E-LEARNING

Whether you are new to e-learning or a veteran of the field, you know this powerful delivery modality has the potential to transform your organization. And yet, it offers a veritable and sometimes daunting maze of choices — from avatars to authoring tools. At SweetRush, we live and breathe e-learning, and we partner with you from start to finish. We gain an understanding of your business drivers, your technology environment, and your audience. We identify what your learners need to know or do at the end of the day, and we craft solutions that fit your budget and meet your deadline. Then we get to work. If you need innovative and effective online learning, look no further. We are masters of design and development. As our clients — your peers — will attest, we deliver e-learning that exceeds what you envision and gets your learners excited for more.

e_learning_header_bg

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT E-LEARNING SOLUTION

With so many options available, choosing the right e-learning solution can be daunting.
The solution needs to be effective and resonate with your learners, but also meet your budget. A great consultant can help you by asking the right questions and addressing your underlying needs.

First: Gain some insight into how we consult with our clients. Click the “+” signs to reveal important e-learning considerations.
Then: Scroll down to check out e-learning solutions we’ve crafted to meet our clients’ needs. Click the “+” signs to reveal each case study.

MOTIVATION

When consulting with our clients, we seek to understand why their audience will be motivated to first take the e-learning course, and then to use the knowledge and skills learned when they are back on the job. Even if the training is mandatory, we can still explore ways to increase motivation. Keller’s ARCS Model, Lepper and Malone’s Taxonomy of Intrinsic Motivations, and self-determination theory provide insights on how to motivate learners by addressing both extrinsic and intrinsic motivational factors.

EXTRINSIC

This type of motivation comes from outside the individual, either anticipating a reward or avoiding punishment. When motivation is purely extrinsic, learners focus on the end result rather than enjoy the learning process. However, incorporating extrinsically motivating features—such as points, badges, or certificates—can be very effective techniques.

INTRINSIC

This type of motivation happens when an individual engages in learning for the enjoyment of the process and a sense of accomplishment. When you pursue a new hobby, your desire to learn about that hobby is intrinsic; no one is paying you to learn how to golf. Studies show that when people are intrinsically motivated, they are more focused and attentive. Providing time and freedom to pursue what interests them, as well as building in elements of challenge, storytelling, and curiosity, can heighten intrinsic motivation.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

Originally published in 1956 and revised as recently as 2000, Bloom’s taxonomy is a way of classifying the goals of a training course—what you want the learners to know or be able to do after they complete the training. The spectrum you see here starts with lower levels of cognitive thinking (know, understand) and moves to higher levels with more complex objectives (synthesize, evaluate, and create). Clearly defining the learning objectives upfront is essential for developing effective training and valuable assessment tools. In our experience, we find that in e-learning, the learning objectives greatly inform the complexity level of the solution—the higher the cognitive outcome desired, the more complex the solution often must be.

KNOW / UNDERSTAND

Knowledge and comprehension are lower-level objectives that ask learners to demonstrate their memory of previously learned facts (recall) and understanding of facts and ideas (e.g., by comparing or organizing them). Within e-learning, these objectives are achieved using limited or moderate interactivity – rollover or click-to-reveal interactions and simple quizzes. Audio, video, and avatars can be used to heighten engagement.

APPLY / ANALYZE

Applying knowledge and skills within the training environment calls for a more complex solution. One common example is software simulation, in which an e-learning course provides a safe environment for practicing the steps to complete a task within a system or tool. Analysis is another form of practice that requires learners to examine information and look at relationships and organizing principles. In more complex activities, such as scenarios, learners respond to real-world situations and attempt to distinguish between the good, better, and best responses.

SYNTHESIZE / EVALUATE / CREATE

At these higher levels of cognitive thinking, learners are asked to develop new patterns or alternative solutions and present and defend their opinions. Immersive simulations allow learners to step into a virtual workplace and make decisions about how and where they should spend their time to achieve the best outcome. Layered activities provide an opportunity to develop tangible deliverables during the training, including business plans and summary reports.

AUDIENCE

Learner demographics are another essential consideration when shaping an effective e-learning solution. Below, we look at a hierarchy of audience profiles, but the learners’ environment, age, and gender are other important variables to consider.

ASSOCIATES

Typically, younger generations (including Millennials), associates, and entry-level staff are more accustomed to using digital technology for learning. Their life-long use of computers, video games, and cell phones creates an expectation that e-learning solutions should be interactive and eye-catching. Incorporating social aspects can be effective for this audience. (Learn more about training Millennials.) We want to get this audience up to speed quickly and performing on the job.

