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.

 

 

 

Will AI transform eLearning?

We are already experiencing how AI is affecting some facets of our lives. How you ask? The movement sensing lights that go on when you enter an unoccupied conference room or a parking area, intelligent sensors in cameras now that detect a smile and help take good pictures, cars with automatic parking features, Alexa switching on the living room lights, and Google adding items to your shopping list! We have personal assistants in our smartphones that we have rather got used to. The buzz around AI in eLearning has also acquired lot of weight in the last few years. Needless to say, AI is the primary topic of interest at most learning and technology conferences these days. I happened to attend Learning Solutions 2019 Conference in Orlando in March this year, and not surprisingly, AI took the center stage. It was evident from the numerous sessions being conducted around AI and many renowned speakers talking about its impact on the current eLearning scenario. Following are some interesting trends and insights that caught my attention.

Chatbots

Chatbots have become synonymous with AI in eLearning. They stole the show at this conference as well by being the most discussed AI application.

Vince Han, CEO and Founder of Mobile Coach, talked about how chatbots can be an effective solution in connecting learners with resources and job aids they need, and when they need them.

Hugh Seaton, CEO of Aquinas Learning, touched upon how chatbots offer a way to easily create and deploy interactive and adaptive learning sequences in learning engagements. He walked the audience through creating a simple chatbot based on Google’s DialogFlow.

Joe Ganci, President of eLearning Joe, helped identify ways to incorporate a chatbot in your learning project and gave examples of how chatbots can introduce a course and deliver pre-work, give embedded performance feedback during the course, and share personalized tips after the course.

AI and Instructional Design

AI and its effect on instructional designers was the next most discussed thing after chatbots.

A panel discussion titled ‘Where is instructional design heading?’ which was conducted by industry’s instructional design experts discussed how instructional design needs to evolve as new technologies and approaches emerge. The panel gave tips on what can best help instructional designers prepare for where instructional design may be heading.

Poonam Jaypuriya, Vice President of eLearning at Harbinger Interactive Learning, talked about why the fear of AI replacing humans in the learning workforce is unwarranted.  She emphasized on how instructional designers’ role has evolved with the emergence of AI in the learning ecosystem.

With so much to ponder on, it’s but natural to think how AI is making inroads to eLearning and revolutionizing the learning industry.

Apart from the above points, here’s how AI could impress.

  • eLearning powered by AI will differentiate learners’ learning speeds and suggest different paths of learning depending on their current level of mastery.
  • The key to building successful learning experiences lies in asking the right questions. AI-powered platforms can be used to create questions, assessments, and quizzes with greater speed and efficiency.

As I understand, the overall research goal of AI is to create technology that allows computers and machines to function in an intelligent manner. Time will only tell whether AI in eLearning lives upto the hype or not, but for now, the future seems to be bright.

Autonomy in Corporate Learning – Content Guidelines To Follow

By definition, autonomy is your capacity to take responsibility for, and control of your own learning, whether in an institution, or completely independent of an instructor or institution. Does this sound familiar? Can you relate to it? Let’s explore further in this article.

There are drastic changes in our everyday life when it comes to learning, compared to a decade back. Autonomy is a big part of this new age learning and is completely transforming our learning experiences. Kids are learning with apps like Byju’s and professionals are making use of portals like Udemy. Watching tutorials to create curated photos for Instagram and vines for YouTube!

Autonomy in workplace learning has been fueled by certain factors in the recent years. Some of them being:

• Inclusion of millennials and gen Z in the workforce
•High mobile usage penetration
• Rise of the gig economy

Users who opt for an autonomous style of learning are usually the ones who want to learn a particular skill in a very short time frame. These users are expected to grasp concepts quickly and put them into practice immediately.

At the core of it, autonomy demands the focus to shift from a culture of training to a culture of learning.  Building right learning content is the first step towards encouraging it. Here are some good practices to remember as you develop autonomous learning content for your organization.

1. Personalize the course
i. Using terms like “I am here” or ‘’you are here’’ for the user’s status.
ii. Allow users to input their name, which the system dynamically fetches through the course.

2. Make users feel accountable
i. Showing awards or rewards that they have earned.
ii. Having negative scoring also helps sometimes.
iii. Having timers to create a sense of urgency.

3. Guide users without overwhelming them
i. Showing roadmaps or scoreboards for the status – this is very important for self-paced learning.
ii. Using accurate signifiers to guide the user – these ensure that no time is wasted in completing user actions or interactions.
iii. Providing options to revisit or skip.

4. Keeping content light and precise
i. Using smaller animations with greater impact, since the attention span of the modern-day learners is quite low.
ii. Animation screens should always be ‘open-navigation’ and not restricted. Users should be able to decide which part of the animation they want to visit.
iii. Do not use jargonized statements and objectives. Keep the language simple. And also, try and limit the total number of objectives to 4, to keep them achievable.

Autonomy is more of a mindset than a practice. What do you think? Are there any best practices that you would like to share? Comment below!

Learning Trends to Watch Out for in 2019

It is that time of year when we all take a pause and reflect on the year passing by and get ready to welcome the new one. My role as a Proposal Engineer at Harbinger Interactive Learning makes me stretch outside the norms and design interesting solutions for our customers. While looking back at 2018, I realized this year was unique in many ways. It challenged the eLearning stakeholders in many ways and got them out of their comfort zone. All these advancements have paved way for an even more exciting 2019.

