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Oct 2007

Mohive rapid elearning book review

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Shaping the future of learning

We were keen to review this new book on rapid e-learning from the founders of Mohive, Lars Unneberg and Lars Egidius Helle.

The book is sub-titled ‘putting rapid e-learning to work in large organisations’ which is particularly apt given the enormous interest and growth in rapid e-learning.

We liked a lot of it, but have a few friendly challenges....

The book includes a lot of practical advice and support to those responsible for developing elearning. There are some particularly good chapters on:

  • How to effectively localise elearning. This is an area where Mohive excels as an authoring tool and it is clear that the authors really do understand this issue in depth.

  • How to manage a rapid elearning project, including how to leverage internal knowledge, the power of online previewing and reviews which the web-based Mohive tool offers to ensure a truly collaborative approach to content development.

  • How to work with subject matter experts. The authors provide their top ten tips on working with SMEs. The coaching approach they outline for working with SMEs is particularly useful.

The one area where we would take issue with the authors is how they define rapid elearning, though to be fair this is no easy task. The authors argue that rapid elearning is the accelerated creation of elearning content. We would certainly agree with this. They continue to argue that rapid elearning is usually created “by people with direct experience of the subject but with little or no e-learning expertise” using “easy-to-use software”. That’s not how we see it playing out on our projects. For us rapid elearning is not about authoring tools, whether used by subject matter experts or elearning designers. We believe that rapid elearning is a new way of thinking about the creation of elearning which involves using lean or agile development methodologies. The authoring tool might be an enabler, but it’s certainly not the driver.

For us rapid elearning is about adopting lean production approaches which are more adaptive, and with short stages and regular reviews. A key feature of such approaches is rapid prototyping and less documentation. Authoring tools can certainly help here, and we’ve used Mohive’s tool for just this purpose.

Rapid approaches can also involve using rapid authoring tools but it is not essential. There is no question that the tools are getting better and easier to use, however, this does not necessarily lead to the production of quality elearning content. That’s rooted, as ever, in good design – you can’t cut that out of the process.

We’d agree with Mohive that it is important to engage and involve subject matter experts, but we believe that effective rapid elearning does require good learning design and communication approaches which means involving experienced learning designers and good art directors. There is a danger in leaving content development to subject matter experts as the design and development of effective e-learning does require particular skills. The authors do acknowledge this in part when they refer to the BBC’s successful development of rapid elearning. They say that the BBC “understands the value of collaboration between training professionals and clients in the business.”

All in all, this book is a very useful contribution to the debate on rapid elearning and provides helpful practical guidance for elearning managers.

Find out more and order the book here Rapid Advancesalt.



Shaping the future of learning

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