The Benefits of Interactivity and Engagement in eLearning

One of the biggest problems that corporate trainers had to deal with before the onset of interactive training solutions was boredom. In traditional training, no matter how polished your content is, there is a high chance that you will lose the audience in the course of the session.

With the onset of eLearning solutions, it is advantageous to leverage the capabilities of interactivity in your training sessions. The ability to interact is the go between the audience and the training software that enables the learner to make some input. Engagement creates a dialog between the computer and the audience like two people having a chat.

Here are some benefits you stand to gain by incorporating interactivity and engagement in eLearning.

Enhances decision making

One of the most effective interactive methods is presenting your audience with scenarios based on topics that they are learning. Scenarios enable your employees to apply the knowledge in real-life situations where their decisions do not put their career at risk or get a negative judgment.

Without this fear, the employees can come up with plans and explore new ideas where the outcome is not known. It creates the confidence required to get solutions for complex problems in the workplace. Learners also get insights into possible results if they choose specific paths.

Enhances exploration

Interactive online learning solutions utilize interactive software that allows employees to explore the learning environment. They do this at their own pace and in the best way they can. Interactive learning solutions teach employees by showing them how things are done rather than just telling them what to do. This learning approach brings better results than the latter and enhances retention.

In order to enhance exploration, many trainers use graphic representations of learners’ daily activities at the factory or the office to enhance exploration. They also embed hyperlinks to  additional pages offering in-depth information to encourage further reading on a given topic. The result is a better, more engaging learning experience.

Immersive learning and vivid experiences

Unlike traditional methods of learning, interactive web-based training does not just present the employees with the information. It immerses them into the course as if they are experiencing what they are learning. The learners get control of the learning process which makes the experience much more vivid. This kind of engagement cannot be achieved in a classroom-like environment. All of the above translates into better retention and a higher chance of applying the knowledge when faced with similar situations at the workplace.

Increased motivation

It is unfortunate that most employees have to be forced into training sessions despite training offering immeasurable benefits. If you have a problem motivating your employees to take part in training, an interactive eLearning solution may be what you need.

Interactive eLearning solutions are more like on-demand videos or video games. They are accessible from any internet connected device. The on-demand availability and convenience play a big role in enhancing employee motivation.

You can access the learners’ performance on the go

The classic way of assessing the learners’ performance is the use of quizzes. While this method is effective in evaluating the performance of the employees, there is room for improvement. Interactive training solutions help you access  audience performance in real time and on the go without having to take them through an entire module before testing them.

Here is an example: if you are training a marketing executive on negotiation and the learner fails to ask his or her prospect a question, the online software can put a low score on empathy or negotiation skills. By associating the answers to the evaluation criterion, the software can give you an accurate performance score as the training progresses.

Eliminate boredom and its effects

As said earlier, boredom is the biggest challenge that trainers have to deal with when impacting new knowledge to the employees. Boredom lowers retention, makes it hard for employees to remember concepts and consequently leads to stagnation in performance.

Interactive web-based solutions place the employees at the core of their training program and interact with all their senses during the training. The training sessions are also fun and enjoyable to undertake. Therefore, the learner’s mind is less likely to wander away from the lesson.

Engage the learners emotionally

Emotions play a big role in information retention and skill learning processes. You can leverage a reality-based scenario when training and allow the learner to put their emotions into the subject. For example, you could come up with a crisis in the area that the learner handles and ask him/her to come up with a solution. The concern and emotions that the scenario generates improve the learners’ problem-solving skills. They are also likely to employ the same thinking when faced with similar problems as they go on with their daily duties.

Take a look at Designing Digitally, Inc.‘s new infographic on this topic – The Top 10 Ways to Increase Learner Interactivity & Engagement – the results of their eLearning have higher completion and retention rates.

Contact our experts today to learn more about improving the training impact at your organization! 

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Open Forum – Reflection, Favorite L&D Tools and More

Another Monday full of Open Forum goodness! The return of Brent Schlenker from holiday, the community needed to catch him up on all the fun happening last week.

We began reflecting on the lovely week of guests and take-overs of Jo Cook, Chris Straley, Connie Malamed, Christiana Houck, Cara North and Megan Torrance. Brent missed the TLDCommunity and even asked what we could learn from the appeal of fireworks displays.

