Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Few eLearning Models

Learning is a skill one can improve. But, how to learn is a key to its mastery.

Learning is the crucial determinant of personal and professional success in our ever-changing knowledge age. People and organizations that endeavor to succeed had better get good at it. Few learning models for example :

Game based learning :

Are your learners learning without getting bored? Are all the learners motivated enough to learn more and more? Do you have hard-to-engage learner group and do you need to motivate them?

In many situation, we see that learners loose connections with the course material during the training, be it instructor-led or electronic. They start engaging themselves in drawing something in their note pad, send sms to dear ones or else try to complete their pending tasks. Here, the challenge is to create such training module that engage the learners fully, as we realize that the more interactive the training be (without losing the main objective), the better understanding every learner will have of what we are trying to convey.

In this day and age, applications are the most prevalent medium, when it comes to entertainment. There are social apps, travel apps, photo apps, food apps etc. But the remarkable part of it all is that, gaming apps are still the ones preferred by the majority of the audience. We believe they are the ones that entertain the most. So, why shouldn’t we use their base to help people learn?

Game-based training can help learners acquire new knowledge or abilities in a fun, fast way, while being highly motivating and can generate real competition of people in a risk-free environment. Saying it sounds really simple, but the big challenge comes when trying to think about making it real.

So, first of all, we need to analyze putting ourselves into the end-users’ shoes and try to come up with what we would be interested in experiencing, seeing, listening and ultimately learning.

The objective of Game-based training should not be to entertain but to use entertainment to reinforce learning. The main focus when developing learning games should remain on :

 Change the dull content into interesting ones
 Create a virtual environment, but realistic and safe environments for the user
 Demand challenges but also make users satisfied
 Learners can learn with relaxed minds
 Learners get motivated as they get points or up-gradation marks
 Help develop side knowledge: build an assumption, solve problems, and develop strategies
 Have defined objectives for each problem
 Totally interactive.
 Covert knowledge heavy content into lighter and more effective
 Invite to think, develop, analyze, summarize, and conclude
 Have fun: keep continuous connection and interest of the learner with the course
 Meet industry standards

Simulation-based training :

There can be many situations like, sometimes, complex and heavy-weight equipments are hard to set-up in an educational institution or an organization for demonstration; it is not feasible for many educational institutes to set-up full-fledged laboratory facility for the students ; in some medical institutes, real dissections or operations are not possible for the practice sessions; in manufacturing companies, it is not possible that laborers learn or demonstrate the functionality and parts of a heavy machinery. Or, in many situations, some organization feel the need of testing some ideas or information analysis in virtual environments before actually implementing them.

In such kind of scenarios, Simulation-based training offers a user-friendly interface and a highly effective way of demonstration. A user can play in an interactive environment and discover the functions and constraints of a model. A real experiment scenario can be simulated on the user’s screen.

Simulation-based training gives the learners opportunity to make error. It allows the learners to practice in a risk- free –learning environment. The learner can also get real time grading, feedback, report etc.

Besides, ‘Break’ is very important in a training. Continuous textual, animation, graphics –based knowledge can drag distraction to the learners. So, to keep up the learner’s continuous interest and connection, hands on experience can be provided to the learner through simulation based training.

To take some example, in case of marketing management, marketing, operations, and strategy making are the closest to give a real-life experience. Here, simulations can be worked on in teams or individual. At the back-end of such training modules lies the master-mind of training creator, who provides numerous scenarios to test the capability of the participants.

In a corporate, simulation-based trainings can help enhance skill sets of new and existing employees in shortest amount of time, by customizing the training to the technology, processes, and functioning of the organization. Such trainings are highly effective to actively manage and analyse data in an organization. In fact, Simulation platforms offer an edge when it comes to testing ideas. Users can identify the possible outcomes, prepare an action plan, test the plan or idea in a simulated environment, and hence make an informed decision to introduce a positive change in the business.

Simulation-based trainings are ideal for Medical, Manufacturing, Marketing Management, Technical courses etc.

Collaborative Learning :

Traditionally, learning in organizations has consisted of structured courses, classroom training, elearning, seminars and on the job training etc. Information gets outdated today almost as fast as one blinks. Capturing the tacit knowledge of individuals is perhaps one of the biggest challenges in knowledge management. In their quest for growth and market dominance, even the best of organizations are facing unique challenges and struggling for solutions. These experiences, if shared with the entire team in real-time, on a platform that can organize such diverse information into structured content - can provide the advantage needed to excel in today’s global economy.

While mentoring is known to be one of the most successful ways to train people, mentoring large numbers of people is difficult, though not impossible. What if, the mentoring your team needs has to come from a diverse set of mentors? Across geographical boundaries? From experts in the field who are not part of your team? Can best practices be gleaned from contemporaries, colleagues, management, experts and mentors alike – simultaneously – in real time – without turning your best people into full time trainers or taking them away from their core competency, ever?

