Will Training Ever, Truly Be Fun?
If you work in any sort of training development sector, it is a sure thing that you can relate to hearing this as soon as you explain to somebody what you do,
'Oh no, you create those annoying courses'.
Even though they are not referring to your own personal courses, it's not exactly a great response to hear from somebody. But the question is, is it just simple teasing or is it something more?
In the eLearning industry it is constantly evolving to become more engaging, fun and innovative. But is it easy to call training 'fun' when you are the developer, not the learner. Is training ever going to be seen as 'fun' for the learner? And are we striving to achieve something that is just not possible?
Now regardless of how gamified, interactive and bespoke the online courses are, you will always be fighting against the dark cloud that hovers over - the words 'training' and 'compulsory'. People don't like to be told how to do their job, despite the amount of drag and drops involved. So the question is, how do we ensure that the learners are finding these courses fun, and it's not just us developers admiring our own handy work.
Here are some tips to try and change the mindset of the learner:
Long courses are no fun!
The age old trick to retaining any amount of knowledge is to do it in bite size chunks. Having the learners take smaller but more relevant courses could be the key to success both on the productivity aspect but also on the fun - meter!
Understand the audience!
Although this point may seem obvious, it is so important when creating courses where you don't want to bore the learners to death. If you are aware that the learners are already knowledgeable on some of the content, allow them to move on. Knowing the learners and their needs is crucial when creating successful eLearning courses. This leads onto the next point:
Let the learners control their learning!
Don't patronise your learners, they are going to be capable, professional individuals and they will not appreciate too much hand holding when it comes to their training, especially on topics they will have covered before. As the previous point covers, maybe letting them navigate through the course themselves or testing them on their knowledge first to decipher the level of specific training required.
People like to be challenged, making courses too easy could really send them to sleep. Having constant check points throughout that test their knowledge, or maybe in a more blended learning approach having a physical work test as part of the learning could really help to keep learners stimulated. Wake them up after every three/ four slides with a question that they have to get correct to move on. This will get them thinking and in turn, make the course more encouraging.
Test the course out!
Like all projects, create the prototype and test it out. Pilot the course on a select few learners to gain important feedback, they might say its great the first time round, but the likelihood is there will be elements that you as a designer haven't considered. And at the end of the day, there's no training without the learners! We need to keep them happy.