16 April, 2015 Donna Cline, Senior Instructional Design Specialist, MasterControl
|E-learning makes it easier to
train your global workforce.
According to Forbes magazine, the global e-learning market is projected to reach $107 billion in 2015.(1) What’s driving the demand? Employees work in offices (and at home) all over the globe. Traditional face-to-face instructor-led training (ILT) or classroom learning is often too impractical for today’s geographically dispersed workforce. E-learning, also known as online or Web-based learning, solves what is arguably the biggest challenge training coordinators face: How do I reach my scattered workforce?
Top 5 Benefits of E-learning
Because e-learning is delivered over the Internet, it removes the time and geographical constraints of classroom learning. This level of flexibility offers many advantages, including:
E-learning Content Development: Create It In-house or Outsource?
Once you are sold on the idea of e-learning, you’ll have to decide whether to develop the training in-house or to outsource it to a content development company. Although in-house content development may seem inexpensive, cost can quickly add up when you consider the number of people and the time and effort the project will require. In addition to the expense, you’ll want to consider the following:
- Lower training costs: Creating learning content, whether online or instructor-led, consumes valuable time and resources. E-learning delivers a much higher ROI than ILT because the cost of production is divided over multiple uses. Decreased travel expenses and employee downtime add additional savings.
- Increased productivity: E-learning allows the training coordinator to control how the training will impact production; training can be scheduled during slower production periods to maximize productivity. E-learning also makes it easier to deliver just-in-time training or retraining when the user needs it, not weeks or months later. In addition, trainees can complete training tasks at their convenience, minimizing workday interruptions.
- Standardized processes: E-learning standardizes the training process, which, in turn, minimizes training gaps and creates consistency in the quality and delivery of training content across the enterprise. This is critical for regulated companies as ineffective or incorrect training can lead to disastrous, even deadly, consequences.
- Improved Retention: Taking effective notes is a must during an ILT course; notes are essentially all a trainee has to refer to once a real-time class is over. Unfortunately, many trainees attempt to transcribe what the instructor says word for word, which causes them to miss valuable information. E-learning gives trainees ongoing, round-the-clock access to training content, so they can refer to the training as often as necessary. Trainees can focus on content, rather than note-taking, which improves retention and engagement.
- Personalized learning: There is a variety of e-learning methods/instructional design theories to choose from when designing an e-learning curriculum, making it easier to customize learning to suit learning style.
- Do you have staff members with instructional design experience to devote to the project? If not, check to see if your local college offers instructional design courses. Consider hiring a student part-time to help you record and edit videos.
- How much time to you have to create the training?
- What tools will you need? There are many learning management systems (LMS) and recording and editing tools, such as Captivate and Camtasia, at your disposal for in-house course development. Online training tools have become so easy to use that the effort it takes to produce online training in-house has decreased dramatically.
- How will the training integrate with your existing learning management system (LMS) or quality management system (QMS)?
- How well do you know the material? As the creator, you will be asked questions. Do you have time to field questions and update and maintain the training materials as needed?
3 Popular Instruction Design Theories/Methodologies
If you have been tasked with developing in-house e-learning training and have little or no instructional design experience, the task can be daunting. Where do you start? A good place to begin is to familiarize yourself with the following instructional design theories/methodologies.
(1) The ADDIE Method
The ADDIE Method is a systemic instructional design model which consists of five phases: Analysis, Design; Development, Implementation, and Execution. Each phase feeds into the next.
- Analysis: During this stage, you will examine the current state of your training, and then compare it to what it should be. In many respects, it is quite similar to conducting a gap analysis of your quality management system. Analysis should also consider the learning environment, possible training constraints, delivery options and project timelines.
- Design: During this stage, you will determine the look and feel of the training, graphic design, user interface and content. Think about the training gaps you uncovered in phase one and consider the performance objective you need to close them; this will dictate what you need to design. Storyboards and prototypes are created during this phase.
- Develop: During this stage, you will create and produce the content and learning materials determined during the design phase.
- Implement: You’re ready to put your plan into action! During this phase, you’ll determine how you are going to deliver your content and learning materials to learners. After delivery, you’ll begin to evaluate the effectiveness of the training.
