Learning needs to be connected to the learner’s job and continually reinforced.
In the previous sessions we’ve talked about how to identify and specify the business need for e-learning. Now let’s turn to the heart of the matter, your students, employees, learners, users – the audience for your e-learning – and your role as learner advocate.
Thinking about who will be using your e-learning is vital. What would be the best solution for them as people trying to do a job? That’s a big question and should make you think again about whether e-learning or training is really necessary. Maybe clearer instructions would help, worked examples may solve the issue, or perhaps a slight process or system change could alleviate pressure and reduce stress.
If you decide that e-learning is required, next you need to think about whether the e-learning is actually RELEVANT to the CONTEXT in which your learners are working. To be effective, learning needs to be clearly connected to the learner’s job and continually reinforced. When designing e-learning you need to be honest with yourself about what your learners need to know to perform the task in the way you want them to. You might have lots you want to tell them about the policy, the history, the clever way you’ve solved a particular problem – but do they need or want to know that?
This brings us to the question of empathy. We have all experienced the frustration of being told how to do something by someone with no experience or understanding of our situation. It is easy to fall into the ‘teacher knows best’ approach when devising e-learning.
But try to put yourself in the shoes of your audience – what problems do they face when trying to perform the task or work with the process you are focusing on? What are the things that most often go wrong, and how can they be resolved or avoided? Do they need to work with people from other teams or organisations, and would it help if these people were provided with the same e-learning? Are there frustrations with the system or process? If yes, use this to make your e-learning relevant (or better still, fix the system or process). It is far better to show that you understand the reality of a situation than to smooth over the cracks.