6 Key Things to Consider as Universities Plan to Go Online

Universities across the globe are seeing a huge drop in number of students enrolling for campus education. They are also facing a higher drop-out ratio due to student inability to pay fees in wake of COVID- 19. It is being predicted that many universities and higher-ed institutes may have a sustenance challenge in the coming months if they do not act fast. Mid-tier and small universities, which always had a campus curriculum, are suddenly under a pressure to completely go online.

Going online does not only pertain to delivering classes online using zoom or WebEx; but instead, a complete digital transformation of academic operations and delivery. It affects everyone in the university. And such a transformation can take years to be successful. But do universities have that amount of time in hand? The obvious answer is NO. Then how can a university get this done right rapidly?

Here are few short-term solutions that a university can consider while going online:

1) Use Google Meet or Zoom to take online classes.

2) Use default Moodle with minimum customization to host all your online class details. It does not take more than a couple of weeks to get this up and running.

3) Add some engagement in your online sessions through interactive games, quizzes, exercises, and more.

4) Use a simple nudge system like short emails with key points, concepts, and definitions to reinforce learning content

5) Offer a few free online sessions to attract new registrations to your classes

6) Try and create some marketing collateral such as student success testimonials, parent experiences, and more to promote on social media and university website. Marketing it right would help you get more online registrations to classes and eventually sustain the university.

To get this all streamlined and implemented rapidly, perhaps the most appropriate thing would be to interact with a consulting company which has been into the online learning industry for a considerable period of time and has enough experience in the following fields:

– Technology selection

– Systems to go online

– Tools for teachers, students, administrative, and support functions

– Content development expertise to convert Instructor-Led Training (ILT) to online-friendly sessions

– Rapid yet effective innovative solutions to reduce dropout

– Student engagement solutions for pre- and post-class

Once your short-term system is set, then you can start planning the long term. Do ensure you consider all aspects stated above.

What are some interesting solutions you have used in your university which can be shared with other fellow educators? Do share your thoughts in the comments below.

eLearning Conversations – A Passive Way to Learn

A dialog between two characters to present a scenario for learners – Does this sound familiar? All of us who have been associated with eLearning development, mostly have developed such samples showcasing conversations and scenarios.

There was a time when such conversations were considered an engaging way to learn. To make it more effective, voice-overs were added. But, let us step-back for a moment and think if it is an engaging and active mode of learning? Isn’t it a pretty passive way where the learner is simply watching the screen and is only following what is being displayed? The question that arises then is, if such conversations or scenarios are not very effective, then how do we solve this problem? One possible solution that I can think of is to have the learner interact with the system as part of the scenario. And based on how the learner interacts, the system can respond to the learner and take the conversation ahead. With advancement in technology, chatbots could be used as an important element of this.

Chatbots are a great way to engage learners in a conversation and experience the scenario unfold. To explain it better, imagine a conversation between a doctor and a patient on the symptoms to observe for a disease. The doctor needs to recommend the right medication. To train a doctor well on this scenario, we could have the doctor (learner) converse with a bot which acts as a patient. The bot would respond to the doctor’s examination questions. This would help the doctor to know the right set of questions and gather as much information as possible before getting into the actual scenario. This bot could even be voice-enabled which will allow the learner to talk to the bot.

And how do we take this to an eLearning course? Well, in an eLearning course, a bot can be embedded instead of the conversation slides. And when it comes to questions or assessments based on the scenario, the course can continue like usual. Such chatbots can be created using variety of technologies such as Google DialogFlow, Microsoft Q&A Maker, and Amazon Lex.

Chatbot in eLearning

Interested in seeing a demo? Feel free to reach out to us at info@harbingerlearning.com.

 

 

 

Micro-Learning: The Interactive Way

What is the first word that comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘micro-learning’? More than 90% people would respond, “videos”. Over a period, videos have become synonymous with micro-learning. Interesting videos with the right story-line, engaging graphics, and optimal speed, can be a great micro-learning aid. Even though videos come with a lot of benefits, they are really hard to maintain or update in-line with changing content. In that case, is there a different approach we can look at for developing micro-learning?

Personally, I learn really well through Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Short questions and precise answers can make learning really effective. Owing to rapid technology advancement, we can now create chatbots to consume nuggets of information in question and answer format. A learner can ask a question and get a quick short answer at the point-of-need. It not only acts as a short learning nugget, but also an interesting way to engage learners. Not only can these bots answer queries, but also log analytics of the questions being asked and questions which remain answered. Bots can also be updated easily for frequently changing content and changes can be displayed to learners immediately. These bots can be created using a variety of technologies such as Microsoft Q&A maker, Google Dialogflow, and Amazon Lex.

