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A response to The Serious elearning Manifesto – part two

This post was written by Imogen Casebourne and first appeared on the Epic blog on 28th April 2014.
Serious elearning manifestoFollowing on from part one, here is the second part of Imogen Casebourne’s response to The Serious elearning Manifesto.

8. Provide Realistic Consequences

When providing performance feedback during learning, we will provide learners with a sense of the real-world consequences.

Again, a good plan. This tends to be a given in a simulation (see Epic’s insight into the benefits of simulations), and is good practice for other forms of learning, whether that be face-to-face or multi-device learning.

9. Adapt to Learner Needs

We can and should utilize elearning’s capability to create learning environments that are flexible or adaptive to learner needs.

There are several tried and true techniques for adapting elearning or multi-device learning (because today’s elearning might be taken on a tablet or a smartphone) to learner needs. The most straightforward to implement involve designing to incorporate the use of role filters and diagnostics, tailoring the learning experience to learners’ specific jobs and levels of knowledge. Please refer to Epic’s blog post about assessment for more on diagnostics. With the advent of new technologies like Tin Can, it should soon be possible to be much more adaptive – see Epic’s Adventure on Tin Can for more information on this exciting new area.

10. Motivate Meaningful Involvement

We will provide learners with learning experiences that are relevant to their current goals and/or that motivate them to engage deeply in the process of learning.

We should, of course, always try to motivate learners. It is important to distinguish between intrinsic motivation (where learners are motivated by self-set goals which should happen if learning is relevant and adaptive) and extrinsic motivation.

Gamification often attempts to provide motivation, but we need to be careful to ensure that this doesn’t do more harm than good by turning learning into a chore to be rewarded rather than a good in itself. Epic’s forthcoming paper on gamification will give you some ideas about how to keep your learners motivated.

11. Aim for Long-term Impact

We will create learning experiences that have long-term impact–well beyond the end of instructional events–to times when the learning is needed for performance.

Hats off to that. This seems to be about designing performance support and re-design of job structures and working environments to support the application and implementation of learning, as well creating campaigns (see our white paper on campaigns) where appropriate and providing easily located job aids for tasks that are infrequently performed.

In terms of measuring impact, refer to our white paper on evaluation for tips, or get in touch with our experienced elearning consultants for help in designing to achieve maximum impact.

12. Use Interactivity to Prompt Deep Engagement

We will use elearning’s unique interactive capabilities to support reflection, application, rehearsal, elaboration, contextualization, debate, evaluation, synthesization, et cetera—not just in navigation, page turning, rollovers, and information search.

Absolutely. At Epic we pride ourselves on our bespoke learning design as well as our bespoke interactive design. This means designing events and long-term coaching and mentoring interventions, which may include multi-device elearning as an element, but allows a rich and varied, and above all, interactive and flexible learning experience.

13. Provide Support for Post-Training Follow-Through

We will support instruction with the appropriate mix of after-training follow-through, providing learning events that: reinforce key learning points, marshal supervisory and management support for learning application, and create mechanisms that enable further on-the-job learning.

Please refer to Epic’s response to point 11.

14. Diagnose Root Causes

When given training requests, we will determine whether training is likely to produce benefits and whether other factors should be targeted for improvement. We will also endeavor to be proactive in assessing organizational performance factors–not waiting for requests from organizational stakeholders.

Again, this is closely related to points 1 and 2. Learning may not always be the answer, it may not be the only answer, and if it is the answer, learning technology may only be part of the solution. If you have questions around assessing organisational performance, our consultancy team is here to help.

15. Use Performance Support

We will consider providing job aids, checklists, wizards, sidekicks, planners, and other performance support tools in addition to–and as a potential replacement for–standard elearning interactions.

We certainly do this, and if you need help setting out to design for performance support, Epic’s DRIVE model is a great place to get started. See our thoughts about performance support for more information. And don’t forget to consider mobile devices, which are a great way of offering performance support.

 Please check back next week for the final instalment of Epic’s response.