It is widely known that the eLearning industry has been quite hot in the recent years with more and more companies realizing the advantages an eLearning module can offer as compared to a classroom training session. And while some training industry agents claim that eLearning modules can be less effective, the actual effectiveness of the learning solution highly depends on the eLearning company or the vendor you hire to develop the learning module. With this much at stake the task of selecting a vendor should not be taken lightly. It is in every client’s best interest to hire a vendor who is a true leader in eLearning innovation, has highly qualified staff, and is able to provide exciting and innovative eLearning examples. A highly skilled vendor would have the tools and expertise to provide custom eLearning solutions that deliver exceptional learning experience as well as the return on your investment. While there is no singular approach to eLearning design and development, here are some ideas of how vendors who are leaders in eLearning innovation make sure that the learning modules they deliver provide outstanding learning environments aimed at acquiring new skills and knowledge.
Branching scenarios within a learning module
The learning modules that contain branching scenarios give the learners the ability to apply the newly acquired knowledge in realistic situations. A scenario is also an excellent activity for asynchronous or self-paced eLearning course because it allows the learners to practice by themselves without needing a to be a part of a group. A vendor who is a leader in eLearning innovation will typically use realistic graphics, sounds, videos, and effects to make the learning module look and feel as realistic as possible. Another interesting approach an eLearning vendor can take to make the scenarios more engaging is to give each of the characters appearing in the eLearning module some unique personal traits to make them look and sound just like everyday people with different personalities.
Real-world mysteries that encourage thinking
A highly skilled vendor who is a leader in eLearning innovation can build the learning experiences that offer learners multiple opportunities to think critically and explore data by incorporating real-world mysteries into the learning. Some examples of this can include case studies, historical events, and examples that are relevant to the topic presented in the learning module. Without giving out the best conclusion or the correct answer, the learning module can let the learners draw their own conclusions. It is a good practice though, to reveal the correct response or the ending of the story after the learners have explored all possible outcomes.
Discussions and forums inside the learning module
A typical learning module that is created with the use of modern development tools can include a variety of addons such as discussion forums, for example. The learners can use these tools to share their ideas, opinions, and experiences, as well as learn about the ideas, opinions, and experiences of others. By providing different points of view, a learning module can make a huge difference for each learner. When all learners have the opportunity to share their thoughts and express their opinions, the overall quality of the learning process increases as the training becomes an active exercise rather than a passive consumption. You can go as far as allowing the learners to film their entries and share them on platforms such as YouTube or Vimeo. Another possibility is to use the technology that allows to embed the video into the learning module itself and then allow the learners to post responses to the video.
eLearning innovation through utilization of storytelling
Stories are a powerful learning tool. They have the capability to raise interest from any learner, and make each learner feel emotional towards the events or participants in the story. A well-written plot for an eLearning story can most certainly affect the learner’s biases and beliefs, which can in turn encourage them to reevaluate their thinking as well as their actions. This process can be referred to active learning: it requires the learners to pose questions and challenge their thinking and assumptions. An innovative eLearning development company creates thought-provoking stories by focusing on particular challenges or problems that the learners can relate to. As well as integrating eLearning characters that resonate with the learners and giving these characters unique personality traits and unique roles in the story. The purpose of such activity is to make the learners connect to the content on a deeper, sometimes very emotional level, so that they pay attention and really care about the resolution. This approach often intersects with the creation of branching scenarios already discussed earlier in this article. Once the learner goes through such an activity in the learning module, they can be asked to reflect on the experience and think about how this experience relates to their work or skills.
eLearning innovation through turning the tables
This very unique method of delivery involves giving the learner a topic and then asking them to come up with the presentation as well as the materials on the subject. A highly innovative eLearning module can even provide ways for the learners to collaborate, even in the asynchronous approach. A good way to frame this activity is to provide the guidelines so the learners know what needs to be done, and which tools they can use, and then allowing the freedom to use any content they see fit and spend any time they can afford working on the task. Turning the tables gives the learners a chance to learn by exploring the topic and available knowledge base. Instead of passively consuming the eLearning content, the learners are forced to be completely engaged with the topic in order to fully grasp the concepts so that they can complete the assignment, i.e. create learning materials on the topic.
This article has covered just a few innovative eLearning approaches that your eLearning provider can include in the learning module designed for your company. These approaches include branching scenarios within a learning module, real-world mysteries that encourage thinking, discussions and forums inside the learning module, eLearning innovation through utilization of storytelling, eLearning innovation through turning the tables. It is important to understand that these are just some examples. Your eLearning provider can offer you many more ways to make the learning effective, interesting, and memorable. When engaging with a vendor, you should always ask to see innovative eLearning examples showing the work the company has done in the past. This will give you a good understanding of what to expect in the learning modules developed for you.