Gnosis provides such a platform. Gnosis provides a mechanism to not only structure such collaborative content from the experts, but also provides analytical tools to measure and reward such contributions.

Tap the Tacit Knowledge

Tacit knowledge is the significant information that resides in an individual’s mind. Tacit knowledge is difficult to track and capture as it is not written down. It is simply the knowledge, someone has gathered from experience. It is unseen and thus often untapped. But it is a treasure pyramid of knowledge.

Much of the learning can happen by way of learning from the experts and experienced professionals. Organizations that can identify and connect experts, who can share their tacit knowledge benefit by providing higher quality solutions, grow faster. However, such tacit knowledge sharing is typically unstructured and does not provide ways to measure the expanse of the knowledge. Capturing the tacit knowledge of individuals is perhaps one of the biggest challenges in knowledge management.

So, how to tap the tacit knowledge?

Carrying informal discussions into a collaborative environment is an ideal way to begin. It replaces off-the-cuff interactions like shouting over the cubicle and blasting email threads with a single, well-structured place where people can collaborate, that may extend to customers and partners.

In a corporate scenario, where employees can come together, collaborate, share and learn from each other on job-related skills or product and service functions, collaboration with the experience and expert people who have been in the job function for several years is very important. Also, while a standard training program or on the job training does provide for the initial training that is required to perform a job function, the expertise of the experienced professionals in that function can enable one to learn the nuances associated with a job function. So, expertise management becomes a central ideology of tacit knowledge.

Organization should provide such a platform which should enable people to share information about a current issue, problem, or any relevant query with knowledge veterans. Organizations, by automatically capturing these interactions, can expand the scope of reusable knowledge to include various silos data, by recording, documenting, and storing for future reference.

In many situations, even, within a professional community or an organization, we see lack of motivation for the experts to spend time in sharing their knowledge with the inexperienced. So, it is also important to provide recognition and encouragement to the expert contributions by tracking and measuring such contributions, thereby motivating them to share their expertise.

Click at http://www.infoprolearning.com/gnosis/ to know more.

Dip into the pool of Social Learning

Social media technologies have ushered a new era in the learning industry. In recent years, organizations of all sizes have started using social media technologies both internally and externally. External usages are for marketing, customer support, and many other uses and internally social media technologies are used to increase collaboration, communication, informal learning, and ultimately, business success.

The technologies differ depending on business needs and availability, but usually include some combination of blogs, forums, social networking, micro-messaging, social bookmarking, podcasting, video-sharing etc.

There are many ways to leverage from the Social learning within an organization:

• Encourage collaborative learning by linking your social learning tool or platform with your intranet portals, your Learning Management System, and so on. Linking to and from related e-Learning courses can be a just right way to supplement your existing formal learning content.

• Persuade people to regularly visit, post, involve, discuss in the forum
• Get relevant leaders in the organization involve in promoting the forum by sharing their thoughts, speaking and advising from their experience and expertise. Encouraging Thought Leadership can help the organization tap into the tacit knowledge
• If there is a great discussion at the forum or if someone gives a real good idea or excellent answer to any question, let the senior management pick and highlight that to encourage people to use it
• Enable newcomers to learn together by collaborating with each other and asking questions to the key veterans, or the subject matter experts

So, translate Organizational Knowledge into Organized Wisdom through social collaborative learning.

Click at http://www.infoprolearning.com/gnosis/ to know more.

Collaborative Learning is superior

Learning is no longer memorizing what the teacher considers important. Today, we are in transition. It is now time to convert yourself from training pawns to proactive learning opportunists.

We do most of our learning during spontaneous, collaborative activities. We learn on-the-job, from other people like parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, sisters, brothers, teachers, playmates, cousins, roommates, teammates, classmates, coaches, study groups, mentors, bosses, colleagues, gossips, co-workers, neighbors, and even, our children.

We even learn more in the recreation room than in the classroom. We discover how to do our jobs through informal learning, e.g, observing others, asking the person in the next cubicle, discussing with the experienced and experts of the organization, calling the help desk, try and learn from mistakes, and simply working with people.

Research says that collaborative learning is three times more important in becoming proficient on the job than company-provided training. Most people developed many of their skills by modeling the behavior of their colleagues and peers. People, who are well connected or networked, make greater contributions than those who are not.

Informal learning is personal. The learner individually takes the responsibility. In formal or traditional learning environment, learning is imposed by someone else. In case of formal learning - classes and workshops and online events - is the source of only 10% to 20% of what we learn at work. While traditional learning helps establish a sound foundation, it frequently falls short in completely meeting expectations of a professional environment, where graduates are expected to acquire, interpret, and evaluate information to learn, reason, and solve problems.

We need to bring a collaborative, structured, community-based learning approach, which allows us discuss with others who help us define what is relevant, which provides the learners the freedom of place and time to access their online courses anywhere, anytime and through any device and which can bridge the gap and provide continuity between informal and formal learning.
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