An Effective E-Learning Course – Design Elements for An Instructional Strategy

E-Learning
Learning Managers are needed to understand their specific learning problems and corresponding requirement so that they select right vendor company to develop and deliver the most effective e-learning solution.

Learning or Instructional Strategy is not something which can be demanded or instructed to learning developer to adopt; it is devised based on certain elements or parameters. In this discussion we will be analyzing only design related parameters. The other parameters are commercials, development tool, delivery platform technology etc.

The design based parameters to decide learning or instructional strategy are:

  • Learner – All about learner profile; academic, cultural, personal etc. all which can affect his/her learning abilities
  • Objectives – Enabling objectives; specific abilities to be developed after course completion
  • Content – Type of content; process, procedures, principles, facts or concepts

The above elements are the three pillars for an Instructional Designer to decide about course instructional strategy.

Among these three, Learner and Objectives are defined by learning problem; you won’t get much room to change or modify them. Content is a depended variable, you can chunk or modify it in-accordance with the Learner profile and the Objectives.

Let’s Understand Objectives and Learner in brief:

  • Objectives –Objectives can be considered as 100% independent variable; once objectives are decided, then everything in instructional strategy has to fall in accordance to it. Objectives are derived values from your learning need or problem. Your learning need is your problem and objectives are the desired change or required solution to solve those problems. In most of the cases you won’t get alternative learning solutions; for example, if learner is to acquire ‘Apply’ skill, then he/she has to have corresponding cognitive ability; if learner is to acquire ‘Drive’ (a physical activity), then he/she has to have corresponding psychomotor ability.

    For several issues, always the learning environment won’t be conducive enough to achieve set specific abilities; in that case you can target to achieve a skill higher than to it. For example, if it is difficult for you to achieve ‘list’, then try to acquire ‘describe’ which is a higher skill to ‘list’. This target or objective shift will cost you more.

  • Learner – In general, learners are also considered as 100% independent variable. While developing a course you may face few challenges or constraints that makes difficult to develop or convert the content which suits learner’s learning style. For example, it is very difficult to convert theoretical subjects into pictorial forms; in this case, you can prepare or train learner to learn in other than his/her style. It is difficult to bring significant change in learning style but you can succeed to an extent.

Conclusion:

We understood that, Content is a dependent variable and Learner and Objectives are independent variables. It is an excellence of a learning developer or an e-learning company which can bring little change or modify Learner and Objectives and deliver an effective e-learning course. So the final suggestion for learning manager is to identify right learning need and required learning solution, then select the most dependable learning developer to deliver you the most suitable learning solution.

To make things simple, below table helps you to map learning objectives, learner style and corresponding content type.
Elearning

Note: If required, you can add more number of problems.

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Simulations – A way of Elearning

“If you tell me, I will listen. If you show me, I will see. But if you let me experience, I will learn.”

The market for E-learning is ever growing and there are clear indications that it would continue to grow tremendously in the future. The concept of E-learning has revolutionized the whole system of education and training. With ever increasing demand of innovation in the field of content development and authoring tools to make the learning more interactive, effective and productive. The integration of simulation in E-learning has taken a major leap. When we talk about simulation in E-learning content development, we emphasize on the content and training modules with engagement and interactive approach towards the whole process of E-learning. Where the learners are given ample opportunities to participate at all the diverse levels of learning with more participation and freedom to experience the training on a wider and effective level. The major challenge faced by the content developers is to devise and design the E-learning content to have maximum possibilities for hands on experimentation, where the learners get chance to maximize their learning by practically doing things and deriving conclusions.

The most critical contribution in the process of learning is offered through our senses. And the four critical stages forming the learning web are watching, thinking, feeling and doing.  Among these senses the most important is learning while doing things on our own and that adds subtlety to the whole process of learning. In earlier E-learning course development the idea of interactivity was not given ample importance or sometimes this crucial aspect has been completely ignored but now with changing scenario and latest technological advancement the need for more extensive and exhaustive authoring tools are in demand. Putting up challenges to content experts or developers to have more intensive and interactive courseware. The simulations in E-learning bring the learners close to the real life situations. Where they relate to their past experiences and that helps them get the final outcome or the conclusion. Thus simulation in E-learning opens a horizon of doing and learning, in turn the training where the students are involved directly with their learning, keeps them motivated and involved as they play a decisive role in learning itself, instead of just being guided.

Simulations can be categorized depending on the level of complexity offered through instructions (Source: William Horton, 2000), they are as follows:

1.One shot Simulations: As the name says it all, these simulations are utilized for the courses offered for one time learning. The software and process training utilizes this type of simulation for the execution of courseware or training. The learners are given ample opportunity to learn while doing. And they are also provided with option of correcting mistakes and then moving forward through the ladder of learning and experimenting. This gives the learners ample space to do and redo in case of mistakes and the freedom and the ownership plays critical role in the process of training.

