Three myths about eLearning: motivation

No video, no animation? Is this modern eLearning?

As we have stated previously, the essential problem in eLearning is that it is hard to grab learner's attention as too many more interesting things are just a click of mouse away. So the third pitfall often comes in the form of the question:

"Do you really think that the user's focused without animation or video?"

We answer - yes, we can. We can do this if we use supports we define as internal, external and systematic.

Internal suport

Let's start with the internal motivation. If getting new knowledge has a direct link to future benefits - career advancement or opportunities, more respect from peers, no other "carrots" are needed.

This is the vehicle of professional qualification such as CIMA, ACCA, CIPD etc. as well as MBA programmes.

Employees in this case need some support from their employers, but in this case employers should not be very concern about how to daily motivate the learners.

External support

External support refers to organisational actions that aim to support corporate learning. For example, large accounting firms want all employees in audit functions to be qualified - even in countries where the accounting qualification is not required for auditing. The firms pay for tutoring and exams.

Another forms of external support are rewards for those who finished the learning programme or requirement for future employee to finish a custom simulation.

System support - flashcards

Systematic support comes in two interconnected forms. First type of support requires the content to be prepared in a special way. We don't need fancy animation, video or gamification to support the cognitive process of learning, we should start with the content itself. It should be:

  • short,
  • visual,
  • repeatable.

Another word for the optimal form in which the short, visual and repeatable content is presented is flashcard. The content of the short card with the visual should be transformed into a question. The optimum is two-three paragraphs with two-three sentences each.

The user reads about 10 such cards daily, and answers about 10 questions on cards previously read. This leaning methods works with short attention spans and lack of time of all modern learners.

System support - leverage

For the second form of system support we need to engage line managers into the learning process. In this case we get "pressure from above" or leverage:

If the employee skips learning day after day or has poor results, it negatively impacts the results of their boss.

If the line managers skips assessments of their direct reports it negatively affects the metrics of their bosses.

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