Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Five Interactive Learning Trends That Could Be the Game Changer This Year

The learning technology adoption rate has been growing steadily over the last few years. Better, newer technologies and devices have come to the limelight, and people have welcomed them with an open mind. eLearning is also making a paradigm shift to keep up with this changing landscape. Today, various mediums bring eLearning to the learners exactly as they want it. Interactivity has taken different forms, growing bigger than ever. All this is facilitated by new technologies and trends making their way into mainstream. Let’s look at some of these trends.

1. Interactive Videos
Videos are the de-facto standard of communication today. If a picture speaks a thousand words, a video definitely speaks a million. Interactive videos take this experience a level higher as they transform the traditional video experience from a monologue into a dialogue. With their power to turn passive content into an active experience for viewers, interactive videos tend to fetch a larger number of views compared to traditional videos.

Interactive videos should ideally be capable of providing skip navigation, informative overlays and quizzes, feature engaging user interactions, and also help a viewer learn what’s important. These videos can be completely personalized according to the viewer’s requirements. 

2. Micro-Learning
 
Micro-learning is already mainstream. People have been talking about it for long and have started using it considerably to enhance their eLearning courses. But, it is still broadly understood as short videos or clips. In reality, micro-learning can very well be a short learning nugget in any form - an interactive video, a short game, quiz, an interactive infographic, or even a small eBook. With increased smart-phone usage, the demand for micro-learning will only increase in 2018.

3. Experiential Learning on Mobile
 
The number of global smart-phone users is growing year on year. With this increase, mobile learning is on the rise too. It is convenient, and also increases user reach by offering flexibility and accessibility. Learners can make use of their time during commute, mundane activities, or whenever they don’t have access to a larger screen. Learning providers now take it as given that their modules need to be accessible across multiple devices. With mobile devices coming up with an inbuilt AR support, learning on mobile will go up a notch higher. It will not just be about presenting any content, but letting users experience the content.
There is a lot of development on the 3D front too. 3D images and videos are on the rise, and could significantly contribute to enhanced mobile learning experiences. 
 
4. AI Empowered Learner Interactions 
 
The learning systems and platforms that have been used till date for any kind of assessments and recaps have fixed logic that has been keyed in. For instance, say there is a question that a course creator has framed, based on one of the modules on botanical study. It shows the picture of a rose flower and asks ‘Which flower is this?’ Now, the course creator has programmed a correct answer option for it in the module. It says ‘This is a rose.’ Today, if a learner undertakes such an assessment question and responds with anything other than the programmed answer, it is considered wrong. However, with AI becoming main-stream, if a system is built that could evaluate learners through intelligent logic rather than what is framed, that could make learner interactions and the learning process fantastic. In such cases, if a user responds ‘This is Rosa’, that would be correct too, since Rosa is the scientific name of rose. This information need not be present in the course module at all, but the system would be intelligent enough to know that this is also a correct answer. The use of artificial intelligence in the learner’s interactions will thus be a very interesting development to watch out for.
 
5. Voice Technology Usage in Courses
 
Put simply, voice recognition in any software or hardware is the ability to understand and interpret the human voice – and then it allows the user to either operate a device, or perform an action without any keyboard input. While voice technology has been around for long, its presence in eLearning was never witnessed. However, advances in AI mean that the possibilities of voice-driven learning could finally become a reality. All that learners would then need to do is, to open their course and talk to it.

We are excited about these possibilities, but how they shape up is something only time will tell. But for now, let’s wait for a learning technology-driven 2018.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Upcoming Webinar - The Steps You Must Take to Ensure Your Learners are Truly Engaged

Interactivity is the most essential ingredient of an engaging eLearning course. Sans interactivity, eLearning courses lose their gleam and learners just end up hitting Next-Next-Next passively. The only way to ensure that learners are...well, learning...is to involve the learner at almost every step. Present them with a problem they must solve, one that would be similar to that which they encounter on the job. Have them demonstrate that they know why a problem occurs and how to solve the problem step by step. Using this approach means adopting interactivity and varying the interactions you use.

Team Raptivity has coupled up with Joe Ganci, a veteran of 34 years in the eLearning industry, to deliver an insightful webinar focused on interactivity. The webinar, titled 'The Steps You Must Take to Ensure Your Learners are Truly Engaged', is scheduled for Dec 7, 9 am PST.  Joe will touch upon the many ways in which interactivity can be created using Raptivity. He will demonstrate how to use several Raptivity interactions in isolation or embedded in larger eLearning lessons to turn courses into engaging experiences.

