Up to Speed

Upload and Download

Nowadays, people are getting less and less patient when it comes to waiting files to upload or download. So, when it comes eLearning courses, if your course does not load immediately, learners are more likely to close it even before starts. Learners will start forwarding their concerns to departments like IT, or worse complain how the training is a complete of waste of time. Thus, it’s very important to ensure that your eLearning courses load quickly.

So, how do you ensure that your eLearning courses are up to speed? Make sure to use the right file types for your graphics, animation and audio. Find ways to compress them without sacrificing much of their quality. I strongly recommend testing your eLearning courses using your learners’ computers, mobile phones or tablets, so you know how the course will run with their gadgets’ bandwidth and configuration. In fact, why not pilot the course before rolling it out for further testing and tweaking.

How do you make sure your eLearning courses load quickly and efficiently?

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A Clear Objective

Target

I recently reviewed a training program for one of our departments. It was just a quick review, not an in depth curriculum evaluation. But what I quickly tried to look for were the learning objectives of the training. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any.

It’s important to state the learning objectives in the training materials. Some may argue that learning objectives are not necessary because people will learn what they want to learn. I think regardless of whether you would like the learners to read the learning objectives or not, it should be available to stakeholders who are interested in knowing them (e.g. trainers, instructional designers, training managers, etc.). The learning objectives tell us what we can expect the learners to know or be able to do after the training. They also give us an idea on the scope of the training. In addition, learning objectives give direction to the content and assessment of the training.

Obviously, my first recommendation to improve the training is to clarify and state the learning objectives.

Do you agree in stating the learning objectives in the training materials?

The Game of Learning

Gamification

I had an interesting conversation with the Training Director of one Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) company. We talked about how the new generation is so engaged in games and videos, and how these should be integrated to learning programs. He pointed out that if we want to engage the future generation of learners, then this is the way to go. He emphasized that I should consider using games for effective learning. He also told me about a book entitled Reality is Broken authored by Jane McGonigal. I bought the book but have not yet gotten the chance to read it. I did, however, watched a video of Jane McGonigal’s very interesting talk at Ted’s. Here’s the video:

Will you consider using games for your training? How do you integrate games to training?

A Good Start

Project Scoping

We’ve just started Six Sigma in the organization I recently joined. Similar to ADDIE (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, Evaluation) of Instructional Systems Design, Six Sigma has it has own stages known as DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control).

Like in any project having a good start is critical. The Define stage describes the business need, the issue or problem, objectives, as well as the scope of the project.  This is all captured in the Project Charter. However, this is only the beginning of the Define stage, there are other steps that follow after the Project Charter has been completed. But for our organization, I think we had a good start. Let me share to you the Project Charter template I used for this project. I hope you find it useful.

Has your organization embraced Six Sigma?

IN Theory

Learning Theory

A Training Manager once asked me what learning theory I subscribe to. I find this question interesting because there are so many learning theories out there. Each theory provides strong arguments, not only on how people learn, but also on how training should be conducted. Most of them are based on years of research. However, we must remember that they still remain to be but “theories.” They are continuously being reviewed, tested and further studied.

So, I think it is best not to subscribe to any one theory, instead to review each theory and focus on how you can apply them to your training. This will give you firsthand opportunity, not only to improve your training, but to evaluate their effectiveness. An opportunity for creativity I think you’ll enjoy!

What learning theories do you apply to your training?

Let’s Take a Look

Project Scoping

Taking a look at the nitty-gritty parts of your project and carefully analyzing its scope is critical during the initial stages of instructional design. In the scoping phase, you need to identify:

  • The problem
  • The need for training
  • Your resources
  • Your audience
  • The Facilitator
  • The learning environment
  • Your timeline

I have included a Scoping Questions guide, which I hope will help you during this phase of instructional design. You can access the guide here.

What other aspects do you consider during the Scoping and Analysis phase?