We then discussed the list of our favorite tools in L&D, which included:

Or check out and add your thoughts to Brent’s list of software here.

We helped a fellow community member quickly switch his day long F2F training to a half-day training, with advice like:

  • Cut the fluff
  • Flipped classroom approach (send info before the day)
  • Cut breaks
  • Move content into an activity or a job aid
  • Focus on the ‘need to knows’
  • Tell a story

Finally, what are good resources to learn some coding?

Also, news about TLDC19 keynotes and the Video playlist!

Have a look at the recording here.

TLDC UK Meetup is On Its Way – June 21st

After a spectacular TLDC18 in Phoenix, AZ at the end of January, a few of us here put our heads together at The Training, Learning and Development Community. We are the most active group of L&D professionals around the world and we want to continue to celebrate this fact.

Even with daily TLDCasts — webcast conversations with influential L&D professionals — and actively moderated Slack TLDChat Workspaces, our aim is to maximise your professional development. We believe long lasting value comes from “hallway conversations” that occur when L&D networks come together; we work to recreate these as much as possible. Building networks and meeting people in your field, swapping ideas or sharing concerns, and getting together will help to enhance your connection.

We have an active and thriving community of L&D professionals in the UK, but due to distance it can be hard to have the face to face interactions that adds so much value.

This is why we are excited to announce the first ever TLDC UK Meetup on Thursday, June 21st at Mulberry Bush Pub in London from 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm (BST).

We don’t want to ruin the fun before it has begun, so more information will be shared closer to the event. But it’s not too early to RSVP and let us know you’ll be there.

With your hosts Jo Cook (@lightbulbjo), Cara North (@caranorth11) and Bethany Taylor (@eCom_Bethany), you won’t be short of support and lively discussion. They’ll be your fearless leaders and sources of TLDC UK connection, ask them your questions.

As a TLDC first-timer or regular contributor, you will find TLDC stands for Community. We hope that we will see you there!

 

The Magic of Learning

The further I venture into the world of learning and development, I come across challenges. Challenges in engaging my clients to see the value in the final product, in merging their expectations with the best learner experience and in working with their information. In many of these challenges I tend to internally hear advice, given throughout my childhood, from my dad.

This advice isn’t in the realm of learning and development nor is it general life advice, but it all stemmed from his primary profession as a magician and ventriloquist.

Yes, you read that right, I grew up with a magician and ventriloquist as a father.

Now my dad isn’t a normal magician, the likes of David Blain or David Copperfield, he’s an educational magician.

Educational magician is not a new title that we as L&D folk should start using.  It describes how my dad primarily uses magic and ventriloquism to put on educational shows in topics like: the benefits of reading and reading programs, the history and adventures of Lewis and Clark, and how to prevent and detect bullying.

This may still seem like a foreign concept, but the best way to describe what my dad does is: He teaches key concepts using the tools of magic tricks and ventriloquism.

Does that sound familiar? It should, it’s what we do, right?

Our tools are a bit different but we still endeavour to use them to teach key concepts. With these key concepts being the goal of my work in instructional design, I quickly see the alignment of my dad’s goals in magic and his sage advice becomes very handy. (Don’t worry, I thank him as much as possible!)

My dad says: Use the rule of 3s.

You may have heard of something similar, but I heard it from my dad first. The essential concept is people are much more likely to remember key concepts in 3s.

Often used rhetorically, in oratorical story-telling and to create catchy slogans. Have you heard of these prominent examples?

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Or

Stop, Drop and Roll

Even Carmine Gallo spoke to Steve Job’s obsession with the rule of 3 throughout presentations and product launches for Apple.

My dad uses this rule of 3 to his own slight obsession. He makes sure that every new trick includes three key stages until the trick’s conclusion. Or he makes sure each of his magic shows have at least 3 main tricks to support the concepts he is presenting.

So, how can we use the rule of 3s in learning and development?

3 elements are the smallest number needed to form a pattern and creating these patterns enhance the connections created in the brain. Also, 3 elements maintain the smallest amount of stages needed for story structure: set-up, anticipation (climax) and conclusion.

Boiling down subjects into 3 main concepts or using bullet points in 3s, will help to enhance retention. Especially because our world has taught us to remember things in 3s.

Using the rule of 3s is an easy and practiced way to help learners remember.