In this session, you will also learn to:
  • Apply the case-based scenario approach to any topic you need your learners to master
  • Use interactions to build the scenarios quickly
  • Track each learner's progress through the scenarios
  • Include the interactions in your authoring tool of choice
So, grab this amazing chance and be a part of this webinar. You may register here
P.S. You will be welcome to ask Joe any questions you may have, so be sure to attend!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Raptivity Flavors - A Chance To Get Your Template Idea Featured in Raptivity

Dear eLearning professional,

We know you have always loved Raptivity for enabling you to create hassle-free eLearning and we wouldn’t want it any other way. The folks in our team are always on the lookout for ways to make eLearning innovative, interesting and easier. We carry out our own research, study market requirements, evaluate upcoming trends and also speak to our customers from time to time to get their inputs on making Raptivity better. During one such exercise, some of our customers showed us how they were able to use a single Raptivity interaction in multiple creative ways. We were absolutely amazed by the level of imagination and creativity of these people.  We could not even recognize what Raptivity interactions were used as a base for those samples. This got us thinking if the entire Raptivity community of users could be benefitted by this practice readily! And tadaa, we got a fabulous idea.

The team donned its creative hats and also got in touch with these customers to build something called Raptivity Flavors; which in essence means various flavors of the existing interaction templates. We understand that it is not always convenient and quick to think out of the box while creating samples and that’s why many people end up using the interactions exactly how they are designed by default. What we are going to do, is, use the elements of the same interaction in different ways so that you get new ways of using the same interaction model. To give you an example, you would be able to use Flash Cards to build an engaging presentation, or an exciting quiz, or reinforce key points of a topic in picture. All these options would be readily available as multiple flavors of the Flash Card interaction model.

Basically, one Raptivity interaction will have many flavors. More the interactions, even more flavors. Does this sound interesting? Well, we are going to make it even better. We would love to incorporate your ideas in the flavors release.  If you are one of those creative masters who always likes to use Raptivity in innovative ways, show us your magic. Send your interaction samples to info@raptivity.com by July 24, 2017, and the best ones will be featured as distinct flavors in Raptivity. Also note that we will not reuse the content of any of your samples but just take creative reference from the way the sample(s) have been built.

So get set to witness the charm of Interaction Flavors by Raptivity. Stay tuned for more updates!

Yours Creatively,
Team Raptivity

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Enabling Instructional Designers - Using Raptivity for Rapid Storyboarding

In our last two blogs in the ‘Enabling Instructional Designers’ series, we discussed about using Raptivity as an instructional designing aid to visualize content and to improve communication with subject matter experts. Today, we will talk about a practice very close to any Instructional Designer’s heart – Storyboarding.

Storyboard is like the blueprint of an eLearning course. Instructional designers and course creators always intend to create a good storyboard for their courses since it is central to eLearning course development. But creating a detailed and clear storyboard can take a lot of time. Here is a quick tip on using Raptivity for rapid storyboarding.

An Instructional Designer can create storyboard layouts based on the Raptivity templates that s/he wants to use in the course. The Subject Matter Expert can then fill in the content in the storyboard. Post that, the storyboard again goes back to the instructional designer who may then fine-tune it and eventually, can copy the content from it and paste it in the Raptivity interaction templates. Definitely saves a lot of time for storyboarding as well as actual course creation!

Alternatively, each Raptivity template can be assigned a code or reference number. The instructional designer can just mention the relevant codes or reference numbers in the storyboard instead of adding any notes for the developer. This can help save a lot of storyboarding time.

Below is a diagrammatic representation of both the approaches for quick reference:


Approach 1



Approach 2


Interesting use case once again! Isn’t it? Did you know Raptivity could be such a handy tool for Instructional Designers? Have you ever used it this way? Share your thoughts through comments below.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Enabling Instructional Designers - Using Raptivity for Improving Communication with Subject Matter Experts

In our last blog in the ‘Enabling Instructional Designers’ series, we wrote about using Raptivity as an instructional designing aid to visualize content and come up with the graphic treatment during storyboarding. Today, we will talk about using Raptivity to improve communication with subject matter experts (SMEs) and clients in an eLearning setup.

