"Elearning does not need to be introduced, it needs be identified. Elearning is not confined only to online courses or learning applications, it is everywhere."

3 Awesome MS Excel Features That Can Make Instructional Designing Easier.

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Monday, April 22, 2019

Do you have a master strategy to boost the knowledge retention of your learners?
If not, your training may fail to serve the intended purpose. 
Be it a pure eLearning course or an Instructor-Led Training, its success not only depends on transmitting knowledge to its learners but also helping them to retain and recall it. However, devising a plan for knowledge retention is even more challenging for online-based training than face-to-face or Instructor-Led Training. Why? Because it is intractable to engage learners when the training is delivered through electronic means. But fortunately, we have saviors! Some numerous aids and techniques can be wisely used to design and develop your eLearning in such a way that it is not only consumed but also retained as you expect it to be. And, this depends on what goal in mind you begin developing it. Do you take "knowledge retention" into consideration before you choose a design, interface, learning path, course length, audio, and visuals for your course? If not, your training is ignoring one of its most significant factors which may end up forming a forgetting-curve for your learners.
Now, having known the significance of knowledge retention, let's look at some brainy tactics that can be followed to achieve it. 

1. Keep it short

Bigger is not always better. As a vast variety of information is now easily accessible on numerous platforms, it is utterly difficult to have learners' attention for more than 20 minutes—the average attention span. This even reduces when learners seek training online. Then? No worries. In the era, where people prefer pocket-sized gadgets and microchips to store enormous data, microlearning and video-based learning are the perfect training solutions. these enable learners to draw maximum benefit out of the training with utmost attention and engagement. Micro courses are fun to learn from. Also, research says, microlearning helps in retaining information 22% better than the traditional learning. Not only this, if we talk about videos, according to research reported by Forrester, but 1 minute of video content was also found equal to 1.8 million written words for training retention

 2. Utilize interactivity appropriately

Interactivity is not only about clicking a button, but it's also about encouraging communication. Sometimes, when the user interacts with your course, he finds 10-15 lines of content, that he often avoids reading and I guess, that's not what he expects. Sit on your learner's seat and think, is there any influential factor that encourages you to take any action to interact with the course? What do you expect after following an instruction that says, "click to know more."? 

Making a course interactive is not a necessity, the course can be engaging and interesting even if it is not interactive. Therefore, use interactions wisely. If I were a learner and asked to interact with the course, I would expect some engaging activity, that involves me, requires me to collaborate for my learning. Remember, better engagement leads to better retention.  

3. Add a fun element

Adding a fun element to the course is like adding taste to food. Do we add taste as we add other ingredients while cooking any dish? We don't. Taste is the final result, it is an experience that you offer to its consumers. The same goes for training. The learning experience decides, how long your learners will remember the lesson. Whether they are adults or kids, they learn better if they enjoy learning. The question appears, how can an e-learning course be made fun? Gamify it or try the latest and one of the most sought after solutions—create interactive videos

You can make your training fun by introducing some game elements such as scoreboards, badges, levels, cheat sheets, and setting a final goal for learners to accomplish. Always entertain your learners to enlighten them.

View a sample.   

4. Use "Show me/Try me" demonstration

This is the best way to develop tool-training. The long verbiage help document integrated with any tool or application is not always helpful, it's better to give a demonstration through short videos or simulations. This approach is even more effective if you guide learners and ask them to perform the desired actions.
Remember, the saying?
Tell me,  I will forget;
show me, I will learn;
involve me, I will remember.

5. Conduct formative and summative assessments

Assessments are not only conducted to gauge learners' progress but also enable them to recall what they have learned from the training. The assessment process works even more efficiently when they are put into real-life scenarios or cases wherein they are intended to apply their knowledge.

6. Provide diagnostic feedback

Retention is one of the purposes of providing diagnostic feedback. It is immediate feedback given to learners every time they attempt a question. If the learner selects the wrong answer, he should know why his choice is wrong and what is the correct option. Even if, the learner selects the right answer, he should be given diagnostic feedback with a reason why his selection was correct.  Hence, crafting an assessment process is half of the battle, the other half is providing diagnostic feedback.

