Saturday, March 14, 2015

On learning by clicking

The connection between learning activities and actual learning is an interesting one especially in elearnings.

In a lot of elearnings, you will find such embedded activities in the guise of engaging the learner. What you get is for learning by doing is mostly flash gimmickry, which may range from dragging a box to the right position to clicking the correct answer (usually a quiz) or even (my favorite-sarcasm alert) jeopardy.

How much does this animation help? Today, in powerpoint presentations, animations are largely discredited - and to be used only sparingly - and that too when powerpoint presentations itself are being used.

So, while building an elearning, how to make the learning faster, better, stickier? There are no easy answers (and we haven't found one yet).

The conflicting demands are as follows, some of them:

On the hand there is an impatient audience that wants everything quick and on the other hand there is a learning team that demands time to teach material that is complex.
On the one hand there is a need for people to own their learning and on the other there is a need to figure out if people have 'got' it.
On the one hand we need training to be a pull and on the other hand it is so much easier to push learning and tick boxes.
On the one hand, everybody thinks more courses are the way forward and on the other hand investments in them aren't always justified.
On the one hand the learning has to be engaging and on the other hand there is a plethora of information to be covered (everything here is mandatory tell the subject matter experts).

And these are just some of the contradictions.

It is easy for learning by doing when it is a simulation of a tool, process or something else. That is easy. But what if we are trying to teach something that is abstract?

PS: Here are my thoughts from an earlier instructor led session design.  Some years ago, I attended a session by Dr. Simon Priest and he had brought this out very beautifully in front of a live audience. But these are about instructor led sessions.

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