Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Instructor Led Training is on its way out?

Hi folks, I fielded an interesting querry today from a friend of mine and right away I realized what a great topic it was for our blog. The question I fielded was this, "is instructor-led training on its way out?" I guess with all the elearning going on these days, some people might come to that conclusion but the reality is no, instructor-led training is not on its way out. 

Generally, when you start elearning you quickly discover that "what's nice to know becomes elearning and what's need to know remains instructor-led training." That is, do we need to drag bodies into a classroom to deliver information that they might just as easily and more conveniently acquire from an elearning course? Absolutely not, lets bring them to class only when it's absolutely necessary. For example, lets assume you just trained a newly promoted manager of a car dealership how to read a financial sheet. Would you want him loose in your dealership without checking his competence face to face first. I don't think so--therefore, we bring the candidate into instructor led training after he's already completed the initial elearning training and check to make sure he has the necessary skill you hoped for. The initial elearning course delivers all the background information for the student and helps to make the in-class training more efficient by allowing the in-class instructor to target key areas to check competence and thereby not wasting time on extraneous details. This improves the quality of the in-class training and almost always reduces the amount required.

In a nutshell, elearning has become a great adjunct or supplement to hands-on instructor-led training but it is by no means going to eliminate instructor-led training any time soon.

Hope this helps!


Thursday, March 5, 2009

What's New?

Hey folks, just a quick update to let you know what we're up to. The Path-Tech crew is currently working on changes to our Testing, Tracking and Reporting program, QuizzPoint, to fine tune the email scheduling functionality of the program. Yes you heard right, this program will allow you to email groups of students automatically to notify them of an upcoming courses, in fact you can define a list of students by class or score and send an email to all or any of them with the click of a button, thus eliminating the need for all that manual notification and letter sending you've been doing.

We will also be launching a new photography-based division of our business shortly to help round out our digital capabilities. 

Combine this with on-going client duties and one can keep quite busy even in slow economic times.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Target Population

In order to build any kind of training course—elearning or otherwise, it’s crucial to know your target population. You know, the folks that this training course is intended for. Things like, age, language capabilities, ethnicity, skill level, gender and background experience all have to be factored into your course planning to ensure that your course is relevant to the student. Realizing that most of your students may be forced to take your training as part of a job requirement or just generally have limited time to participate, when they do participate, your course has to be on target and beneficial for them. Make their learning experience enjoyable by offering quality content and great functionality. Remember, don’t give them any reason to click away!

Lets take for example a situation where you are well aware that your TPOP may have difficulty with your chosen language for a given course. This is a great example of when video and a strong use of graphics may be warranted. Reading text on a screen could be unnecessarily frustrating for the learner, while a video or graphics would convey your message easily. 

This post is not intended as an encyclopedia on learning outcomes, but when it comes to elearning if you’re having difficulty understanding your target population, it may be worth while to take a few minutes to write a brief summary of who they are so you can gain some clarity on your students and use the information to fine tune your course material.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Your Content

So what about your content? Think elearning is just throwing text up on a screen? Some people think it is but the reality is, pdfs are pdfs, whether you read them on paper or you read them from a computer monitor. Whether your students are prisoners--forced to participate in your course or willing participants, if you don't captivate their attention it's likely they'll click away or become disillusioned in a hurry. The Path-Tech mindset for building elearning is "don't give the learner any reason to click away from your course." With Flash and other tools available to us content builders these days, like animation, video, photos and text, you can easily make your content compelling for the learner. If one picture is worth a thousand words, how much is one video, one animation or one combination of those worth? I think you get the idea. Here's a video example of a three page pdf that was used to clarify a message the original pdf just couldn't convey with sufficient clarity.


Hope this gives you some ideas as to how to improve your courses.