During the analysis step of the ADDIE model very often the delivery method question arises. There are many variables that can influence and drive the selection of the best learning delivery. In the end the selection comes down to the following factors: timing and location (Einstein would say “Space-Time”) and whether a “delivered” or a “self-directed” approach is suitable.
In addition to the factors above instructional design performance objectives play a role in the selection process. We will cover instructional design performance objectives in another blog post. Here, we just want to concentrate on a pragmatic approach and share a “Learning Pyramid” that can be used during this analysis stage and during the discussion of various training options with key stakeholders as part of the ADDIE process.
The following pyramid illustrates the above mentioned aspects and sorts these into a somewhat hierarchical order in terms of reach. It’s not a scientific method but rather an illustration and starting point for discussion.
At the top ranks traditional instructor-led training (“ILT”). It is still the most popular method among most attendees, probably also due to the entertainment element. It’s delivered, high-touch (sometimes literally!) and happens in the “here” and “now”. The next method is the virtual classroom (“Webinar”). This delivery mode is getting more and more popular due to its independence of geographic location which leads to savings in travel expenses and time. It can come close to a traditional classroom experience if delivered well and in an interactive way.
At the bottom of the pyramid we find all sorts of linear and non-linear e-learning like traditional e-learning, webinar recordings, videos, podcasts and more interactive e-learning pieces that include game elements and exercises. All these are self-directed and can be “consumed” anywhere and at anytime (with the right device).
Beside these approaches we also have technology-enabled social learning which sits somewhere in-between and among individuals and social groups.
An organisational learning strategy can include all or some of these elements. The advantages of a rich learning “menu” is that it offers more flexibility and adapts easily to different communication and learning styles.
It’s not semantics!
Let me start explaining the difference between “Training” and “Learning” in an organisational context. Training requires a trainer or an instructional designer to do something, e.g. deliver an instructor-led training in a (virtual) classroom or an e-learning module of some sort. Learning happens (or does not) on the participants side. To be specific, it happens in the mind on a conscious or subconscious level!
Good training enables learning but learning also happens without formal training. In fact, informal learning is the natural way of learning until we start to go to school and university. But something is happening…
Is there a shift of focus from training to learning in organisations?
There is an interesting article on the development of organisations by Greiner: “Evolution and Revolution as Organizations Grow”. I learned about this interesting work (and more) while writing my organisational behaviour assignment during my MBA studies at Warwick Business School. If you do not have access to articles of the Harvard Business Review you can find a decent summary of the main ideas here.
You can see that there are different phases in organisational development that companies pass through from start-up stage to maturity.
A startup typically doesn’t have a large L&D department, in fact, many times it doesn’t even have a single HR person! The focus is on informal learning. A mature and larger company, on the other hand, is likely to have an HR department, a training or learning and development function.
You can be sure that beside changes in corporate culture there is also an influence on training and learning in the organisation while passing through these different evolutionary and revolutionary stages. Both, training and learning, usually coexist in organisations but the focus varies depending on the evolutional state of the organisation, corporate culture, industry and environment.
Brigitte Jordan, a Corporate Anthropologist, summarises thoughts on the transition from a training to a learning organisation in an article that was also published in Portuguese. The English paper can be found here.
Learning and Technology
Technology and the Internet have dramatically changed the way we access information and how we attempt to learn. When was the last time you opened up a printed encyclopedia to look something up? Do you remember using Google Search last?
Today, we learn watching instructional YouTube clips when we get stuck with something and read ebooks on leadership development while lying in bed with our Kindle, iPad and wife.
An example for this shift of focus from training to learning is something that I experience in my own personal development. Years ago I studied Physics and the focus was on traditional lectures (“training”). But even the academic world has changed. The following is a great example for blended learning. I am currently studying part-time at Warwick Business School for an MBA in distance learning mode. It’s a mixture of traditional and online lectures, books, eBooks, discussion boards, study groups and residential teachings.
The emphasis is clearly on learning while “training” still has its place during “Warwick Week” and online lectures. Social learning in online forums and study groups are the norm.
Technology has enabled us to find our way back from training to learning.
What are your thoughts on training and learning in organisations?
Do you enable organisational learning through user-generated content like videos, forums and blogs?
If you are new to Adobe Captivate and maybe used to other e-learning content development tools you may wonder why there is no checkbox or similar to enable/disable manual slide advance.
I have seen different approaches to get around this, e.g. increasing the play time for each slide. A very simple and clean approach is this:
1. Create a Master Slide for manual advance
2. Add a Smart Shape, e.g. an arrow
3. Make sure “Use as Button” is selected
4. As action On Success select “Go to next slide”
This will stop the slide until the learner has clicked that button. You can create the same for moving backwards if you wish but there is not need to as you also have the standard Captivate controls at the bottom.
It is good practice to include an instruction slide at the beginning pointing out how to navigate through the course.
When you develop e-learning courses with Adobe Captivate it is sometimes necessary to add PDF documents. There are different ways of doing this. The simplest way is to add a button and assign open a file as action on success.
It works fine in preview but once you publish your project, e.g. to a SCORM or AICC compliant package, that PDF file doesn’t get added to the package. What makes matters worse is that you likely ended with an absolute path or URL to the file. If the PDF is hosted externally and reachable via that URL during the e-learning course all will be fine. However, if that isn’t the case and you really want to include the actual PDF file in your package then you could do this:
1. Use the file name only (see image above) as URL
2. Extract the SCORM or AICC Zip file into a folder
3. Add the PDF file to the folder
4. Re-zip the folder
5. Upload the re-zipped file to your LMS of choice.