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Ideal eLearning programs combine simplicity, innovation

What does a great eLearning course look like when it's been deployed?

Today, eLearning has stepped out of the shadow of traditional training methods. Companies that train their teams digitally gain access to speed and agility that would have been unthinkable in the past, and these traits can unlock new areas of development and progress. Systems training with digital delivery of course modules can keep up with the blazing pace of development in the IT industry and thus become far more useful to pupils. Organizations can also open up more optional and self-directed coursework when training is handled through digital delivery.

Now that eLearning has made its presence known, leaders need to begin again in designing their training courses. Ideas that seemed so important before may have been replaced by new priorities, so it's worth going back to the drawing board to be sure the programs in place today reflect the companies that use them.

"It's worth trying ideas to see if they catch on with the workforce."

Guiding principles
Business 2 Community contributor Meghan Sullivan assembled some hints to aid in the creation of strong eLearning programs based on the collected advice of Apple's legendary late ex-CEO Steve Jobs, which included making a commitment to exciting new concepts that consumers don't know they want yet. In the case of Apple, this meant technology such as the iPad. With eLearning, it may mean program expansions and elements that learners don't believe they'll need or think are worthwhile. The fact is eLearning is a relatively new method, and it's worth trying ideas to see if they catch on with the workforce.

Sullivan also specified, however, that eLearning developers should learn when not to release an idea. Not everything developed will actually help learners, and it's important to know when notions aren't worth following up on in their current form. Iterating and releasing another version down the line is better than deploying a lesson plan that the trainees can't work with correctly. Sullivan tied this to the Apple ethos of picking and choosing which elements move forward in a design process. Jobs espoused being proud of things not attempted as much as those that go forward.

Cutting down on clutter is another important step in ensuring a curriculum delivers its message, according to Sullivan. She repeated the Jobs mantra that designers should put appropriate effort into rolling back complexity and creating an end result that is simple to use. Sullivan posited that an eLearning team with many people working together may end up with a lot of raw ideas. Leaving a few of those ideas out may lead to a more appropriate lesson style.

Deploying eLearning tools that work well is a meticulous but worthwhile process.
Deploying eLearning tools that work well is a meticulous but worthwhile process.

Game-like and on the go
What types of eLearning projects are emerging from the best practices followed by the world's developers? A recent Educators NZ piece parsed the results of a study by Ambient Insight that found gamification and mobile deployment are on the march. The source pointed to 18.2 percent annual growth for mobile learning tools. These tactics have proven their worth in the early going, Educators NZ noted, and are seeing the resultant attention. Entertaining courses with game mechanics were also singled out as a current trend. On a more advanced note, augmented systems that encompass real and simulated elements are picking up steam in high-pressure industries such as health care. The future seems poised to include many different shades of eLearning.

Corporate Learning & Performance
Information Technology
Educational Publishing

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