It’s easy to feel trapped in a minefield of eLearning buzzwords: Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), Artificial Intelligence (AI), microlearning… the list could go on and on. These trends have the potential to make training more effective, personal and fun, and you might be ready to jump on the bandwagon. However, just delivering training using the “next big thing” does not mean you will have a good, instructionally sound, eLearning course.
Buzzwords and trends may come and go, but the fundamentals never go out of style!
Think about it this way… in the world of fashion there are essential pieces of clothing that should be in every closet, such as the “little black dress” (LBD) or a well-tailored dark suit. In the world of eLearning, you need to have some fundamental strategies in your “design closet.” Classic instructional design strategies are always in style!
Here are the top six instructional design strategies that can help ensure training effectiveness, no matter how your training is delivered:
- Ask the 5 W’s: Complete a thorough needs analysis to understand the content and the target audience. Answer the following questions: Who are you designing for? What does the audience need to know? When and Where will they access the training? And Why is the training needed?
- Be S.M.A.R.T. about your goals: Define what will the learner needs to know (cognitive) or be able to do (physical) after completing the course; and use this information to write S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Temporal) learning objectives.
- Connect the dots: Organize the content into a logical and meaningful construct for the learner. Draw a line for the learner from the beginning (here’s what you’re going to learn), that connects through the middle (here’s how this relates to what we learned earlier), and to the end (here’s how everything ties together). Advance organizers and graphic menus are great ways to help organize and structure content.
- Use common sense: Use learning strategies and instructional approaches that employ multiple modalities: visual (sight), auditory (hearing), kinesthetic (movement), and tactile (touch). When you actively engage the learners’ senses, you increase the probability of memory and recall.
- Get the right fit: Make sure that your approach meets the identified needs of the learner. For example, don’t invest in a full VR lesson if the ultimate goal is rote memorization. VR is best suited for application (e.g., mimicking a real-world task or situation). Basic knowledge can be taught more simply and effectively using text examples, visuals, and videos.
- Put thoughts into practice: People learn more by performing a task, rather than just reading about it. That’s why it is important to provide your learners with plenty of opportunities to apply and practice what they have learned. When possible, allow learners to answer questions, respond to scenarios, and/or actively experiment in realistic situations.
If you’d like more information about these strategies, or if you’d like some help getting started, ePath Learning’s Pro Services team can help! We can work with you to apply these fundamental strategies and help improve the learning experience.
Kris Castiaux | Learning Environment Concierge | ePath Learning, Inc.
About the Author: Kris Castiaux is a Learning Environment Concierge (instructional designer) focused on creating impactful and effective learning experiences and environments. She’s always on the lookout for innovative ways to engage learners within the budget and technical constraints of the project. When she has a few days off, you may find Kris and her husband cruising the Caribbean or the Las Vegas strip!