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How Long Should Your eLearning​ Module Be?

Posted on February 6th, 2018 by Chris Gaborit

Bored eLearning Learner

How long should an eLearning module be? What is the ideal length? Can people concentrate for longer than their shoe size in minutes? What is the average attention span?

Attention span is the amount of concentrated time a person can spend on a task without becoming distracted. Common estimates for sustained attention to a freely chosen task range from about five minutes for a two-year-old child, to a maximum of around 20 minutes in older children and adults. (www.Wikipedia.org)

Recently I had to sit through 2 hours of on-line Contractor Induction which we had developed for a client. The reason was this – we were developing a video to include in another Induction for Ship Captains for an LNG production facility, and I was part of the video crew from our company in charge of the droning video.

Initially, I was like, “OMG, do I really have to go through this?” But after realising it was mandatory, I chose to do it as soon as possible. I have to be honest, I thoroughly enjoyed this experience as it was broken into smaller sections: facility, safety, ecosystem, wildlife responsibilities etc. These together with the various interactivity made it engaging.

So how do you decide the ideal eLearning length?

1.    Learn from a favourite TV Series

Think of a TV Series you love to watch. It’s made up of Seasons, Episodes and Acts. Every Season has about 12 Episodes and every Episode has 5 or 6 Acts. Each Act lasts about 10 minutes. Why are there Acts every 10 minutes? The screenwriters understand human behaviour and that we lose attention after 10 minutes. They know the way we restore attention is by taking a rest, doing a different kind of activity, changing mental focus, or deliberately choosing to re-focus on the first topic.

One large financial client we have is now developing 5-8 minutes eLearning modules and every employee goes to work and watches one module per day.

2.    Know how essential this training is

I like to think of ‘essential’ like a set of traffic lights.

  • Red, is ‘mandatory’. This could be a longer module broken up into smaller segments. eg Induction
  • Amber, is ‘important but not mandatory’. This needs to be at a length that people will see as a win/win. Long enough to get the message and training without it encroaching on all my other pressures and responsibilities. This should be 10 -15 minutes maximum.
  • Green, is ‘good to know’. It needs to be short, sharp or if longer requires gamification or great interactivity. This is generally 2-5 minutes or could be longer if it’s engaging.

One of our clients is a Pharma company. We have been developed many 2-3 minute eLearning modules for their channel to watch, explaining the different products and their benefits to the consumer.

3.    How engaging can you make it?

People are generally capable of a longer attention span when they are doing something that they find enjoyable or intrinsically motivating. In eLearning, we achieve this through interactive, reality-based scenarios, quizzes and gamification. These engage people and therefore their attention span.

Introducing a video can also help to hold attention as it introduces emotion. The video could involve: people at work, actors, drone footage, 360-degree exploration or animation.

With different personalities, different learning styles and different ages the question ‘How long should your eLearning module be?’ is always going to be a challenging one. Over the past 5 years, we have gone from eLearning modules being hours long to being minutes long. However, at the end of the day what is probably the most important goal is meeting your Learning Objectives.

If you are still unsure then learn from some of the largest companies today. Most companies are aiming for 8-14 minutes and if there is a subject that requires more then they break it into segments. A bit like a TV series really 🙂

Chris Gaborit is managing director of The Learning Factor, an eLearning company who loves technology linked to learning. Follow him here on Linkedin, on Twitter @droneservicesAU and Instagram @idronefoto

Companies Using Drone Footage in eLearning

Posted on February 1st, 2018 by The Learning Factor

Drones have become standard tools in many markets today. Whether in sports, showing a home for sale, on the news or in a Hollywood movie, we see drone footage daily.

But did you know that companies are now using drone footage in training videos for their employees?

Chris Gaborit, Managing Director of The Learning Factor, went so far as to become a CASA (Australia’s FAA) Certified drone pilot and is finding more clients are using drone footage in eLearning modules.

