For those of you who haven’t seen it, Jack Black starts off as a shallow jerk who – after a magical encounter with Anthony Robbins in a lift – sees people’s inner beauty on the outside. The plain yet deep and loving become beautiful/handsome. The beautiful yet selfish and cruel have their inner flaws revealed as physical ugliness.
I often think that rapid e-learning tools and their ability to create good-looking learning, slickly functioning learning objects do the opposite. When something looks so nice and functions so well it can be hard to see the flaws.
The secret to inner beauty in your learning objects? The right level of planning and goal setting prior to double clicking that software icon.
Here are some questions to consider as you develop your plan:
- What is the purpose of the interactive learning object? Is it information delivery/knowledge transfer? How extensive/in-depth is the information? Is it for formative or summative assessment? Learning activities such as scenarios/branched learning? Think about how the learning object is going to help you solve the problem you’re solving with training.
- Why are you developing an interactive learning object instead of some other tool? Sure software like Articulate Storyline (link to our page) is fun and the output is pretty, but sometimes an A4 print out that’s there when they need it makes more sense for learners than clicking through fun, visual slides with animations and stuff sliding around. Ensure you’re using the medium because of what it has to offer like interactivity with information, integrated learning activities and visuals.
- What is the mode of study? Is the learning object meant to be used by an individual studying alone and should give immediate feedback or will a facilitator provide comments and grade the work at a later date? Will it be used by a group to work through a problem? In a face to face classroom? Answering these questions will guide you on the elements to include and the flow of the object itself.
- What is the LLN level of your audience? In addition to demographics such as age and gender, their industry sector and culture – you must also think of your learners’ LLN (language, literacy and numeracy) levels http://www.innovation.gov.au/skills/LiteracyAndNumeracy/AustralianCoreSkillsFramework/Pages/default.aspx. Using language too advanced and complex for people to comprehend or activities requiring too high a level of problem-solving and mathematics skills will serve to demotivate and disengage your learners. Aim too low and there will not be the sufficient level of challenge necessary to spur on learning for higher level learners.
- How much consideration do you need to give to WCAG 2.0 AA accessibility guidelines? The Australian Human Rights and Equality Opportunities Commission advises all Australian businesses to ensure their websites meet international standards of accessibility to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act. https://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/disability-rights/standards/world-wide-web-access-disability-discrimination-act-advisory#wcagintro You will also want to consider your organisational policy on making a reasonable adjustment for the needs of workers.
- How does the interactive learning object fit into the whole course of study or training initiative? Sometimes interactive learning objects are self-contained lessons or even topics unto themselves. Other times they are just a part of a topic or lesson that is delivered in other ways. If it is part of a bigger whole, ensure the tone, look and feel are consistent with other components.
Klevar sells Articulate Storyline and Presenter Media licenses and provides training on how to use them, but we can also provide expertise on LLN considerations, web content accessibility and offer a range of planning services at the organisational, learning management system and/or course level.
If you’d like to create learning objects that are both beautiful and smart – contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org