7. Create mnemonics

Remember school days, our teacher used to share the secret of memorizing useful information such as a periodic table, mathematical formula, and chemical equations. That secret contained our favorite—mnemonics. Mnemonics can do wonders in your eLearning courses also. Yes! creating mnemonics is a tough job, but at the same time, it can make your training a huge success. Even today, you can enable kids to learn and remember the seven colors of the rainbow with the help of "VIBGYOR". They will remember it forever as much as we do.

Click here to learn different mnemonics techniques.

8. Explain through analogies and scenarios

Every time teaching your learners the ground level information is not a workable eLearning strategy. Despite, evaluate the concept that you are going to teach, and try to find something similar that your learners already know or understand. Establish a strong comparison between your concept and their pre-existing knowledge. Now, launch your training. It will help them understand the concept deeply without creating any frustration. This will also set a firm foundation for the concept. Scenarios can also be used similarly to transit the required information to your learners. Adequate usage of visuals and characters enables learners to consume and understand the utility of the gained knowledge smoothly and effortlessly.

In a nutshell, be a storyteller who knows the weak nerve of their learners and strengthens their knowledge and skills.

9. List it down

The numbers are magical. We still remember, there are eight planets in our solar system, seven continents and five oceans in the world, seven colors in the rainbow and many others. Listing down information into pieces is conducive to the memory system.

10.  Make recap worthwhile

Recap, the last but never the least portion of any training. Align your summary with the objectives you set at the beginning of your training. End it with impact. End it in a way to encourage the true journey of your learners. In the end, offer them with the just-in-time aids that they can access in their jobs. For better retention, walk them through the taught knowledge by showing its screenshots. You can also end it with a short video that restates only important points you want them to remember. Think creatively and always end it with an impact. 

Do share your ways to uplift the knowledge retention of your learners in the comment section. 

Let's eLearn together!

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

H5P aka HTML5 package is a free and open-source content collaboration framework based on JavaScript. It enables everyone to create, share, and reuse interactive content of HTML5 such as interactive videos, interactive presentations, quizzes, interactive timeline among various others.
H5P can also be integrated with various Wordpress and Drupal based Learning Management Systems including Moodle. But, did you know it can also be integrated with your blogger website or blog?

Before stumbling upon the way you can add it to your blogger website, let's see what can you do with H5P plugin.

If you are an Instructional Designer and also running a website or a blog where you share your knowledge and experiences, do you think building your portfolio on the same website is a great idea? If yes! You can create interactive learning videos on H5P and publish it on your website. Let's know the step-by-step process of doing it.

1. Click here to reach the H5P website.

2. On the homepage, click "Create Free Account" option.
Note: Click "Login", if you already have an account.

3. Upload a video to add further interactions
Note: I have developed a rich animation based eLearning deck on MS-PowerPoint and saved it as an MPEG-4 video. I uploaded the same video on H5P video editor to add interactivity. You can also upload webm videos.

4. After adding the interactions, Click "Save" to save the video.

5. Your video is ready now. Click "Embed" option highlighted in the following image.

6. Copy the embedded link from the box.

7. Create a new page on blogger

8. Select HTML and paste the copied code.

9. Click "Publish". 

You can view the sample interactive video, that I have created by clicking here

Please share your thoughts, what else can be done using H5P. 

Let's eLearn together. 

Friday, March 15, 2019

Elearning Trends-2019

Digitization has hijacked the entire world by bringing continuous innovation in all the areas and alluring people of all age groups. Also, the emergence of digitization in the teaching and learning process has changed the way we all used to learn. Since last couple of years, elearning industry has brought us various learning techniques through which we can learn and ace any skill with utmost ease.
Elearning industry has drastically utilized the new technological practices and introduced various innovative ways of learning in 2018. We've reached 2019 already, let's see what are the upcoming elearning trends of 2019.

 1. Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR and AR)

AR and VR have set the stones already and are undoubtedly going to be the next-gen learning solutions. These technologies have brought the world at our finger tips in an extremely realistic way. AR technologies based courses have been developed for K-12 students. It augments the existing content through overlaying and popping graphics and images. It not only enhances the learning capabilities of the learners but also gives them a thrilling and fun experience. 
On the other hand, VR is becoming one of the top elearning solutions for industries. With effective instructional strategies, 360-degree photographs, advance interactions, elearning industries are developing courses that enhances cognitive ability in  learners and is helpful for people with special needs. 

