Training can be used to help teach many different things including facts, step-by-step processes, and soft skills like team work. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that there are different ways to teach and assess these various types of learning. It’s usually easier to create learning offerings for the lower levels of learning, like memorizing a definition. But if you’re trying to teach something more complex, such as problem solving, putting more work into the training can definitely pay off. Either way, if you don’t address your eLearning’s purpose it’s likely to fall flat.
It’s easy to say, “Let’s match the training methods to the knowledge and skills we want our members to gain.” But what does that mean and how can your association do it? Creating learning objectives is a good place to start. Then take a good look at the action verbs you used to write the objectives. These provide clues about how in-depth each objective is. For instance, if most of the verbs are about recalling or defining, the learner needs to Remember the content. That’s fairly easy to do when compared to an objective that uses action verbs like “determine” or “judge.” In those cases, the learner needs to Evaluate the content.
There are six categories you can use to help determine the purpose of your eLearning. Here they are, from least to most complex:
Learners recall information when they need it.
Learners can explain and classify content. They make sense of instructions and can visualize how to follow them. (There is a lot more to this category but these are the basics).
Learners actively use a process in an appropriate situation.
Learners consider the parts that make up the content as a whole. They figure out how the parts are connected to one another and to the big picture.
Learners use sets of standards or requirements to judge whether something is relevant, good quality, etc.
Learners produce or build something new.
There’s a good chance that the facts, processes, and soft skills your members are interested in fall into more than one of these categories. That’s fine. Let’s look at an example. Let’s say an association wants to provide eLearning to help its members learn how to use a new piece of equipment. They could create several mini-offerings, or topics, to address the different categories that apply to this skill:
Members need to recognize the parts of the equipment. That way they’ll be able to follow instructions on how to use it. The association could create a job aid that shows a labelled image of the equipment and gives a brief description of what each part does.
The association could post demonstration videos so members can see how to use the equipment. Step-by-step written or visual instructions are also options.
Members need to be able to use the equipment once they’ve learned how it works. The association could create an eLearning simulation to let them practice. Or, a hands-on workshop might be appropriate. Instead of starting from scratch the way a full training would, the workshop could save time by focusing on practice.
If the equipment works the way it’s supposed to, this shouldn’t be necessary.
Practice problems, case studies, and discussions could be helpful if the association decides to offer additional training on how to troubleshoot common problems with the equipment.
The manufacturer should ensure the equipment meets proper standards. Members do not need to do this.
They don’t need to build the equipment, so this isn’t necessary.
You can focus on your eLearning’s purpose(s) by looking at the action verbs in the learning objectives and seeing which categories they fit in. The more complicated the material is, the more thought needs to be put into it to create effective learning. Breaking the overall goal down into smaller pieces can help your association address the learning’s purpose(s) without putting in too much effort where it may not be necessary. Will this post help you Remember the six categories? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.
This article is a basic introduction to Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy
If you’d like to learn more about custom eLearning course creation from Digitec Interactive, visit our eLearning page.
If you’d like to read more about instructional design best practices, check out the rest of this author’s blogs.
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