Lots of folks in the learning and development field face this challenge: converting instructor-led, traditional training to something more engaging and interactive—online.
When this becomes your project, it’s about more than just cutting and pasting copy from a Word doc into a Storyline project. To get the best results, you want to transform the learner’s entire experience and create training that’s engaging and interactive from start to finish.
Not sure where to start? Here are three key steps for taking passive, lecture-driven content and transforming it into a learning experience that puts learners in the driver’s seat.
Step 1: Assess Content with an Eye Toward Action
The first key step is to figure out what you want learners to be able to do once they’ve completed the learning experience. What actions do you want them to take? Understanding the key changed behaviors or skills you’re aiming for will make it easier to identify the content that’s essential to include—and what can be put aside.
It’s useful to start by writing learning objectives that put the content into the framework of what learners should be able to do. From there, you can organize existing content and activities into blocks that support each of your learning objectives. Here’s how to write good e-learning objectives.
Step 2: Transform “Explain” to “Show”
When you’re teaching new skills, there is some basic groundwork that learners need before they can start practicing new skills. Rather than just giving learners a bunch of explanatory text to read (known as “click next” content), think about how you can put learners in the position of discovering new information for themselves.
Here are some examples of what you might do:
- Break up info into a process interaction. Here’s a great example of showing how a water treatment system works.
- Create an interactive diagram that learners can explore one step at a time. Take a look at this example showcasing the anatomy of the human foot or this example of an interactive infographic.
- Give your course a narrator who’s telling a relatable story, like in this employee relations example.
Step 3: Identify Opportunities for Interactivity
Once you’ve introduced learners to new concepts, think about how you can make your content invite learners to practice their new skills in a realistic, compelling way. That means giving them choices, situations, and concepts that they can easily connect with their day-to-day life.
Branching scenarios are one great way to do this. Branching scenarios are interactions where you present learners with a situation and prompt them to make a choice. Then you show them the consequences of that choice. And good news: they’re easy as pie to create in most of today’s e-learning authoring tools. Here are a few examples of scenarios in e-learning:
- This scenario helps learners practice for a job interview.
- This example shows how you can transform learning into conversation with some thoughtful planning.
There are dozens of other approaches to adding interactivity. For example, you might want to think about how you can include knowledge checks and quizzes as more than completion checkpoints; instead, you can show them how much they have learned. And quizzes can also be part of the teaching practice. Here are a few neat examples of assessments that entertain, amuse, and engage learners:
- Create a drag-and-drop quiz like this example that challenges learners to identify lightsabers.
- Let characters present choices so it feels like a conversation, as in this example.
We have tons more resources that will help you transform static training into interactive, engaging e-learning. Start with these:
- What’s Easier: Converting ILT to E-Learning or Starting from Scratch?: This great article will help you decide whether it’s worth starting from scratch when you’re converting instructor-led training.
- Building Compelling Interactions: What You Need to Know: Here’s a rich guide to designing interactive experiences for learners.
- E-Learning for Beginners: If you’re just getting started with e-learning, this e-book has everything you need to know to get your project right.
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