This months spotlight focuses on:
- Coaching and Mentoring
- Training before a start date
- Measuring Learning hours
- The best ways to motivate and engage employees
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E-learning slowly but surely wins ground even in the most traditional and conservative institutions, and today almost every school and every organization relies on e-learning if not completely, then at least to some extent. It is a valuable instructional tool, and if used properly, it opens new possibilities that we could not dream about earlier. However, to ensure effective e-learning you should check if your approach is not hampered by some of the following pesky errors.
- Too much of a good thing
It is not unusual, both in e-learning and traditional education, to add some frills and gold plating to spark the interest of learners and make the lesson material entertaining – e-learning provides every opportunity for putting some frosting on this cake. True, bare facts given in isolation are more difficult to remember and it is advisable to engage imagination in the learning process. However, too much of anecdotal information, funny facts and irrelevant stats distract students from the key points of the lesson, activating irrelevant prior knowledge and preventing learners from building coherent mental patterns. Focus on the cognitive interest instead of emotional interest.
- No graphics at all
Though superfluous visual information can be distractive, that does not mean that you should strip your material to the bare bones. Using tables, graphs and pictures to illustrate five key content types: facts, concepts, processes, procedures, and principles always works well, because this way you use both visual and verbal codes. This way human brain has two opportunities to encode the given information into a long-term memory, which is just what we need.
- Words do not meet the action
By action, I mean the aforementioned visuals. If they are not placed side by side to be seen at the same moment, they are wasted. This is just too much to ask from the working memory of your students. Its capacity is limited, and scroll screens where text is situated somewhere beneath the image overload it. They are a good example of a bad e-learning implementation.
The audio narration adds value to your graphics. One of the strongest points of e-learning is a possibility to combine different technics and enhance the retention of skills by engaging multiple sensory channels. It is especially true if the topic is complex and new to the learner. Big volumes of new information can be overwhelming, so splitting them into two channels is very helpful. If learner concentrates on visual representation of some complex process, adding text with explanation can diffuse learner’s attention and worsen the result. If instead, you provide audio to guide a learner through a complex imagery, it will less likely cause overload with new information.
- Too multi
However, the learner must not feel besieged by multimedia. For example, explaining visuals by both text and audio only overloads the working memory of a learner and hinders the main goal – effective delivery of a content, and information retention. Researchers suggest a combo of visuals and audio as the most effective. There are cases, when text can (and should) be omitted in order to boost effectiveness.
- Impersonal representation
Being impartial and providing objective information is one thing, but being impersonal is quite another. Researchers have found out, that people unconsciously use the same communication patterns with inanimate objects as they use in interpersonal relations. Experiments have established that teaching programs that employ first and second person language are more effective than more formal and neutral ones. There must be an image of a tutor – that is more engaging and it makes students treat their tasks with more commitment and diligence – even a voice with no animation works wonders.
Interactivity is a holy cow of e-learning, and I am by no means trying to suggest that is it overrated. However, it only works well, when it is to the point. A quiz to verify knowledge here, a “replay” button there – this is ok, but do not overuse it. Most learners find the abundance of these toys frustrating and interfering with the information flow. Of course, if you are teaching a particular skill, for example, developing a tutorial on ways to monitor imessages, the action-response circle is a relevant technique. It is crucial to provide a feedback for every step of the way in order to build understanding of the process rather than mindless memorization of action sequence.
Avoiding these regretfully common mistakes will make your e-learning courses effective, and learning will be a trouble-free and enjoyable experience for your students!
Every one has strengths. Turn your strengths into competencies for your success and you are responsible for your success”
Our friends over at Unum have released a fantastic infographic on the secret to employee motivation. Working in partnership with AXA PPP healthcare, well-being in the workplace is really important to us.
We know that employee wellbeing is rocketing up the business agenda. Companies all across the UK have realised that a happy and healthy employee is a loyal – and productive – employee. If you’re a regular visitor to Unum's website, you’ll know that they talk a lot about well-being and how you can position your business as a company that cares.
See original article here.
Our recent blog ‘What would be the one piece of advice you would give to yourself when you were 20 which you wish you had received’ looked at a LinkedIn discussion we started that recorded some fantastic answers. Another discussion we started called ‘What is a bigger motivator - rewarding successes or punishing failures?’ also attracted a lot of attention and here is a summary of the answers we got given from the L&D community.
This was the major answer to come out of the topic. It was mostly agreed upon by members of the discussion that people will react differently to each. One theory that arose was the idea that high achievers, whilst liking rewards were not motivated by them and were instead motivated by pressure. Low achievers however, reacted a lot better to rewards. The important thing however is that both are needed in life. One example given was that speed cameras punish you for breaking the speed limit rather than rewarding you for abiding by it. Negative reinforcement was referred to as the more powerful but less preferred method of the two.
Another theme to come out from the discussion was the idea of timing. Punishment was thought of as a good short term motivator when things needed to be done quickly whilst reward was thought of as better in the long term. This seems logical as employees working in a temporary job may not mind the ‘stick’ to motivate them but in a job they plan to stay in long term they are unlikely to stick around if constantly punished and not rewarded a ‘carrot’. In addition to this the idea of when you reward someone was brought up. An example of tipping a waiter at the beginning of a meal but reducing the tip for every mistake made was coined as an example of both reward and punishment.
Another theory that was well thought of was the idea of both punishment and reward being needed at the beginning. Whether this is a specific project, a single job or even the span of your career. However they should be thought of as just tools to get people to the point their motivation comes from within. ‘Drive’ by Dan Pink was heavily recommended and one of his motivators is ‘Mastery’. This is the idea that the best scenario is where an employee is enthusiastic to become the best at what they do and this drives them alone - the ‘Self-Actualisation’ level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
‘Mistake’ rather than ‘Failure’
The final mind-set many people in the discussion believed in was the idea of never using negative reinforcement as there is no such thing as a failure. The idea is to label them a mistake instead. From there you make sure the employee is aware of their mistake and talk it through with them in order for them to learn from it. Here, finding out the reason for the mistake is vital as often an external factor can be the reason (such as personal reasons) and once understood, can possibly be overcome. Therefore a reward isn’t always the best way but a punishment isn’t needed either. These people
thought that punishment was always bad due to the fact the very most it will do is get someone to the minimum required level to succeed but no further.
The response to the question was fantastic and obviously struck a chord with many of the people in the group. Many issues and theories were raised but the above 4 were the most suggested
In addition to this, the resources below were recommended for the subject and below them is an excellent infographic on the subject (click to enlarge).
‘Drive’ by Dan Pink
‘Punished by Rewards’ by Alfie Kohn
Finally below are our 3 favourite quotes from the discussion – if you have an opinion on the subject please tell us!
Simon Fried - Is an opportunity to get more of a motivator more effective than the fear of missing out on the said motivator? Psychology tells us that on average people fear loss more than they are attracted to an opportunity to gain. Too much fear however becomes counterproductive and demoralizing.
Larry Alvarado - You need both but need to learn how to use both and when one is better than the other and how to use both together. The ideal is internal motivation, but until we can get there with someone, rewards and punishments remain part of the tools
Tuhina Bhattacharya - Horses for courses always. There are some who look hard within themselves and have others point flaws and gaps to get them ahead. There are some who thrive on praise and rewards. Then again, different situations will merit different handling.
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