It's learning Jim but not as we know it
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About 3 years ago when I was working in corporate land the company purchased an off the shelf e-learning module called “Six simple steps to data protection”
A sexy looking piece of e-learning
A very 'sexy' looking module with cutting edge animation and graphics.
But once the glitz and sparkle had worn off, which was around page 4 for me, it became apparent that the six simple steps were in fact 6 rules of data protection.
Of all the e-learning modules used by the company this had the highest non-completion rate.
So what went wrong?
Quite simply, the module was as boring a heck. The content was very dry and law orientated and the sexy animations and graphics rather than enhancing the learning actually became an irritation and a distraction.
Put yourself in the position of someone reading this e-module and imagine what it was like. Think about the balance between the content in the module and the context
Where do you think the emphasis was placed?
Content, content and more content
The module was nearly all content with a couple of generic examples.
At this point I have to say that this not only applies to online learning, I have attended face to face training in the past that have been too content and theory based with very little context and practice.
So, where should the balance between content and context be?
Well the clue is in the question. There should be a balance between the two.
For example, a safe lifting e-learning module for the child care sector will contain the principles of safe lifting but the context must be related to the audience. There is little point having the demonstration pictures or videos based in a factory with a person wearing a high viz jacket and hard hat.
For online learning to work well it's essential for the user to have the feeling that the module is 'talking' about them and what they do.
How do we do this?
By getting the context right.
Very often the content is straight forward – laws, regulations, facts etc.
What changes for every user is how the information relates to them and the way they work.
Get the context right and you are on to a winner.