Weekly L&D Roundup: Future Proofing Your eLearning Skills Today

TrainingPros Blog Weekly L&D Roundup: Future Proof Your eLearning Skills

Not long ago, eLearning was thought of as a future skill. Fast forward to today, eLearning is a vital part of most organizations’ training strategy. Imagine if you worked for a company that ignored the future and would only deliver training in a traditional classroom setting.

The point is this, hone your craft and prepare for whatever comes next now. As in today!

Each week our editorial team scours the internet in search of the latest and most relevant content from learning and development (L&D) thought leaders. In this edition of the Weekly L&D Roundup, the focus is on future skills development. Specifically, eLearning skills to help you build better, more engaging courses.

Here is what you need to know…

Stop Waiting: Maximize Your Skills Now

If anything has been learned from the pandemic, it is this…there is no time like the present. According to L&D innovation specialist, Ryan Tracey this applies to ensuring “future skills” are not overlooked. Pre-COVID might have been easy to say managing teams virtually or delivering training over video conferencing were desirable skills for another day. Now we know different.

Why you should read? In a post-pandemic world organizations are grappling with the question of “What next?” Understanding the skills their employees need in order to stay competitive in the future is crucial.

“Skills of the future aren’t so much about preparing for tomorrow as they are about maximizing today. Waiting for the moment when an imagined skill will meet an imagined need misses that point,” Tracy explains. The fact remains; none of us know what tomorrow will bring, so don’t wait.

Instead, be proactive. Gather data, start learning the necessary skills and begin doing the work. Tracey offers several great examples of this strategy.

As a consultant, I believe this type of approach to skill-building makes sense because it prioritizes our own professional development. After all, if given the opportunity, wouldn’t you rather “future proof your own career, by making the skills of the future your skills of the present?”

"Future proof your own career, by making the skills of the future your skills of the present.." - Ryan Tracey Click to Tweet

While we don’t know what the future holds, we can anticipate the skills needed down the road. Then we can create opportunities to use those skills now. Ultimately, this ensures we are better prepared in the event tomorrow comes, and we find ourselves in the future we thought was 5 years from now.

Read the Full Article: Skills of the Present

Ways to Make eLearning Engaging

We’ve all taken eLearning courses where all we had to do was click “Next” a couple of times, answer a few questions, and we’re done. Unfortunately, learners don’t gain anything of value from this oft-repeated exercise.

Thus whether you’re an instructional designer, eLearning developer, or subject matter expert (SME), the challenge is to build courses in such a way learners will enjoy them. In fact, it wouldn’t be bad if they learned a thing or two while they’re at it.

Why you should read? Ask any eLearning developer and they will tell you effective web-based training is more than an interactive powerpoint presentation. Creating truly engaging online courses takes thought and planning.

Senior Product Marketing Manager at Northpass, Nikki Engel, writes, “The trick to improving results for your customers, employees, and partners is to make them active participants in their own learning.” In other words, creating engaging eLearning content is more than simply organizing the content or adding quizzes.

"The trick to improving (eLearning) results for your customers, employees, and partners is to make them active participants in their own learning." - Nikki Engel, Northpass Click to Tweet

Grabbing a learner’s attention and keeping it is more about:

  • Building the right activities such as simulations and labs
  • Making instructors available as coaches or mentors
  • Utilizing techniques like gamification

Gamification leverages the competitive nature of people participating in training. Awarding points redeemable for prizes or having a leaderboard to show past winners can be highly effective. As well, gamified training can increase retention and understanding because the content is broken down into easily digestible chunks.

All in all, Engel’s main assertion about eLearning content is clear, “doing is better than viewing,” which couldn’t be more true.

Read the Full Article: Want Better Outcomes From Self-Paced eLearning? Engage Your Learners

Ultimate Guide to Scenario-Based eLearning

Our next thought leader reveals why scenario-based content should be included in your bag of tricks. Christy Tucker is a “learning experience design consultant” and founder of Syniad Learning.

Why you should read? Successful eLearning is predicated on how much a learner retains and how effectively they put their new skills to use in the workplace. Including different types of branching scenarios in your next course just might be the solution you’re looking for.

