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Magic 8 Ball for e-Learning November 30, 2006

Posted by Ben Craigo in Intructional Design, Trends.

One of the biggest challenges with all training is making it engaging and impactful for the learner.  For e-Learning this is even more challenging because there is no facilitator there with the learner to gauge how they’re reacting so that the presentation can be modified on the fly.  This gets even more complicated as you account for differing demographics and psychographics in the work place – they all learn a bit differently.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could have the content and delivery be validated ahead of time?  I’m not talking about focus groups – takes too long to put those together.  Something that leverages social networking, history of what has worked (and didn’t) and individual and cultural values?  Like a Magic 8 Ball?

There’s already something like this for the movie business.  An article in the Knowledge @ Wharton newsletter (free registration required I believe) states this in its summary:

Wharton marketing professor Josh Eliashberg has a message for Hollywood: Get geeky. The use of statistical analysis and computer models, he says, can help managers in the movie industry understand why ratings on a given film will vary from country to country. Even more radically, they can lead to the better evaluation of scripts. And using these sorts of techniques, he insists, won’t dim the magic of the silver screen. Eliashberg, Wharton colleagues John Zhang and Sam Hui, and Mark Leenders from the University of Amsterdam explore these topics in two research papers.

e-Learning has lots in common with the entertainment industry.   We use video, animation, audio, producers, scriptwriters, actors, editors and so on to create something that is enticing enough to our target audience to make them want to take the course.  Once they’re in it should be engaging enough to keep them imersed in the content.  And, after they’re done, they should walk away thinking it was a valuable use of their time.

While I’m not sure when, or if, something like this would be available for validating e-Learning in advance of producing it, I would like to know how others decide on what’s the best way to deliver their courses?  Is this something you vary depending on what’s being taught and who it’s being targeted to?  Or is the delivery method locked in because “that’s how it’s done?”



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