Monday, April 14, 2014

More Than Just “Click Forward”

The American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) is sponsoring another webinar that, on its face, holds a lot of promise. This Thursday – April 17 – ASTD, in conjunction with UL Workplace Health and Safety, is hosting More Than Just "Click Next": Creating Innovative and Interactive E-Learning. It’s description seems hopeful.

Rapid e-learning development tools changed all this. Now a single instructional designer can take on a project from start to finish. While these tools reduce costs and trim timelines, it can sometimes come at a cost to the final product. Using templates instead of graphic designers can lead to e-learning that looks generic or ugly. Using pre-rendered interactions instead of developers can lead to a habit of forcing the content into a handful of stock interactions rather than fitting the interaction to the content.

When the tools aren’t pushed beyond the basics of what they can do, we often end up with the dull “Click Next” e-learning that people dread taking. So does this mean that rapid e-learning tools can’t create memorable learning experiences? Not at all. It just means we need to use these tools differently for them to be effective.

We’ve all experienced this, but the solutions are off times difficult to find. There are various reasons for our inability to rise above the hum drum including development software limitations, developer limitations, time limitations, and client resistance to breaking from the mold.

Yes, just as there are many who still believe instructor led training involves the teacher lecturing to the classroom, so many believe your web-based training needs to be 50 minutes of page-turning lecture followed by 10 assessment questions to validate that the student has learned something.

So I’ll be interested to see what this presentation shows us and what development tools the presenters will be talking about. For those interested, ASTD says the presentation will:

  • Describe what makes an e-learning experience engaging and interactive in the first place.
  • Present new ways to design innovative learning experiences with e-learning tools.
  • Show which e-learning features you should (and shouldn’t) use to increase interactivity.
  • Discuss when e-learning isn’t the right tool for the job.

The last bullet is the most intriguing to me, and with that I leave you with this suggested video to watch: The Big Mistake in Elearning.