2. Artificial Intelligent Assistance

After successfully deploying AI assistance in various businesses for customer and client support, it has been now picked up by the eLearning industries. From K12 to the modern millennial employees, AI based learning is seizing learners' attention effectively in the learning activities eventually resulting in better retention and noticeable change. One can expect more from the AI-empowered systems—these can now process and respond to learners's queries in real-time. 
These systems are enhanced to offer counselling and guidance to scholars empowering them with comprehensive exposure to numerous fields. The AI assistance can also deliver learning resources specific to learners helping them in completing their assignments.   

3. Customized Learning

ELearning is entertaining learners as Apple does for music lovers;  providing varieties of learning solutions as Amazon does for its consumers; and presenting on-demand knowledge as Google does for everyone of us.

Having said that, customized learning is completely developed on the basis of learners' strengths, skills, needs, and interests. Which means, each student is taught considering his existing knowledge and the learning pattern. Customization makes learning useful, highly impactful and fun at the same time. 

4. Microlearning

The digital-age learners are relishing micro-learning in their day to day learning diet. The micro-courses are named as eLearning-bites, eLearning snacks, and nuggets—increasing students appetite for learning. Micro-learning is developed considering the attention span of learners providing them the required knowledge in a quickly and easily digestible form. Using cutting-edge techniques and strategical instructional approach, the lengthy volume of courses are transformed in a compact form, reducing the seat-time of learners and increasing their knowledge retention. 

5. Video-Based Learning

Think, what you do when you want to learn any feature of MS-excel, diagnose and fix any issue in your laptop or mobile phone, or repair your grinder yourself. Do you do all these by watching small videos on YouTube? 

Seeing considerable shift of learners from reading to watching videos for their immediate learning needs, eLearning has also taking a shape of  a video now. In 2019, you will see media-rich, inquisitive  animation based videos presenting concepts in the form of stories. 

Undoubtedly, 2019 is going to be a commemorative year for evolution of eLearning.

Feel free to comment in the comment section below and share what you are looking for in the eLearning industry.

Let's eLearn together. 

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Elearning Cataloge

Lately, Elearning Catalogue shared a post on Facebook, on which a Facebook user shared her opinion.

You can see the post and the comment in the above image.

In response to the comment, Elearning Catalogue promised to come back with an explanation to the post. Before we jump directly to the answer, let's take a bit long route by understanding the beginning of digital learning and why it is booming.

Have you ever wondered what made us all shift from traditional learning to the digital learning?

I am completely convinced with one of the reasons - it is because the Internet is increasingly seeping into all the facets of our life. It has made information available at our finger tips. The ease of access to all the worldly information has made us fall for the Internet and now, it has become our first choice to quench our thirst of knowledge. Today, we find learners of almost all the age groups watching science experiments, learning alphabet and counting through rhymes, fixing issues in their electronic devices by How to videos, and pursuing online certification to get their dream jobs and promotions.

The first reason made me come up with the second reason that is, people these days are not only looking to gain some knowledge but for the shorter ways to learn  new skills in a lesser time without turning pages. Hence, the need of the Internet (online)learning or elearning has become evident.

As learners are shifting towards the new ways with the new need, the teaching activities  has to be significantly conducted where the learners are and as per the demands of the learners. The teaching in  the Internet age promises to teach tomorrow's skill today. Moreover, it gets updated easily with the current trend. Whereas, the traditional learning doesn 't promise to teach existing or future skills but provides the useful knowledge and information. It also consumes considerably a lot of time to update the course material.

I will share my experience, I was pursuing my graduation in a college. I had friends there, who regularly used to attend classes and study for exams. They were totally dependent on the theories of the books and syllabus that was taught in the college. Unlike this group, there were other set of pupils who used to attend the classes often but at the same time they kept learning new skills through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) and read about the market trends. They prepared themselves accordingly to meet the demands of the jobs that they would be doing in future in various industries.
After four years, when we all started looking for jobs, the second group bagged great gigs at very high package.

This explains, how traditional learning helps students pass the exams and gain some knowledge, but to add to the acquired knowledge and transform it into a skill, digital learning is a way one should definitely follow.It enables the learners, learn and grow quickly in  the rapidly changing circumstances of the future.

