3 eLearning Tips You’ve Forgotten Since Kindergarten

eLearning tips

With eLearning tips, I’m often impressed by how much each of us knows something without actually knowing that we know it. One of the books that opened my eyes to this tidbit of knowledge was a simple yet profound book, All I Ever Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulgham. Ever since reading it, I am never surprised by how true it is that so much of what we know we learned at some point in time in our younger years. I do believe that holds true as we graduate through various stages in our life. Sure we learn new concepts and ideas, but the fundamental core seems to be there from our days of yesterday building things with crayons and cardboard boxes.

eLearning Tips for the Training World

In the training world I think the same concept holds true, whether we work with instructor led courses or build eLearning modules for the masses. Many of us have our backgrounds in facilitating courses that we had built, or that we’d purchased through various vendors and had to customize on our own. As we grew in that process and the world revolved and turned more to eLearning, we’ve had to adapt some of those lessons and apply them to the technical world. I’d like to suggest some of those lessons as eLearning tips  that you may have forgotten since Kindergarten:

#1 It’s Really All About the People

Remember when you had to diagnose all the different learner types, understand your audience, know their backgrounds, and identify their where they came from? By gathering that information before ever stepping in front of the class, you were ahead of the game. You knew what you were going to say, how you were going to say it, and how you would present various pieces of information (whether the instructor manual told you that or not). I would suggest that eLearning is the exact same! You can’t build a whimsical and fanciful course for a group that operates in a purely technical and professional environment. Conversely, to build an entirely strict course for a more laid back organization would simply backfire. So, remember back to your days of yesteryear and KNOW the audience you are building for.

#2. Use the Touch, Talk, and Try Concept

Remember the “touch, talk, try” concept? We would stand in front of the group, touch our visuals, talk to them, and then allow learners to try what we had discussed. Our eLearning should apply the same model. We need to allow learners to touch or interact with the content, they need to understand the content (through audio or text or even visuals) and then they should be able to try it. With the abundance of rapid eLearning tools, the ability is there to build multiple interactions quickly and effectively and apply key learning concepts to operate within those activities. The interactions should all apply to the content being shared and presented, but the same concept applies. Let’s let our learners touch, talk and try the learning we’re presenting.

#3. It’s a Sitcom Kind of World

Can you imagine conducting a classroom session for hours on end with no breaks or exercises? That concept is similar to an eLearning experience with the caveat that the eLearning is much more concentrated. To keep a learner locked into a course for 30-60 minutes or more with no activities or breaks is akin to cruel and unusual punishment. Be sure to include in each and every course exercises and activities that will engage the learner and allow them to participate in active learning, and not bring them down with any change of pace. Remember that even a thirty-minute comedy has several commercial breaks (thank goodness for TiVo!) so we can go get some popcorn and liquid refreshment. Allow your learners to also experience a break of sorts by creating interactions or pauses in the content delivery so they can process what they have learned.

While this certainly isn’t an exhaustive list, it wets the whistle and hopefully helps you to hearken back to what you learned in kindergarten, so to speak. I’d be interested in the lessons you have learned from back in the day that you are now applying to your eLearning. Please share them in the comments below.

In the mean time, keep up the great eLearning work out there!

6 Comments

  1. Great article :)
    Many designers seem to focus on another feature of kindergarten that you missed…”Would you like to have a little sleep now?”

  2. Thanks for reaching out Bruce!

  3. Thank you! It helps us all to be reminded of these basic principles from time to time, especially about audiences.

    I would add to #2 the principle of context. “Touch, Talk, and Try in the Learner’s Context.” The right context makes the learning content stickier.

  4. Great reminders. Thank you.

  5. Great suggestion. We will make those changes when we make revisions.

  6. Great reading! I would like to add two more concepts used effectively by Kindergarten teachers: the Play method and the Story method. Both ensure learning is made a fun process and the concepts are clear without being hammered on the kids.

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