(The following is taken from the whitepaper “The Complete Learning: the Learning for Life” that I had prepared for ESSPL on my Instrucional Design Models for Flash based e-Learning Development. The instructional design methods and approaches on which this white paper is based on have been successfully implemented in several enterprise level e-learning solutions. )
For e-learning purposes, ESSPL offers several learning approaches to suit the learning needs of the individuals. One of it is the CompleteLearning model where, the learning material design contains nearly everything to fill the gap between instructor led class room training and the new age learning through e-learning.
The purpose of this whitepaper is to document the concept working behind the CompleteLearning model, and how it contributes to enhanced learning experience and a true “Learning for Life” – the ultimate guiding post for computer based training.
In most of the available e-learning courses available today, generally the content is presented through the use of the following:
Textual data with some diagrams or images
Image based, interactive and hyper linked guides,
Simulation of application
Quizzes made with fill in the blanks, hotspot, multiple choice, true/false type questions.
Some interactive game
All these elements cater to the different needs of learner – for example, the user who wishes to directly refer to the training material as a source of quick reference, needs text based data with related diagrams that will be searched via glossary or search functionality in the e-learning tool. Another user, who needs to learn from the beginning, may use a course with hyper linked guide. Those who are interested in just assessing their knowledge about the subject may use the quizzes or the assessment to get a KQ (Knowledge quotient, a way of measuring knowledge in an area).
Generally each of these individual methodologies of e-learning is aimed at a specific type of target audience. There is no e-learning tools that offer to cater to the needs of multiple target learners. To add to the woes, the statistics can not be trusted to determine the type of learners in case of corporate training scenario to provide e-learning. As in most of the cases, different levels of employees are involved in the training programs and their needs for taking the e-learning varies for this purpose. For example, if A is an employee today whose work involves direct contact with a system, then the type of training he needs today may based upon the needs to operate the system. Therefore he may need the simulation related methods. But B, who is a manager, may need the training on the same subject but with a different perspective – he may want to know how the system functions, or may want to look it up as a source of direct reference. In this case his needs may be catered by approaches limited to a search function and glossary.
Even return users of the e-learning come back with different needs. If a person learns from the beginning using simulations, he may return few months later just to assess how much he remembers or just to refer to this knowledge base for some needs.
Even if a proper identification of the of the user group is possible (though that is a hypothetical because of the causes explained earlier) on which basis a course is designed, this may result in more CBT kind of course materials on the same subject using different methodologies to cater to the needs of different user groups. This would mean that more money is spent on the same e-learning material by creating different training contents for different user groups. This would also mean, that the user at the transition period of his needs, has to contact the training authority to provide him with the new e-learning training tool on the same subject. For example, the new user may first get the training material that will provide detailed, simulated video of the system, on which he has to work on, where as when he gets acquainted with it, he may need another tool that acts as a quick help only. Here he wastes some of his time in getting the new tool. More over this reduces the usability of each training tool developed for e-learning purposes.
To address this issue, ESSPL offers the Complete Learning model, where the different needs of the different user groups are addressed as far as the application or system related training are concerned.
One of the widely available solutions to let the learner have the training content fit for his needs is to use a Learning Management System (LMS). In the LMS, different training courses having different levels of training needs are kept and the user is asked to choose the course. For this the developers have to create several smaller course contents store them in the LMS. When a learner opts for a specific course then some of these smaller units are sequenced together as per the requirement and is offered to the learner as a complete course. And this approach is not available in computer based trainings (CBTs). Many believe that adoption of an LMS for re-arrangement of smaller units of courses (Chunk Learning objects) helps to increase the usability as well as serves to the need of different target audience. But this is not true as re-arranging the same smaller course units for different target learners can only provide the learners with a different set of content which may not be structured properly to cater the needs of the learner. But in the Complete Learning model, e-Learning contents are placed as per a predefined structure, which suits the different needs of the learner. Moreover the predefined structure here is prepared with different levels of interactivity to fit to different needs of the learner, which would be laborious every time if one is using an LMS to rearrange smaller units of a standard course content to make it suitable for any particular type of learner needs. In a nutshell, the idea of the Complete Learning model is the idea to create a predefined structured course model which can serve to a wider range of learning needs, so the its implementation would not be difficult and at the same time it would be highly effective in training the intended learner group.