In a nut shell, the traditional teaching is not replaceable, but considering the rapidly changing world which is completely hijacked by the Internet and various digital technologies, the traditional teaching techniques need to blended with the digital teaching techniques. It will then help students learn the existing and future skills faster.

I hope, with this article I have justified the one-liner post that I shared on Facebook. If not, do reach out to me with your queries in the comment section. If you want to add to the article, do not hesitate to share your knowledge with us.

Let's elearn together.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

7 Content Marketing Lessons for Elearning Professionals

Content Marketing is an approach applied to promote products and services through content (in various forms) on different platforms of the Internet. There are certain factors involved in devising and implementing the content marketing strategies. These factors are derived after thorough analysis of the activities that are being performed online, needs and feedback of the customers, right time and right medium to reach out to the targeted customers and, so on. Though elearning and content marking sit in two different buckets and seemingly hold no association, there are many similarities in both of these with very little differences. Most of the times, the differences can be seen in the intended objectives, targeted audience, and the impacts that both of these create for businesses and consumers.

This article is a guide that will help you understand how the features of content marketing can be applied in the different stages of a course development. This article presents seven lessons of content marketing that according to me are already being applied in elearning perhaps without realizing it.

1. Create customers' personas: Create learners' personas

7 Content Marketing Lessons for Elearning Professionals

In content marketing, the first thing that we hear, is about the buyer's funnel. The customers personas are created on the grounds of their demographics, geographical locations, needs and their level of association with a business. And, later the personas are segregated in the different stages of the funnel. These stages are: Awareness, Consideration, Decision, Conversion, and Promotion. Now that you have a fair idea about the buyers personas, it becomes easier to resonate the concept with the learners personas.

When you plan to conduct any training, it is important to think before and beyond the actual training hours. One must  perform a thorough need analysis of the intended learners by knowing about the learners' needs, training objectives, their cognitive ability, demographics and so on. Before setting a plan for the training, it is equally, in fact even more important to set a plan to gather the above details correctly, create learners personas, and then segregate them after analyzing the collected details.

2. Document Content Strategy: Devise a training plan

7 Content Marketing Lessons for Elearning Professionals
Once you are handy with your learners' personas, you step up to do the second level of job which requires a bit more of brainstorming. As in content marketing, the strategy  revolves around the ad campaigns, timing, location, and medium of contact; similarly, in elearning the strategies contain type of training, medium of conduction, resources needed, length of the training, the approach for assessment among various others. Here, you will certainly appreciate all your hard work that you did in creating the personas.

3. Consistent Content Publishing : Consistency in the execution of the training

7 Content Marketing Lessons for Elearning Professionals
Who doesn't want their customers to come back? I don't think, anyone will raise their hand in response to this question. In order to keep your customers visiting you often, first you need to visit them wherever they go on the internet without being a intruder. In content marketing, it is not a good practice to abandon your customers after offering them a bite of a really tasty dish. Keep coming back with the more tasty and avant-grade recipes.
This concept of consistency is applicable in elearning as well, but in a different way. In elearning courses, consistency is significantly followed in the training content, images, length of the course, and style. Make sure you keep the training consistent without making it monotonous.  

4. Storytelling: Storytelling

7 Content Marketing Lessons for Elearning Professionals
Stories are one of the most impactful ways of teaching. Whether it is content marketing or elearning, if you want to leave a lasting impression or learning in your customers or learners head, include stories in your marketing and training processes. Believe me, stories are difficult to forget.

5. Analytics and Reporting: Track learning and record post-training feedback

7 Content Marketing Lessons for Elearning Professionals

In the digital world, you cannot rely on the assumptions or intuitions. Identify what data you have,  what are the sources of data, and how to organize and further use the data to analyze the performance of your marketing and yes, elearning. Incorporate assessments in your training and never miss to solicit training feedback from your learners. It will help you analyze the impact of your training and make amendments in the training material or the process if required.

6. Converting a Visitor to an Influencer: Transform a learning into an experience

7 Content Marketing Lessons for Elearning Professionals

"Through your marketing strategy, if you've successfully generated a lead for the business, don't think that it is the end of your job. The actual work starts after you get a customer: delight the customer with your offerings and let him do the rest of the marketing for your business." That's what the content marketing lesson  teaches to the marketers. In elearning, build a strategy to delight your learners. How? Involve them completely in the teaching learning process. As I mentioned earlier, stories are difficult to forget, use stories and scenarios, conduct activities that entail their complete involvement, and make your training itself a story that they can remember for eternity.

