As an Instructional Designer or Elearning Experience Developer who is involved in custom elearning course development, how do you ensure your courses provide the desired learning outcomes? When elearning developers and elearning companies get it right, learners receive many benefits from the learning experience. For example, they retain the knowledge from the course at a significantly higher rate, they know how to apply the knowledge in practice, they are able to improve their work skills, etc.
A great trick any developer can have up their sleeve is to compensate for the lack of human interaction in their courses with a balanced dose of engaging learning interactions. Here are a few interesting examples of learning interactions that can help make your training content more engaging and therefore more effective.
An interactive map allows the learners to engage their visual and spatial memory when exploring the learning content. This interaction works well with the content that can be arranged geographically. For example, when developing custom elearning content on body language you can add an interactive map showing how different gestures are perceived in different countries. Another example where you can use an interactive map is when explaining the roles/functions/rooms/facilities in your office to new hires. Simply place the clickable markers on the floor plan of your office and allow the learners to click on the markers to learn about each item.
While not an interaction in itself, a leaderboard is what can hold the results of learning interactions. Leaderboards make learning fun. They tap into our competitive spirit and act as a powerful engagement tool, driving the learners to participate and pay attention. To maximize the beneficial influence of a leaderboard on the learning process, you need to make sure that the learners are aware that their actions will be scored and sent to a leaderboard. Make sure you set clear rules and expectations. And, most importantly, make sure you present the leaderboard as a fun addition to the course. The learners need to know that you are not using it to catch and punish the low performers, but to entice a friendly competition among them. The process of adding a leaderboard to an elearning module is easy if you are using an elearning leaderboard widget. Alternatively, you can program a custom leaderboard.
The gamification approach in custom elearning development requires the use of game theory and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage and motivate the learners. Gamification has grown in popularity in the recent years. If used properly, it was shown to produce measurable results time and time again. Incorporating elements from games into the virtual classroom is a great way to provide students with opportunities to act freely, show competency, and think outside the box. There numerous benefits of using gamification within your elearning course include ability to receive instant feedback, higher engagement, higher rate of learning translation into productivity, more effective learning transfer, etc. But most importantly, learning games make the learning process fun. This means that the learners will want to spend more time in the course and pay extra attention to the material.
An intelligent chatbot is becoming a staple in the toolbox of companies providing custom elearning services. In a simulated learning environment, a chatbot can play the role of a guide and interact with the learner, instructing them throughout the learning course. A chatbot can also play a role of a customer, co-worker, food inspector, manager, or anyone else you can think of. This means the learners get to practice interactions with these individuals in a simulated environment where making mistakes does not lead to business losses or disciplinary actions. Intelligent chatbots are very good at initiating effective peer-to-peer interactions, which leads to boosting employee collaboration and workplace productivity. Elearning chatbots are usually powered by an AI engine that is trained to understand and respond to the learner. To add a learning chatbot to your course, you would typically engage with a provider who offers AI-powered elearning tools designed to deliver engaging learning experiences. Another route to take is to develop a chatbot on your own instead of using an existing technology offered by an elearning vendor. In either case, chatbots make custom elearning course development more fun for you, the developer, and the learners.
Geolocation enables you to serve personalized learning content to the learner based on where they are in the world. Because most learning courses are usually served over the internet, each learner may come from a different location. This is especially true for those companies who have staff in multiple cities, countries, or even on different continents. There are two ways to differentiate the learning content based on the learner’s location when working on custom elearning course development. First, the most commonly used way is to show or hide some content based on geolocation. This approach makes a lot of sense in the instances when some portions of the content apply only to certain locations. For example, each US state may have different training compliance requirements. So you would show only those sections of your training that apply to the state where the current learner is located. The second way to incorporate location in elearning is to leave placeholders in the text that would be replaced by the location data, such as the city or state name. With this approach, the course will feel uniquely personal to anyone who takes it. And of course, you can combine both approaches to make the training even more effective. Some elearning authoring tools, such as Adobe Captivate, for example, offer geolocation features out-of-the-box. And you always have an option to use a location elearning widget that works with both Articulate Storyline and Adobe Captivate.
An interactive video is just what it sounds like—a video content that allows the learner to make choices and interact with the plot. This mode of training can be useful when you want the learner to be able to practice various scenarios and outcomes. A good example of an interactive video is an interactive recruitment experience ‘Will You Fit into Deloitte’. The footage pauses at certain points during the story, and the viewer is able to decide how the main character should proceed with the interaction. To create an interactive video, you will need to film multiple outcomes for each scenario, and ask the developer to add options for the learner to select the path they want to take. This approach works for custom elearning course development in any authoring tool that allows shortcuts and branching.
Dynamic Data Chart
The dynamic data chart is often overlooked as a learning interaction, but it has a great potential to engage learners and simplify the training content. This type of learning interaction allows learners to adjust the numbers and see how the chart changes based on the input. It’s also a great way to present hard data in a visual manner making it easy to comprehend. The dynamic data chart interaction in your learning course solves two problems—it allows the learner to manipulate numeric data and provides a way to visualize numbers that would otherwise be hard to understand. Adding a dynamic data chart to a learning course is easy—all you need is a chart widget that you can import into your course and then manipulate the chart through numeric variables. This approach will not add much time to the custom elearning course development process, but will bring significant advantages when it comes to learning transfer.
From elearning chatbots to interactive videos, we’re seeing a new potential for personalized learning resources that cater to the individual needs of each learner. The learning and development industry professionals engaged in providing custom elearning course development services now have a variety of tools available to them to make learning truly interactive. And interactive training means higher engagement and better learning outcomes.