Interactive Mini-Modules—An Interesting Approach to Micro-Learning

If you are connected to eLearning in any way, you probably have heard a lot about micro-learning. There is a lot being discussed in conferences, blogs, online forums and webinars on how to create effective micro-learning to meet millennials’ learning requirements.

When talking about micro-learning, most of us often think of videos, podcasts or simple text and image slide shows. How about creating an interactive micro-learning module? Well, it may sound like a huge task to infuse interactivity into a micro-learning burst. But it’s not as difficult and time-consuming as it sounds. I recently created an interactive mini-module and would like to share the experience with you.

One of my colleagues, Sonia, had written an interesting blog on “Why Stories Matter” to make learning more impactful and engaging. It inspired me to create a mini-module on how storytelling can be used as an effective instructional strategy. The objective of this module is to help an instructional designer/trainer/educator to get started with using storytelling in their instructions. To keep the module simple and brief, I planned to include an introduction to storytelling, a brief on how to create stories and some tips for effective storytelling.

After creating and chunking the content based on the learning objective, I turned to Raptivity, a rapid interactivity building tool, for the actual development of the module. I chose five interaction templates from Raptivity that suited the content. Then, I gathered the relevant images for each interaction and started customizing the interactions in Raptivity.

Interaction 1 - eBook

For introduction, I chose the eBook/flip book template and started with a short story to grab attention and then went on to explain what storytelling is.

 

 

 

Interaction 2 - Lesson

I created the second interaction using flash/flip cards template. It explained essential elements of the story, since learners could view the element names and relevant images on front side of the cards and their description on the flip side.

 

 

Interaction 3 - Buildup and Rollover

After knowing the story elements, the next step is to create a story comprising of those elements. The story mountain helps you plot stories in a proper format. I presented the story mountain in the third interaction using a build-up animation template. Learners can click on each part of the mountain to learn more about it.

 

Interaction 4 - Lesson

In the next interaction, I included some tips to create stories and use storytelling effectively. Here, I chose a lesson template, where tips appear with relevant images as an animation. Learners can revisit any tip by clicking on the number buttons.

 

 

Interaction 5 - Drag and Drop

Lastly, I wanted to include some knowledge check for learners to reinforce their learning. I chose a drag and drop template, where some dos and don’ts for effective storytelling are listed and learners need to classify them correctly. Learners get immediate feedback on dropping a phrase under a wrong category.

 

Interactive Mini-module - Linker course

Once the text and images were ready, it took me a couple of hours to develop each interaction. To put these interactions together as a module, I used the Raptivity Linker tool. Stringing these interactions together was just a matter of minutes and my mini-module on Storytelling was ready!

You can go through this mini-module here.

Using Raptivity and Raptivity Linker, I was able to develop this entire module, including the base content creation, in less than three days. The broad steps that I followed were:

  1. Decide on the learning objective and create a topic outline.
  2. Create and chunk the text into small information bursts.
  3. Choose interaction templates that best suit the text chunks.
  4. Gather/create relevant media assets according to chosen templates.
  5. Customize interaction templates using the text and media assets.
  6. String the interactions together. Alternatively, these interactions can also be used as standalone learning nuggets.

This approach could be a good way to quickly create micro-learning that offers streamlined, short bits of information along with interactivity and engagement. Have you created micro-learning? What approach did you follow and how easy or difficult it was to create it? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

Make Your Instructor-Led Training Interactive

Instructor-Led Training (ILT) seemed to have had lost its sheen and eLearning had caught up big time. As a part of an eLearning content development company and involved closely with proposals and customers, there weren’t many ILT related proposals we got to work on. But since last couple of years, ILT have again gained importance and are in demand than ever before. My guess is flipped classroom and virtual ILT helped in this change.

We had quite a few of our clients thinking of ILT development, but were concerned about it becoming stagnant very quickly if developed the traditional way. Their learners would expect ILT to be equally engaging and interactive as their eLearning courses. That got us thinking. Apart from the traditional ways of engaging a learner in an ILT, what are some interesting ways to make it engaging and interactive?Converting Boring ILTs to Interactive ILTs

An important point to note is that an ILT will require as much instructional design as an eLearning course development. Even though the PowerPoint presentation is the backbone of the ILT, just a good looking presentation with numerous bulleted lists and graphics thrown in will not be able to sustain the learner’s attention. There’s a lot an instructional designer can do to add value.

Here are few guidelines to follow while designing an ILT-

1. Design a theme for presentation and the guides– Design graphical theme of the presentation in line with the branding guidelines. Follow the theme for the Instructor/ Facilitator guide (FG) and Participant/Student guide (PG). Once familiar with the theme, it will then not serve as an attention diverter.

2. Use appropriate amount of graphics and multimedia elements – Have less text on your slides. Make use of graphics, infographics, multimedia elements such as animations and videos appropriately. Less text on screen will ensure learner to focus on the instructor rather than reading the slide.

3. Take benefit of learners being together by designing activities which encourage their participation.

Some techniques that can be used for increasing learner participation are listed below:

1. Ice breaker session is a must. Get people to know each other. Only then will they interact. Instead of having it as the first session, have it once the participants have settled down and are comfortable with the instructor.

2. Use training games– There are various training games that can be designed by the instructional designer in collaboration with the SME and instructor/facilitator. Some such games are Card or Board games, Puzzles, Show of hands etc. For one of our customer we designed similar games using YawnBuster (http://www.yawnbuster.com/). YawnBuster provides some interesting group activities and game templates.

Interactive ILT Activities  Interactive Instructor-Led Training

Raptivity (www.raptivity.com) is another such tool which can help create variety of interactions that can be embedded into PowerPoint.

3. Role plays– By assuming roles and acting out scenarios that might occur in a situation, learners learn how to handle them before they face them on the job. It’s an excellent training technique for many interpersonal skills and sales training.

4. Quizzes– Design small end of topic quizzes or ask the learners to design one for you by jotting down questions on the topic and use these questions to create quizzes on the go. Reward the best question! Yes you read it right 🙂

5. Case studies– Discuss and analyze job related real scenarios that would allow learners to handle similar situations.

6. Crowd-sourcing– Get people to interact with each other. Encourage learners to learn from each other by designing small group activities.

At Harbinger we believe that ILT should not be designed as standalone training. They work best if they are a part of a flipped classroom or blending learning program. The ‘need to know’ content should be covered in the ILT and the ‘good to know’ content can be developed into an eLearning course to supplement learning. eLearning also acts as a good refresher to the classroom sessions.

A blended learning program could follow below format.

Blended learning program designAdditional learning components such as online discussion forums, reference reading material etc. could be added at appropriate places.

Are you seeing similar demands for ILT? What are some ways you make them interactive? Do share your thoughts in the comments below.