Creating Blended eLearning Experiences

In my previous article, The Government’s Take on eLearning Effectiveness, blended eLearning fared well in the US Department of Education’s meta-analysis of 45 different studies of eLearning from the last decade. But what does it really take to create effective blended eLearning experiences? To get this right, it’s useful to choose a model or framework that helps you cover all the bases. One of the best I’ve come across is Badrul Khan’s blended e-learning Octagonal Framework. It can serve as your guide in planning, developing, delivering, managing, and evaluating blended learning programs. Continue reading

The Government’s Take on eLearning Effectiveness

There’s no doubt that eLearning is a hot topic these days, and even the government is interested in more closely examining it to determine its effectiveness for delivering educational results. An important study by the US Department of Education several years back did exactly that, conducting a meta-analysis of 45 different studies that looked at various aspects of eLearning. It’s worth taking a deeper look at just what that study revealed. Continue reading

Boosting Emotional Intelligence

For many years, emotions were something that most people assumed were best checked at the office door. After all, bringing emotions into the work environment was seen as an unnecessary intrusion. Today, there’s a growing recognition of the fact that emotions, when managed well, may in fact support our work and even have a positive impact on measurable outcomes ranging from productivity to worker retention. As a result, many organizations are now actively attempting to foster emotional intelligence and in some cases, screening candidates on the basis of their emotional intelligence rather than simply on the basis of their technical or communication skills. Continue reading

Empathy Training and Why it Matters

As more organizations take emotional intelligence or EQ training seriously, there’s a growing appreciation that empathy is an integral part of the workplace. Empathy, after all, holds the potential to open doors and perhaps more importantly, to keep doors open. But what is empathy, what is empathy training, and why does it matter? Continue reading

A Model for Effective eLearning Design

Here’s how not to go about designing eLearning: Take existing instructional content and map it onto the technology you want to use. While this kind of repurposing occasionally makes sense, it’s putting the proverbial cart of delivery method choice before the more basic and essential proverbial cart of pedagogical and instructional issues. This runs the risk of eLearning that is inefficient because of the tendency to select technology that is more advanced than is really needed for what you’re trying to get across or eLearning that is ineffective because the technology actually isn’t robust enough to learn what you’re trying to teach. Based on the eLearning research of Michigan State University’s Steve Kozlowski and Cornell University’s Bradford S. Bell, here are the factors to pay attention to first: Continue reading

Supporting Your Support Personnel

Prepare yourselves, because this is going to be a venting post. Whether you’re in HR, Training, Learning, or some other type of support personnel, this post is for you. I speak from experience, having spent over 20 years of my professional life in various support roles. Far too often, support personnel are expected to continually justify their own existence in the organization. In some cases, this is a good thing, as I’ve written about in terms of showing the business impact of eLearning (see eLearning as a Profit Center). But for all of you who find yourselves frustrated by that constant sense of being made to feel like you’re a drain on the organization, enjoy the venting. Continue reading

The Challenges of Train-the-Trainer Approaches

Train-the-Trainer is an important philosophy and methodology to spread learning throughout an organization. The idea is each one teach one. I’ve written previously about this approach, mostly as an internal word-of-mouth way to market eLearning courses and modules in your organization (see Using Peer-to-Peer Approaches to Extend eLearning’s Reach). The real power of train-the-trainer, however, is when people learning something then become the trainers for others. It’s an idea that makes perfect sense, and yet there are some ways that it can go wrong. Continue reading

eLearning Career Guide #7: Education or Experience?

In the last several articles, I’ve listed out examples of undergraduate eLearning degrees, graduate certificate programs, and master’s degrees focused on eLearning. There are those, however, who question whether or not you even need a degree in instructional design of any kind to be a great eLearning course builder. The answer to that is, of course, NO. There are plenty of top-notch eLearning professionals out there without instructional design degrees. But here’s the catch: You DO need the degree if you want to break into the job market. Continue reading

eLearning Career Guide #6: Graduate Degrees

If you’re planning to go far in your career as an eLearning professional, you should consider graduate education such as a Master’s degree. Most of the programs out there are general instructional design degrees, man of which will have an eLearning component built into them. In this article, I’m going to specifically list the ones that have eLearning as a primary focus. Continue reading

Play at Work: Learning from Commercial Game Design

From the training of surgeons to pilots to educators, video games continue to appear in classrooms and often in lieu of classrooms. But are we ready for this serious play? The idea of using video games for education and training remains difficult for many people to accept. After all, when most people think about video games, the first thing they imagine is a teenager addicted to World of Warcraft. Beyond the negative stereotypes, however, some educational theorists insist that games have much to offer children, teens and adults in educational and training contexts alike. More surprising, however, is that increasingly educators are looking to commercial video game producers for design solutions. Continue reading