Here’s a multiple-choice question for you to ponder. It’s not a hard or a trick one. Simply choose which of the following phrases you have heard most often when listening to employees comment on their organisation’s elearning:
- “Our elearning is just boring. Nobody likes doing it because it’s not very well written”
- “It’s just a waste of time because I already know it – I just tick the right boxes so I can get to the end of it.”
- “Oh my word it’s enthralling – I can’t wait to engage with those elearning chappies again and rapidly acquire relevant and exciting new knowledge!”
I’m guessing, unless of course you are already a Netex customer, you may be choosing A or B here. Given that at conferences, we talk of little else but engagement and learner involvement, this attitude from learners should be hard to explain.
Why don’t they like all those wonderful little flash scenarios and cartoons? All those exciting interventions!
Meanwhile the difficult learners remain unmoved by the elearning prospect and continue to act like an ungrateful child being asked to wash up.
But salvation I feel may be at hand.
2016 will be the year of the fightback. The year the industry finally cracks the learner engagement nut. And of course it is new technology and its application that will achieve this. But in learning terms, these developments are characterised thus:
- Gamification: gamification of learning aims to motivate students to learn by using design and game elements within the learning environment. The goal is to maximise enjoyment and engagement by capturing the interests of learners, sparking their competitive instincts and offering abstract rewards to inspire them to continue learning. It’s fair to suggest some in the learning community remain suspicious of the power of gamification. In many ways we are the least qualified to recognise the value. It’s probable that the average corporate worker is more competitive by nature but also a more reluctant learner than ourselves. 2016 sees the launch and recognition of an array of new technologies that will drive gamification to the next level. Content development programmes like Unity are making virtual world learning affordable. Gamification platforms such as the Netex learningPlay means you can now easily add gamified components such as leader boards, badges, and points to engage and motivate learners.
- Smart content. Smart Content is content that is personalised to the characteristics of the learner. The principal is that personalised relevant content better engages learners and leads them through the course more quickly and efficiently than a one-size-fits-all. In the past, creating smart content often meant complex and lengthy branching which was both expensive and confusing to develop. But new Smart Content solutions are being developed that use real time learning analytics to provide information on the fly to both learners and tutors make them aware of progress. In effect, the content is separated from the LMS to enable it to provide real time information and projected outcomes. This makes digital content the game changer it always should have been.
As with gamification, Netex is working hard to develop new Smart Content solutions. This is important. It’s a world away from simply ’adding a bit of Flash interactivity’ to jazz things up a bit. Gamification and smart content solutions tackle ‘elearning content dissatisfaction’ head on. Gamification is made for those who believe all learning is ‘boring’ (and there are plenty out there). Smart content is perfect for making sure your learner learns what’s right for them. No more wasting time simply clicking ‘’next page’. The application of either looks set to change attitudes to elearning content in the future.