SHIFT's eLearning Blog

Gamification: A Better Way of Reaching Online Learners

Posted by Emilia Iñigo on Thu, Jan 22, 2015 @ 01:22 PM

Is it possible to make people respect speed limits just for fun?

This was the question posed by Kevin Richardson, winner of Volkswagen’s Fun Theory Award. In Stockholm, the Swedish National Society for Road Safety, together with Volkswagen, made Richardson's idea a reality. They installed a lottery radar speed camera which has two functions:

  • Penalizing drivers who exceed speed limits.
  • Giving a lottery ticket to those who drive below the limits, for a prize consisting of the money raised by the penalties.

Result: More people respected speed limits. By turning the goal of lowering speed levels into a competitive game, people are more inclined to do it - increased responsibility through gaming.

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Topics: eLearning tips, gamification

For the Learner's Sake, Make Your Courses More Challenging

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Tue, Jan 20, 2015 @ 12:03 PM

Remember the school days? They were not only about making new friends, sharing lunches, having crushes, and dreaming of making it to the basketball team. There were some trying times too. For some, the Algebra class was a nightmare while for others, History lessons brought out the tears. Yet, the demons are not inside the formulae, dates, or maps. How a subject is taught has a lot to do with how well we learn it. Not every one of us had a passion for Literature, but we all loved it when Mrs. Smith made us dress up and play the characters from the stories we had to read. Not of all of us have grown up to become chemists, but many would love to go back to Mr. Henry's laboratory to once more have fun mixing chemicals.

The reason we see so many boring and passive eLearning is because it is just flat out easier for the designer. It is challenging to create learning that engages learners, that fires up their brain's synapses and makes content stick. But all you instructional designers out there, you have to take up this challenge; you owe this to your learners who have probably stayed back, rescheduled their meetings, or postponed tasks to take your course.

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Topics: eLearning design

Do You Know How Successful Your eLearning Program Really Is?

Posted by Aide Peralta on Thu, Jan 15, 2015 @ 12:14 PM

Recently, I attended a Congress of Human Resources. On stage, the speaker appeared charismatic, professional, and he gave quite an entertaining presentation. He held the audience's attention by constantly making jokes and adding interesting personal anecdotes.

I sat through the entire speech waiting for the speaker to reach a climax, make a solid point or establish a noteworthy conclusion. In the end, I was left unsatiated, with the feeling that while the attendees had all had a good time, no real learning had actually taken place. 

This same situation occurs during trainings for countless companies. In-person trainings involve a fun and enjoyable classroom environment, but often lack applicable content. Similarly, online trainings are all too often attractive eLearning courses with impressive graphics and animations that still fail to teach meaningful information. 

We must remember that the ultimate goal of a training course is to learn. But how do we know that we have fulfilled this goal after delivering it? Here, it is important to mention one key element: evaluation. 

There are many different approaches to evaluating the effectiveness of an eLearning course, but they all share a common first step: identifying success metrics.  Kirkpatrick's taxonomy is one seasoned model that continues to receive widespread use. Developed by Dr. Don Kirkpatrick in the 1950s, the model originally contained four levels of training evaluation. Now, the levels have been clarified by Don, Jim, and Wendy Kirkpatrick to form what is called "The New World Kirkpatrick Model". Since the concept has continued to evolve alongside training, it remains a relevant and robust evaluation framework.

This evaluation model is applicable to both classroom training and eLearning.

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Topics: eLearning books, metrics

When the End Justifies the Means: Designing eLearning Courses Backwards

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Tue, Jan 13, 2015 @ 12:00 PM

Unfortunately, we live in a real world. Howsoever we prepare ourselves to face the challenges that life throws at us, we are sometimes caught off-guard. The most learned men falter. The most experienced person around you fumbles for answers. The wisest man makes mistakes. That is because, the problems of the real world are not custom-made to suit our learning, experience, and coping mechanism. But can we change the problems that befall us? We cannot. So the only way out is to transform ourselves. We need to learn and develop our skills in a way we can tackle life's specific challenges.

Think of it in this way. You pack your bags only after you are certain you are heading for the mountains and not the sea. Isn't it natural eLearning courses should be designed around how the learners are expected to perform in certain situations? This is called backward design, where you keep the end in mind before developing the course. It is radically different from the traditional way in which eLearning courses are designed, which is to "dump" knowledge on the learners and hope they will find "some" use for it.

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Topics: eLearning design

Keep eLearning Real: 4 Basic Story Types to Link Learning to the Real-World

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Thu, Jan 08, 2015 @ 12:12 PM

Everybody loves a good story, even your (seemingly) staid and somber corporate learners. That's because, a child lurks inside all of us; he loves to peek into other people's lives and go with them on their journeys. Unconsciously, he tries to identify himself with the good guy in the story—the one who overcomes all challenges, bashes the baddies, and emerges as the hero in the end. Stories are captivating. The actions of the protagonist, who we can relate to, inspire us to think or act similarly. This is why, stories have been used throughout the ages to teach morals and values to children. You can also use stories to teach your corporate learners technical and soft skills that will help them further their careers.

There are four basic type of stories. You have to know about them before you can choose a format that best fits the drab learning matter and tell a story that your learners will lap up.

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Topics: storytelling

How to Stop Being Boring: Creating eLearning with 5 Key Story Elements

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Tue, Jan 06, 2015 @ 12:05 PM

Some of us remain awake till the wee hours leafing through the pages of a riveting story or scrolling down our Kindle screens. The movie buffs among us blow up our earnings on Netflix. Some others prowl the blogosphere to read about their favorite bloggers' lives and experiences. We all love stories. We love tales that resonate with our emotions and aspirations. Your corporate learners are no different. You know this, so spare your audiences the ordeal of going through tables, statistics, graphs, and pie charts when they take your course. Instead, couch your material inside an engaging story that not only tickles their gray cells but also fires their imaginations.

How do you transform seemingly drab learning matter—HR policies, fire safety guidelines, Six Sigma principles, customer experience management, and the like—into engaging stories that will keep your learners hooked? First, you have to change your mindset and start thinking like a stroyteller. Then, you have to understand the elements that make up a story. And then, you can start weaving your stories.

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Topics: storytelling

Empathy As Your Starting Point for Great eLearning Design

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Fri, Jan 02, 2015 @ 11:57 AM

Happy New Year! It is that time of the year when we get busy making resolutions. It is a time of hope and new beginnings. We resolve to lose weight, manage our time better, become more productive, and turn over a new leaf. This year, let's resolve to become more empathetic eLearning designers. We can resolve to stop churning out cookie-cutter courses, and instead, create learning material that is truly inspiring. We can resolve to stop talking down to our learners, and instead, reach out and connect with them. We can resolve to stop being aloof, and instead, show more empathy.

According to Theresa Wiseman, the four attributes of empathy are putting yourself in another person's shoes, understanding their feelings, accepting them non-judgmentally, and communicating with them to make them feel assured and cared for.

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Topics: eLearning design

31 eLearning Lessons from 2014 to Guide You in 2015

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Tue, Dec 30, 2014 @ 12:59 PM

The year is about to end, and people around seem to have gone into a nostalgic mood. Websites are fondly remembering what took place in the year gone by—trends that ruled the ramp, blockbusters that broke box-office records, and men, women, and events that made an impact. Year-end seems to be the ideal time for reflection and recapitulation. So why don't we?

As eLearning professionals, we learned many important lessons in 2014. Let's take stock of these:

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Topics: eLearning tips

How to Achieve True Learner Engagement: Tap Into These Core Motivators

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Tue, Dec 23, 2014 @ 10:50 AM

eLearning and Learner Engagement:

What is learner engagement? It’s not just about keeping your students busy. It’s keeping your students motivated, giving them the tools that they need to learn, and fostering a sense of pride in achieving personal goals. It’s about encouraging learning for the pure love of it, not just for the sake of getting grades. When learners are working hard to absorb the material the course offers, and they’re committed to learning that comes without reward other than the learning itself, then they’re engaged.

Engagement requires an emotional connection between the content and the learner. And the only way we can do that is by knowing what drives people to spend time, effort, and energy learning your content. This post will help you understand this thoroughly and even learn how to apply it to your eLearning.

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Making Change Happen: A No-Fail Process to Make eLearning More Persuasive

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Thu, Dec 18, 2014 @ 11:55 AM

Persuasion is an art. Try too hard, and you might be branded as being aggressive. Be gentle, and your message will probably be brushed aside. At the end, the ultimate goal of persuasion is to get a person to change. Persuading someone to come round to your point of view is especially challenging in a virtual learning environment that lacks the intimacy of a face-to-face interaction. What is more, your learner has a choice to go or not go through your course. Thankfully, researchers have figured out how the learner's mind works and how to "persuade" it to fall in line with your content.

Monroe's Motivated Sequence lists a proven process—Hook, Need, Solution, Visualization, and Action—to convert a reluctant learner into an enthusiastic participant who readily absorbs the learning and willingly agrees to change his behavior. In eLearning, "telling isn't teaching," and you cannot persuade if you just state the facts. Facts alone won’t significantly change the way people think, do, and feel. You have to carefully choose every element on the screen to do all the coaxing, cajoling, imploring, and pleading to engage and persuade your learners to do something new.

Follow this no-fail process for creating eLearning that persuades and changes behaviors. 

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Topics: eLearning design

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