Monday, July 14, 2008

Focus on Action in eLearning Design

My job involves coaching and mentoring a great many instructional designers - both within our own eLearning development projects and as a service for many of our clients. One of the biggest challenges I face in this regard is getting designers to get to the essence of a training challenge and cut out all extraneous content that detracts from the main learning objectives. Less is indeed more when we can get from A to B in a short, straight line.

I recently came across an excellent technique called "action mapping" that I will start using to help focus eLearning on intended outcomes based on desired actions. Cathy Moore, in her very informative blog (Ideas for Lively eLearning), lays out succinctly how action mapping can work in this slideshow:

Moore advocates an approach to eLearning design that works backward from the intended business goal (expressed as an action). This avoids the trap of a linear information content dump and piling up irrelevant information that does not really help learners get to the desired goal. Action mapping is a four-step process as follows:

1. Identify the business goal.

2. Identify what people need to do to reach that goal.

3. Design activities that help people practice each behaviour (the "to do's" noted in #2).

4. Identify the minimum information people need to complete each activity.

By starting with a clear goal and focusing on required actions to reach that goal, we can provide a great deal more focus to our learning design and avoid the information dump that unfortunately characterizes much of eLearning today.


Blogger ashirwad said...

I like the action mapping perspective. Most e-learning materials must and should address the needs and wants, otherwise you are not doing your job. Tackling the needs and wants is what I think this presentation depicts. But the million dollar question from the client is "how different are you from the others?". I think most companies in the process of being different have incorporated 'nice to have' information and that is what has led to information overload. I presume some clients like it that way.

9:36 AM  
Blogger ashirwad said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:37 AM  
Blogger Rick Nigol said...

Hi Ashirwad:

Thanks for your comments and perspective.

Actually, I am finding quite the opposite this one has time or patience for the "nice-to-know" material. Most clients I deal with are very happy when we can cut back a training program to its essence.


2:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

warhammer gold warhammer money warhammer accounts tibia money tibia gold tibia item runescape accounts buy runescape accounts runescape money runescape gold runescape gp runescape power leveling runescape powerleveling cheap rs2 powerleveling runescape equipment buy rs equipment runescape runes cheap rs2 runes runescape logs cheap rs2 logs runescape items buy runescape items runescape quest point rs2 quest point cheap runescape questpoint runescape gold runescape items runescape power leveling runescape money runescape gold buy runescape gold buy runescape money runescape items runescape accounts runescape gp runescape accounts runescape money runescape power leveling runescape powerleveling tibia gold dofus kamas buy dofus kamas wow power leveling wow powerleveling runescape questpoint rs2 questpoint Warcraft PowerLeveling Warcraft Power Leveling World of Warcraft PowerLeveling World of Warcraft Power Leveling Hellgate money Hellgate gold buy runescape logs buy rs2 items cheap runescape items Hellgate London gold Guild Wars Gold buy Guild Wars Gold runescape items rs2 accounts cheap rs2 equipments lotro gold buy lotro gold buy runescape money buy runescape gold buy runescape runes lotro gold buy lotro gold runescape money runescape gold cheap rs2 powerleveling eve isk eve online isk buy runescape power leveling rs2 power leveling tibia gold tibia item runescape accounts Fiesta Silver Fiesta Gold Scions of Fate Gold Hellgate Palladium Hellgate London Palladium SOF Gold Age Of Conan Gold AOC Gold ArchLord gold tibia money tibia gold runescape accounts runescape gold cheap rs2 powerleveling buy ArchLord gold DDO Plat Dungeons and Dragons Online Plat

2:51 AM  
Blogger Rashmi said...

Rick, we follow a similar instructional strategy for all our courses. We begin with a contextual inquiry, a step that helps us identify our learner needs, wants, and motivations & define the learning objectives.

At every step of the course, we map it to see if it meets the learning objectives. So things that are not relevant from the learning perspective do not get included in the course. Details on our methodology can be accessed at:

6:29 AM  
Blogger Rick Nigol said...

Hi Rashmi:

I agree with your approach. Sometimes convincing clients on what to leave out (i.e. that which is not immediately relevant to the learner) is the hardest job...


9:26 AM  
Anonymous marcus said...

Nice blog,this will help a lot of people with your action mapping in four-step porcess. i was also looking for e-learning links, and i wanted to share with yuo eleapsoftware , it might help also. Anyway, I hope elearning will continue to serve for the right purpose.

11:28 PM  
Anonymous E-Learning said...

nice e-learning presentation. It would have been interesting to see it live.

7:10 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home