E-Learning Balancing Act: Good vs Efficient development-web_version092010

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Is faster always cheaper? What's the hallmark of truly EFFECTIVE e-learning? What does the research say about what's effective? This presentation outlines what makes e-learning effective and offerideas on ways to balance good design with efficient development that yields "good" results.

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  • A training and consulting firm with 13+ years’ experience developing custom training for clients on an array of topics. 70% of what we do is e-Learning – we’ve learned a lot in the past 7 years! A company that constantly trolls ISPI, ASTD, eLearning Guild, and current publications for research-based info on how to design effective, efficient e-Learning. Lots of experience in ID…and with e-Learning. We’ve done e-learning right…and some wrong. We’ve learned from our mistakes, and we apply the research to what we do. We see the push to do things faster and cheaper….and the strain it can put on effective instructional design.
  • Before we go further, we want to find out about you – our audience for today. Poll the group to find out what people do in relation to e-Learning. One-person shop who designs and develops e-Learning? Part of a team where responsibilities are divvied up between IDers and developer/programmers? Managers responsible for e-learning and/or other kinds of training? Learners who have participated in e-learning? Novice – just trying to learn everything?
  • Somehow link this slide with what was learned from audience in polling as the purpose of the day is explained:. This session is designed to help you sync up what you do in development and programming of e-Learning with solid instructional design research – proven data on what works and what doesn’t. Go through agenda.
  • Okay --- quickly take this short assessment. In the remainder of the session, you’re going to have the chance to compare your answers to the ones I share with you. Allow learners 2 minutes to complete the assessment.
  • Then ask learners to each pick ONE statement that sparks the greatest curiosity within them and share that with the group – along with WHY. Select a spokesperson (person whose birthday is closest to today) who reports out on all the statements group found intriguing. – ones they want most information about. .
  • Cognitive Learning Theory says learning is a process of encoding new skills and knowledge from working memory into our long-temr memory – and then later being able to retrieve knowledge and skills from our long-term memory back into our active, or working, memory. Cognitive Learning Theory recognizes that we can only process a finite amount of information at once – we have a point at which we’ve maxed out on the cognitive load we can handle. Processing of information is done via 2 channels – an auditory channel and a visual channel. Visual channel is where we process both text that we read and graphics that we see. Let’s look at what happens…..
  • Jim and Joe are two guys taking a product training course. They are squeezing the course in between client sales calls. Joe’s actually trying to eat lunch while taking the course. The course contains both text and audio.
  • Step 1: Info enters through our eyes and our ears (if audio is part of the learning experience). Step 2: Information travels from our visual and auditory sensory memory to our short-term or working memory. Step 3: Through encoding process (practice, rehearsal), brain attempts to get information from working memory into long-term memory. This is where principles of 7 +/- 2 is so critical. Typically, we can only retain about 7 “chunks” of information (pus or minus 2 chunks) in working memory at a time. A good ID person is aware of this fact and manages the amount of information being fed to the learner at any one time. Prior experience is also huge here. Prior experience – NOT learning style – dictates how easily information gets encoded. What the learner already knows…or can link the new information to – is the most critical key to long-term retention.
  • A learner’s acquired metacognition skills – ability to define learning goals, formulate a plan, and monitor learning progress – all influence the encoding process that’s occurring. Our two learners, Joe and Jim, may have very different metacognition skills. If Joe is skilled at learning, he may organize himself to learn more easily than Jim, who is easily distracted and has trouble distinguishing “nice-to-know” from “need to know” information. Metacognition skills can be taught – and learned. Case in point: College freshmen often enter school with poor study skills/habits. By the time they are seniors, they have acquired the necessary skills to perform well in college.
  • The litmus test for e-Learning -- the final- and most critical step in the learning process -- is retrieval, where learners pull the knowledge or skill out of long-term memory storage and into their working memory. Pulling it out requires that the learner recognize cues that call for the use of the knowledge or skill….hence, simple recall or recognition practice activities tend not to be useful in encoding information. Learners will most successfully retrieve the information when it’s in context. Example: Anyone have a teenager who is learning to drive. It’s amazing how you can drive your child around for 15 years and they get behind the wheel and are clueless as to how to get to simple places that you’ve been numerous times – such as a restaurant, church, a grocery store. Until they have a context for needing to know this information, they tend NOT to store it in their long-term memory. Suddenly – when they have to drive there – it’s important and they store it. By the same token, this is the same reason that driver’s ed classroom courses are virtually useless. Sitting in a classroom is the wrong context for teaching driving skills. Reading the rules of the road without giving context makes it extremely difficult to move them from working memory to long-term memory. Once in the car, it’s very difficult to retrieve the information from long-term memory because of the way it was stored there.