Here are the trends I foresee for the upcoming year.

Instructional Design to Learning Experience Design

Instructional design seems to be gradually evolving into learning experience design. Instructional designers will now need to think beyond course instructional strategy, chunking content, and storyboard creation. Delivering learning content in newer ways based on learner behavior would be their new agenda. Applying instructional strategies for newer formats like chatbot, AR/VR, short animated videos, would be very different than applying them to an hour long course. Our instructional designers have already started experiencing this change. Have you?

Redefined eLearning Course Development and Design

The ideal duration of an eLearning course changed from an hour or two to about 30 minutes in the last few years. It would further dip down to 2-5 minute long modules. The delivery formats would now also include interactive infographics, AR content, and other such interesting forms. It implies that every course and every learning experience could be unique. This change would also form the premise for a huge transformation in the way eLearning content development units and L&D departments function, since they won’t be using the waterfall model to develop hundreds of hours of learning in the same format anymore.

eLearning Project Management Moves Agile

Agile project management practices have been around in software development cycle since ages. And they have been talked about for quite some time now in eLearning teams as well. With the type of variety in content being developed now, it would be a welcome to see agile project management in action here as well.

CLOs and Learning Directors Ready to Take Risks

In the past, for many of our proposals, we have been asked to put down the ROI for eLearning development in black and white. But in 2018, we saw that quite a few learning stake-holders were open to newer ideas, trying out different forms of learning content delivery, and not being hung upon the ROI. I don’t deny that ROI is important. And it would have to be asked one day. But, what is important is that stake-holders are ready to take risks. The parameters of ROI are being shifted from “number of hours of learning” to “performance improvement” of an employee in areas that matter. If a support desk employee can get a just-in-time learning nugget on how to fill a complex form and completes that form within record time and handle more support queries, the ROI is achieved.

Netflix-like Experiences in Learning

Today, no learner would like to login to an LMS to take up a course even if they have free time. But, if the same employee is on an internal portal browsing some content and there comes a learning nugget in the context of what they are surfing, there are high chances of them clicking on this learning nugget. And that is how learning would happen now: In-context and nudged based on user actions. A seemingly Netflix like experience where movies are recommended based on what the user watches and surfs. And the recommendations only become better with time.

Artificial Intelligence in Learning

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has made great advancements through the past few years and this year will mark its remarkable presence in L&D setup. AI is going to play a dual role here: Providing personalized experiences and learner evaluation through analytics.

AI-powered chatbots are currently being used to answer financial queries, provide customer support, diagnose healthcare issues, and even offer counselling on various topics. They are already starting to make an impact on education and corporate learning. Bots similar to Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Microsoft’s Cortana could be developed to frontend a course and provide personalized learning experiences.  Besides delivering learning, a chatbot can also provide information about what people learn, how they learn, and what they need to learn. The data recorded from chatbot interactions can be analyzed to see what is being learned and when. It will also tell you what information is missing by recording the queries that it couldn’t respond to. This means that training can become more relevant and effective as it’s based on the demonstrable needs of employees rather the notional needs determined by L&D.

Interesting time lies ahead for the L&D function as some new learning and re-skilling looks to be the order of the year. Do you agree? Get immersed and enjoy the journey!

5 Essentials to Take Care of When Translating English Content to Asian Languages

More than 16% of the world’s population speaks one or the other Asian language. This implies a high probability of your eLearning localization projects including a lot of translations to Asian language. And as with any other language, translating English to any of the Asian languages has its own set of challenges. Let’s look at some of those.

Font Usage

When translating English to any other language, you need to pay special attention to the fonts you are using. This becomes specifically crucial for Asian language projects since their character sets and fonts are starkly different from English.

Cultural Differences

Asian Languages have many cultural nuances specific to each of them. This also implies that the level of formality used in the content or pronunciation for a specific word is different in an Asian language than what you would use in English. This has a direct impact on your project’s voice recording. You should ideally check with the client for any specific pronunciations before proceeding with the recording. Also check on the usage of right titles, salutations, or greetings beforehand.

Grammatical Differences

Because of different language origins, Asian languages are very different in basic grammar when compared to English. There are differences in syntax, genders, usage of verbs and adjectives. The right way to proceed with these is to engage native translator who could pick these out without an issue.

Image Recreation

When working on image recreation for specific languages, you might come across images that have content written on them. Try and refrain from modifying the original content and language on the image since such kind of recreation might have legal repercussions unless stated otherwise. Translate any content on the image and have it placed separately, preferably next to the image.

Glossary Development

Ensure that your translation vendor includes glossary development as a part of the services scope. Glossary development is an essential step in translation projects to ensure consistent translation and easy updates.

 

With their diverse varieties, Asian languages present many interesting challenges in translation. But overlooking even one of them can threaten the client relationship. Your translation projects need to be carefully managed to minimize risks. Instead of a regular storyboard, it is advisable to create a base document with the entire translation scope and seek the client’s approval on it to avoid any last-minute glitches. Also, as a best practice, before proceeding with closing on a translator, share multiple samples of translated content from different translators and seek client feedback on each of those. A native-level translator who understands the culture and its nuances is ideal. If this translator has also served a wide range of demographics, that’s a plus.

If you have faced any other challenges or follow some other workarounds while dealing with Asian language translations, we would want to learn about. Comment below or drop a note to info@harbingerlearning.com.