Thursday, May 21, 2015

Mini-Lessons: A Different Learning Approach

Although presented in small bites to satisfy today’s learners, effective mini-lessons follow good teaching practice.

The learner seeks knowledge and wants to absorb that knowledge; learning activities then help embed that knowledge. Learners will often want to test themselves to check their understanding as well as assimilation.

Alternatively, learners may want to test themselves for prior knowledge before undertaking any study, or refresh themselves through learning activities.

Learning can be approached from various entry points, and there is a recognizable continuum of learning. These observations, along with a simplified example of the process of learning, are presented using Raptivity Linker below.

The key feature of each mini-lesson is that it is quick and specific.

Have you created any mini learning sample(s)? Looking forward to see your creative samples. And of course, do let me know your thoughts on my mini lesson sample.

About the Author:
Anne Mills
Director/Developer, Learning Solutions

Anne is a graphic designer whose skills have enabled her to produce appealing learning objects and engaging online learning experiences. Through her collaboration with Caryl Oliver, and Raptivity, she has created a range of learning and training courses for clients as small as a hospitality college in India to industry giants like the Linfox Group in Australia.

Currently Anne is contracted to Achievement for All in the UK producing material that supports the charity in its work with vulnerable children. With its reach into 2000 schools, the task to transform their main programme from face-to-face training of school personnel to predominantly online learning is a challenge for them as well as for Anne!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Simple Tip to Add a Personalized Touch to Your Online Courses

Great! Good job! Incorrect! Can do better! Not quite right!

Do these words sound familiar? Probably yes, this is the kind of feedback we generally receive in our online assessments or exercises. In fact, we too provide similar feedback to our learners in the assessments we design.

But don’t we get disappointed when we receive such short feedback that does not convey much? Research suggests that students want specific and detailed feedback from their instructors (Balaji & Chakrabarti, 2010). This becomes even more critical in online assignments / assessments where there is little or no personal contact.

I have a simple tip to share with every course creator or trainer involved in designing online courses.

You could share the feedback with your learners by recording it in your own voice. Detail out this feedback in a way that it completely conveys what you intend to and still doesn’t become too long. Learners should feel as if you are talking to them. It would make a positive difference to the learners’ experience and motivation even if the feedback is negative. And not just feedback, you could use your voice to provide instructions in your courses too.

There are quite a few free audio recording tools in market. Windows users could simply use the Sound Recorder. And if you are using specific eLearning tools like Raptivity and Lectora to create your courses, they do provide an embedded sound recorder.

Audio feedback is an excellent way to connect with learners and provide feedback that is both motivating and meaningful. Go ahead and use this small yet effective tip to see the difference!

Inspired by:

About Author:

Oswaldo Camacho: Working with technology and infrastructure for the last 10 years and the last 6 years in the Brazilian office one of the biggest American Publishers, generating Digital Educational Solutions for Latin America customers in Spanish and Portuguese. Responsible for all technology details of digital solutions proposed for customers, since the compatibility of the digital learning objects until the outcomes generated.
Always analyzing the main LMS and authoring tools of the market to understood the best possibilities to easily develop and delivery good educational content.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Engage Students with Game-Based Learning (GBL)

As an Instructional Designer or Educator, you always aspire to make your course content as ‘sticky’ as possible. You try your level best to engage learners in thoughtful learning even after they have left the room or finished the course. Knowing also this, it’s apparent that you do understand that something that fascinates almost every person is playing games. Then why not use games to engage learners?

Wikipedia defines Game-based learning (GBL) as a type of game play that has defined learning outcomes. Generally, game based learning is designed to balance subject matter with game play and the ability of the player to retain and apply said subject matter to the real world. In simple words, GBL aims to teach/educate a learner on discrete skills or specific outcomes while the learner is playing a game.

So, how exactly should you engage students with games?
It’s easy; design games that are educative, catchy and addictive; this helps learners to think about solving the problem even when they aren't doing something else and playing the game. Allow learners to explore the relevant aspect of games in a learning context designed in game form.

Some tips on using gaming principles to make learning interesting:

A story is process that leads the learners to the final result/achievement. Design games that have an engrossing storyline.  Learners generally place themselves in the story and this keeps them engrossed till the end.

2.Multiple Paths
Build multiple paths to success into your course. Consider mini quests, these assist learners to explore different paths and solutions.

3.Level of Difficulty
Consider building self-paced learning by scaffolding each student's progress through the early levels of the course. Provide positive feedbacks for accomplishing simple and small tasks that gradually turn more challenging with each level.

4.Guide the learner to achieve goals
It’s very important that the learner is aware of what needs to be done and what is the purpose of doing something. Hand hold the learner at every level, else the learner will be put off and will not return. Use different strategies (text, pictures, character, and sound) to explain the goal and the reward in return.

5.Challenging to carry on
Think about it, if the game is not challenging, will you prefer playing it? Every game needs to be challenging for the learner to be engaged and to carry on with it.

6.Focus on the learning outcomes
Be fully aware of what the learning outcome of the game needs to be. If the audience of your game is learners who expect to understand Newton’s Law, make sure that they are able to identify different laws by the end of the game. GBL is successful if you can meet the gamer’s expectations by the end of the game.

7.Real World scenarios
Create real world scenarios that learners can relate to easily. These kinds of games motivate learners as they can relate easily to them and find its relevance too. This type of hands-on should ideally be a complete approach from start to finish.

The entire purpose of GBL is to build an amazing learning experience by focusing on the actual outcomes and skills rather than grades.

Have you gamified your course? Which games do you use to engage your learners? Please share your findings and best practices in the comments below.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Raptivity is Now Available on The Learning Exchange

The eLearning Guild recently announced an exciting new way to share and learn - The Learning Exchange. The Learning Exchange encourages Guild members to learn from each other based on their experiences. The Exchange is based on the concept of video based learning. One can share/upload videos for others to learn from. It also enables members to collaborate amongst themselves on various topics.

Raptivity, the popular eLearning interactivity building tool, is also available on the Exchange now. It starts with an interesting experience being shared by a Raptivity customer, Shay Patel, on creating great learning experiences using Raptivity. It then covers how Raptivity could be integrated with other tools like Storyline and Captivate. You can access all this information through the Raptivity course on the Learning Exchange. The Learning Exchange as well as the course is available to all eLearning Guild members and associates for free. If you are not a member, you could still create a complimentary associate account and try the Learning Exchange for free. Explore more about the Learning Exchange here: and get started.