MANAGERS

Often with managers, a focus is expanding capabilities and increasing proficiency in supervising, coaching, and consistently applying policies and procedures. For these topics, scenarios can be effective. They offer an opportunity to model correct approaches and receive feedback on incorrect ones within the context of common situations.

LEADERS

At the top of the employee pyramid are leaders: potentially older team members who often demand more high-touch solutions. Sophisticated solutions that incorporate rich media and simulations within classroom or coaching environments are often well received.

BUDGET

Within a learning and development organization, the spectrum of training solutions might be a combination of diverse offerings—similar to a stock portfolio. Not every course needs to be highly interactive, yet not should every course be a low-end page-turner. Here, we look at some reasons for keeping costs down or making a greater investment.

LOW

For temporary or frequently changing content, explore a lower-complexity—and possibly a rapid-development—solution. A smaller audience may also dictate a lower-cost solution for Return On Investment (ROI) reasons. Interactivity will be limited, so these courses should target learning objectives lower on the cognitive scale (know and understand). Pairing a limited-interactivity course with a more interactive virtual or live instructor-led course can be a cost-effective blended solution to target higher-level learning objectives.

MEDIUM

For many organizations, most e-learning solutions will fall in the medium budget range. This range offers a good level of interactivity including activities, quizzes, infographics, and audio. This level is appropriate for the entry-level learning objectives (know and understand), and incorporating avatars, video, and animation increases engagement. Simple scenario or software simulation activities can target higher-level learning objectives (apply and analyze).

HIGH

For solutions that need to address the highest level learning objectives (synthesize, evaluate, and create), or high-priority, mission-critical skill building or messaging, a greater investment is often warranted. At this level, immerse environments allow learners to practice in a simulated work experience, and gamification features (e.g., storytelling, challenge, points, and rewards) increase engagement and motivation.

TIMELINE

Another key consideration is the desired launch date for the e-learning solution. Some business needs may dictate a more aggressive timeline. On the other hand, the desire for a higher level of interactivity and engagement may require a longer timeline. In the scoping phase, we seek the right balance for meeting the time-to-market need and ensuring a realistic project scope for team members—especially the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs).

RAPID

When the solution’s time to market is critical to meeting the business need, rapid development is a good strategy. Launching critical policy and procedural changes and addressing regulatory requirements or feedback are examples of these types of business drivers. The key to a successful rapid development solution is creating a templatized approach for the entire project lifecycle—from gathering content to designing interactivity and using development tools. Open channels of communication and a high level of commitment from all parties are essential for success.

TYPICAL

While we might label any non-rapid project lifecycle as “typical,” we customize the timelines to meet the needs of all team members and the project scope. Before the project begins, it is important to discuss acceptable turnaround times, scheduled team absences, and required layers of approval. Then, we incorporate these factors in the project plan. While the goal is to complete the project in the shortest possible timeframe, being realistic about the time required helps all parties stay on track and avoid delays.

CASE STUDIES

Take a look at these examples of how we used the considerations described above to craft the right e-learning solutions for our clients.

CHALLENGE 1

PRODUCT KNOWLEDGE FOR ASSOCIATES

A retail chain needed an effective solution for introducing new products and brands to its store associates. New product and brand launches often have aggressive timelines, and managers request to limit associates’ time off the floor for training.

MOTIVATION

Associates want to help their customers. This includes being able to answer questions about products and assist customers in finding the right product(s) for their need(s).

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

Know the product features and benefits, understand how to target potential customers, and know where to look for more information.

AUDIENCE

Associates / Millennials

BUDGET

The client’s budget was medium for the initial investment, but the client is looking for a templatized solution that creates cost savings over time.

TIMELINE

The client needed a rapid-development approach that provided a quick-turn solution when a new product or brand is launched in stores.

For our retail client, we developed a template-based, nano-learning solution. These short product knowledge courses cover the main features of the product or brand, how to target customers, and where to find more information, while minimizing time off the floor. Colorful photos, simple activities, and an animated interface keep engagement high.

CHALLENGE 2

VIDEO SCENARIOS FOR PROFESSIONALS

A financial services organization needed a roadmap for preparing financial advisors to meet the needs of high-net-worth individuals.

MOTIVATION

This audience typically perceives training as, at best, a means to an end, and at worst, a distraction. Incorporating intrinsically motivating features was important for increasing focus and attention.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

Learners needed to self-analyze where they are on the path to becoming a wealth advisor and apply their understanding of how to work with high-net-worth clients.

AUDIENCE

This audience includes professionals; largely Generation X and Baby Boomers.

BUDGET

The client’s budget was medium to high, allowing for rich media and interactivity.

