Request to stop course from progressing if the learner starts multi-tasking

I have a SME request to stop the course if the learner opens another application and is no longer paying attention to the course. Is that possible?

I have built in that they must click Next to advance or perform some sort of interaction on each screen to advance, but I don't think I can force them to listen for slides that have a lot of audio. Any ideas?

4 Replies
Judy Nollet

Sigh...  In my experience, audio is great -- and helpful for learning -- when the narration is describing what's happening visually on the screen (e.g., explaining highlighted areas on a screen shot, or narrating the steps in a machine process while the screen shows what's happening). It is not helpful if the narrator simply reads the text on screen (or a slight variation of the text). That can actually increase cognitive load. Yet I've encountered some SMEs who want narration mostly to increase (aka "require") a certain amount of seat time.

Now your SME wants to somehow monitor whether the person is paying attention. Well, Angela, you're thinking is right: you can't force someone to listen. Even if the user didn't open anything else on their computer (which Storyline can't check for), they could still be doing other tasks while the audio plays. So the best you can do in this situation is what you're doing: make them click to advance. 

The only other "trick" to ensure attention is to quiz them on the content -- and perhaps let them know if advance that they have to answer all the questions correctly to pass. But they could still pass if the content they need is also provided via text on screen.

In short, if someone is motivated to learn the content, they will pay attention. But it's best to make it as easy as possible for them to access the content they need to know.

Holley Berley

Hi Angela,

The best thing you can do is make engaging content and require clicks to advance to each piece.  Maybe even pause your audio and have a quick question every now and then so it's harder to advance without paying attention.

As Judy stated, you aren't going to be able to force the learners to absorb the information, even if they aren't multi-tasking.  Think of a Death by PowerPoint type of presentation.  Everyone is starting at the screen, but are they actually learning? 

Rather than eagle-eye monitor the learners, I think the best way to get people to really comprehend and apply the content they are learning is to present it in a way that makes them want/need to learn it.  

Ulises Musseb

The only that I tried, and somewhat worked, was to timeout the courses after no activity for x amount of minutes. The only problem with that approach is that in most browsers, the course completely freezes, including counting the timeout, when the user opens another tab (still baffled as to why on Earth browsers decided to do that).

I echo that you just cannot make users pay attention. We have a pervasive problem with people approaching eLearning as something where they just click Next until done. We tried a "how to e-learn" course to actually explain the purpose and how to use elearning courses. It wasn't as successful as we wanted, but it did send the message that self-paced doesn't equal "don't pay attention".

Vincent Golding

Hi Angela

I'm a little late to the party by my challenge to the SME would be what does the learner need to know/ be able to do having finished the course and how does attempting to police their attention help with this?

When it's appropriate I actually tend to try and go the other way to make my courses free navigating and as open ended as possible, with lots of external links out to blogs, YouTube news sources etc.. as optional reading. Learners can then spend 5 or 50 minutes on the content, but must pass a quiz or observed activity for sign off to complete it.

The data out of the back of this approach, including correlation between duration and pass rate, can be really insightful in the way your content is being accessed and consumed.