E-learning age rapid briefing

Rapid or not Rapid? What’s the difference? Mark Harrison’s recent talk at an E-learning Age conference (slides below so you can follow along at home) tackled the question head on. Or given the cricket analogy, maybe that’s silly mid-on….

It’s just not Cricket. Or is it...?

In the United Kingdom, there is played a strange and complex game called Cricket. It can take 5 days to complete and in the old days it used to feel like double that. Then they invented faster and shorter versions of Cricket that would take one day, then half a day and now it can take less time than your average baseball match.

Now, what’s this got to do with rapid elearning I hear you say? Hold on for a moment and you will see.

So, back to what’s happened in Cricket. Well, suddenly the 5 day games of Cricket became more action-packed; it became faster and more exciting with the same skills as before but done at real pace.

Now, you probably see where I am coming from. Rapid elearning is doing the same to the world of elearning. It’s making people make design decisions at speed. It cuts out the fat on projects and reduces the politics – there’s no time to consult a thousand people – just find the people who matter and only cover the learning points that make a difference.

My conclusion to the question “is rapid elearning that different?” Well, it depends who you are…

The professional elearning developer’s viewpoint

For the professional elearning developer, there isn’t much that’s different. Like the shorter games of Cricket, the whole process is remarkably similar. It’s just a whole lot faster, so you just have to be smarter and see what elements of the traditional models of elearning development can be surgically removed from what has become a very bloated and glacial (i.e. slow) method of responding to what are often urgent training needs.

The process becomes less of a software assembly process with rafts of paperwork up front and more of an iterative ‘what do you think of that?’ approach, using rapid authoring tools. Wording can be changed after a programme is assembled and a Subject Matter Expert can at last see everything in context and so can see what the interactive designer was getting at when they said that would be too much text on the page.

The rest of the world

For the rest of world, such as trainers and SMEs, the landscape though has changed much more radically.

One of the key differences lies in the tools and their ease of use, of course. These allow even relative IT novices to assemble perfectly usable pieces of interactive learning. So, it is no longer a game that only the experts can play. This is where the real change lies, and the real challenge. It may be easy technically but, if you haven’t a clue how to structure a good learning experience then it won’t be much more than a clever PowerPoint.

So, maybe that’s where there’s no different from rapid or traditional elearning. ‘Garbage in’ will always lead to ‘garbage out’. That’s why the fundamentals haven’t changed: you still need to scope well, design with the user in mind, script tightly, and use media effectively. You just have to do it a whole lot faster. Get ready for some fast bowling….

To learn more about how Kineo can help you bring rapid e-learning into your organisation, contact us at info@kineo.com.