Monday, November 26, 2007

How to handle learners who don't like your course

A negative attitude from an audience is feedback that can be used to make a course better. If you get a negative reaction from your audience I recommend that you start with by trying to figure out why they have a negative attitude.

My guess is that their experience has been more tailored to the courseware authors' desires than to the learner's desires. That is, the course authors decided what would be
interesting for the learner, and presented this material. Since the
learners were required to take the training, they had no choice but to go
through the material as it was presented.

My suggestion would be to set up the training so that the learners can
choose when and how they view it. When you do a Google search, you get
to choose which links to follow. If you structure your content with
this in mind, you can make it more interesting (or at least less
annoying) to the employees. Most employees want to come in, get the
training as quickly as possible, and get out. So, break the content
down into 15-20 minute segments, and let the learner choose how they
want to see it.

For example, if you do a autoplaying slide show (PowerPoint converted to
the Web), the user has no control over the content. It is displayed at
the speed at which a presenter would narrate it. People can read 3
times faster (at least) than they speak. Also, PowerPoint slide format
(3 lines of text per page) are good as background material for a live
speaker. It is NOT a good format for self-paced learning. There is not
enough information simply in the slides. A good self-paced learning
format allows the employees with 20 years of experience, quickly review
and jump over the stuff they already know, and then they can go to the
"What's New" section. The new employee can go through all the pieces in
more detail. So give multiple tests in the course so that the employees
can evaluate themselves and re-review the material if they don't know
it. If they know the material, let them get done with the training in 5
minutes, if that is all they need.

My recommendation is to
only use multimedia (and other passive elements) when absolutely
necessary. This allows the learner to get through the material on their
time and on their schedule, and they start having a more positive
experience because THEY now have control over the learning session.

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