Chris said, “Drone footage allows you to take your employees and customers on a ride tell them a story from a different perspective. We recently developed an ‘Induction for Ship Captains’ for one of the world’s largest Gas Companies for every ship that comes into port. From the air, the drone footage shows how the 4 tugs are going to turn the ship in the narrow channel; various views of the ship being docked and safety equipment.”

Here are 4 reasons drone footage is becoming more in demand in eLearning:

1.    Engagement is king. Millennials and Gen X have been brought up on HD quality, fast-moving movies, TV and video games. They expect their learning to reflect these same qualities. To keep them engaged.

2.    A fresh view. We can see things like never before, whether a ship being turned 180 degrees by four tugs so that a ship captain can see what to expect as he comes into port, or an employee viewing the company headquarters from 400 feet as they sit in another part of the world.

3.    Powerful openings. The first few minutes either make or break learning and nothing beats high-quality, cinematic flyover videos to capture the moment. Look above at this opening video and also click here to show some other recent drone work The Learning Factor has done. Companies are using the drone shot of their headquarters or over their people to capture attention and set the scene for great eLearning.

4.    Unlimited versatility. Drones can fly millimetres off the ground or hundreds of feet in the air. They fly fast, slow, circle, rise and hover. Even simple tasks, like recording a face-to-face interview, can easily be made more dynamic and engaging with a camera-equipped drone hovering nearby. One of The Learning Factor clients even wanted us to fly a drone up the stairs of their headquarters and into their reception!

5.    Price. A few years ago to get these shots one would have to hire a helicopter and that was hugely expensive but with you can not only get closer and videos, it comes at a fraction of the price and time.

You should consider using drone footage to showcase your company and build your brand awareness in your eLearning induction as well as other marketing and education you are developing. It enhances the visual look and engages the audience.

Three reasons to move your induction online – Sarah Davie

Posted on November 21st, 2017 by The Learning Factor

More and more organisations are choosing to complement their face-to-face inductions online or move to an entirely online induction model.  Here are 3 reasons why …

“The Day 1” experience

Sometimes it’s the time it takes to set new starters up on your systems or finalise the paperwork, sometimes it’s not having enough people start around the same time to justify the cost and resource of running a face to face induction session.  Whatever the reason, it’s rare that new starters experience a consistent, formal induction on their first day.

New starter doing her Online Induction at home prior to her start date

Sure, there’s the office tour, the meet and greets, but how do they understand where your organisation is headed, the values that drive you, and what’s expected of them… from day one?  Or even before their start date?

An online induction means these all-important messages that set the scene and communicate who you are and what you do are delivered from the get-go. This can include video of your CEO or MD talking conversationally about what your organisation’s vision and values mean to them. From Day 1, your new starters can have the impression that senior leaders are approachable and accessible.

Streamlined content

Often the content that new starters need to be aware of is housed in multiple locations: your web page, your intranet, your shared drive, in old emails, in people’s heads.  A new starter needs a map.

An online induction corrals all that must-know, or must-know-where-to-find information in a cohesive way.  It signposts people to the places they can access the information now, and return to later as needed. And if they need to find it later… it’s the most up to date version, not a new starter manual that is out of date as it’s too hard to maintain.

Getting connected

There is so much opportunity to connect new starters to each other and encourage that sense of belonging to a ‘cohort’.  Consider allocating someone the responsibility of being your “Induction community manager” and taking advantage of the discussion groups on your LMS, or standalone social networks.  This means you can dish out work-integrated challenges or activities for them to complete, and come back to post and share their insights amongst the group.  Moving your induction online means new starters can form connections with colleagues across geographical and departmental boundaries – at a fraction of the cost and potential time lags involved in achieving this face to face.

To read more about moving your induction process online click here. And see a vignette of one of our Inductions.

Learn more about how to move your induction online

Sarah Davie is the Global Design Lead for The Learning Factor. Sarah has a passion for Onboarding and Induction solutions. She is an experienced learning consultant with a demonstrated history of delivering for clients from large Corporate organisations, Government sectors, global Consulting Firms and boutique Learning Agencies. 

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