TIMELINE

We created a typical timeline that addressed the needs of busy SMEs, while meeting a critical business need.

The blended solution included e-learning as pre-work for an interactive instructor-led training (ILT) session. The e-learning activities allow learners to consider their business and skills and self-assess areas of improvement. Custom video scenarios demonstrate good, better, and best application of skills and require learners to choose the best approach and receive feedback on their choices. Open-response activities provide opportunities for further reflection and prepare learners for the ILT session.

CHALLENGE 3

BUSINESS SIMULATION FOR LEADERS

A large credit card business needed its leaders to understand what makes the business profitable and how cross-functional teams can work together to increase profitability.

MOTIVATION

As the top performers within a competitive industry, these leaders are motivated by achievement and success. They need a high level of control and points of reflection to increase intrinsic motivation for learning.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

Learners needed to assimilate complex information quickly, evaluate the impact of decisions, and create a framework for profitability for the company.

AUDIENCE

This audience includes leaders; mostly Baby Boomers.

BUDGET

This client’s budget was high for an initial investment in a complex solution that would provide high ROI over time.

TIMELINE

We created a typical timeline that allowed for a high level of participation from SMEs and the development of a simulation model.

For our financial services client, we developed a highly complex business simulation that required teamwork, intricate decision-making, and a competitive edge. Working in cross-functional teams, leaders sought to make their virtual credit card business the most profitable by addressing aspects of sales and marketing, account management, and operations. Each decision impacted key performance drivers, including the cost to acquire a new account and customer satisfaction. Spirited debate and an intense horse race amped up engagement, while guidance and debriefs with knowledgeable table coaches reinforced the concepts.

