Designing Intelligent eLearning

In a highly competitive industry, how does one stand out from the rest of the crowd and continue to generate new business and develop successful eLearning solutions? At Origin, we are headed towards a decade of excellence in eLearning and continue to serve our key clients with the same vigor and passion that we had on day one.

The three pillars that define our work are captured in the following words – Innovate | Ideate | Synergize.

eLearning design

 

We were among the early adopters of new-gen technologies and integrated Augmented and Virtual Reality solutions in some of our eLearning projects. The all-conquering smartphone and the rise of mobile learning was a trend that our core team believed would eventually become mainstream. This has now come true and the number of organizations investing in mobile learning solutions and learning apps is steadily increasing. In this blog post, we list down the best practices that we have adopted in creating effective and engaging eLearning solutions.

SMAC eLearning

A few years ago, ‘SMAC’ was a term that was quite popular in the eLearning and IT domain.

It stood for – Social | Mobility | Analytics | Cloud.

Essentially eLearning that had a social quotient to it, could be easily accessed on mobile devices, backed by analytics about learner patterns, and hosted securely on the cloud.

Fast forward to the present, L&D experts are weighing on the merits and de-merits of social learning with a heavily divided house in terms of opinions. Several experts claim that the social elements are distracting learners from acquiring knowledge. Another group claims that social learning has improved course-completion rates. There seems to be no conclusion to the arguments on social learning. The other elements, be it mobile learning, dashboards with learner analytics, and secure hosting on the cloud have continued to grow. This has also led to the growth of life-long learning portals like Coursera and Udemy that offer online courses at affordable prices.

Intelligent by Design

We had published an earlier blog post that examined the ‘Elements of Engaging eLearning Design’. In essence, ‘Well begun is half the job done’. In eLearning parlance, before you go about designing templates and writing content, set the context first, be clear about the target audience, and what is it that the client wants.

Once you have all the questions answered then go about building a broad-level design document that covers the essentials of the course. This works as the master-plan based on which the eLearning course or module is designed. Typically, the client approves the design document and then work starts. Instructional Designers create the content, it goes through multiple rounds of review, gets approved, and then graphic design starts. Life is added to words and we have animation that brings all the content in a relevant manner with audio-visual elements.

Changing with Times

HTML5 is the buzzword and Flash has steadily been phased out. Modern eLearning is designed using tools like Storyline and Captivate. Various companies have come out with eLearning authoring tools that allow people to create and publish eLearning content to leading learning management systems.  Essentially the output should be SCORM-compliant and render properly across devices. Here’s where the Quality Team plays a major role as it verifies and tests the eLearning courseware thoroughly and logs defects if any. Logged defects are rectified and only then the final approval is given for the project manager to send the courseware to the client. In most cases, clients come back with cosmetic changes that are fixed. Larger projects involve a module-by-module delivery approach and this works well for the teams involved in the project.

Templates, Characters, and UX

User experience and learner experience are buzz-words. One has to be very careful in creating and designing animated characters and the use of visuals within the eLearning content. Quite often we see childish characters being used in corporate eLearning solutions. This does not serve any purpose and dilutes the seriousness of the project. Remember that every element big or small is part of a larger narrative and all elements within the eLearning project are inter-connected. Hence it is important to maintain consistency and offer a memorable learning experience.

Gamification, Videos, and Learning Nuggets

Studies comparing the attention span of modern learners with goldfish and butterflies are quite common and some reports are to be taken with a pinch of salt for the stats they display. But all of us do agree that there is a definite problem when any learning content that’s designed for a specific group of learners does not bring any significant change in the learners. Today L&D experts recommend the use of thoughtfully designed games that help engage learners. Video capsules and learning nuggets delivered at spaced intervals form a significant part of the bite-sized learning trend and are quite effective.

Where the budget allows for it, organizations are adopting AR and VR-solutions within eLearning content to improve the learning experience and create powerful employee on-boarding programs.

At Origin, we have constantly strived to innovate and create eLearning solutions that offer the right mix of functionality, affordability, and relevance. Write to us at info@originlearning.com to learn more about our projects and engage with us to design your next eLearning project.

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