What separates the typical e-course that most solopreneurs create from those created by instructional designers out in the corporate world? In this blog article you’ll get a look at this and hopefully think about how you might begin to close the gap.
Many of the solopreneurs I’ve worked with – maybe nearly all of them – have never had a great e-learning experience. Sure, they’ve likely purchased and gone through other entrepreneur’s series of videos and worksheets that were packaged up as a course. But they haven’t seen a truly lovely example of the best of what e-learning can do. It’s a crying shame.
This is a blog post about what’s possible. Unicorns, flying pigs, you know – that kind of thing. But hey, it’s a new year so…
Here’s some great examples about what’s possible in e-learning:
Showcase #1: Teaching pet owners living in shared communities to be more responsible.
What to notice:
- How this module immerses learners in real-life scenarios that they will actually be part of when they finally get to implementing the teaching.
- Places where the learner has to think and interact with the content.
- That all the resources are available for learners if and when they need them.
- How much of the learning is directed by the learner – they have many opportunities to direct what the learn and how deeply.
- How the images and avatars make you feel that you are gaming. And isn’t gaming fun?!
Warning! Warning! This video is *not* the actual e-learning module, it’s just a video to quickly show you what’s in the module! Got it? Now, take a look:
Showcase #2: Teaching financial literacy.
Check out how many of the things you noticed in the last video also show up in this one. Good stuff!
Okay, let’s shift focus from all-out courses to possible pieces that could be plugged into a course you might make:
Showcase #3: Teaching photographers how to optimally adjust their settings
Here’s an example of a simulation that could be a great part of a fuller course.
Showcase #4: Helping nurses diagnose and treat patients.
Here’s a great example of throwing learners into the deep end, so to speak. This module uses a common and powerful technique that instructional designers use to engage learners.
Click on the image below to check out how sneaky the “teaching” is. (Hint: You learn what you need to learn in response to the choices you make.)
What’s missing in this one?
- The intro! We’ve been plopped right into this module! (Obviously, don’t do that in real life!)
- The ability to navigate around the course. (Adults typically like to be in control of their learning.)
- You really don’t know how large this thing is. Let’s hope that this was conveyed before we jumped in. (‘Cuz that can be an impediment to your learners.)
- Anything else?
Showcase #5: Teaching podcasters about audio.
So, how much more interesting would letting learners explore a setting be over someone droning on about audio technology? Check it out:
There -you’ve now seen what’s POSSIBLE (Remember when I said that this is a blog about what’s possible?)
But let me be clear…
- You are an instructional designer who can swing from the tech trees (which means using one of the powerful authoring tools such as Articulate 360 or Adobe Captivate). Or, you can hire someone who knows how to use these tools.
- You are an animator or visual designer. Or, you can hire one if you don’t want to use the standard stuff that comes in the tools I just mentioned.
- You understand ways that people learn best. Or, you hire someone who does.
The reality is….
Most of our peers creating online courses AREN’T making these kinds of advanced e-learning courses or components like I’ve been showing you, here. They’re shooting videos, creating handouts, running Facebook groups for their students. They’re not doing this fancy stuff.
It’s expensive to do this high-end stuff. As in thousands of dollars expensive. And if you’re thinking that maybe *you* might be able to learn this yourself I’m gonna burst your bubble right now: I really don’t think so.
Instructional designers who create high-end e-learning spend years honing their craft. They pay buckets for the tools and buckets for the training. And they aren’t faced with huge learning curves each time they sit down to create a new project.
So why did I even write this blog article? Because it’s good to know what you could be shooting for – and to perhaps start to integrate small bits of interactivity into your own courses right away. For example, it could be within your reach to hire someone to create something like the audio tech or photography interactions you saw above.
It can be worth it. As much as you can get the learner to…
- engage in your content,
- apply what they’re learning in a simulation close to reality, and
- practice and get feedback,
…your students are getting closer and closer to truly learning what you’re teaching them. You win as a teacher, they win as your student. 🙂
So, there’s something to think about.
And if you’re interested, your next likely question is probably going to be:
How do you hire one of these peeps who can make your teaching come alive?
If you’re searching for the right terminology, here you go: freelance instructional designer. That’s the term you can use.
And if you’re thinking you’ll do this when pigs fly, at least employ good learning practices! Keep learning from this blog and any other places you find where instructional designers and learning people teach and inform. And make what you do create as effective as possible.
Here’s a few of my blog articles that will help:
Good luck with your course!
As usual, let me know if I can help with anything.