BLOG

Offline-Publishing-and-Viewing-Options-with-Articulate-Storyline®
One of the most popular questions coming from our clients in relation to Storyline-authored content is about offline viewing options. The reasons for such requirements vary. For example, one of our clients is deploying a healthcare-related series of courses in Africa, where at least a portion of the target audience may not have access to...
Read More >
Designing E-Learning M-Learning Tablet PC SweetRush
At a party recently, I noticed that the kids were missing. My mom instincts kicked in, and, slightly concerned, I asked one of the fathers where his son was. His answer only required one word: “iPad.” Sure enough, the kids were huddled around a game, having a great time, clicking and swiping to their hearts’...
Read More >
Nano-learning Learning On Demand Strategy Solution eLearning Performance Support
As learning and performance improvement consultants and developers, we see trends emerge across the landscape of our client base, despite vast differences in the products and services they offer. We see workforces becoming more dispersed and virtual teams an acceptable norm. We see organizations looking to reduce training costs and accelerate new-hire orientation through online...
Read More >
Tips for writing audio narration - rock your next audio script
“Are you ready? Let’s get started!” Audio has always been a core element of e-learning, and today — with the rise of avatars, games, simulations, podcasts, and m-learning — it plays an even more integral role. Tasked with writing both the text on screen and audio scripts, it can be easy for instructional designers to...
Read More >
AVAC and SFDPH engaged SweetRush to develop a five-course blended learning program on Good Participatory Practice guidelines.
The flowers are blooming, the grass is greening, and if you’re like my husband your allergies are flaring. Ahhh, Spring is in full swing! And according to Al Roker this morning, for most of us summer has arrived, too. As you settle into your Spring and Summer routines, I invite you to stop by and...
Read More >
Storytelling Story Instructional Design
What makes content engaging? Courses need to sparkle, or your message goes in one ear and out the other. We add stories to help capture the imagination. That’s a great start. Then we add an avatar coach to guide us and provide narration. Nice idea. It feels like we need to connect the dots and...
Read More >
watch out for the weak handshake during your virtual interview
In the famous infographic “What You Wish You’d Known Before Your Job Interview,” the authors skillfully recite the well-known, long-established facts and statistics about what managers are looking for in job candidates, what questions are most likely to be asked, and what pitfalls to avoid. Most of us are no strangers to the topic, having had...
Read More >
Gestalt Design Theory: Visual Perception
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Steve Jobs was not the first to enlighten us with this quote; it was that brilliant Renaissance man, Leonardo Da Vinci, who coined the phrase. Simplicity and clarity are important factors in human perception and how we process visual information. One could possibly argue that Leonardo’s statement was a premonition...
Read More >
Virtual Reality Training In Your Future
Virtual Reality Training Offers New Ways to Replicate the Learner’s Work Environment Facebook® recently announced that it is purchasing Oculus VR® in a deal worth $2 billion. Oculus VR is the Kickstarter-funded company that is developing Oculus Rift, the virtual reality (VR) headset that will change video gaming forever. Oculus Rift literally puts the wearer...
Read More >
Articulate M-Learning E-Learning Authoring Tools SweetRush
If you are looking to push creative and functional envelopes in your e-learning and m-learning courses, you need rapid development and custom development authoring tools that don’t disappoint. Here are three reasons we applaud Articulate—a company that’s doing things right for the e-learning and m-learning industry. Quality over Hype: Giving Thanks to Articulate for E-learning...
Read More >
Tacit Knowledge SME Subject Matter Experts
Star performers, master salesmen — really any kind of subject-matter expert (SME) — know what they know based on years of experience. They’ve seen many situations, solved many problems. From a training perspective, the value these experts bring is their developed understanding — not only of what they do, but, more importantly, why they do...
Read More >
Integrating CSR and Training is like playing cupid - creating a match made in heaven!
I have been in the training industry for more than a decade, and I also have a long-standing personal interest in corporate sustainability and responsibility (CSR). So, naturally, as I’ve watched the CSR field develop, I ask myself this question: How can the training function support CSR initiatives? The good news is that there is...
Read More >
Adobe Flash Player Fix Correction
On May 1, 2013 Adobe released a small statement on their community forum, acknowledging a problem with the current version of the Flash Player, and suggesting the workaround. You can read the entire statement and the follow-up discussion thread, but it all boils down to the following: If you happened to install the 11.7.700.169 or...
Read More >
having your cake and eating it too designing for multiple mobile devices
This week, I’ve been partnering with a large client in a couple different areas of its organization. One group within the organization is developing a very hip and visually interactive game to teach sales associates about the company’s products. The other group is developing a simple mobile application that’s essentially a product catalog listing the basic features...
Read More >
Convertible tablet laptop
So, the technological tides are turning again, and something that is not so new is making its return, but now the timing is different. Do you own a convertible yet? Do you know what a convertible is? If not, what are you, from 2011? Convertibles are simply your Windows PCs that can function as both...
Read More >
Tips for Training Millennials
In our workplace today we see three primary generations: Baby Boomers, Gen X, and Millennials. Gen X, the generation sandwiched in between the Boomers and the Millennials, is only half as big as the Boomer generation. As Boomers retire, there will only be “experienced” workers to fill half of those positions. This means Millennials will...
Read More >
SweetRush Test Drive Captivate 7
This research is brought to you by SweetRush’s senior software engineer, Andrew Kubay. For those of us in the e-learning and m-learning space, and especially for those who regularly rely on Adobe products, it is impossible to ignore Adobe Captivate. For the past several years, this tool has been one of the most popular software...
Read More >
Business Case eLearning Approval Buy-in
By now hopefully your company’s leadership team has bought off on the concept of e-learning as a cost-saver. We know it reduces time spent off the job, eliminates costly travel costs to attend instructor-led training, and allows us to learn the same amount of content in a shorter amount of time. But what do you...
Read More >
authoring tool LearnDash WordPress LMS
This research is brought to you by SweetRush’s senior software engineer, Andrew Kubay, who was given the task to investigate this newcomer to the LMS scene as a potential inexpensive alternative. Given our experience with WordPress as a content management system, we were intrigued! What Is LearnDash? Simply put, LearnDash is a WordPress plug-in that...
Read More >
Using game features, such as badges, keep learners engaged during training.
Drag-and-drop. Multiple-choice. Matching. These tried-and-true activities have become the staples of e-learning. To me, they’re kind of like the coat and shoes you use to walk the dog: They have their place, serve a purpose, and get the job done, but they shouldn’t be your first choice when you need to really dress to impress!...
Read More >
training meaning meaningful work
The article is the result of a collaborative inquiry begun by our Good Things Initiative team leaders Andrei Hedstrom and Brooking Gatewood. Together we have worked to integrate a meaning of work aspect into our training designs where-ever possible. Read on to find out why we are so excited about this win-win training solution! Today...
Read More >
If You Build It and It’s Not Mandatory, Will They Come?
I’ve been working with a client this week who is seeking to develop a training program for an audience that is in no way required to participate in the program. I’m not going to get into the details of the client: Let’s just say that they manufacture luxury widgets, and they distribute these widgets through...
Read More >
Designing for a New Generation of eLearning
As a designer, it’s easy to make pretty pictures. Now try making designs that go deeper. “Deeper how?”, you may ask. Certainly we perceive things visually, but the factors that motivate us and help us interpret those designs have more to do with the content. At the intersection of instructional design and visual design are...
Read More >
Top