2.Simulations through examples: Under this category the simulations are provided in terms of situations. In turn creating enthusiasm to intervene and to determine and conclude the following relevant steps to take up the course to the next level. Every little step is crucial and critical for the final outcome. And the learners get the option of trying many times to get the required outcome. Which keeps them motivated and involved throughout the learning process. This type of simulation gives the learners an opportunity to think logically and derive conclusion cognitively.

  •  In this scenario learners listen, read or view about a situation, often describing the conflict between individuals.
  •   At every level the learners are offered with some choices to give them clue as to how to proceed.
  •   All the different choices pave the way for different outcomes and results.
  •   The outcomes would not be categorized into right and wrong but clear cut guidelines are offered to the learners to decide which route they want to follow and how they need to reach the conclusion. The real life examples help them to reach the conclusion in a more decisive way.

3. Microworlds: In this scenario the learners are offered a virtual representation of the real environment.

In this form of Simulation which is known as Microwords, the learners get an opportunity to physically interact with all the elements and learn from their experience.

The other striking discipline emerging is the Gamification, which uses game thinking. The software integrated with social psychology helps to develop programs that eventually enhance business prospects throughout the organization and almost all the industries. Simulations or business war games are used as powerful tools to aid decision making, improved strategic planning and foster enhanced team building and collaboration. These tools can be utilised over a wider range of fields  such as strategic development, education,psychology and academic areas.

We at swift Elearning are at par with the current trends in the field of E-learning content development integrated with simulations. We have a team of highly skilled experts to develop E-learning content with simulations and Gamification.

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Articulate Storyline, an incredible tool for e-Learning courses

Articulate Storyline

One of the greatest authoring tools in the field of E-learning appears to be in the form of Articulate storyline. Articulate storyline is the extension of Articulate ’09 suite with advanced and robust features and technological advancement. Articulate has been an integral part of the E-learning industry for a long time for its Articulate ’09 suite edition. The E-learning authoring tools include Articulate presenter, Articulate Quiz maker, Articulate engage and Articulate suite as well. Then a Stage came when it was realized to have robust and technologically more comprehensive tools.

E-learning authoring tools have seen the advent of a revolution with the merge of Articulate with storyline. The E-learning content development through Articulate storyline has made the e-learning authoring tools more innovative and interactive; the course developed through Articulate storyline is relatively comprehensive and strongly visual, Which makes it a rapid authoring tool for E-learning content development.

Many of the articulate tools were considered to be user friendly, But apart from being user friendly articulate was lagging behind in terms of vigorous advanced features to make the E-learning course development more comprehensive, ground-breaking and interactive. In turn the need for a robust and powerful tool has facilitated the contraption of storyline, insertion of story line with articulate has brought about fabulous growth, adequacy among all the genre of learners and E-learning developers. The articulate storyline is extremely compatible with mobile devices and that makes it more versatile, handy and effective. The E-learning content development is easy and convenient and caters to the needs of varied level of learners and platform as well. Publishing the E-learning content on multiple devices and formats make it interactive on all the devices as iPads, desktops, laptops and more.

Articulate storyline publishes to Flash, which in turn is compatible on almost all the personal devices and to the Articulate mobile Player, A native iOS application that maximizes the utility of the authoring tool on iPads. The Articulate storyline is used for the development of the content on HTML5, which offers an extensively popular option for E-learning development, with the richness of multimedia and immense scope of interactive learning.

The Articulate storyline offers wide ranging options in terms of innovative and interactive content development. The following are some of the remarkable features related to Articulate storyline;
  1. The interface and customer delight- At a time when applications are invented and introduced on daily basis, it’s important that the users have an exceptional experience in the first go. So it has to be robust, interactive and dependable precisely. Articulate storyline offers excellent user experience.
  2. Simplicity of the Articulate storyline- The authoring tools are hassle free and simple as to give ample support to the content development experts who are not familiar with power point. Instructions and directions are clear that even a naïve can work efficiently on content development.
  3. One stop availability of images and resources- Its extremely critical to have suitable images to create life like scenario and robust visuals. Articulate storyline offers in built options for images depending upon the requirement and suitability. Apart from free images and visual effects, it offers specialized images to buy as well.
  4. Screen recording- It’s an exemplary feature, Articulate storyline takes up an incredible approach altogether. When we record the screen, we end up in a high revolution video, which can be shown or shared with the learners with the help zoom and pan features.
  5. Compatibility of Articulate storyline with HTML5, Flash and mobile learning. The content developed through articulate storyline is compatible with HTML5, which helps the learners to utilize the course on their iPads with ease and comfort.

Swift Elearning services provide E-learning course development through Articulate storyline, Specializing on requirement and background of the learners. We are equipped with latest technology and E-learning course-ware development experts to cater to the needs of our clients universally.

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