When you work in an eLearning development team, you have to deal with multiple people and more often than not, you need to incorporate everyone’s ideas and feedback in your work. But most instructional designers have a specific way of putting together their storyboard. Many times, SMEs find it difficult to understand these storyboards and fail to visualize how the content will look in the actual course. Raptivity can serve as an aid to ease this situation. 

Let’s understand it better through the following example:
All Raptivity interaction templates follow a unique visual style and clearly indicate how the content will be displayed through each of them. An instructional designer can make good use of these ready interactions in his/her storyboard. They may share Raptivity interaction samples (created by them previously or published default templates) with the subject matter experts or clients. They can even share the interaction or sample course links from the Raptivity website (The Raptivity website features all default interaction templates and multiple samples). Looking at these templates and samples, the SME can have a fair idea of how the content is going to look like in the course. Based on the same, s/he can share feedback with the instructional designer and the number of iterations can significantly reduce.

Alternatively, an instructional designer can share multiple template options for each content chunk and the subject matter expert can choose the one s/he thinks is the best. This way they get to witness and choose from a huge variety and it also reduces alterations during the actual course development process.
Below is a diagrammatic representation of both the approaches for easy reference:

Approach 1


Approach 2

Interesting! Isn’t it? Did you know Raptivity could be used for these small hacks apart from serving its core purpose of course creation? Have you ever used Raptivity this way? Share through comments below.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Upcoming Webinar - Employee Training and Its Impact on Productivity, Retention and Revenue

Research states that one-third of new hires quit their job after about six months and disengagement costs billions (US$343 billion annually). Well, most employees want to do a good job and feel satisfied when their efforts make a difference to their workplace. But more often than not, employees need to be trained continually to feel engaged, to keep learning, to keep performing well, and to keep growing. Training can have a significant impact on employee engagement and retention. For every 1% increase in employee engagement, you can expect to see an additional 0.6% growth in sales for an organization.

Ironically, many organizations feel that if there is no point spending money and time to train and develop employees. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that companies with fewer than 100 employees gave only 12 minutes of manager training every six months. Think large companies with 100 to 500 employees do better? No. they provided just 6 minutes per half year.

The fact is that a well-designed training program can play a critical part in boosting employees’ self-worth, development opportunities and make them feel good about their job. Performing well becomes second nature for well-trained employees. The improvement is bound to have a positive impact on the business in terms of increased productivity and revenue, and lesser attrition and supervision.

Join two experts - Susan Wines, eLearning Specialist, Thomson Reuters (Tax & Accounting) Inc., and Cynthia Alderman, Senior Technical Editor and Instructional Designer, Thomson Reuters (Tax & Accounting) Inc., on April 26, 10 AM PST for an insightful webinar on Training and Retention. They will talk about the importance of employee training and its impact on business.

Key takeaways from this session will help you:
• Determine and Evaluate Turnover Issues
• Identify Skill-Gap Challenges
• Present a Case for Investing in Training for Employee Engagement
 
Register here.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Enabling Instructional Designers - Using Raptivity for Content Visualization

Effective content visualization is one of the key elements of instructional design. It plays a key role in engaging learners. On the development side, it lets instructional designers (IDs) present complex topics in formats that are appealing to the eye, and helpful enough to retain knowledge. IDs have various options to present content - diagrams, charts, graphs, illustrations, drawings, photographs, etc, but deciding on what to use and how exactly to use it, can be tricky. Raptivity can serve as a great aid at such times. It can help IDs visualize content and decide on the graphic treatment during storyboarding. Let me explain it using two scenarios:

Scenario 1
Raptivity interactions are classified into various categories such as scenario based learning, games, presentation aids, quizzes, etc. Now, if while storyboarding, an ID wants to design/present a particular content chunk as a diagram, s/he can refer to the interactions under ‘Interactive Diagrams’ category of Raptivity to see different types of diagrams. Depending on the requirement, the ID can choose which diagram type works the best and accordingly the graphic/multi-media treatment for the content in the storyboard can be decided. The same concept can be used to look for design options in various other categories too.

Scenario 2
Raptivity has a unique search functionality, where you can type in any search word in the search box and related interactions are displayed. For instance, an instructional designer can type the word “classification and all interactions that present classification exercises in different ways are displayed. The instructional designer can look at all options and accordingly then choose and describe the graphic for the exercise in the storyboard.

