Monday, January 31, 2011

hidden choices

Often e-learning courses have practice quiz inside the course. These quiz are of various kinds: drag and drop, match the following or plain multiple choice questions. Since the
Choices are explicit and visible the learner can guesstimate the correct answer a lot of times. A better way to design such an exercise would be to keep choices "hidden". For example I am building a course on data privacy where I show an office cubicle to the learner and ask him to click on objects from where data loss can happen. There are 15 objects in the screen from where data pilferage can happen and 8 are "spoilers" or objects that have no impact in data loss. But none of these items are highlighted in the scene. The overall impact is that learner has to think and draw from his experience and limited knowledge and in that "stretch" of thinking he learns. In not making the choices visible and explicit and keeping them "hidden" we make the learner think harder and deeper about the content and learn consequently. So what do you think? Is this method of "hiding" choices useful? Have you tried something similiar?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Don't do Tick-Mark Learning

Very often e-learning addresses the need of the SME to build a course, the need of an organisation to show to the regulator that it has trained and the need of HR or L&D folks to put a tick mark against training delivered.
What is lost in transition is the fact that learning is meant for the end users, the everyday employee dirtying his hands into everyday problems which have no relation to what is being taught in the e-learning course.
Just recently in our organisation a business person approached me with an objective to build a course on employees handling personal information of customers. The course content he brought had only 2 pages showcasing what actually an employee needs to do to ensure that there is no loss of customer's personal information. I was able to convince her somehow to design the course around those 2 pages rather than the rest of the stuff full of "definitions" and jargons.
The final course has now come out as a series of activities that learner has to go through and they mimic an everyday employee's everyday actions like photocopying, shredding, interacting with customers, reading mails and talking on phone.
The course makes learners learn by giving specific feedback on each of these activities which helps learner think, understand and enact what he is required to do not what he is required to know.
My belief is that a course like this is more likely to change behaviour than a course just giving dry definitions and parading information in a linear fashion.
What do you think? Have you tried a similiar approach in your organisation? Did it work? Do post your comments