“The most important principle for designing lively eLearning is to see
eLearning design not as information design but as designing an experience.”
Planning requires the involvement of key stakeholders in an organization. Meeting with them individually and as a group will uncover several touch points that may not be too hard to implement in an eLearning course, but will make a world of difference in managing their expectations!
Why is it important?
Managing expectations involves listening to individual and organization needs for training. Ask yourself these questions:
How will eLearning enable us to improve the current learning and performance situation?
Who is expecting what, from this eLearning project
Including expectations in an eLearning plan is crucial for a smooth design and development procedure. Architects create blueprints, programmers write pseudo-code, and instruction designers (ID) create an instructional design plan. This step enables IDs to gather and collect as much information about the learner, the content and the goals of the learning materials/expectations from the course.
Planning also involves adding layers to the instructional design. After completing data collection on learners and content, instructional strategy is determined. This helps ID’s decide whether the training would be instructor-led training (ILT) or standalone learning material. ID’s also collect and analyze data to decide what multimedia to be used.
Then comes the interactivity layer. How will mastery be achieved? What opportunities to provide to enhance mastery, synthesis and application of concepts? What assessments to include? How to measure the success and learner-centeredness of the course?
All the above-mentioned activities are developed through expectation management. In this eBook, we reveal how to plan for each.
Why plan and manage expectations for an eLearning course? You may ask. Here is why:
- To satisfy the various stakeholders interested in your eLearning project.
- To design an experience that makes them receptive to your material.
- To improve training attendance in your organization.
But above all, to enable your stakeholders to meet their learning goals and development needs. Organizations have defined learning gaps they need to fill. Training managers have a detailed analysis of these gaps. Being able to fill these gaps with eLearning will lead to an enhanced expectation management from the online course.
Successful organizations who meet or exceed their key performance indicators or KPI’s actually have an established online training platform. They depend on the eLearning courses in this platform to continue to create better business prospects for them.
In short, effective eLearning is at the core or the driving force behind successful organizations. The effectiveness of these courses is corporate culture dependent. These courses evolve and improve in accordance with the needs and demands of a particular organization. Who determines these needs? Stakeholders like trainers, IT personnel, managers, customers and senior professionals. An effective eLearning course is all about planning with these key stakeholders.
What learners expect
Placing learners at the top of the planning phase creates learner-centered courses. What do learners desire in an eLearning course? When planning to design an experience, we cannot oversee effective features of an eLearning environment. What colors, graphics, interactivity, sounds, videos and teaching tone will you use? Will your learner be transferred to “another planet”? Will they feel mesmerized by the elements on the screen? Will they feel excited or thrilled at a game style activity? Will the colors stimulate them? Or will your learners feel gloomy and “stuck”?
Remember your unpleasant eLearning experience? Plan to create everything but that! Ask around. Find out what the “bored” learners disliked about their experience. Make a list. Plan.
What management expects?
Managers expect a 100% transfer to the work context. They evaluate the training materials using evidence of utilizing it in the field of work. Managers and senior employees can track changes in efficiency and task fulfillment after an eLearning course has been completed. If these supervising individuals are satisfied, the training is indeed successful. Feedback on formal evaluation forms from these supervisors will add to improve the plans for subsequent training. A successful expectation management plan includes extensive evaluation and reflections from both learners and managers.
What are some of the possible goals for an eLearning course? Satisfying the management? Improved learner retention and course completion rates? Enhancing trainer facilitation experiences?
Yes and more goals for an organization include:
- Improving market share through better performance (example: customer service or efficiency).
- Managing organizational knowledge passed on by senior management.
- Developing a community of practice or a social network for sharing knowledge.
- Improving existing training materials.
- Aligning performance and learning objectives.
Involving the trainers in the planning process will further refine the eLearning experience. These individuals are the communicators of the online course. They need to learn how to make the most of all interactive and informative features of a training program. Technical details and upgrades have to be discussed with them.
Trainers also provide insights – the “lessons learned” feedback based on their past course facilitation experiences. Which type of course or workshop was enjoyed the most? What was its format? Was it blended or asynchronous? What courses had the highest dropout rates in the past? Which ones had the highest completion rates? Can you establish a trend or a pattern of preferences? Plan your next course accordingly.
Trainers and training managers make a great team for the expectation management process.