Furthermore, my dad would work to the ‘3-point outline’, to make sure that audience would know what he was presenting, why it’s important to them and what they are supposed to do with it. We can extend this outline to our learning solutions and they will know the importance of the information and how to apply it.

 

My dad says: A good trick starts with a good story.

When my dad sits down to put together a trick or concept for a show, he will instantly look for the story. Then he will find, or create, the trick to support the movement through the story.

In learning and development, storytelling is not a new concept. You will most likely find a resource, blog or tool mentioning the need to use storytelling in learning. My dad’s advice may not differ too far from these other sources; however, he does focus primarily on the story first.

How many times do we look at a learning solution from the lens of the tool rather than the lens of the story?

The tools, whether they are magic tricks or authoring tools, these are the additions to the story. If you craft the information and concepts in a way that present an engaging story, then the tools act to transform and enhance.

You want the learner remembering the story that you told them rather than the way you told it.

 

My dad says: Make your audience the star of the show.

This is the key to the planning of many of my dad’s magic shows, he seeks to make the audience the star of the show. His methods usually consist of audience participation, one or a few children on stage to participate in a specific trick, or using the audience to provide the magic needed for the final trick to occur. This ensures his audience feels as if they were just as important as the tricks used. Engagement is enhanced and the audience is invested because they helped make it happen.

In learning and development, we also hear about the struggles with engagement in each learner’s development. So how can we look to make the learner the star of the show?

Just like my dad would get an audience member or the audience to comment on a part of a trick, you’ve got to involve them. Let them take action in their own learning to reach some form of end result. Not only are they involved in their own results but they are also invested.

If we involve ourselves in the course of doing something, we will always want favourable results, we will be invested in the favourable outcome. In this case, the favourable outcome will be learning.

Not only will the learner feel invested, they will feel important, they will be emotionally engaged. It is known that remembering happens when there are emotions attached. If a learner has a reason to continue their learning and feels like it’s important, they are more likely to retain the full experience.

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In each of my struggles in learning and development, my dad’s advice always seems to ring true. Using the rule of 3s, focusing on the story and making my audience the star of the show helps me hone my instructional design skills on a daily basis (and helps me write blogs too). With my dad’s advice, maybe we can add some magic to our learning solutions.

Want to see what my dad in action? See if you can pick out the above demonstrated advice or just enjoy a little bit of magic:

Recording of the Airhead Rudy Trick at a Lecture Series in 1997

Maybe my dad’s advice can help you as well. Or you have another tried and true method for learning and development that you want to share. If so, join the TLDChat and share your magic with the community.

 

 

 

 

 

What is the imposter phenomenon?

It is estimated that 70% of people will experience the feeling of being an imposter at some point in their lives (Gravois, 2007). However, it seems that this feeling is quite prevalent in the learning and development community. Even in a recent TLDChat with Kristin Anthony, she mentioned her struggle with imposter phenomenon and her resources to gain the necessary knowledge to overcome her feelings.

I wonder, as the common phrase denotes, is ‘knowledge as power’ enough to change our fraudulent feelings.  Or if we require an even deeper delve into the foundation of these feelings to combat them.

The ‘Imposter Phenomenon’

The initial ‘imposter phenomenon was defined from Clance (1985) and suggested an internal feeling of ‘intellectual phoniness.’ This feeling of phoniness also encompassed those that could not internalize their success and believed their success was the result of luck rather than their own abilities (Alexander and Sakulka, 2011). This feeling also inhabits itself within a cycle where a person begins with high levels of self-doubt and anxiety.

Even further, those who feel like imposters usually want to be the best yet find themselves to be closer to ‘typical’ when compared with the larger masses, this pushes them to disregard their talents. As you can guess, they set almost impossible standards for themselves and are disappointed when they are unable to fulfill these goals. For them achievement-based tasks come with a large amount of anxiety, as they fear their own failure, so they over-work to reduce the risk of failing. Finally, those with the imposter phenomenon are not bound with false modesty, but rather they are unable to accept praise as valid and they even feel guilty about their own success in relation to their peers (Alexander and Sakulka, 2011).

Does this sound familiar? Maybe not in the extreme, but myself and quite of few of my friends have discussed these same feelings. I would expect that we may be part of that 7 out of 10 who feel these feelings at one point in our lives. Even if you don’t feel the same in your current role or place in life (good job!), it’s likely that there are a few of these feelings floating around your friends or colleagues.

