Have you wondered why some eLearning courses are a big hit with learners? Or, why do some courses, despite having the best minds working on them with no constraints on budget, flop spectacularly? The answer lies in something that is broadly classified as the "learning experience." It covers a wide variety of aspects ranging from content, design, audience analysis, assessments, etc. In this article, we will look at how the learning journey impacts the success of an eLearning course and how it is an integral part of personalized eLearning solutions.
A learning journey is a structured learning journey that takes place over a period of time using different learning strategies and solutions, which can be deployed across one or multiple learning platforms.
A learning journey is important because it clearly sets expectations among the learners. They know what they will be learning at each phase or stage of the training program and, based on their existing skills, they will be able to decide which module they need to take and which one they could skip. A well-designed learning journey also helps the Learning Experience Designer provide the most relevant content and assessments as part of the training program for the target audience.
Traditional eLearning design has focused on the core learning content. Over the last decade, there has been a clear shift in terms of learning design, with the focus now being on the learners and how they can utilize best the training program to succeed in their professional or academic learning goals. When designing a learning journey, Instructional Designers should focus on the following points:
Based on an appropriate analysis of the target audience, set the learning outcomes and goals, state them up front, and let the learners know what benefits they will get from completing the course.
This may not work in every learning scenario, especially when the course content is about compliance or high-level product-specific training. Still, where feasible, allowing learners to choose the modules they want in a longer training program is an excellent feature to save time and let the learners directly access what they wish to learn.
The problem of grappling with diminishing attention spans is real. At the same time, people do not hesitate to binge-watch a show on Netflix or finish a racy novel in one setting. The challenge for Instructional and Learning Experience Designers is to grasp the attention of the learners and engage them with their content. There are several strategies used by IDs, ranging from microlearning to videos and gamification, to hold the interest of the learners. What is also important to remember is that these strategies should be woven seamlessly into the training program and not as an afterthought. Good eLearning content will work wonders. Pointless games will distract the learner and defeat the purpose of the training solution.
Creating a good learning experience is not the only thing that a well-defined learning journey does; it also helps in enhancing the retention of learning. IDs use techniques like spaced learning and learning nudges to enforce the concepts taught in the digital learning program. Reinforcement of learning serves two purposes. One, the learners are constantly aware of what they are learning. Two, whenever there is a break in the learning process due to the demands of work or personal needs, reconnecting with the course content is faster.
This has seen increased traction in the last few years as the popularity of social media networks grew and the boundaries between work and personal life decreased. By bringing in a social element to learning through the use of points and rewards, leaderboards, and integration with Facebook, Twitter, or the company Intranet, IDs can provide an enhanced learning experience to learners. Interaction among learners and the provision for learners to challenge each other to complete modules or quizzes within an eLearning course also improve course completion rates. One needs to remember that social learning is not something that is feasible everywhere and that it should be used with caution and care.
How do you measure the effectiveness of a course? Or, is a simple quiz enough to gauge what the learners understood after completing the course? A major challenge that Learning Experience Designers face in course design is the development of proper assessments to complement the course. A well-defined learning journey ensures that there is proper planning and that enough thought goes into creating relevant assessments that test the competence of the learners completing the program. There should be a set number of opportunities given for learners to complete the course and one needs to think beyond multiple-choice questions when framing assessments.
An online search for "learning journey templates" gives thousands of results. Some are relevant and appropriate for corporate learning solutions, while others are way off the mark. Given below is a brief questionnaire that will help Learning Experience Designers come up with the correct learning journey or path when designing personalized learning solutions.
If a convincing answer can be found for the last question, it solves half the challenges that go into creating a personalized learning solution. We would love to hear your thoughts on creating learning journeys for personalized learning solutions. Share them in the ‘Comment’ section below.
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