In the last post, it was suggested that for busy corporate learners, putting their learning in a practical context is a first step to building acceptance and engagement in their learning. It is therefore necessary to prove to them the relevance of their E-Learning to giving direction in their role related performance within the business. With this in mind the following two suggestions for building interactivity can be summarized as follows:
- From an educational point of view, to accomplish knowledge transfer and skill set development, there should be meaningful opportunities for learners to see and test out what they are learning as it applies to real life settings. One way that this may be accomplished using a blended E-Learning format is through well designed simulations and scenarios where the learner is the main character.
- It is important to establish a readily seen connection between theory and practical application of the E-Learning content. Using a variety of irresistibly engaging learning experiences such as scenarios, case studies, simulations and most importantly, collaborative problem solving scenarios where a group of employees are tasked to engage a problem in an online environment is important to developing engagement. Such E-Learning experiences that involve collaborative problem solving where decisions made, lead to immediate feedback and branching scenarios created as a result of decisions that were made are valuable. They lead to the development of important skillsets that can be readily measured and assessed. Immediate feedback to learners throughout the experience is more valuable than a test at the end.
The Importance of Challenge in Building Interactivity
All E-Learning interactions should be challenging enough to involve learners and motivate them at the same time for them to become engaged in the learning process.
- Learners should have a powerful purpose for engaging in E-Learning experiences. One of the most powerful motivators is the realization by every learner that the role that I perform within the business organization is important to the organization; my work is appreciated and my contributions are respected by decisions makers; my striving to improve my learning by engaging in experiences that challenge and grow my skillsets is an investment in the health of my organization and in my own professional development.
- Another way to challenge learners is to design into the learning experiences what may be described as "unforeseen distractors". The challenge in this instance is how a collaborative problem solving group are able to use divergent thinking that leads to innovative solutions to a problem when the previously decided upon solution can't work. This is a skillset that every business organization should commit to fostering and nurturing within its business organization. It is a pathway to the development of systemic innovative thinking throughout the organization. An example of such a distractor within a business simulation might be as simple as a new flash to the group that a crucial supplier has been unable to deliver on promised materials crucial to you meeting an impending deadline or it could be a case where a company responsible for creating vaccines for a specific illness discovers that their producing lab has not being operating according to the required protocols for a sterile environment. The decisions made by participants in such a scenario where they are thoroughly engaged will yield "big data" that can enhance the learning culture within the business organization.
- Another useful challenge, is to teach learners to use online media tools to search for useful information for tasks. One of the problems of the past is declaring in an uncritical fashion that "content is king". The fact that content was delivered to the learner and then all that was expected of them was to memorize the content is a throw back to the "operant conditioning model" mentioned in the previous post. In a learning and information age, being able to use online tools to search, analyze, evaluate and authenticate the truth value of information is far more important. "Well developed online critical thinking skills are king".
Next...Lessons from serious games that apply to the hybrid model