system that works for me. I have heard of people using Evernote for all kinds of reasons up to and including "putting everything in Evernote." I wanted to learn more. At the conference, talking to people, and listening to the speakers, I started to think about how learning professionals could use Evernote to design and deliver better training.
A trainer’s job would be much simpler if her audience were all geniuses. Imagine, for example, the long lunch breaks you could take if every person you worked with had the recall capacity of savant Daniel Tammet, who holds a world record for reciting Pi from memory to 22,514 digits and who learned conversational Icelandic in just one week.
There is a lot of talk about using social media in training or about social learning in the workplace, but frankly there is not a lot of action. There are many reasons for this inaction, but anyone who has worked in an organization knows there is an incredible amount of inertia keeping things the way they have always been done. Learning experience designers need to break free from the gravitational pull of "we have always done it this way" and try something new. There is no substitute for experimentation.