By Lisa Vitale
On October 13th, my colleague, Tim Devine and I, joined our President, Dan King, representing CARA at an impressive fall event hosted by the Southeast Wisconsin’s chapter of ASTD (SEWI-ASTD). The event was a workshop facilitated by William Horton, Author of E-Learning by Design. To say that this event was well-attended would be an understatement – there was absolutely NO attrition—none! We were honored to sponsor this successful workshop and it’s a good thing Tim packed enough clear plastic CARA water tumblers. All 150 participants enthusiastically received a little take away from CARA.
And speaking of take aways, each participant had various reasons for attending. Some were focused on bringing creative eLearning ideas back to their workplace. Others were interested in how to motivate their organizations to use eLearning when it’s the right solution. Some were there because they felt it was integral to become familiar with the various eLearning techniques that could be applied, and others wanted to learn how to make their own eLearning more engaging. And, there were others without any eLearning experience with a strong desire to be “in-the-know”. What was evident to me was that each individual respected Mr. Horton’s expertise in this field as they appeared to hang onto every word he uttered.
William Horton states that successful eLearning requires more than showering learners in information and force-marching them through tedious activities. He artfully explains that Designers must motivate learners to engage with the content and process of eLearning. The Designer needs to connect to the learner’s goals and past knowledge; and try to apply the learning experience to their work or life skills.
His objectives were clear:
- Motivate learners to want to learn the content.
- Engage learners in challenging activities that result in deeper comprehension.
- Connect chunks of learning to prior learning experiences and to learners’ personal goals.
- Ensure that learning gets applied in work assignments, and reinforced in future learning and throughout life.
Horton showcased a variety of effective eLearning activities which would help the learner Absorb, Do, and Connect.
Absorb: Activities that involve reading, listening and watching. Incorporate:
- Online libraries
- Online museums
- Slide Shows
- Information Films
- Field trips using guided tours and travel journals
- Discussion Presentations
- Dramas using tools such as Podcasts and Videocasts
Do: Practicing and Discovering. Integrate:
- Drill and practice activities
- Hands-on activities
- Guided analysis
- Teamwork activities
- Immersive role playing
- Software simulations
- Interactive case studies using virtual libraries, case studies, and role playing scenarios
Connect: Link learning to life, work and past knowledge. Include:
- Rhetorical questions
- Cite-example activities
- Evaluation activities
- Summary activities
- Brainstorming activities
- Scavenger hunts
- Work document activities
- Decision activities
William Horton extracted principles that apply throughout many areas of study. He shared his techniques for designing effective learning activities that can be implemented on various budgets by using tools that are already in use by organizations.
Considered by another industry guru, Dr. Donald Kirkpatrick, as the #1 authority on eLearning, William Horton demonstrated how he earned this tribute and graciously conveyed his perspective on an eager group of participants.
By the way, CARA came away with a genuine respect for the many talented Designers in Southeastern Wisconsin and a commitment to partner with the representative companies as they expand their eLearning capacity and require additional resources to meet future deadlines.