The eLearning industry is booming. Every week, new tools and companies seem to emerge, along with new guidelines for how to create the most effective training courses using the latest technology. We have so many powerful tools at our fingertips, in fact, that getting started on an eLearning course can potentially be more confusing because of all those great options. Where do you begin?
At Klixel8, we understand that learning designers and training professionals need more than gimmicks to create successful courses. There is no quick fix for workplace education, nor a one-size-fits-all tool for every educational challenge – let alone for every learner.
That said, technology isn’t just “gimmicks.” It’s the future. And that means eLearning is the future of workplace training.
By embracing this inevitability, we can better tackle the (age-old) fundamentals of learning.
High-Res eLearning is a powerful new tool in digital course design that allows for deep contextual learning. Extremely high-resolution photography, interactive module design, and backend analytics combine in one easy-to-implement design tool, making High-Res eLearning a perfect fit for “hard skill” workforce training across a wide array of industries.
In previous articles, we’ve explored the science behind how we learn and looked at some of the nuts and bolts of putting together a training course. In this article, we consider how High-Res eLearning can supercharge your workplace training to boost learning.
A picture is worth a thousand words. We’ve heard and said this phrase so many times its profound truth can be taken for granted.
There’s a scientific term for those “thousand words,” and it’s called the “pictorial superiority effect.” There are different theories for why and how it works, but it’s generally recognized that the use of images in place of or in addition to words boosts memory recall of information.
Has technology made us more visual learners, or has it simply brought the capacity for visual learning into line with our natural inclinations? Perhaps there’s a bit of both involved.
One thing is certain: the majority of people are visual learners. Studies estimate that some two-thirds of the population learn best with visual supplements to a verbal lesson or written information.
It’s a trait that’s been hardwired into human beings through evolution. Indeed, an even greater percentage of the population – as many as nine in ten – think in pictures, calling up a “mental image” when a phrase is spoken.
Although we live in a world saturated with visual information – on the internet, on television, on touchscreens in cars and checkout lines, even on billboards playing videos and flashing lights at us – the real potency of images can be underutilized where it can have the most positive impact: Education.
Let’s take a little step back in time. What were you doing in the year 2006?
Chances are, one thing you were not doing was scrolling through a social media feed on your phone. That’s because the first iPhone wasn’t unveiled until 2007, launching the “smartphone revolution” that transformed the way we access the internet, communicate, and interact with computer technology, and think.
To be sure, the current relationship we have with digital devices, the internet, and each other, didn’t just start in 2007. But take a moment to appreciate how new the technology we take for granted really is. A quarter of a century ago we were “dialing up” onto the web; today we “pinch” websites and “swipe” almost without thinking. Scrolling through highly visual media, shared in real time by thousands of people, on a powerful, touchscreen-enabled, satellite-connected computer you can stash in your pocket was largely unthinkable.
Correspondingly, tablets, laptops, and PC hardware have advanced to be more responsive and cross-device integrated. Websites, software, and apps have evolved around the user experience. Whole industries have arisen out of UX, the “internet of things,” and generally unifying what happens in the digital realm into our everyday lives.
As studies on the problems of work-life balance and internet addiction show, we are still in relatively new territory with how such technology is integrated into our work and social lives. We are also early on the road to realizing all the positive potential that such technology may hold for making life easier and richer.
The impact of all this on eLearning design, of course, has been immense. We now have the ability to design digital courses for learners that are highly personalized and interactive. Training professionals can create custom courses almost as easily as they can put together a PowerPoint presentation. Learners now have flexibility in when, where, and how they access modules to learn at their own pace. Managers can observe employee progress and success through course metrics.
Whether these potentials are realized is an open question. New “rapid authoring” eLearning tools hit the market at a dizzying pace and they don’t always play well with existing training infrastructure in a workplace.
In a multi-billion-dollar industry – Forbes reports the eLearning market will reach a whopping $325 billion by 2025 – there are bound to be a lot of flashy products.
One problem learning designers commonly encounter when test-driving these new tools is how they fit into the existing learning management systems (LMS) in their workplaces and organizations. Your LMS might be fairly well organized and cohesive. Or it might be several decades’ worth of materials in a database. The person tasked with training new employees, whether a learning designer or not, may have little responsibility for the existing training architecture in your organization when it’s time to upgrade.
The challenge is multifaceted. How many of the following questions have you asked?
The answers to these and other questions will naturally depend on your particular workplace, the nature of the job, and the needs of your employees. However, for each of the above problems, High-Res eLearning offers a powerful solution.
High-Res eLearning is built to work cohesively with your existing material and course design systems, to deepen the contextual learning of your employees, and measure their progress using easily interpreted visual metrics.
A High-Res eLearning module is built around a series of ultra-high-resolution photographs, up to 225 megapixels, that take a learner into the workplace in a logical sequence. The scenes allow a learner to explore at their own pace and zoom as deeply as they like to examine items down to their smallest detail. The act of zooming and panning in a scene creates an immersive environment. It also keeps every object, whether controls of a machine or tools in an operating room, in their proper context.
As a learner explores a scene, he or she encounters interactive “hotspots” assigned to areas of the photograph. These hotspots can be general regions of a workspace – an entire production line – or tiny objects measuring only a few pixels across, such as a button on a machine. Clicking on the hotspot opens up supplementary materials like descriptions, links to manuals and websites, video and audio content, challenge questions, and more.
The learner takes as long as needed to explore and work through the hotspots within each photograph. The learning happens within the context of the high-resolution image, facilitating a cognitive process known as “item-context binding,” in which new information is encoded in the brain along with the contextual images, helping the information to better “stick” in the learner’s memory.
The activity of the learner within this virtual course environment is highly assessible. Analytic tools record and measure the engagement level of the learner as they click on hotspots and spend time in the modules. The data is used to generate heat maps, scatter plots, and charts to help you visualize the success of your training program.
No technology can substitute for a cultural approach to education.
The most effective training programs take a holistic approach to learning. Learning isn’t a “one and done” procedure – it’s a cumulative, lifelong process. The best way to foster effective learning in the workplace is to embed it in the environment, attitude, and morale of your workplace.
A learning culture can pay dividends over time in the form of higher productivity and quality of work. Better training is associated with higher morale and thus less turnover. Less turnover, in turn, means less time and money spent on training new people. It seems like a no-brainer.
But a culture of education requires some upfront costs. It means an investment of development time, financial resources, and most importantly, a commitment by management and employees themselves to real learning – not just going through the motions of online module completions and certificates.
Training a new hire is an intensive task that may involve the attention of more experienced workers and managers as well as online courseware. In the hard skills occupations of healthcare and manufacturing, periods of apprenticeship can last for weeks or months. The value of this on-the-job training is that new employees acquire the type of immersive learning that only “being there” can provide.
The cost of providing it, however, is lost production time from experienced employees, slow upskilling of new hires, and the potential for accidents or lapses in quality control. And that’s if everyone is doing what they are supposed to.
Unfortunately, not all new employees are given the undivided attention of the best workers and managers. All too often, businesses are compelled to throw new hires into the mix and have them learn as they go. Without a learning culture in place, the training process is fraught with peril.
The Klixel8 team is a resource for solving the unique training challenges of your workplace. We work with you to develop your High-Res eLearning course and supercharge workplace training in your organization.
If you’d like to see for yourself how High-Res eLearning can boost learning, request a live demo. Contact Klixel8 at https://klixel8.com/#live-demo or call us toll free at (833) KLIXEL8 (833.554.9358) to learn more.