Many eLearning projects have false starts and failed attempts. One reason is paralysis. What can you do about it? And how do you get moving with your projects.
eLearning abundance is a hay stack
The abundance of eLearning solutions is like a hay stack. There are thousands of solutions like Web 2.0 web applications, authoring tools and learning methods both formal and informal. Jane Hart has a good list of software http://janeknight.typepad.com. The pile of hay is increasing each day and the density is getting pack. The solutions are getting sophisticated and in many cases very simple, affordable and for free. I relate the abundance to what Chris Anderson describes as the Long Tail http://www.thelongtail.com.
The trouble is to find the right solution to fit a need, we need to do surgical search using a powerful magnifying glass.
Needles in a hay stack
What are we looking for? We are looking for Needles Points in a hay stack.
What serves as our magnifying glass? Key few fundamental assumptions.
- Ultra focus on the learners’ needs – Learners’ Needle Points
- Ultra focus on your skills and strengths – Designers’ Needle Points
- It is OK to use a “single solution/single result” approach to kick-off your eLearning programs.
Learners' Needle Points
I’ve created a chart that helps us focus on the few key fundamental assumptions.
When selecting a solution, consider the following standards. “Needs” is the compelling motives of e-Learners. “Learners’ Say” is how they describe their needs. “Learning Design” is what you need to do to meet the needs.
Key Point: Focus on the “Learners’ Needle Points.” Avoid being distracted by solutions that do not lead you to meet “Learners’ Needle Points.” When you obsess on learners’ needs your solution can’t go wrong.
Designers’ Needle Points
To focus and build on your strengths and reinforce yourself, consider the following. “Skills” are what you do to kick-off your eLearning projects. “What I do well” are what you do extremely well that adds enormous value to your projects. The list consists of skills needed to match the learners’ needs. “What others do well” are those skills you must recognize and harness to compliment your own skills.
Key Point: You need to recognize that to kick-off projects, most often you only have your own skills and strengths to rely on. This is your craft. You are a genius in this area. Build on this skill. If you are a good writer, write the best eLearning you can or if you are good in videos, use videos. If you are a software techie, use what is easiest and fastest to you. When you can, ask others with their craft to compliment your skills. If you are a software techie, use what is easiest and fastest to you. When you can, ask others with their craft to compliment your skills.
To avoid paralysis with your eLearning projects:
- Be obsessed with the Learners’ needs.
- Build on your strengths and skills.
- Find the single solution to get you started.
- Avoid being sidetracked by fanciful solutions that will paralyze you.
Use a magnifying glass and focus on the Needle Points because without the focus, one can easily get lost, confused and paralyzed with the enormous amount of options. Without the focus, one can lose confidence and then lose inertia in implementing projects.
Contrary to what consultants tell you, it is OK to have a “single-solution/single result” approach. Single-result is being obsessed with learners needs. Single-solution is being focus on meeting these needs.
Caveat. Expand your solutions as you have more experience and confidence. But never be sidetracked on being obsessed with the learners’ needs.
Ray Jimenez, PhD
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"