- Evaluate: This phase consists of two types of evaluation: formative and summative. A formative evaluation (sometimes referred to as internal) is a method for judging the worth of a program while the program activities are forming (in progress). Typically conducted “on the fly,” this part of the evaluation focuses on the process. You should be conducting formative evaluations throughout all five phases of the ADDIE method. A summative evaluation (sometimes referred to as external) is a method of judging the worth of a program at the end of the program activities (summation). The various instruments used to collect the data are questionnaires, surveys, interviews, observations, and testing. The model or methodology used to gather the data should be a specified step-by-step procedure. It should be carefully designed and executed to ensure the data is accurate and valid. Here, the focus is on the outcome. Is it clear? Did you encounter any problems? If so, what are they? Expect to make changes. Avoid thinking that the ADDIE method is structured in chronological order. It is a continuous circle with overlapping boundaries.
(2) Bloom’s Taxonomy
Named after its creator, Benjamin Bloom, Bloom’s Taxonomy refers to a classification of the different objectives that educators set for students (learning objectives). It divides educational objectives into three domains: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor (sometimes loosely described as "knowing/head", "feeling/heart" and "doing/hands" respectively). Within the domains, learning at the higher levels is dependent on having attained prerequisite knowledge and skills at lower levels.(2) A goal of Bloom's Taxonomy is to motivate educators to focus on all three domains, creating a more holistic form of education.(3)
- Cognitive Domain: Skills in this domain revolve around knowledge, comprehension, and critical thinking on a particular topic. It consists subcategories: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.
- Affective Domain: Skills in this domain revolve around attitudes, emotions and feelings. It consists five subcategories: receiving, responding, valuing, organizing and characterizing.
- Psychomotor Domain: Skills in this domain focus on change and/or development in behavior and/or skills. It consists of six subcategories: set, guided response, mechanism, complex overt response, adaption and origination.
(3) Bartle’s Test of Game Psychology
The way we play video games mirrors how we act in real life. The Bartle’s Test is a player personality analyzer that classifies a gamer as an achiever, explorer, socializer or killer. Instructional designers, as well as high school teachers, are using gamification insights to motivate learners and build trainee engagement. The Bartle’s quiz, which you can take here, can provide a starting point for adapting your learning environment to meet the needs of your learners. Consider the following gamer profiles to see if you can incorporate the aspects of gaming into your training.
Should You Replace Classroom Learning with E-learning?
I believe there is a place for both classroom and online training, referred to as blended learning. At MasterControl, we combine classroom learning, offered in our U.S. and European educational centers or onsite at customer facilities, and e-learning, in the form of recorded webinars and videos and MasterControl University On-Demand. During the ILT, we introduce customers to MasterControl. On-Demand Training is based on best practices, affordable, interactive and continuously updated. It is accessible at any time, from any device that has access to our customer website, which makes it ideal for reinforcement training.
- Achievers: Achievers like rewards and seek recognition of their achievements. For them, the point of playing is to master the game and move on. In the classroom, Achievers are often most concerned with grades as a measure of their achievement. They want to know the quickest, fastest, or shortest way to the prize.
- Explorers: For Explorers, the fun comes in the discovery. They love to figure a game out, as opposed to mastering it and moving on.
- Socializers: Socializer like to collaborate. The game is simply the backdrop for making friends.
- Killers: Killers thrive on competition. Their achievement comes from another’s loss. They prize reputation, above all else.(5)
Donna Cline, MasterControl instructional design specialist, trains system administrators in configuration and introduces clients to MasterControl. As an instructor, her focus is on clear, meaningful education for all users. Donna, who joined MasterControl in 2011, has extensive experience in online training and technical writing. She created, implemented and maintains the MasterControl University On-Demand training program.
(1) McCue, T.J.,“Online Learning Industry Poised for $107 Billion In 2015,” Forbes, August 27, 2014; available from the Internet http://www.forbes.com/sites/tjmccue/2014/08/27/online-learning-industry-poised-for-107-billion-in-2015/
(2) Bloom, B. S.; Engelhart, M. D.; Furst, E. J.; Hill, W. H.; Krathwohl, D. R. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals. Handbook I: Cognitive domain. New York: David McKay Company.
(3) Anderson, Lorin W.; Krathwohl, David R., eds. (2000). A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing: A revision of Bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives. Allyn and Bacon.
(4) Clark, Don., “Types of Evaluation in Instructional Design,” http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/isd/types_of_evaluations.html_br (accessed March 16, 2015).
(5) “Use the Four Gamer Types to Help Your Students Collaborate,” http://edtechteacher.org/use-the-four-gamer-types-to-help-your-students-collaborate-from-douglas-kiang-on-edudemic/_br (accessed March 16, 2015).