Thursday, September 15, 2016

Webinar Roundup – Easy, Customizable and Fun! eLearning Simplified by Raptivity

Team Raptivity recently conducted a much applauded webinar on making eLearning ‘Easy, Customizable and Fun’. The webinar was aimed at all instructional designers, course creators and trainers who are stuck with complex eLearning methodologies.

Let me share a glimpse of what happened through the session. Jamaica Glenn, the webinar host, and Raptivity Valued professional, opened the session with a very interesting depiction of how most of the courses are perceived by eLearners. Here’s how:

While it is easy to generalize that eLearning can be tricky for learners because of various factors involved, but the fact is that eLearning can be really hard for the creator too. It is not always easy to create something that could create an impact as good as a classroom session. Limited skill set, resource Crunch, time and money involved, etc. are just some of the reasons that hinder a course creator’s efforts. So, is there a way that could make eLearning easy, customizable and fun? Well, yes, make way for rapid interactivity, a term synonymous to Raptivity. The rapid interactivity approach involves using ready to use interactivity templates that fit your instructional goal. Raptivity, world’s favourite interactivity building tool, boasts of its rapid interactivity skills through its 190+; ready-to-use; highly interactive; eLearning templates.

The session then moved on to explain how Raptivity makes eLearning Easy (All you need to do is insert your content into a template without any programming), Customizable (Since it’s all about your content and your media, the interactions can fit your curriculum or corporate standards very easily), and Fun (Since you get to choose from a variety of templates to create interesting eLearning very quickly).

This was followed by a detailed demonstration of many Raptivity interaction samples and then a detailed product demo. 

If I have to summarize, I would say that the session helped the audience to:
· Explore Raptivity, the original interactivity building tool
· Understand how to create eLearning without any heavy duty programming, and without putting in long hours 
· Discover Raptivity’s flexibility and its ability to seamlessly fit into other tools
· Look at the variety of instructionally designed templates that Raptivity offers
· Glance through Raptivity’s newly launched Mac version

If you found this session roundup interesting, you may go through the entire webinar recording here: We would be happy to hear your feedback.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Interactivity and the Flipped Classroom

Flipped Classroom, as defined by Wikipedia, is an instructional strategy and a type of blended learning that reverses the traditional learning environment by delivering instructional content, often online, outside of the classroom. It moves activities, including those that may have traditionally been considered homework, into the classroom. In a flipped classroom, students watch online lectures, collaborate in online discussions, or carry out research at home and engage in concepts in the classroom with the guidance of a mentor. Lectures are created by the instructor(s) and posted online. The lectures typically contain course material in the form of text presentations, podcasts or videos. This model thrives on the concepts of active learning and high engagement.

The real value of this model comes from the fact that students can utilize the in-class time for participating in stimulating discussions and exercises, thus making it practically beneficial and more engaging. But this can only happen if students get their basic concepts in-place through the lecture that they have taken at home. So the key ingredient in making a flipped classroom work is to make the lectures more engaging and appealing and the in-class sessions more interactive and interesting. All of this is significant particularly because the students are required to view and understand the lecture material at home without any supervision and based on the level of interest and understanding acquired through the lecture, they participate in the in-classroom exercises. Thus, for the flipped model to work, adding interactivity to this both sides of this approach becomes a necessity.

While the learner is viewing a video, the lecturer could easily add a reinforcement exercise or a quick game to confirm whether the learner has understood the concept. This would make in-class sessions even more effective as the learner would have already understood the concept. Also, if these learning interactions are hosted on an LMS, the lecturer could track the scores of each of its student to assess the student’s knowledge, thus making in-class sessions more effective.

Considering that lecturers or professors are non-technical people, they need a tool which is rapid, Do-it-Yourself (DIY) and has variety of interactions to add newness to their courses every time they plan to do a flipped classroom. Raptivity fulfils all these requirements. The lecture material could have simple interactions like games, quizzes and learning aids as quick reinforcement exercises. At the same time, one can use interactions like explorative learning techniques to help students engage with the learning content and discover information at their own pace. Such interactions add an element of fun to the whole concept of flipped classrooms, thus making it easier for the instructors to engage students.

An effective flipped classroom requires careful preparation on part of the instructor. It’s important to use the right elements to make it work. Interactivity will surely get us one step closer towards the bigger goal.

Have you ever experienced Flipped Classrooms? Do you know of other effective ways that make them work. Share below!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Storytelling—A Powerful Instructional Technique for Attitudinal Trainings

Learning and development managers would vouch for the fact that attitudinal trainings are amongst their key training areas. Attitudes can either facilitate or hinder constructive thinking and actions. Workplace attitudinal training (such as promoting safe and ethical behavior, resolving conflicts, imparting organization’s culture, or getting a buy-in for the management's change agenda) helps employees develop a right attitude. This, in turn, helps them to improve their performance and progress in their career paths. Attitudinal trainings also help organizations to create a positive work environment.  

Delivering effective attitudinal trainings is quite a challenge! And if you ask why, well, the subtle intent of such training is encouraging employees to behave in ways that are considered desirable for the organization, and discouraging undesirable behaviors. It is tricky to formulate the right training strategy that will have a direct impact on employees’ attitudes and behaviors. Convincing or influencing one’s decision or behavior under certain circumstances is not easy, especially when you have employees from diverse cultures or nationalities. Also, employees may not perceive attitudinal trainings as directly related to their job roles, performance improvement, or upskilling. Hence, attracting and engaging employees in such trainings is a task. Employees may not be interested to complete the course and forget the learning once the training is over.

Why storytelling can be one of the most powerful instructional techniques for attitudinal trainings? 

Stories are inspiring. Changing or influencing learners’ attitude is possible only when they are motivated. And evoking emotions can motivate them to change. Storytelling is the best way to tie emotions with the message and set that ‘emotional connect’ with the learners. They will instantly get hooked to a story that uses characters and plots reflecting them, or their real life challenges and situations. They empathize with it, and start relating to the content. This motivates them to think, feel and act differently. When learners are motivated by themselves, they no longer need to be persuaded to change.

Stories are attention grabbing and make information easier to remember. No matter how busy people are, they pause to listen to a story or tell one of their own. Stories have dramatic arcs that can retain learners’ attention long enough. This can work better than making learners read or listen to any information. Everyone is familiar with the structure of a story and can intuitively process information from a story.  Stories let learners grasp the knowledge in meaningful ways. They present information in a coherent form, transforming the abstract/complex ideas into concrete, relatable examples. This keeps learners from forgetting the learning after the course.

No matter if it is a classroom training or eLearning, storytelling is a powerful technique that can motivate and persuade leaners during attitudinal trainings. But, the big challenge here could be converting the training content into a story. Raptivity, a rapid interactivity building tool, comes with a rich collection of interaction templates that can help you string storytelling into the course. Some Raptivity templates useful for storytelling are:

- Character Dialogue: Conversation between illustrated characters or objects
- Interactive Timeline: Sequential display of a long chain of events in a captivating manner
- Branching Scenario: Multiple scenes which lead to multiple paths
- Immersive Learning: Interactive tour of a concept, process, or scenario using hotspots
- eBook: Multimedia 3D eBook
- Simulated Situation: Series of scenes which are presented in a flow
- Interactive Video: Videos to narrate stories along with interactive elements

These interactions can be infused in an eLearning course as well as in PowerPoint Presentation to be used in classroom trainings. All one has to do is to select a template, fill it up with your content and publish. Interested to try out Raptivity for your training needs? Take a 14 day free trial and experience the power of interactive storytelling.