Have you tried creating micro-learning using chatbots? How has your experience been?

Interested in seeing a demo of FAQ bots? Reach out to us at info@harbingerlearning.com.

Nudge-Learning: Are You Missing it?

How many of us access the Facebook app whenever we get a notification? I am sure almost everyone. This notification alert arouses our curiosity to know more about the update. It is Facebook’s way to encourage our app usage and take us to relevant updates. Now imagine if the mobile app did not have this alert or nudge feature. Would we still access Facebook so frequently? Probably not as many times!

Come to think of it, this is the case with almost all mobile apps. In a busy day when we are multi-tasking, these app alerts try to get our attention and encourage us to use the apps. It is often said, ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ These alerts try and change our behavior on what we give priority to, by being in our sight.

Ironically, even though it is such a useful feature, we are missing it in our organizational learning systems. The learning management systems still follow the traditional approach where they wait for the learner to login to the system and show courses that one has to take and activities to be completed. They don’t nudge learner to take short nuggets of information at regular intervals.

Are you looking for a better and efficient way of learning and reinforcing content in your organizational systems? If yes, then nudge-learning is perhaps the most relevant solution. In this approach, the mobile app pushes content to learner based on learner preferences, checks knowledge retention through regular quizzes, reinforces content at regular intervals, and encourages right learner behavior through badges.

What is important to understand is, it doesn’t take a ground-up new strategy to implement nudge-learning in an organization. One can use existing content and assets to solve their organization’s learning pain points and instill an improved learning culture.

Do you think nudge-learning can help your organization achieve its learning goals? Reach out to us at info@harbingerlearning.com with your thoughts.

eLearning Trends to Watch Out For in 2018

2018

I recently participated in two significant eLearning conferences – Learning 2017 and DevLearn. The key purpose of my participation in these conferences was of course to bring Harbinger’s offerings to the forefront. But apart from that, I wanted to network with like minded professionals and also get some insights into the current and forthcoming eLearning trends. Based on my interactions and experiences, I decided to pen down some interesting trends and technologies that were discussed the most. It will be interesting to look out for them in the year 2018.

1. Course Modernization of Legacy Courses

The Flash sunset has been announced for 2020, and with that, it has become crucial for catalog companies to convert legacy Flash courses to HTML5. This entails a huge volume of work to be handled rapidly while following latest design styles, maintaining quality and learner demands. It is critical for every CLO and content director to strategize the successful enablement of this transition while satisfying the customer too.

Talking about Harbinger’s readiness in this regard, we are fully prepared to work with catalog companies to meet their needs of course modernization – HTML5 support on mobile, micro-learning, latest design styles, accessibility support – and all this, regardless of the availability of legacy content source files.

2. User Experience Design as a Part of the Standard Process

Learners expect the same experience while taking up an eLearning courses as they have with their intuitive day to day applications – engaging, gamified and search friendly. eLearning courses are now expected to be designed considering these parameters, to make the overall experience smoother and relevant. The development teams need to focus not just on the project stake holders; but also on learners.

Harbinger’s ideology and approach has always been learner centric. Our user experience design aims to make the learner’s experience engaging, smoother, and impactful.

3. Long Term Vision while Designing Current Courses

CLOs and content directors are looking for solutions which can not only address their current needs but future requirements as well. Activities like addition of analytics to understand user preferences and usage pattern; are becoming significant. Solutions addressing easy course maintenance, flexible upgrade to new technology are being considered and embraced by one and all.

eLearning partners who can provide such end-to-end solutions and also understand backend technology to generate analytics and relevant reports; are the ones you should look out for.

4. Augmented reality (AR)

With iPhone supporting augmented reality, organizations are moving towards embedding AR based eLearning programs in their curriculum for on-boarding modules, value based training, mechanical training, safety training etc. It would be interesting to see how eLearning companies use this technology, which is now available for masses.

Harbinger has also forayed into the implementation of this technology and our highly innovative learning experiences based on Augmented Reality can give a new dimension to your learning and training.

5. Artificial intelligence (AI)

Using Artificial intelligence for improving the eLearning experience would be something interesting to watch out in 2018. This could involve the usage of chatbots where the system learns and responds based on user actions.

Harbinger has also been working on a solution to make the eLearning development process better and faster using AI. We got a chance to showcase this solution at DemoFest 2017, which garnered lot of interest from various product managers and L&D heads. If not mainstream, I am sure we would see lot of progress on companies trying to play their hands with this technology.

Those were my top 5 picks for 2018. What are yours?