  • The brain processes information from each channel separately so I can process most efficiently when I use both channels. I can increase learning efficiency by leveraging both the audio and visual channels – as opposed to only a single channel. I can either increase learning efficiency with my e-Learning design choices OR I can overload my processes and depress learning.
  • Use representative graphics to illustrate processes, procedures, and principles – show as opposed to tell. Use interpretive graphics (graphs, charts) to show relationships or make the invisible, visible.
  • Integrate your text with your graphic to maximize understanding: Avoid above/below formats. Avoid scrolling that causes the graphic or the text to disappear while the other portion remains on the screen. Keep instructions on the same page as an activity. Display feedback so it doesn’t cover up the question.
  • Integrate your text with your graphic to maximize understanding: Avoid above/below formats. Avoid scrolling that causes the graphic or the text to disappear while the other portion remains on the screen. Keep instructions on the same page as an activity. Display feedback so it doesn’t cover up the question. Here we’ve illustrated a customer’s performance mangemetn system and used the analogy of a roadmap. The text appears as each segment unfolds – rather than altogether with text below/above the graphic.
  • The filtering process comes across as hard to understand when it’s simply provided as a text narrative. It becomes much clearer when you can see it illustrated like this – Great use of visual and text as opposed to just text (multimedia principle) and great integration between text and graphics!
  • The graphic on top – which is pretty complex – appears ABOVE the explanation of it (it’s also too small to read, as well!). The learner has to rotate her eyes back/forth between the graphic and the explanation below it.
  • These are great examples of using narration to explain graphics rather than simply providing a text explanation with still graphics.
  • Avoid using narration, graphics, and text altogether since it increases cognitive load. The exceptions to this rule: ESL – learners who have language challenges can benefit from seeing the spoken words as text. Learners have ample time for each screen (and this is never actually the case since people want to go as fast as they can). You have no graphics….you only have audio and text. This, however, gets annoying since we can read the words much faster than the narrator will say them!
  • Stick to the essentials!!!! Avoid the extraneous. Keep it simple and conversational.
  • Stick to the essentials!!!! Avoid the extraneous. Keep it simple and conversational.
  • Allow people to study the words. Find out how many people recalled all 25 words: suggested organization: Multimedia principle, modality principle, Contiguity principle, coherence principle, personalization principle, redundancy principle. Visuals, text, audio Relevant Learning efficiency Auditory channel, visual channel, encoding, integration Coffee, juice, muffins, fruit, Eli Manning, New York Giants (Most people will remember Eli and NYG because it stands out as different and the story is memorable – though unrelated to today’s topic)
  • “ The bank’s philosophy about how its tellers should treat customers is….”
  • Just say “no” to simple recall activities! Try to re-create cues that learners will encounter on the job. Remember that practice is the essential ingredient to speeding up encoding process. Without it, we won’t encode information.
  • Just say “no” to simple recall activities! Try to re-create cues that learners will encounter on the job. Remember that practice is the essential ingredient to speeding up encoding process. Without it, we won’t encode information.
  • Worked examples – as opposed to practice activities are a GREAT way to reduce learning time and decrease the length of an e-course. Intead of 4 practice activities, try giving 2 worked examples and 1 practice activity. Worked examples are easier for a learner to mentally process and they actually decrease the amount of time required to learn the content.
  • Learning happens faster when we can practice as we go…rather than hearing/watching/reading lengthy explanations before getting to do anything. Worked examples can stand in place of practice…but avoid too much explanation with no opportunity to see the information applied – or practice applying it.
  • 4500 articles on learning styles. 0 research that supports increased learning results from designing to a preference. There are four learner characteristics that research has shown DO have some correlation to what people learn: prior knowledge & experience, task confidence, motivation, and aptitude. Les is a senior instructional design consultant for the Department of Academic Technology Solutions at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. He leads a team of designers and digital media specialists in the Learning Materials Development Group. He has served as an instructional design and technology consultant at the university for ten years. Les has 20 years experience as an instructional design and technology specialist in corporate, government, medical and academic settings. Les consults with faculty and trainers in developing instructional programs, multimedia applications and e-learning courses. He has a graduate degree in educational technology from the University of Oregon and undergraduate degrees in education and educational psychology. Les is a frequent presenter at national, local and regional conferences, as well as a guest speaker at various universities. Learners love control…but do more poorly on post-tests when they have it.
  • Pretty much all learners want full control over where they go in e-learning….but the research shows that high program control levels result in better post-test outcomes. Learners love control…but do more poorly on post-tests when they have it.
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