Monday, July 16, 2012

Making Technical & Compliance Learning Engaging & Fun


Synthesis:
Develop fun and engaging technical and compliance elearning programs through approaches such as unbundling content adapted to the learner’s perspective, finding instant context and weaving context and facts through real-life stories. Identify “must learn” from “learn on need" content and
discover application points.

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How many of you feel that your learning programs are like an interrogation process or bad medicine to be ingested?

Facts, theories, rules, legalese information are necessary elements in learning. However, these can be very unappealing, boring, unnerving and downright tedious to learners. Even as we understand the need for it, the key idea to keep in mind is this : unless the learner has some personal goals being achieved, such information do not become valuable to them. As a result, they tend to mentally wander instead of staying focused.

There are certain approaches that may help you create reality-based technical and compliance learning programs that enable learners to absorb learning points that impact job performance.

Identify the difference between these following approaches.


Studying Physics vs fixing A Car?

Networking Class vs Network Troubleshooting?
 The examples present a vivid contrast between :
• Theory vs. Hands On Training
• Academic Goals vs. Personal Goals

Learners latch on to what is real, that they can relate to very quickly.

Unbundling Content from the Technical View to the Learner’s View
 


To make technical training engaging, we need to rethink and change content presentation from the technical specialist’s view (Engineer, specialized author or subject matter expert (SME)) to the learner’s perspective. The unbundling process allows us to efficiently recognize components or areas of the content that help the learners obtain better understanding that result to efficient and valuable learning.

“What does not have consequence to the person (positive or negative)
does not get attention. It does not impact their personal goals and lives."


Finding Instant Context
 

People's attention is drawn to content that they can relate to.

A company that we worked with provides a perfect example of how they realized a way for learners to discover context while learning instructions.

Initially, this was the learning option chosen: Focused on Instruction


However, they realized that this was a more effective approach:
Focused on diagnosis, problem solving





The key change to be considered is the shift from Instruction-focused to the Application- focused method in content preparation. Whenever you have content, you relate the factual area to a real-life situation.

Here is a vivid example.

How do we organize content to make it application focused?

The Tractor Story



Share specific solutions and related stories to diagnosis and research. Instead of starting from steps 1 to 10, begin with different situations. In that way, we draw the learners into the content.

Also carefully consider the impact that various technologies, particularly software application have on the study experience.

Weaving Context and Facts


Weaving individual stories into traditional context removes the mere technicality of the subject. When your programs have too much of technical, factual and legalese information, people lose interest.

Weaving “Real-Life” Stories: Structured Learning vs Design by Context
A test is usually more on memorization instead of application. Doing too much memorization tests depreciate the application value of a compliance program you have. Yet when you use stories interwoven with technical content , the learner’s experience and involvement dramatically changes. So is their learning level. Tests now take on a more substantial form.

There may be more than one event within a story; you may end up with few experiences and circumstances which lead back to the same process that becomes more driven towards reality rather than theory.

Here are some examples:

Challenging technical subjects can be discovered through the presentation of real-life situations that instruct the value of investigating factual information and encourages learners to understand, apply, appreciate and maintain the worth of technical knowledge. Click here to view "Would Maria Qualify as Spouse?"


Instead of enumerating the reasons of why you need to wash your hands, it would be better to bring learners into the reality of the need to do this on a day to day basis. Click here and watch the vignette for “Washing Hands”.

The “Must Learn” and “Learn on Need”


Click here for the enlarged view

It is essential to identify “must learn” from “learn on need” content. Research consistently and come up with a decision on “what is really essential in this content?” which the learner can use to improve on the job. What value can be added? What mistakes must be prevented? What difficulties or challenges in the workplace must be addressed by the content? Initiate the thinking process when you look at your content.

Features and Functions Training


If you ask subject experts on what is important, they will definitely tell you that it is everything . This can be a problem. We tend to be too instruction focused because what is really important has not been pinpointed.

When I wrote the book “
3 Minute eLearning”, research showed that instructional design tend to develop a program but will focus - step by step - on the technical content. Clients are looking for “what they must learn” to perform on the job. What I have discovered is that the content that is really important is what you call value to improve or commence performance now. With the difficult content, they still need to learn how the difficulty should be conquered.

Discover Application Points


How do you discover application points?

Accentuate on real-life events and applications; rather than facts overload.




I want to share with you a very interesting example of an “Application-Based Scenario”.


It will show you how to weave real life information together in such a way that you go in and out of points. It will help you see how theory is transferred into application through following instructions. Observe how weaving of applications and the functions are applied here. Note how you could relate, view pictures which are powerful for your imagination, the technical product and the hammer effect. Click here and watch “Evernote”.

Summary:
Learning technical and compliance information can definitely be fun and engaging. Applying the varied approaches and methods available and the careful consideration with regard to software usage can help learners connect with facts through stories. Focusing on application rather than instruction is key in content preparation. Identifying “must learn” versus “learn on need” content is crucial as well.

Related Posts:
 
Making Facts Stick With Stories - Jiggling Atoms
How to Embed Learning Goals in Stories
Instant Learning: How it works and how to make it happen?

3 comments:

  1. You make some great points in this article. Weaving individual stories into traditional context can succeed in removing technical barriers, but the learner most also remain engaged and interested in the content in order to maximize the possibility for retention and overall understanding. This can be achieved through consistent use of characters through the storyline.

    A few image hosting sites cater to this maxim, such as eLearningstock.com. You can easily find dozens of characters in a variety of poses and in a range of emotions - adding trust and credibility to the training by communicating social roles - which helps learners connect with the facts.

    With an engaged audience, anything is possible!


    Mike

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very good topic you describe in this post. You write very good about the learning. You see learning with different angle and write very good post. elearning

    ReplyDelete
  3. " Interactive features like graphics,animation and videos make learning not only easy but also intersting.It focuses more on practical knowledge and is more user engaging. The features like this make E learning a success."

    ReplyDelete

Welcome! Sharing your comments is very valuable learning experience for me and others. Thanks!