08 Jun Why character-driven scenarios could be the next big thing in e-Learning
Poor online learning treats people like automatons. Modules are merely functionary. Users go through the motions. The user clicks away through each tedious course and becomes mildly resentful that their life is slipping by and this course is doing nothing for their personal development. The material feels disconnected from the reality of life but it has to be done. It’s compulsory and repetitive….
SCREEN 1 Welcome to this module on blah, blah… CLICK NEXT
SCREEN 2 Introduction … CLICK NEXT ,
SCREEN 3 How to navigate your way around … CLICK NEXT
SCREEN 4 Programme objectives … CLICK NEXT
SCREEN 5 Etc
Of course you can pretty this up with some graphics and maybe a few pics from i-stock but is this best way to get learners involved at the start of a training programme? First impressions are important and by screen five users maybe reacting negatively and thinking that they need to get through this as quickly as possible or they might loose the will to live. Poor e-Learning can feel like Groundhog Day.
So how important is it to engage staff in your on-line learning?. If HR and L&D is the beating heart of an organisation then a bland diet of e-learning modules will eventually lead to palpitations in the company and even possibly a fatal heart attack. Yes, bland e-Learning might be as dangerous to the health of your organisation as smoking and saturated fats is for you! Perhaps there should be a health warning about force feeding staff with predictable and boring on-line training.
But I’m not telling you anything new. Most good elearning producers spend time and money on seeking out ways to make their material engaging and in a culture of rapid change they are always on the look out for the next big thing. They want to be on the crest of the next technological wave. It’s a tech driven industry so at the moment there’s a lot of excitement about Virtual Reality. As Mark Zuckerberg says “it allows a whole new layer of immersion, a whole new set of social experiences across all these VR platforms … experiences you can’t have with any existing platform today.”
Maybe VR will transform e-learning over the next decade or it may just be a exciting gimmick but before we go charging off into a virtual world with our VR headsets on, let’s stop and think about the human element for a bit.
The speed of change and keeping up with new technology has generally increased stress levels. Automation in so many areas of personal and business life has decreased the amount of human interaction. So in the UK today many people feel isolated and alienated. A recent report from the Mental Health Foundation says loneliness amongst young people is increasing. It’s hardly surprising. Technology connects us and also disconnect us.
Human emotions, character and predicaments are what connects people. Whether it’s the real drama in the lives of our friends and colleagues or the drama of Shakespeare or the narrative in a soap, we are endlessly fascinated
by the human condition.
Whether it is compliance training, staff up-skilling or management training, instructional design benefits not just from pedagogy but from an understanding of narrative and the human condition. Structured Information and technology alone are not enough to create lasting engagement in L&D. Yes, VR and gamification are exciting but carefully scripted scenarios that can be exploited for learning purposes provide meaningful engagement.
For example Ginkgo e-Learning recently made a programme on how to deal with bullying and harassment for Amnesty International. To fully engage the user, we placed the learner as the helpless victim of four different types of bullying after which the learner explores some antidotes.