If there is any advantage that live training has over eLearning, it’s the face-to-face interaction. In a classroom setting, an instructor can take the temperature of the audience just by scanning the room. Does the audience look bored? Captivated? Confused? The problem with that, however, is it’s not trackable. Sure, the instructor can try to make adjustments on the fly to adapt to audience response, but once the training is over there is no record of their reaction or whether the adjustment had an impact.
It’s hard to learn from that to make future training courses better. It’s not a very nimble approach, either. Fortunately, thanks to eLearning, superior methods exist.
eLearning with Digital Dialogues
What is a digital dialogue? It’s a conversation that takes place between the learner and the eLearning course they are viewing, ideally between a voice-over personality or an animated on-screen character.
The narrator of the course asks a question, and the learner responds by selecting an option on the screen.
Based on that response, the course can change directions by presenting a segment of content that’s tailored to that learner. More simply, it can acknowledge the response with a simple “Got it,” or “Okay, let’s keep going.”
Dialogues also present opportunities for additional coaching. If a learner responds incorrectly to an assessment question, the response should not only let him know he was wrong, but it should explain what the correct answer is and why.
Learn from the Learners
Scattering these simple exchanges throughout an eLearning course allows you to track and aggregate the responses of multiple users, and draw conclusions about the effectiveness of the course.
For example, if a majority of users are answering the same question incorrectly, we can assume that segment of the course is not clear, the question is worded in a way that’s causing confusion, or attention has dropped off.
Get the Most out of Your Dialogues
Like any aspect of instructional design, your dialogues should be written with the audience in mind and should tie back to your learning objectives. Here are a few additional tips for using digital dialogues to the fullest potential:
- Tone. Your tone, when asking a question, should be conversational and, well, human. The learner should feel as though they are being directly spoken to.
- Frequency. To help hold attention and avoid overwhelming learners at the end of the course, space your questions throughout the duration of the training.
- Variety. Ask different types of questions, and in different ways. Not only can this provide interesting insights, but it keeps your learners on their toes. Different question types can gather information on comprehension, satisfaction and abandonment.
- Acknowledgement. Make sure to acknowledge your learners’ answers. Make the experience as interactive as possible so they feel they’re being listened to. Depending on the type of question, this could be a simple “Okay,” to an encouraging “Nice work!”