How to help

Dealing with feelings of being a ‘fraud’ can be very difficult and even, at times, paralyzing. These imposter feelings are not going to go away overnight nor will others be able to push them away for us. Combating these feelings will take time, self-reflection and a little bit of courage.

Recognize your own value

It took until Amy Cuddy, described in an online excerpt of her book Presence, heard similar feelings from one of her students at Harvard. As her student mentioned the feelings she was having, which were so like Cuddy’s own past feelings, she began to recognize that this student really shouldn’t be feeling that way (that this student was not an imposter at all). Cuddy then realized that she no longer felt the same way either. It took Cuddy recognizing the value in her student to be able to recognize her own value.

To combat the imposter phenomenon, we can work with those at lower levels of knowledge than us. This assistance to others in their journey helps us recognize our own journey and progress. We’re able to see very visibly how far we’ve come. We will ultimately see the value that we can impart to others and work to recognize that value in ourselves.

Change your focus

Just as Kristin Anthony highlighted in her blog Unpacking my desire to speak she had to change her thinking. Rather than working to make a name for herself she needed to focus on her own authenticity.  She chose to focus on sharing her process and work on her own inspiring projects with the intention to inspire others. Changing her focus allowed her recognize her value in sharing and being an authentic voice in learning and development.

Changing our focus to sharing and authenticity rather than achievement will gradually remove the imposter feelings. As the value will shift towards the steps in the process rather than the success itself. This success won’t have so much power to cause anxiety surrounding failure because value is gained through the journey.

Talk to others

Talking to others, learning from their stories and hearing about their failures will provide the insight that ‘you’re not alone.’ Just as I was battling my internal feelings of fraudulence (lack of experience) within Learning and Development, I turned to sources of conversation with others to help change my focus. I used TLDChat, reading blogs from peers in the industry and other social collaboration mediums to learn from my peers’ experiences. This helped me to hone what steps to success I was taking and make sure my goals weren’t impossible.

We can all claim that we know that we’re not alone, but internally knowing this and hearing examples from other peers and even mentors can hit closer to home. We can hear, first-hand, that no one’s perfect and that there are different measures of success.Success can then be shaped to us, individually.

Combating our internal ‘phoniness’

Combating our internal ‘phoniness’ will require a continuous change in focus, practice in recognizing your value and talking to others. These tasks will take time and courage to really work towards, but will pay off in the satisfaction that you’re not a fraud and have quite a bit to offer. Plus, you’ll get to know a lot of other people who may have had your same thoughts and you can see their journey through it. As Tina Fey once said in an interview with The Independent:

“Ah, the impostor syndrome!? The beauty of the impostor syndrome is you vacillate between extreme egomania, and a complete feeling of: ‘I’m a fraud! Oh god, they’re on to me! I’m a fraud!’ So you just try to ride the egomania when it comes and enjoy it, and then slide through the idea of fraud. Seriously, I’ve just realized that almost everyone is a fraud, so I try not to feel too bad about it.”

 

References

Alexander, J., & Sakulka, J. (2011). The Imposter Phenomenon. International Journal of Behavioral Science, 5(1), 73-92. Retrieved from http://bsris.swu.ac.th/journal/i6/6-6_Jaruwan_73-92.pdf

Anthony, K. (2015, March 09). Unpacking my desire to speak [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.knanthony.com/blog/unpacking-my-desire-to-speak/?utm_content=buffera4496&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Cuddy, A. (2016, March 03). I Don’t Deserve to be Here: Presence and the Impostor Syndrome. Retrieved September 24, 2017, from https://leanin.org/news-inspiration/overcoming-imposter-syndrome-to-reveal-your-presence/

Gravois, J. (2007, November 09). You’re Not Fooling Anyone. Retrieved September 24, 2017, from http://www.chronicle.com/article/Youre-Not-Fooling-Anyone/28069

Tina Fey – From spoofer to movie stardom. (2010, March 18). Retrieved September 25, 2017, from http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/features/tina-fey-from-spoofer-to-movie-stardom-1923552.html

Weir, K. (n.d.). Feel like a fraud? Retrieved September 24, 2017, from http://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2013/11/fraud.aspx