I have been a strong advocate of Dr. Michael Allen’s CCAF Design Model to adding instructional interactivity to eLearning for the last five or so years. Instead of sitting with the client and rattling off boring mundane questions, I would rather show my passion for learning by “practising what I preach” and getting my facilitator hat on and getting my hands dirty.
I have found that since me using it in my Training Needs Analysis Workshops it gives the stakeholders/clients a chance to feel that they are more involved and also leads to a more powerful and engaging experience for the learner. So far, all my clients that I have run the workshop, they come out happy and confident.
In this article I will try write about each part separately. Hopefully it will help make some things clearer for those come into my workshops. I normally give this as a handout, but I thought I would share this with everyone now.
The context is the framework that points out the situations where your learners will be required to perform their skills. It focuses on increasing learner motivation by adding meaning to the course and enhancing your audience’s experience.
It goes without saying, that needs to be relevant to your learners, so that you can help them relate it to their real life situations and visualize the various alternatives available, as well as the value and the outcomes of their actions. Here the use of real world scenarios, stories, and info graphics.
Storytelling and scenarios are awesome strategies which enables your learners to manage several situations while developing their cognitive skills through reflection, because they require them to provide answers or perform tasks.
Challenge will trigger the cognitive and physical behaviours in your learners. Here we will challenge your learners and prepare them for the real tasks they will face in their personal or professional lives. This stage you will make your learners’ interest and curiosity come out and teach them how to think before acting. This could be metric/performance based or a simple learning objective.
Here we try and introduce the learner to face a difficult situation and get them to solve a problem. It may be a simple drag and drop interaction, but the key is to create strategies that lead to problem solving.
To do this, you need to create the right questions and assessment exercises (in VET, you can look at the Performance Criteria as a basis for this exercise) that encourage your learners to make decisions, to follow different paths and to face the consequences of their wrong choices, also consider rewarding your audience when they succeed. A good and fun challenge technique I have created and written about in the past is the Choose Your Own Adventure approach. You can also employ levels of Gamification in this area.
Activities are all the media used to simulate the real world in order for your learners to respond to the challenges, build their skills, and employ the choices they made.
To be successful in this, you could make a simulation approach into the design of the activities to motivate your learners act in a risk-free environment, learn from their mistakes, as well as try again, as many times as needed, in order to get the idea how to apply that concept into the real world.
Activities can also help learners try different paths and actually face the consequences of their choices, while also providing them with the opportunity to go back and correct their mistakes; a chance that they rarely have in real life.
The activities can also add a level of “fun” via various methods I have explained before in other posts, the key for this technique is the 3M model, which I can do in another post one day.
Feedback is very powerful and it can make all the difference in instructional interactivity. Apart from evaluating your learners progress, it works as a reinforcement of the eLearning concepts taught, which has been proven, enhances retention. The more constructive and real world focused it is, the highest the impact on your learners’ behavior.
I have also in the past integrated social learning into a companies eLearning strategy, by encouraging online discussions in social media, and welcoming the learners to ask questions, share their experiences, and have a discussion board where they can collaborate.
Learners don’t just want to know they got it right or wrong, they need reasons and explanations why the choices they made were right or wrong, so they can analyze the consequences of their actions. This in turn will hopefully help reinforce and motivate them to try harder next time.