CLIENT DAY BLOG: 4 Key Questions To Solving The Content Conundrum
Newsflash - learning is changing. But what are the benefits and pitfalls of creating bespoke learning in this landscape? Chris Tedd, Strategic Head of Content at Unicorn, and Unicorn CEO, Peter Phillips, enlightened us!
So how has learning changed?
Here's a good quote..."The future has already arrived, it’s just not evenly distributed" (William Gibson). What does that mean in relation to learning? That the explosion in digital and social technologies make EVERYTHING possible in learning. It's just understanding what's relevant, how we can best use which technology to deliver what and how that's the tricky bit.
You've only got to look at a timeline of when the things we take for granted, like Google, Facebook, WhatsApp etc, arrived to grasp just how rapid the exponential growth in digital technologies has been over the past 20 years. Moore's Law they call it (Google it), but it now means user experience (UE) directly translates into learner experience and the language the highest level decision makers and CEOs use naturally today is the language of UE.
What does that look like then?
A user interface is like a joke, if you have to explain it it’s not very good. eLearning hasn’t always done a very good job of this.
We live in a world of mobile everything. Pull down to refresh, pinch zoom, swipe across – these gestures are used everywhere, to the extent that they are taking on cultural significance. It’s second nature to use these gestures so should we incorporate them into learning? If we use them, it is undoubtedly an advantage in design. If we don't, the learning is less intuitive and enjoyable to today's audience and people are less likely to use it.
Our day's are made up of 'mobile moments' – interactive touchpoints where you use a handheld device to access apps, internet, maps, social media, games, whatever. With the fact almost half of the workforce is already made up of Millenials - digital natives - learning delivery needs addressing now.
How do we achieve behavioural change?
The $64,000 question. What simple technicques do we use to transform a campaign of learning?
Robert A Bjork's concept of 'desirable difficulties' is a good starting point - you want to slow down learning (by introducing variability, spacing, testing, reducing feedback to learner) to help long term retention. You don’t want learning itself to be too easy.
The 'forgetting curve' tells us if we don't use something we've learned within an hour, 50% of it is lost. By day 2, it's 70%. Could breaking content into campaigns of learning to do at different times overcome this? What about using a diagnostic approach where long term learning is tested, followed up with targeted learning, and another test, to satisfy competency before following up with periodical learning (videos, podcasts, PDFs, whatever bitesize activity it might be) to top up/reinforce knowledge?
Achieving behavioural change requires the following to the taken into account when deciding content approach....
- What is the behaviour trying to change? Is it reasonable to affect change?
- What’s the audience - roles? Time to access learning? Educational level? Language? Experience of subject matter? Experience of doing this type of learning? Attitude towards learning? Motivation to learn?
- Subject matter – is it being taught now, if so how is it taught, how long does it last, how well is it received, is content mature (been in business while and refined or new content)? Are SMEs available to the project as part of project team or do they need to be called from outside?
- Is it detailed?
- Is it volatile? Is there going to be change over time, for example, if content changes every 3 months don’t use video, but if a longer term message from the CEO etc then video maybe a good content option.
- Delivery environemt – where (not going to do 30min eLearning course on mobile), when will they be doing it, what device will they be using, BYOD (not universal at moment), tracking, hosting (just on LMS or elsewhere eg another CMS)?
How do games and simulations fit into this?
The old learning by doing. Games appeal to some of the most basic elements of the human psyche - we like to complete things, we like to think we're getting something for nothing, we like to be rewarded, we're quite happy to keep doing effectively the same thing to achieve all of the above!
Chris showed demonstrations as to how Unicorn's eCreator authoring tool had been used to create Riskford Manor, an immersive interactive 'game' for wannabe insurance brokers to explore, ask questions and test themselves in a 'real life' risk assessment situation at a fictional hotel.
Peter then showed some examples of whole business simulations Unicorn has created in airport development and portfolios of risk in commercial property decisions.
The difference between games and business simulations? Short, sharp games are looking to teach one or two things and make it stick, whereas simulations are about holistic nature of business.
But while the set of learning objectives maybe different, the principles of learning by doing are the same.