7.  Be There Where your Customers are: Be There Where Your Learners are

7 Content Marketing Lessons for Elearning Professionals
We do live in this world but also we exist and survive more in  the digital world. Make sure you be everywhere for your learners.

I will be pleased to see your views on  this article in the comment section. Do share your knowledge. Let us all E-learn together.

Image sources: Vecteezy, Flaticon, Freepik

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

elearning catalogue

Angry man 1 : You cant believe a word they say. You know what I mean. They are born liars.

(Reply) Angry man 2: Do you think you were born with a monopoly on the truth?

Angry man 1: He don't even speak good English.

(Reply) Angry man 3: He doesn't even speak good English.

You will get to hear enough of intriguing dialogues in the courtroom drama- "12 Angry Men".

 After watching the movie,  do share your reviews in the comment section. 

Sunday, October 21, 2018

MS-excel features

An instructional designer plays a pivotal role in any elearning project.  He wears different hats and juggles multiple tasks in the complete project life cycle. Structuring the training content and writing instructions for design, animation, and effects are not the only jobs an ID does; his role demands a lot more than these. Right from coordinating with clients to delivering the final course, an ID owns end-to-end responsibility of everything that comes his way. Before we begin, let's take a glimpse of tasks an ID performs:
roles of instructional designer

Without further ado, let's delve to find out how the following excel tips can make an instructional designer's job easier.

1. Analysis and course planning

Analysis is the first and foremost step of the course building process. Before you come up with any training plan, it is important to have a vivid information about your learners. It not only helps in the course planning, but also, if thoroughly done, it certainly enables you to meet the training objective. After being aware of the significance of analysis, the question appears- how can it be performed adequately and in an organized manner? 
MS-excel is the answer, or it is better to say that MS-Excel is the solution. 
The tool contains efficient statistical mechanism to organize and further analyze the data. The sort function(for small data base) and pivot table(for relatively big data base) can be used to categorize or group your data. You can use charts and tables for the pictorial representation of the data. The other very new feature of excel is People graph, which gives you infographical representation of the data you enter. 
All learners are not same; everybody has different learning approach, pace, and retention power. You can not achieve desirable results by offering same learning solution to all your learners. The training should be personalized as per the learner's need, medium of learning, age group, performance in the past, and among others. The aforementioned features of MS-excel can be used to keep the record of your learners, categorize them as per their training needs, and learning capabilities. 

2. Project planning and tracking

It is always recommended to document and track the project's status, client communications, feedback, and any changes to ensure the progress of the project as per the plan that was devised at the initial phase. 
Number of team members involved in the project, their availability, backup resources, anticipated risks, tasks and sub-tasks, start-date and end-date of the tasks, time required, and so on are the components that can be considered during the project planning. Planning in the beginning helps in  regulating all the project activities, whereas tracking and analyzing the progress enables you to anticipate risks. 
MS-excel offers templates like Gantt project plannerproject tracker, and milestone charting roadmap. These are ready-to-use comprehensive templates that can easily be utilized for the elearning projects. These templates not only help you in maintaining the efficiency of your resources but also enable you to understand the shortcomings and further optimize your process. 

3. Knowledge management system

This feature or template of MS Excel may be or may not be applicable for instructional designers. But, it is one of the sought-after  solutions  for elearning and IT organizations. 

These components in above image constitute the foundation of the knowledge Management (KM) of any organization. KM system template in MS-excel lets you track the performance, activities, requirements, and progress of all the three components. 

Go-through these features and templates and do share your reviews in  the comment section.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

It's a Wonderful Life

It's a Wonderful Life is one of those black and white movies which holds a position in the list of  top hundred movies of all time. Now, it also accommodates a space in my very own collection of the most favorite films.

If you are making your mind to watch it, do read my review .

The rapid advancement of elearning technologies is an evidence of how fast organizations are now adopting the online learning trend. This scenario gives me a valid reason to create this post.

Watch the video and know why the organizations are inclining towards elearning technologies to train their employees and grow their businesses.

PS:  I developed the video using an online application- Animoto.
 I used the trial version of the application, so, I had to carry their watermark along with my video.

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