Thus, Raptivity can help instructional designers to visualize content and decide on the graphic treatment, irrespective of whether it will be actually used to develop the course or not. Interesting! Isn’t it?

Have you ever used Raptivity in this way? Share your comments below.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Five Tips To Make an Instructional Designer’s LinkedIn Profile Shine

LinkedIn is the world's largest professional network with approximately 467 million members across the globe. It can offer a great networking experience to eLearning professionals and can also lead to new business or career opportunities. LinkedIn is a powerful tool to promote your brand (could be your company or you as a professional) amongst thousands of like minded professionals, decision makers, partners, talent seekers, or customers. 

LinkedIn recently redesigned its UI, thus bringing Conversations and Content to the heart of the platform. In-line with this redesigned user experience that LinkedIn offers now; I am going to share some tips that could make your profile stand out as an eLearning professional, and specifically as an instructional designer. Some tips would be generic and fairly simple, while others could be used to specifically display your work and skill set.

1. Picture
This is the simplest of all. Your LinkedIn profile picture puts a face to your profile, a face that people could relate to. Not having a profile picture or using an unprofessional one is not admirable. So stick to a good profile picture, a professional headshot always does the trick.
The new thumbnail of your LinkedIn profile picture is a circle. To ensure that the thumbnail image looks like what it should, go to edit your picture and confirm that it appears the way you want it.

2. Background Photo
Use the background image to talk about something significant like your organization. The new dimensions for the background image are 1536 x 738. Even when you use the correct dimensions, ensure that you consider the image and text positioning. A fuzzy image that doesn’t adhere to the required dimensions or an image with text or graphics getting cut is not appealing to the viewer. So double check once you are done. An interesting way that graphic designers could use this feature is by using some innovative infographic or tag-cloud as the background photo. The infographic could be made from snapshots of your work, whereas the tag cloud could speak about your skills.

3. Headline
The headline is possibly the most important part on your LinkedIn profile. It should be about what you do rather than what you are. Use these 120 characters to generate curiosity in the viewer to know more about you. Weave in your specialty and leverage it to the fullest. For example, if you are an instructional designer, a very creative and jazzy headline could be something like this: Instructional Designer, Storyteller and Thinker who weaves magic in her courses. Oh, and people love my storyboards.

4. Summary and Experience
The Summary section is a very critical element of your LinkedIn profile as it showcases your professional story. With the new look, only the first two lines of your Summary are visible upfront. You need to grab people’s attention now to read more. So let your summary be crisp, and include the most important and interesting stuff at the top. Also, be mindful of spacing. Nothing puts down a viewer as much as an unevenly spaced summary text.
While stating about your experience, state your current position and also fill up information about all your previous work assignments. It adds credibility to your profile. Ensure you do not add any incorrect information.

Add your Portfolio
A very interesting and effective way of making your LinkedIn profile stand out as an instructional designer is by adding your portfolio. And as the LinkedIn team itself states, rich, tangible examples show your quality of work and give people a reason to interact with you. You could do this by uploading relevant media files or sharing links to any external media under the ‘Summary’ or ‘Experience’ section.
This makes your profile visually appealing and also helps people see samples of your actual work rather than just reading some text around it. You could also design your own examples to be uploaded as media. But ensure you do not include anything that comes under the ownership/copyright of your current or previous employers. 

How to do it?
Well, PowerPoint and Videos are two effective ways of going about it. If you choose to go with a PowerPoint, make it interactive by inserting ready-to-use interactivities from a tool like Raptivity. The benefit of interactive stuff is that it can engage the viewer unlike a static PowerPoint. 
You could even demonstrate a complete project story by building a PowerPoint with interactivities. It can talk about everything right from your course objectives to the software you used, to the challenges you faced and how you overcame them. Leverage the power of storytelling using interactivities.
If you choose to go with creating a video, you could either add narration and convert your PowerPoint to a video or build a video from scratch depending on what works better for you. Videos are undoubtedly the most effective way of conveying your story and examples.

