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From classroom to distance-learning

I was recently given a new, challenging project: take an existing classroom-based course and turn it into an engaging online distance-learning course. That in itself isn’t too challenging given appropriate time and resources – but I was given just five days.

After a meeting with the project owner, I started a discovery process. Gathering together all of the existing course materials, including the trainer and learner guides, presentations, etc. I soon discovered that there was a wealth of material available to use, albeit in unhelpful or incompatible formats. I leveraged the combined skills and creativity of our junior instructional designers and we set to work on creating new resources.

Within days, the course started to take shape in Articulate Rise. I chose Rise due to its efficiency as a rapid authoring tool and its in-built responsive design capabilities. The subject matter expert flew in from Ireland to record the voice-over; screen-recordings of the presentation were synchronised with the audio by our videographer. I inserted these videos into Rise and created engaging supporting material to accompany them.

The course then underwent two rounds of internal quality assurance before receiving its sign-off. The whole process took five days, defying expectations of some team members.

The main lesson learnt is that the initial classroom-based course should have been built with provision to be turned into an online course at a later stage (I had raised this option when initially designing the classroom-based course).

Learning Technologies 2019

This year, I was able to attend Learning Technologies, Europe’s leading annual conference dedicated to learning and development technologies, held in ExCel London.

I listened to presentations and attended workshops on topics from designing effective learning to the neuroscience of learning. We were challenged repeatedly to innovate: successful learning and development is not about dumping a lot of information on people and then testing them to prove they can recall it. We need to shake things up, do things differently, and focus on creating memorable, meaningful experiences that really work.

I had hands-on with emerging technologies that have real potential to revolutionise the learning experience for both learners and instructors. Technologies to keep an eye on and experiment with as they develop in the training sector include augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

As an instructional designer, working as part of a team in a large company, it can be all too easy to lose sight of the wider training landscape. Learning Technologies allowed me to connect anew with the sector and I came away, bursting with new ideas and itching to integrate new technologies and techniques into my projects.