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St Albans, Herts, United Kingdom, 2013/02/04 - Tom Kuhlmann, one of the world’s best known e-learning designers and in the ‘World’ list of the Top Ten Movers and Shakers in corporate online learning, discussed the ‘what, when and how of interactivity’ with an invited audience in London, UK.
Hosted by Omniplex, an official certified Articulate partner and an Articulate Centre of Excellence, as a service to its clients and customers, the event gave Tom, who’s particularly associated with the Articulate suite of rapid authoring products, an opportunity to outline his personal philosophy with regard to building online learning materials. He began considering ‘interactivity’ by posing three questions:
• What content needs to be in the ‘course’?
• What’s the right ‘look and feel’ for the course?
• What does the learner have to do?
“Once you start to consider the learner, you start to get involved in ‘interactivity’,” he said and suggested that people interact with online learning materials for only three reasons: in order to navigate; collect information, and make decisions.
“Avoid creating a ‘clunky course’,” Tom advised. “Get to know how to use the authoring tools you’re using otherwise you’ll create a clunky course which will only generate negative feedback.”
Tom said that in addition to creating content that’s relevant to the user, designers should also consider the visual aesthetic. He said: “A good looking course isn’t necessarily a great course but it won’t get the user’s attention if it doesn’t look good. I’d rather have a good looking bad course than a bad looking bad course!
“Give the learners control of the learning. Give them a map to enable them to see where they’re going. Let them choose how to learn allowing those who need more and those who need less information to find the course helpful.
“Give the users a reason to explore the course and collect the information they need. It’s the ‘push versus pull’ argument: let the users decide how they get the information they need.”
Tom outlined a simple course scenario:
• Challenge understanding find out what the users already know and, therefore, what they need to know
• Offer some Choices
• Choices produce Consequences
Tom went on to outline a ‘rapid interactivity designer’ model: the ‘SAID model’. This comprises:
• Situation during which the user is given relevant, clear expectations
• Advice the user has to explore and collect (‘pull’) advice to get the necessary information to make an informed decision
• Interpret the advice to make a
• Decision and get the appropriate feedback
The learner has control over the ‘interpret’ section of the course. The decision aspect is based on the ‘challenge/ choices/ consequences’ scenario.
Commenting at the end of the event, Katy Burrows, of Thomas Cook, said: “I’ve been following trends in e-learning and social media developments for some time. Tom’s presentation ‘tied everything together’ and the models he discussed especially the ‘SAID’ model provided some good ideas too.
Sharon Probets, of the South West London and St George’s Mental Health Trust, said: “Tom’s presentation was very inspiring. I took lots of notes and got lots of ideas from today’s event.
“We produce a great deal of e-learning for ‘compliance’ purposes. The challenge is how to make this attractive,” she added.
“Tom’s ideas about letting the learners control the learning experience and generating tension in the online learning materials demonstrate that ‘interactivity’ is real ‘value for money’. Today’s event has been really worthwhile.”
Tony Wardle and Maria Brugel, of BAT, said: “We were here looking for practical tips. The ‘SAID’ model that Tom outlined was very interesting. It’ll be helpful to give this model to our subject matter experts.”
Priya Murray and Lisa Davies, of Travelex, commented: “Tom’s presentation provided a great many insights. We found it to be very informative and interesting.”
The Articulate suite of rapid development e-learning tools is based on the view that, in today's fast-paced business environment, organisations need to empower people with expert knowledge. This means that organisations must be able to produce employee training/ learning materials quickly and effectively. In turn, this means that the tools that produce these materials must not only be able to create exceptional e-learning content but also be easy to use.
Omniplex (omniplex.co.uk) is a leading provider of e-learning and related tools and services for:
• informal learning (ad hoc, peer-to-peer, social learning);
• formal learning (authoring solutions, learning delivery and tracking, and learning reinforcement) and
• training, support, content development and integration services.
Based in St Albans, Hertfordshire, in the UK, and in Montreal, Canada, Omniplex is an official certified Articulate partner and an Articulate Centre of Excellence. It supports clients across Europe and North America.