This blog is about how to create high quality eLearning content that will challenge and stretch your staff as they learn. We specialise in eLearning of the non-patronising kind, so have a look if you want to create better digital learning content.
Are most eLearning courses patronising?
I have a question. The last time you ‘took’ an eLearning course or completed any form of in-company digital learning, did you feel patronised or talked down to?
Yes. Me too! Imagine if, in real life, we could only do something twice, before you got told you had failed and could not have another go. Perception and wording are everything!
The problem with learning, and especially learning in the workplace, is that it can’t always be neatly packaged. And often that is what eLearning seeks to do. Well no more. Your staff, buoyed by the great content they can find easily on the web, are fighting back. No more easy-to-answer, obvious red-herring questions. No more locked down navigation in case I wander off somewhere I should not – imagine! No more assuming I know NOTHING before I start this course. This is an article from a good few years ago, but Clark Quinn, as usual, hits the nail on the head when he talks about learner’s rights. Worth a read.
Sometimes I feel like we should do what the insurance industry does – publish the most ridiculous examples. In eLearning we could easily showcase the worst offenders of multiple-choice question hell. Doug Savage puts it better than I ever could!
(See more at: www.savagechickens.com)
Learner rights in the new era of digital learning
So here’s my take on learners’ rights. What do you think – would you add to or change them?
1. Understand me, understand my complexity and challenges
I do a serious job, I work with complex human beings, business is sometimes tough – or at least sometimes I have to make tough decisions. I juggle a lot, it is 50 shades of grey – not one-size fits all. Understand my challenges and how I do my job – and create great content that reflects this complexity.
2. Help me to learn
Following on from #2. As eLearning designers, you are the experts in learning, so help me to learn – efficiently, effectively. Use great visuals to help me remember, simplify complex tasks to help me understand, and allow me space and time to practice and learn through feedback.
3. I know how things are done around here
I’m on a roll. Don’t just tell me how I should do things. Most of us know the standard policies and procedures, but many of us have found shortcuts and more efficient ways of doing things. And some of these new ways of doing things are actually better than the documented policies – but no-one has ever had the time to ask us. Take the time now, oh master eLearning designer. Listen to the great and the good and help us all.
4. Let me test out - trust me!
Again. I am an adult. I know best what I need to learn. If your assessment questions are good enough, I should be able to try your test first and then decide for myself if I need to look at your lovely content.
5. I’m learning all the time
So. I have to learn using your course. My learning won’t stop there. If it is just about ticking your box on some HR smily sheet, then so be it. But now that you have my attention, why not use it for good. Find me some great resources, connect me with people I can pose questions to, and encourage me to keep on learning.
6. I’m much funnier than you
Humour in eLearning content is a difficult one. We all want to be engaged and I suppose – entertained to some extent, but your humour won’t always be our humour. Perhaps keep the comedy for late night talk shows and funny cat videos on YouTube. Be careful, is all I’m saying.
7. Badges are for scouts (I know – controversial!)
I’ve just completed your 5 minute, multimedia, all singing, all dancing gamified eLearning topic and I can’t wait to get my badge. At coffee break, I’ll trade it with my colleagues in case they got the cool purple badge. Said no adult in the workplace ever.
However, just like the scouts have done, there are ways to implement badges or reward schemes that will actually help with motivation and encouragement. Scout badges work because they have credibility and currency within their community. So just don't throw in badges because your LMS has a cool new feature; you have to think it through. Take a look, for example, at the open badges scheme and talk to your staff about what currency badges might have in your organisation - if you chose to go down that route.
8. So now that I’m aware, what next?
eLearning for ‘awareness raising’ is my personal pet hate. How will you know when I am aware – will you see it in my eyes? What do you expect me to do if I complete your 30 minute mandatory eLearning programme? Couldn’t I have just read a one-page pdf document to sort out my awareness? I am aware that if I eat only chocolate, takeaways and cream-cakes, it won’t be great for my well-being….you can see where I’m going with this!
Do you need to get out of any eLearning?
If you'd like to read more about how to create eLearning for real adults, check out our innovative Content development services. Or if you would like to know how you can be more successful in your role and make a bigger impact in your organisation - read our corporate guide to digital learning. Our scalable LMS - learningCloud - offers a range of apps including an authoring tool called learningPlay - it is gamification for learning, but in a non-patronising way that works. Now that is something adults in the workplace will want to try out!