Tucker outlines reasons why scenario-based learning goes “beyond boring” to engage learners. This approach has the ability to create a deeper connection between the content and learner by modeling real-life situations.

As a result of the information being more personal and relatable, scenarios:

  • Increase buy-in and commitment
  • Improve skills transfer
  • Accelerate content mastery

Tucker points out, “Scenario-based learning can affect emotions to make participants care about the content and keep them engaged.” When it comes to branching scenarios, she leaves no stone unturned.

Her post is as “definitive” a guide as you’ll find on the topic from a practitioner who has done it. From simplifying planning and design to knowing when and where to include scenarios to maximize their effectiveness.

"Scenario-based learning can affect emotions to make participants care about the content and keep them engaged." - Christy Tucker, Experiencing eLearning Blog Click to Tweet

The highlight for me was the section discussing feedback. Specifically, the difference between intrinsic feedback and instructional feedback. There is a science to ensuring responses are useful and appropriate.

Gaining a better understanding of why and when to use certain feedback types is invaluable for eLearning designers and developers alike.

Read the Full Article: Presentations on Scenario-Based Learning and More

BONUS: 8 Tips for Creating Effective eLearning Storyboards

Building effective, engaging eLearning courses has to start somewhere. As such, we’ve rounded up a bonus article from Naveen Neelakandan, founder and CEO of Wizcabin. Neelakandan shares eight tips for creating effective eLearning storyboards.

Why you should read? Most of us would agree building a house or office building without a blueprint would not be the best idea. Likewise, before jumping in and developing an eLearning course, you should start by creating a storyboard.

Similar to the layout of a Powerpoint presentation, storyboards normally include screen-by-screen instructions detailing the text, audio, graphics, and animations to be developed for a course. Additionally, navigation, branching scenarios, and quizzes should also be included.

In the end, you’ll have an eLearning blueprint that captures your vision and ensures the final deliverable isn’t missing critical elements.

According to Neelakandan, “Learning needs and personal preference are very important in designing an effective eLearning storyboard.” As a consultant, I’ve always used an approved storyboard as the final “contract” between myself and my client.

If it isn’t in the storyboard, it won’t be developed. By establishing the storyboard as the final say, there is little room for confusion between stakeholders, designers, and developers.

"Learning needs and personal preference are very important in designing an effective eLearning storyboard." - Naveen Neelakandan Click to Tweet

I have seen some great storyboards over the years, and I’ve also seen more than my share of terrible ones too. Fortunately, Neelakandan’s tips cover all the necessary details on creating more effective storyboards for eLearning.

Read the Full Article: How to Create an Effective eLearning Storyboard

Final Thoughts

Now more than ever, L&D professionals need to be at the forefront of skills development. Continuous learning is quickly becoming more than a fancy catchphrase. In reality, we live in a time when branding something as a “future skill” is no longer accurate.

The future is now. No matter your chosen field, staying sharp by constantly learning new tools, technologies and skills is the norm.

One such skill is designing and developing eLearning courses in a more appealing way. Learners must be engaged for the learning to be effective.

Starting with a clear, concise storyboard, including techniques like gamification, branched scenarios, and utilizing appropriate, well-timed feedback, you are well on your way to building amazing eLearning.

Until next week’s roundup, now you know what you need to know…

Are you an eLearning designer or developer? Do you use scenario-based learning or gamification in courses you develop? Your experience matters; share your thoughts with me!

Patrick Owens

Patrick Owens

Patrick Owens has over 30 years of experience in the adult learning and technical communication space. His favorite day of the week is Tuesday and has deemed it a special time for tacos. Always looking for adventure Patrick uses his downtime to explore and create. In addition to being the father of 5 year old twin boys, he is currently the Digital Solutions Architect for TrainingPros.
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Patrick Owens has over 30 years of experience in the adult learning and technical communication space. His favorite day of the week is Tuesday and has deemed it a special time for tacos. Always looking for adventure Patrick uses his downtime to explore and create. In addition to being the father of 5 year old twin boys, he is currently the Digital Solutions Architect for TrainingPros.

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