So you know what you want your (eLearning) “Story” to say, but how are you going to SAY it?
Sitting here writing in early 2012, it is clear that the “classical” world of linear PowerPoint slides for (corporate) training is (whilst still very common….), being rapidly superseded.
Within a few years we will have a Web2/iPad/Android-savvy audience throughout the workplace, and they will not recognise text-laden PowerPoint slides as either interesting or relevant. Unless the production and delivery methods change, the corporate “Training Department” runs the risk of becoming even more irrelevant than it is sometimes currently seen to be.
It seems to me that we are back to classical books again – we can TELL a story (using words), but we have to ILLUSTRATE it – using graphics, interactive elements (where learners see the effect of successful and unsuccessful choices or decisions), and choice in what they consume.
For the rest of this post it’s important to clarify that last point.
Many courses, where Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) are providing content try to produce “Just in Case” content – they believe each and every learner needs and wants to learn as much about the subject as the SME. They load the course with facts that are irrelevant to the business needs of the audience. One of the main jobs we have, as learning experts, is to explain and prove that this is the case. Whilst respecting the in-depth knowledge of the SME, we need to guide it to an appropriate place.
Part of this is caused because a “PowerPoint Deck” (a load of slides) is easy and simple to pass to Training/an Instructional Designer, however, there’s seldom any thought or discussion on whether it tells a coherent story to the intended audience or not.
Because of this, and because content may be transformed into eLearning for several types of audience, with differing needs, it’s necessary to allow some freedom in navigation and consumption.
There’s a fear in many corporations that if you do not make the learners go from A to Z they will miss something crucial. Here’s a secret…if the objectives are clear and relevant, learners can work out what learning is relevant, and what is not, for themselves.
Here’s are some examples:
Does the annual fire/Health and Safety etc. certification need you to do the entire course (again), or can you just do a pre-test that guides you in what you need to re-visit, if anything?
How about this same scenario, but at a more granular level – at each section/chapter, there is the option to skip the chapter based on successfully completing a quiz, (a quiz that takes you back to the content if you do not complete it to pre-set “Pass” standards).
In every course we create, we need to distinguish between what I refer to as LEARNING and DATA. Learning is required content, Data is optional. Data can be included on Glossaries, via Web Links, and in (for example), the ability to branch to In-Depth Explanations, but we must seldom if ever force our learners to consume, give them a choice at some point.
Articulate Storyline allows for this in many ways, and in the next post I’ll cover some of the features we can make use of, and also look at some examples of graphical representation that can help make interesting, visual and experiential learning.