This blog from learning designer Robin Nicholls looks at a common L&D dilemma: how to create multiple versions of an eLearning course.
One of the major challenges we face in the eLearning industry is that we often have to write for very large audiences, who vary a great deal, while still creating content that is compelling and appropriate for every member of the learner group. There are two steps that can help us to create multiple versions of an eLearning course.
The first is to understand how our learners vary, and the second is to try to differentiate the eLearning we create based on that understanding.
Let’s look at both of these steps in turn.
1) How do learners vary within a learner group?
Learners may vary in terms of one or more of the following:
Language and location
Learner groups can consist of thousands of people across several continents. Generally, the bigger the organization, the larger and more diverse the learner group. The audience for an eLearning course written, for example, for a global bank could include English speakers in America and Britain, Mandarin speakers in China, and French and Spanish speakers across Europe and South America. In addition to differences in languages across these locations, cultural norms and guidelines are also likely to vary a great deal.
Seniority and expertise
We often need to create learning for multiple levels within an organization – from new starters to top-level executives. Expertise can also differ widely, and this will not necessarily correspond to levels of seniority or experience. In technology-focused learning, such as cyber security, new starters will often have greater understanding and confidence than those at the top, who may have been in the organization for decades.
Device type and capacity
Learners may be accessing the course content on a standard desktop computer in their workplace, or they may be accessing it on a smartphone or tablet during their commute. They might be sipping on a hot beverage in a coffee shop with high bandwidth wifi, or out in the field with limited connectivity.
2) How can learning be differentiated?
So once you have identified the variations in your learner group, how can you differentiate and personalize your eLearning to account for these variations? Display Conditions are a great way to create learning that caters for different audiences.
Here’s what they look like in Gomo:
As you can see, Gomo offers a whole series of conditions. They allow you to filter content based on:
Role, level or language
In conjunction with a role filter at the beginning of the course, you can decide which content to display to which learners. You may, for instance, choose to use different imagery or video content based on the learner’s location, or different text or audio content depending on their role and level of seniority. These differences, and others, are accessible via the User variable and Active language display conditions.
Beginning an eLearning course with a diagnostic assessment allows you to test each learner’s current level of understanding. Filtering content based on the results of this assessment is a very good way of differentiating the content based on level of expertise. This has the additional benefit of saving lots of time, since employees who need the eLearning less, spend less time completing it. These differentiations are accessible via the Asset correctness and Topic score display conditions.
Desktop, tablet or smartphone
Although Gomo adapts responsively depending on what kind of device the learner is using, sometimes you may want or need to present questions and interactions in an entirely different way for different devices. Large images featuring drop-down text menus might work well on desktops and smartphones, for instance, but will lose too much detail to be viable on many smartphones. In these situations, you can choose which content to display on which device using the Device type display condition.
Keep checking back for more handy, practical tips on getting the most out of Gomo’s Software As A Service (Saas) offering.