5. Strengthen your profile further
  • Education: Filling up the following sections - Education, Certificates, Awards (If applicable), showcases your continual growth and helps you strengthen your profile further.  Also make sure to add your contact information so that people can quickly reach out to you if required.
  • Featured Skills: The new profile view only shows the first 3 skills you have listed in the Skills & Endorsements section. Since you can reorder your skills, select the top three that are most important to you to be visible.
  • Groups: Join the right eLearning and instructional designing groups and be an active member there. Start commenting on posts and articles, or initiate your own discussions whenever required. This will help you become visible to the fraternity and will also serve as a platform to showcase your expertise.
  • Incorrect Spellings and Grammar: Be wary of incorrect spellings and grammar, be very wary! Wrong spellings and grammar can spell disaster for instructional designers, or rather all eLearning professionals. So proofread everything that you post, on your profile, or anywhere else on LinkedIn. 
Got more tips on using LinkedIn to the fullest? Share them with us below. Let us promise ourselves to leverage the power of this amazing platform called LinkedIn. Let us all rise and shine.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A Trainer's Perspective on Making Corporate Training More Productive

For quite some time now, we have been focusing on how to make corporate training better. In a recent blog post, we spoke about making compliance training fun. Continuing on the same lines, today we are going to explore how to make compliance, and rather, all internal training more interesting for employees. We would explore the first-hand experience of a customer (Name Confidential) on how she made training more interesting for her organization’s employees. For the sake of remembrance, let’s call this customer Miss T.
Why T? Well, I could have called her A, B, C, or any other alphabet, but since T could very well stand for Trainer, let’s go ahead and see what Miss T had to share. Oh, and by the way, Miss T is responsible for building and delivering internal training programs at a global publishing house.

Me: How important is compliance training within your organization?
Miss T: Internally, our compliance training is very important, from the Board Chairman! The CEO! The President! And all the way down to everyday employees. Sometimes it is tied to our employment, sometimes to our goals, and sometimes assigned by HR, which holds our managers responsible for our completion. 

Me: What is the downside if employees are not fully engaged when they undergo compliance training? 
Miss T: If employees are disengaged, but technically fulfilling the requirement of being present for the training, they risk not learning the important lesson. For instance, some rules in our annual ethics training that breaking just once is not a warning for an employee, it is termination.
In the corporate culture, we have engagement issue like everyone else. Actively disengaged employees pull down the team. I’ve read that it takes four engaged employees to cancel out the bad effects of just one disengaged employee. What I see is social pressure to conform, to pay attention, to be mindful, and to try hard. 

Me: How has the response to your compliance and other internal training been?  
Miss T: My biggest success is when I only train one person and assign that person to train two people. That focus ensures that my one person is paying total attention. They want to train the other two successfully, too, as they have just demonstrated they are ready for a more managerial role. I have, in effect, discovered the team’s motivation—the ‘What’s in it for me’ question—and it’s their career. When I tie the training to their career, employees give their undivided attention. 
Before that, my success rate was half and half. For some companies, that’s a great response! I think the norm is closer to 10%. I realized that the employees interpreted the training as demos—suggestions—and, while I built a bond with them, the training was not retained. 

Me: Have you experimented with any strategies to make your training more interesting or fun? 
Miss T: When we have offered prizes, held contests, the results were disappointing. My goal since then has been to make employees laugh to make the training memorable, also to get them to start talking and feel easier about asking a question. I once used a theme of dessert treats so they couldn’t wait to see the next slide, plus they knew I knew they were hungry as the training was before lunch. I also ensure that my training content is visually appealing and highly interactive.

So these were some interesting strategies that Miss T employs for making training a little less boring and a lot more productive. Do you have any unique ideas deployed at your workplace that improved your training? Do share them below.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Upcoming Webinar: Raptivity - A Solution to Your Key Instructional Design Challenges

An instructional designer knows well how difficult and time consuming it is to develop an eLearning course where multiple stakeholders are involved. A large team calls for more reviews, more feedback and more iterations. Raptivity, your ever-favorite interactivity building tools, can be your magic wand to handle such scenarios too. That means not only can Raptivity help you develop highly interactive eLearning courses, but it can also assist you to make the complete process of eLearning development smoother. 

If you are interested to know more, join us for a complimentary webinar on Feb 22, 10 am PST with Desiree Pinder. Desiree is the Executive Director of Artisan E-Learning where she helps companies get up and running with e-learning initiatives. She is also recognized as an Interactive Learning Thought Leader due to her much acclaimed work. 

This webinar will touch on how Raptivity can assist in the following:
  • Content visualization 
  • Developing proofs of concept
  • Improving communication with subject matter experts 
  • Rapid storyboarding
  • eLearning course creation 

Wait no more and register for this webinar here. We look forward to seeing you in the session.