It Takes a Team

Whenever I hear someone say that s/he single-handedly developed a training program, I cringe because I know that creating an effective and efficient learning solution is ALWAYS a collaborative effort. It is the collaboration of many knowledgeable and talented individuals inside (and sometimes outside) the organization.

Training Development Team

It starts with a keen observer who initially identifies that a business need or a performance gap exists. This is usually raised to a person in the organization with influence, possibly a manager, who gets the attention of the entire management. Management then decides and asks a learning professional to look into the issue. The learning professional then analyzes the situation to determine if training is the solution, or at least part of the solution. In general, this process entails working with the people who are directly affected by the issue, Subject Matter Experts (or SMEs), as well as management.

Once it has been determined that training is or part of the solution, the results of the analysis is then presented to management. Typically, a team is then formed to begin with the design and development of the training program. The team would usually include:

  • An Executive Sponsor – who will support the training program
  • SME(s) – who will be the source of information
  • Instructional Designer(s) – who will design, develop and evaluate the program
  • Trainer(s) or LMS Administrator – who will implement the training

Depending on the complexity of the program and the size of the organization, other individuals may be included, such as affected employees, project managers, graphics artists, content developers, e-Learning specialists, among others.

The Executive Sponsor is usually responsible for promoting and communicating the program. S/he removes obstacles that may hinder the completion of the training. S/he also give the final approval for the entire training program. While the SME is the source of the content, without his/her knowledge and experience, gathering content will be tedious and painful. The SME is also responsible for ensuring the accuracy of the content. The Instructional Designer is typically the project manager, curriculum designer, content developer and graphics artist. But in cases of big and complex training programs, these roles are delegated to other talented individuals. On the other hand, the trainer (or the LMS administrator in case of eLearning) is in charge of the implementation of the training program.

It is clear that it takes a team to develop an effective and efficient program. Hence, the success of addressing the business need or performance gap is dependent on this team.

Who do you include in your team?

Did They Like It?

Getting our learners’ feedback is one of the ways we measure our training’s success. We use surveys, whether paper-based or online, to gather our learners’ ideas, feelings and suggestions. Their responses help us find out how well they liked (or didn’t like) the training, from the training design to its facilitation to the learning environment. We try to get their feedback on almost all elements of the training. Moreover, we use this information not only to find out how well we did, but also to identify areas where we can improve our training.

However, getting learners to actually respond to surveys can sometimes be a challenge. Learners are typically excited to get out of the classroom the moment the actual training ends, whether it be out of the excitement to apply what they’ve learned or simply out of sheer boredom, we’ll never really know unless they take the survey.

How then do we encourage our learners to take the survey?

Here are a few suggestions that will help you get the valuable feedback that you need.

  • Make the survey easy to complete

By this I mean…

    • Ensure that the instructions are clear and easy to understand.
    • Ask clear and specific questions.
    • Use a format that’s easy to respond to (e.g. multiple choice for paper-based survey or check boxes or radio buttons for online survey).
  • Set the expectation that there will be a survey towards the end of the training

This will help your learners prepare and possibly think about what they would like to put on the survey. You want those comment boxes filled as well.

  • Allot a time on when learners will take the survey.

Make sure to include the survey in your schedule. By giving them time to take the survey, you can avoid learners rushing to answer the questions. You will get more valuable information if they are not answering the survey in haste.

  • Tell them how valuable their feedback is and how you will use them in the future.

Let your learners know that they are your customers and knowing how they think and feel is of utmost importance to you. Let them know too that they can be honest and straightforward in their feedback since this will help you improve future trainings.

This list is not exhaustive but I hope that you find this list helpful.

How about you? How do you encourage your learners to take the survey?

Welcome to By Instructional Design!

Here you’ll get creative but practical ideas and tips that will help you create richer and more valuable learning experiences for your learners. In addition, we’ll talk about the latest trends and topics in the field of learning and instructional design. You’ll also get access to many useful learning tools for free!

Thank you for visiting By Instructional Design.

Enjoy learning!

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