It’s something we hear often when first working with new clients: “This might be a dumb question, but…” And we’ll stop you right there. Because, in the arena of eLearning, there’s no such thing as a dumb question. Especially when it comes to instructional design questions.
Did you know that if you traveled all Uber trips in just the past five years, it would be roughly the same as a round trip to Saturn? Not bad for a company that started five years and $200K ago. Today, Uber is one of those rare success stories, valued at around $63 billion. And, naturally, there are a myriad of ingredients that contributed to Uber’s success, but a few of them can be directly applied to eLearning programs, too. It might be time to cut the fat, get lean, and use these five tips to operate in the Uber way for better results.
We get it: Small budgets and that one guy in HR who swears he took an instructional design course in college might sway you to get the job done in-house. And at times, it might even be adequate for less-important training or quick-fire leadership tips. But sometimes, trying to develop instructional design and training in-house could be an epic fail.
How do you know when you can go it alone and when it’s time to call in the pros? Check your needs against our list. If you answer “yes” to any of the following statements, it’s time to ditch the DIY stuff and hire an educated, experienced, and innovative instructional designer for your next training module.
It’s called the “Fear of Missing Out,” or FOMO. It’s that feeling you get when you haven’t checked into Facebook or you RSVP to that event, even if you don’t really want to go. It’s what keeps you scrolling through pictures on Instagram or checking Twitter every five minutes. It’s the sense that if you don’t check in almost constantly, you’re missing out on something amazing.
Of course, we know that not every status update is a gem and every picture posted isn’t Picasso, but it’s not the actual content that keeps us glued; it’s the delivery method. Social media sites use specific updating tactics and strategies that keep you checking in often. It’s bad news for your data plan, but if you can harness the strategy for eLearning, it’s good news for your training strategy.
The Power of Notifications
One of the ways Facebook, iMessage, and Instagram keep you checking and rechecking is that they offer clear notifications for when something changes on your feed. New picture posted? Notification. Someone tagged you? Notification. These notifications keep the app or site fresh in your mind, so it’s hard to navigate away.
Notifications can become a powerful tool in mobile learning. By letting users know when another person has signed in and completed a module, or how long it’s been since their last session, you trigger that fear of missing out and engineer a response to check in and interact with the module again.
Letting Learners Lead
Think about the last time you downloaded a game onto your phone. Chances are that the game gave you a few quick tips to get going, but then you’re left on your own to figure out the game play strategy, controls, and capabilities.
Now, contrast that to eLearning. Do you force users through the same experience? Do your learners have time to test, experiment, and try the module out for themselves? As it turns out, a comprehensive user experience may not be as addictive as one that encourages learners to try for themselves. That’s they kind of experience that keeps learners wanting to come back and master different levels, achieve goals, and find out how to use the module.
A little bit of anticipation–or even anxiety–is a surefire way to build FOMO. That’s because when people fear that their friends are doing something cool or that everyone’s talking about the latest trending topic, they want to hop online and get involved.
It’s OK to build a little bit of suspense into your learning modules, especially when they contain game-like elements. Don’t show all of your cards at once: Instead, let learners build their learning experiences by trying new things, making mistakes, and moving onto new chapters and sections as they go. Instead of flat learning trajectory, learners experience one that is multidimensional and tailored to their specific learning styles.
Giving Instant Feedback
When you send a text message and get one in return, it floods your brain with dopamine. It’s the satisfaction of instant gratification, and it’s hard to get more instant than instant messaging. We love our smartphones and computers because they move quickly. From posting pictures to sending comments, liking, and searching, FOMO occurs when you lose access to your quick source of constant information.
When building eLearning modules, remember that instant feedback is a powerful tool to keep users on the right track and motivated to learn. Instead of floundering and wondering how they’re doing, they know exactly where they excel and where improvement is needed.
Whether or not FOMO is a good thing in social media is up to you; but in eLearning, FOMO is a definite motivator. By building in the anticipation and fear that everyone else is getting to experience something awesome, it’s possible to design true learning addicts from even the most casual learners.
You’ve probably heard the story about the turkeys that go to the flying convention, where they learn to soar like eagles. Of course, after the convention, all the turkeys turn around and walk home.
It’s a poignant metaphor for instructional design. What good are beautifully designed eLearning modules if learners forget what they’ve experienced the moment class is over? It’s through the design of programs and modules that learners internalize information deeply enough to actually change their behavior. Understanding how design is linked to learner retention can help you avoid the “turkey effect” during (and after) training.
You’ve probably heard of the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have other do to you. Basically, the Golden Rule tells you to treat people the way that you’d like to be treated. There’s a problem, though.
What if people don’t want to be treated like you?
Every individual is just that–an individual. That means that applying the same experience, be it eLearning, management, or just daily interactions, to everyone you work with may be a disservice to different people. You might think you’re applying to Golden Rule, but learners and colleagues are wishing you’d treat them differently.
Perhaps the Golden Rule isn’t to treat people the way you’d like to be treated, but to treat people the way they want to be treated.
In order to achieve this, it’s important to understand the four interaction styles. Most–if not all–the people you come in contact with can fit into one of the four following categories, allowing you to toggle the way you work, talk, and interact with them.
An analytical person operates with facts and logic, rather than ideas and imagination. They want hard numbers, and won’t really make a move until the payoff is absolutely sure. Rather than come up with ideas, the analytical prefer to ask questions and form hypotheses, acting in a cautious and careful way. When interacting with an analytical type, it’s important to bring hard facts and clear numbers to support your ideas.
The person who is all about results can be considered a driver. Drivers make quick decisions and thrive on fast environments and tons of competition. They’re definitely considered extroverts and are the ones who take action. Because of this, working with drivers means to be able to show results and execute quickly–or risk getting steamrolled along the way.
There are people that can be considered real team players. Whether it’s making sure everyone’s included or participating in conflict management, the amiable type prefers to be a peacemaker. Amiable workers know that everyone does their best when relying on and working with one another, so they make great team leaders. They are sometimes quiet, but endlessly patient, so they operate best where they can solve problems and keep everyone on track.
Sometimes known as the dreamers of the interactive styles, the expressives are those who love to brainstorm, come up with new ideas, and look at the big picture. And, not only do they get excited about their lofty projects, they’re able to get other people excited about new ideas, too. This means expressive types and invaluable as motivators and taking initiative to start something new.
Getting to know your own interaction type is just as important as getting to know the types of those you work with. Once you understand how you prefer to interact with your team, you can adjust your style to treat people the way they want to be treated–whether or not it’s the same as your preferences.
Let us know which interaction style you most relate to in the comments below.
In 2010, Steve Jobs singlehandedly started one of the biggest–OK, maybe the only–software feuds by stating that Apple products wouldn’t support Flash, citing reasons like a high fail rate, lag time, and the overall unnecessary nature of the platform. It was Jobs’ opinion that Apple users wouldn’t miss out on any multimedia just because their devices didn’t support Flash. Read More
The term “outsourcing” sometimes comes along with a negative connotation, but outsourcing instructional design could have serious benefits.