I recently had a conversation with a business colleague about how the world evaluates. My position was that, in the business world, the value of what we offer has more to do with perception rather than the scope or level of our efforts. It’s a truth the world of marketing has understood and employed for a very long time.
In the world of e-Learning we are all governed by perceived value. It is not the guiding principle that attracted us to the field, but the reality to which we are introduced when we begin to ply the tools of our trade.
We, as providers, have been reluctant to play a role in defining the rules by which our efforts, products or services are measured and assigned a value. For our industry in general and developers individually to thrive, we must begin to influence the process.
So then, how do we begin to change the current business perception that the value of online training is reflected by LMS completion records?
At the 2012 Lectora User Conference, I will release CHRONNICLE® as a Lextension® (Lectora Extension). I have been developing this patent pending technology for the past two years.
CHRONNICLE® is based on the premise that data flows in two directions in online training. In the “downstream” content is delivered or presented to the student. In the “upstream” the learner reacts to the content, presentation and opportunity to learn. It is these reactions – or behaviors – that represent the true measureable value of online training.
Individual learner actions are measured by content or concept “engagement factors” indicating comprehension or completion, interest or disinterest, engagement or disassociation, challenge or success – for the student as well as for the course. This data is the “dark matter” of elearning – the 98% that has yet to be seen or evaluated but represents more value than what is presently considered:
- Individual learner actions reveal the behavioral tendencies of the learner.
- Aggregated actions indicate the learning tendencies of a defined group.
- Collective experiences indicate the competency of the course itself.
Beyond evaluating recorded learner actions after courses have been completed, CHRONNICLE® includes Artificial Intelligence (AI) construct named Paige Turner® that monitors and analyzes learner behaviors in real time, providing a path and process to modify these behaviors – much like a teacher observing a student and correcting his actions. In fact, Paige monitors a student’s actions in a more granular manner as she can record not only the result of the student action, but the sequential behaviors which lead up to the action, and has the ability to independently interrupt the student when the timing or sequencing of their behaviors indicates a challenge.
This pedagogical agent can also be “summoned” to the screen by the learner to engage in a “dialog” to assist the learner should they encounter a challenge during the course – just like raising a hand in a classroom and asking for help.
As each learner progresses in a course, their actions are recorded to a database. These data include the sequence of actions, the time considered in performing actions, the time between actions, the time required to conclude actions and the reconsideration of actions – a full spectrum of the learner’s engagement with the individual objects, the environment and the course itself.
These captured actions provide a rich behavioral profile of the learner’s experience while at the same time identifying their learning preferences and action tendencies.
In addition, a performance profile is constructed for each course so they may be evaluated for challenges, competency and effectiveness.
So what does this technology afford the individual professional and the e-Learning industry?
We now have a solution, for companies purchasing our development skills and products, to change the perceived value of our efforts.
We meet the expectations of Business by defining the process to measure the value of online training in terms that Businesses understand – Return On Investment (ROI).
By returning learner behavioral and course performance data as Business Intelligence we move e-Learning from the expense to the income side of the ledger.
As Businesses realize richer training experiences return more valuable data, Instructional Designers will be given the resources required to design and develop the highly interactive branching courses that reflect the breadth of their knowledge while learners will be introduced to more interesting and engaging courses.
We can change the perception, and our industry, at the same time.
View other blogs in this series: