SHIFT's eLearning Blog
Our blog provides the latest best practices, tips, insights and thought leadership on modern corporate training, eLearning and mLearning.
Malcolm Gladwell, author of ‘Outliers’ says that to truly master something takes 10,000 hours of practice. That’s a long time. But while Gladwell is probably not too far off the mark, we’d add one small caveat: 10,000 hours of practicing the right way, with the right foundations. So we’ve put together the 10 commandments eLearning professionals must follow to see their courses be a success. Take these rules, incorporate them into your eLearning, and get busy mastering your craft.
Although it might seem absurd to design training without the end user in mind, an audience analysis is an extremely important yet often overlooked element of instructional design. Before creating an eLearning course, you should find out as much as possible about your learners. This information should directly impact your design and content choices. For example, the experience levels of the audience will affect the types of activities incorporated in the course. During the eLearning audience analysis stage of design, it is important to think of your learners as a group of individuals with specific goals. Remember, demographic profiles of your target audience do not always paint the complete picture. You have to look beyond statistics like age, educational qualification, and occupation to understand the learner. Your learner is a sum of his or her past experiences, desires, aspirations, and expectations. Their learning styles and media preferences are shaped by their familiarity with and access to technology. Their cultural upbringing influences their perception of symbols, images, words, or analogies. Learners are a complex and multi-dimensional human beings; just a few numbers do not define them. Here are five ways you can get to know your eLearning course target audience:
You have 60 seconds to hook, engage, and keep learners in your course. Within these 60 seconds,you have to make a connection with your audience of learners, introduce them to your course, and show them why they need it and how it will make a difference. You must address and succinctly answer all of the following: Is this the right course for me? Will it be covering the right topics? How good is its content and delivery? How long before I lose interest and get bored? Achieving all of this within the first 60 seconds is the objective of your introduction. This post will explain four simple but useful ideas to make your introductions powerful and memorable. Let’s see how you can hook your learners and reel them in within the first 60 seconds.
Remember how you learned math? You went through four stages. You learned what adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing mean (tell). Then your teacher taught you how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide (show). You practiced sums (do), and then came the dreaded exams (apply). This is how all learning takes place, and it is no different with eLearning.
Powerful writing is required for powerful eLearning. This eBook will help eLearning developers master the art of writing and tap into the power of words to create memorable courses.
They say, one rotten apple spoils the whole basket. If you are an instructional designer, you are probably nodding your head in agreement. Someone somewhere churns out a few trashy courses and manages to shoo away learners and business owners. Business owners take one look at these and decide they don't want to commission another one ever while learners doze off midway through the course and decide they won't waste their valuable time any more.
OMG! Did you just shoot the learner? What did you do? Did you misfire a bullet? Or did you pump in too many bullets? Be careful. The bullet is a powerful weapon. You must use it wisely to create the right "impact." We are talking eLearning here. And the bullets are those little black dots that instructional designers are either obsessed with or hate with a vengeance. The former breed litters their courses with bullet lists—an overkill. The latter group avoids bullets like the plague; they probably do not know how bullet lists make learning matter more comprehensible. As an instructional designer, you have to tread the middle path. Do not pay heed to what the fatalists say. Bullets are not bad. Period. On the other hand, don't be too trigger-happy either. Use bullets wisely to make your courses look good, read intelligible, and make sense to the learner. But before shooting off the tips, here's what you must remember about bullet lists: Bullet lists help to structure ideas and present them in bite-sized chunks that are easy for the learner to skim over. Bullets are like mini headlines. The ideal bullet item is a crisp phrase that presents just the essence of an idea; it is not a rambling sentence that makes the learner trail off midway.
Whether you’re an aspiring eLearning designer or a seasoned pro with years of experience, there are some key characteristics that predispose people to succeed at this industry, and we’ve listed them here.
What do you remember more vividly? The steps of installing a piece of new software on your computer or the episodes from your favorite TV drama? Human beings are more swayed by emotions than by a bunch of hard facts and cold statistics. Our favorite stories keep us hooked because they tug at our heart strings. We remember scenes from our favorite movies because as a rule, human beings remember emotionally-charged events better than the ones that just aim to appeal to our sense of logic. Understanding the science of emotions is the key to influencing learners' thoughts and actions. As an instructional designer, you need to wrap your wits around this science to create courses that resonate with your audience and stir their emotions. Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions holds the clues.