So the idea of the CompleteLearning is the idea of “Learning for Life”. The idea is to provide that e-learning solution which can be used and reused by many. This approach of learning combines all those elements that cater to different learning needs of different possible types of learners of the same subject.
The cost difference?
Any e-learning solution development involves the target audience analysis. It also involves lot of statistics on the usability of the training tool so as to make it effective. But all these need time and effort, and needs investments from the client. When the case of the CompleteLearning is considered, it clearly emerges out as the cost effective way as it provides a lot of functionalities to suit different approaches of learning and fits into to any type of learning needs, there by reducing the target audience related learning planning. Moreover due to longer life span of the courses created through the Complete Learning (because of its higher usability on a long term basis),the needs to create different course for the same subject are no more required there by reducing the investment in e-Learning.
The Structure of the Complete Learning:
The CompleteLearning supports all the elements that come under any type of e-learning package, but all these have to come under specific components of the CompleteLearning so as to be a part of it. A typical CompleteLearning supported course must have the following components:
Explanatory flow diagrams/ info-animation
Textual image supported information/content with a search engine
System / application related simulation
Guided info/ assessment
Assessment/ Test for scoring purpose
These 7 components of the CompleteLearning are distributed into 2 modes, namely Manual Mode and Auto Mode, with different learning/ interactive strategies to encompass all these seven components.
In the manual mode, the users will be able to go through their training at their own pace using text, images and hyper linked guides. They may choose to go in a sequential mode or may jump to particular section of their interest. This option will be good for experienced users who may want to refer to the topic of their interest or users who would like to refresh their skills.
The users may also choose to go through the Auto mode. This mode will take the user from introduction of the system and thereafter lead them to a journey through the whole application and its features and capabilities. This option will be best suited for first time users who would like to know the complete system in a sequential manner.
The users will be able to jump from manual to auto mode or vice versa at any point of time.
TrueSim® is the learning strategy which is used to arrange the interactive learning components in Auto Mode in a structured manner so as to make the user’s learning experience more meaningful. These strategies provide wider scope to implement higher degree of interactivity in course content produced through CompleteLearning.
In auto mode, the standard TrueSim® learning strategy is implemented to enhance the user interactivity.
The vision of TrueSim is to unlock the full potential of interactive simulations related to the courseware. TrueSim is an interactive strategy that helps to incorporate maximum possible user interactivity in the e-learning courseware. It mainly focuses on:
1.Providing the maximum possible interactivity
2.Provide virtual reality by creating learning objects that offer limited but focused variable manipulation on user’s side along with the implementation of virtual guide’s to guide the user.
3.To provide more graphic user’s interface as well as content, to enhance the user experience.
The TrueSim interactive strategy will provide the following stages in the auto mode:
Instructor animation/ video:
This will provide the user with class room face to face experience. This instructor will guide and explain the contents to the user.
In this section, the usage of the system / application is presented through a simulated interface video or an interactive animation.
This will present the contents in visual form, that are not possible to show using simulation only. This includes infography in motion.
Guided Task :
In this section a hypothetical situation will be created and the user will be asked to resolve it using interactive interface in the training kit. During the whole interactivity, the user will be guided by the instructor in details, so that the user can experience the real life situation.
It was Lao Tse of 5th Century B.C. China, who wrote – “If you tell me I will listen, If you show me I will see, if you let me experience, I will learn”. The sayings of the great philosophers still hold water through the Complete Learning. The Complete Learning is a model of learning that encompasses nearly every needs of nearly every type of user groups. Through it, the learners listen and experience, to learn and achieve their learning goals. After all, he who has the right knowledge gets the right advantage in life too!
ESSPL offers a wide range of e-learning and interactive solutions, from animation, interface design, multimedia assessment need analysis, customized courseware design, simulations, interactive kiosks, online design solutions, Flash® based mobile content designing and development, to suit the wide range of client needs ranging from e-learning, m-learning to sales promotional campaign and presentation needs.
To know more about the Complete Learning model, visit http://www.esspl.com or mail to firstname.lastname@example.org . For product demos/ case studies/ whitepapers refer to the Downloads section of the site.
ESSPL offers a collaborative approach to software solutions, which helps its customers in building the solution that really fits their need. In every engagement, we bring in the years of our expertise to make sure that it is completed within the business guidelines. The success of ESSPL is measured by high degree of customer satisfaction and is well reflected in extremely high number of referrals from all its existing customers. To know more about the company and the solution it provides, please feel free to visit http://www.esspl.com