eLearning: Three Ways to Use It Differently

The Towson University Center for Professional Studies (CPS) develops customized workforce training programs for clients within the government and corporate sectors. One way our team does this is through the use of customized eLearning tools.

When we think of eLearning, we usually think of slides with bullet points, images, and quizzes. It’s a linear program where the learner is starting at Point A and ending at Point B with the learning content in between. This is traditional eLearning and although it has its place, there are many other uses for eLearning authoring tools outside the norm. Let’s take a look at three ways the CPS team can help you use eLearning in a different way:

1. Resource Library

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Sample resource library for a master trainer class.

An eLearning authoring tool has the ability to customize and build courses, but it can also be customized for different needs as well. Building a library of resources is simple and effective. Slides can be structured like a flow chart, where one section can lead back and forth to another. This gives us a great navigation tool to work with. Let’s imagine we’re teaching a “Train the Trainer” course where instructors will come into our classroom. The purpose of the course is to give the instructors the tools and knowledge they need in order to be an effective instructor. We can build a library of links and documents, categorized into different sections such as “Learning Theories”, “Evaluation”, and “Training Techniques”. We can even put the course onto a flash drive and send the course home with the instructors, that way they’ll always have access to the content.

2. Standard Operating Procedures

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Video developed for use in a SOP library.

Another way we can use eLearning software is to create a Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) library. This is similar to a resource library in terms of structure, but differs in content and process. Imagine that a manager of a division is leaving their current position and a new manager is being brought in. What tasks and processes do they need to know? Probably quite a lot, and it’ll be overwhelming enough as it is for a new manager to get comfortable with their new responsibilities. So as an eLearning developer, we can suggest that we develop a SOP library with all the procedures the previous manager would want to pass on to a new hire. The content can be screen captured by video to include mouse movements, filling out a form, and audio as the content creator goes through the steps required. This can serve as a huge help to a new hire.

3. Tests & Quizzes

Usually tests and quizzes come at the end of a course to assess the learning that has taken place. Usually these come in the form of multiple choice only. We can dedicate an entire course to tests and quizzes and really expand their functionality. For instance, we can use branching paths to change the difficulty of the questions depending on previous answers. If the learner was repeatedly answering questions categorized as “easy”, we can then divert the quiz to show more difficult questions. Likewise, we can lower the difficulty of the questions if the learner repeatedly gets questions categorized as “difficult” wrong. We can also use more involved questions setup with scenarios, videos, and interactive features.

If you or your team could benefit from a customized eLearning solution, let me know. The Center for Professional Studies team would be happy to find a creative solution for your needs.

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Justin Venters
Justin Venters is an e-learning specialist at the Center for Professional Studies. He develops creative e-learning solutions for clients and consults on online course development, graphic design, script writing, and instructional design. Justin's posts focus on e-learning trends and non-traditional solutions.