Tag Archives: Scenario-based learning

Out with the New: The return to the “old media”

7 Sep

I was really fascinated to read Clive Shepherd’s blog post on “Why video trumps e-learning” as it touched upon what I’ve been doing recently, returning to the “old media” of comic strips.

In the blog post, Clive makes a very convincing argument on how video is “more engaging, more versatile and less impersonal” than e-learning, pointing out that “we’ll see an even greater use of video in the workplace.” Clive adds that while “there are some niches where e-learning is irreplaceable,” he won’t be unhappy “to see other media come alongside.”

As Clive concludes, the increasing use of video is “just another turn of the circle” in the history of corporate training (video as a medium for training came to prominence in the 1980s/1990s, however, it must be noted that these days it is significantly easier to create training videos). For me, driving this increased use of video is the desire of learners to have quick and easy access to information. This desire is shaping my instructional design decisions.

For example, I was recently tasked with turning some complex call flow diagrams of a communication system into training material. After talking with the staff using the communication system, I found out that they hardly use our intranet to find out information (as one staff member said “the intranet involves too many clicks”). So instead of creating an e-learning module that would never be viewed, I started to think about creating training material that would be quick to find and easy to review.

Oddly, my thoughts on the design of the original e-learning module soon evolved into something more old media, comic strips. I had been inspired by Cathy Moore’s elearning branching example, and was thinking about using a similar model. However, instead of using e-learning, I decided to reject the new media and go old school – a printed comic strip.

The feedback largely has been positive. Staff can quickly grab the printed comic strip and find out the information that they need to know. For me, the process has made me rethink creating training material in the twenty-first century. Perhaps it’s time to return to the old media.

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Using the features of Live Meeting for Training

2 Feb

This week I was involved in a presentation on using Live Meeting as a virtual classroom. The presentation went well, but what I found most interesting was the audience response to the features of Live Meeting.

Originally Microsoft designed Live Meeting as a virtual meeting tool. However, its features, such as a whiteboard and polls, allow it to be used for training. For many in the audience, this seemed new and surprising. They assumed instead that Live Meeting would just function as a video conferencing tool.

In fact, I would argue that features such as polls in Live Meeting can actually enhance the learning experience (if used appropriately). Let me explain …

Have you ever been in a face-to-face meeting where no-one can make a decision and the issue at-hand goes round in circles? This is not so easy in Live Meeting when the participants are faced with a direct question in a poll that only allows “yes” or “no” as answers.

The same approach can be applied to learning – especially scenario based learning. You can use polls in Live Meeting to direct learners down certain paths with greater clarity. This is particularly useful for those learners who seemingly have less time than others (i.e. in the corporate world – leadership).

Of course, as with all implementation of learning, success depends on the quality of design. To use Live Meeting as a training tool, instructional designers need to become familiar with its features and figure out the best way(s) to deploy them.

However, as I found out this week, using the features in Live Meeting just might enhance the learning experience.