Where do you start with elearning?

“what comes to mind when you think of eLearning”  – this was the question I put to a bunch of my friends who do not work in learning and development. Words like boring, plain, unappealing, basic and dry came up. I heard anecdotes of PowerPoints and slideshows, bad videos and clunky quizzes, awkward talking cartoons and sad tales of getting to the end and being told “error” ….  (I’ve been there with a fire training course, it was not a good time)

I read articles all the time about miserable eLearning and every now and again you see something magical and majestic that has been made with a big budget and multimedia specialists. But what if you don’t have a big budget? What if you are a solo practitioner who has been asked to put together eLearning using a course authoring tool with minimal experience – what should you do, how should you start?… well here are some suggestions::

  • Reason with the decision makers: If people who don’t know anything about learning design are dictating to you that you need eLearning, you need to deal with this. Not everything should be an eLearning course we know this. It might be an uphill battle to see the light but it’s worth the effort to have the right format.
  • Find a friend, or bribe someone with candy: The L&D community is so immensely generous with their time and knowledge. Ask around, check out LinkedIn and contact people who you think might want to meet for coffee to discuss eLearning and their journey to creating a great program.There has never been a person I have contacted who has turned down a coffee with me so I can selfishly pick their brain, people are cool with it (well in L&D they seem to be).
  • Accept that it’s not an overnight project: If you have never done this before, it’s certainly not a project to start on Monday and finish on Tuesday. It’s going to take some time and that’s okay. It’s going to mean new software, new thought processes and a whole new perspective on learning.
  • Find a sounding board: Lock someone in for brainstorming and sanity checking. They don’t need to have any experience in developing elearning they just need to be a bit of a creative thinker who can help you make sense of what you are putting together (once you are in so deep you can’t swim out and see the bigger picture!).
  • Google everything: Find out what you need to know and raid the internet looking for samples, activities, methods, images anything that will help you pull your your project together.

The world is our elearning oyster!


Video Games and Learning?

I am currently participating in a MOOC about Video Games and Learning which is  topic buzzing around my head (and the industry) at the moment. So what better way to learn more about this and gamification than seeing what the great world of the internet thinks.

This weeks topic was all about learning what makes a game a good game and what makes a great game!

KEY LEARNING ONE: the best games are made when the world inside the game is an ill-defined problem, but the user is guided by a series of well-defined problems. When you only have a general idea of what the end game is you can’t give people a general idea of how to get there – you wont learn anything – you will get bored and toss it. You need missions that progress people – missions with choice and consequences… which leads me to my next point.

KEY LEARNING TWO: Have you ever participated in a role play activity to simulate “real life” and thought – this is nothing like real life at all. In training program sometimes it feels so scripted – I feel like I am not learning skills to deal with the situation I am learning the company script for a generic problem. This works when you have a scenario that is “the person asked me this question – then I answered this – then the conversation was finished”. But yeah.. I have not really had many of those experiences – its more like ” they asked me this – I answered this – then they queried this –
and all of a sudden we were in uncharted waters and I was like THE ROLE PLAY DID NOT PREPARE ME FOR THIS”. Video games are these amazing choose your own journey worlds .. so for me I want to really think about how we try to create these practice environments in real life. People don’t need a script, they need skills that can use!

Anyway that enough for tonight – goodnight internetz