How To Apply The 8 Principles Of Learning In Online Training
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The 8 Principles Of Learning And How To Apply Them In Online Training

As kids, we went to school because we were told to. As adults, we might be in training because the boss said so. Still, our physical (or virtual) presence in the class isn’t a guarantee that we’ll learn anything. Eyes might be intently focused on the screen, but employees must be ready and willing to engage with the online training content. Likewise, organizations need to reinforce knowledge, empower employees, and put the information into practice. To ensure the successful transfer of knowledge, online training courses should effectively apply the 8 principles of learning. Here are some suggestions to get started.

1. Readiness

You can’t force anyone to study, not even kids. You can lock them in a room with books, but you can’t make them read. Adults can be enrolled and tested, but there’s no way to bully them into learning. Design your online training course to inspire interest. Make it clear, relevant, interactive, engaging, and entertaining. Create a "trailer" to draw them in, with online training course goals that show them exactly how they’ll benefit. You should also give them sneak peeks of what’s to come so that they’re fully prepared for the task ahead, for the first of the 8 principles of learning to be applied.

2. Exercise

Practice makes perfect, and this is one of the 8 principles of learning that applies to online training as well. Adults are unlikely to respond to rote learning, but there are other ways to introduce repetition in online training techniques. You could structure each unit in the same way, so corporate learners have a sense of familiarity. They know what’s coming next. Use multiple simulations that engage the same skill, but in varied contexts. For example, simulate negotiating for a raise, time off, or more responsibilities. They can also negotiate with angry clients or chronic bargainers.

3. Effect

Children do better in subjects they enjoy. They’re more likely to flunk "boring" classes. Adults are a bit more purposeful in their online training. They know they have to do it, even if it’s dull and inert. But they’ll remember more of their lesson if it engages them. Make sessions fun and aim to connect with corporate learners at an emotional level. Humor is a good way to do this. Program elements into simulations that will make corporate learners laugh. In-jokes and industry puns go further than high-pressure exams. They’re easier to remember, applying an effect in online training.

4. Primacy

Glance at your phone right now, pulling up any random phone number. Look through the numbers two or three times. Now close your eyes and try to recite them. You probably remember the first two numbers, and maybe the last two. Primacy means we recall the first thing we encounter. It’s why first impressions are so hard to dispel. Start each unit with the most important points. Ideally, offer a concise chapter summary. It could be bullet points, an infographic, or even the "main question" whose answer defines the chapter. You should also try to build on pre-existing knowledge so that they can connect the mental schema dots.

5. Recency

From the example above, you’ll recall the last two digits as well, because they’re the last thing you saw. So just like the beginning of the chapter, close with a summary or review, to apply recency, according to the 8 principles of learning. It can be a visual chart or a conclusive video. Keep it brief and simple. Reiterate the message you started with, but don’t do it in the exact same way. If you started with an infographic, finish with an "open-book" pop quiz. They can refer to online training course content as needed. Another essential element to include is reinforcement. Don’t just impart the information and hope it sticks. Follow up with relevant online training activities, self-assessments, and other memory joggers to improve retention.

6. Intensity

When a literature-based blockbuster is released, people argue whether the book or the movie was better. #TeamBook lauds their own imagination, and their innate ability to build worlds in their own head. For your online training course, you can up the intensity easily. Introduce multimedia tools that can engage all their senses. This makes online training content more immersive and immediate, which helps recall. You can also add personal anecdotes that create a personal connection and drive the point home. So stay faithful to the 8 principles of learning and apply intensity in your online training.

7. Freedom

This principle resolves itself in most adult learning situations. How? Corporate learners are free to pick their own study times and prepare their own schedule. You can enhance this quality by offering varied learning options. Offer the same online training content in the form of a video, audio, or text-based lesson. Let the corporate learners pick which version suits them best. Divide the online training course into smaller chunks of 5 to 10 minutes. This gives corporate learners more wiggle room in their lesson planning. Thereby, boosting employee engagement and empowering them to take charge of their own development.

8. Requirement

It’s interesting this is placed last in the 8 principles of learning list because it relates to why the corporate learner is studying in the first place. The "requirement" is what makes them sign up. It could be a compliance issue or something mandatory for their job. For example, all new hires must undertake onboarding training. You can feed the requirement principle by clearly stating the learning objectives. Set goals and targets, allowing corporate learners to summarize why they’re doing the online training course. It also helps measure ROI. Another way to enforce this rule is to facilitate real-world application, such as demos and serious games that show employees why they need the information/skills to improve on-the-job performance.

The principles of learning are effective and versatile, both online and offline. Use a teaser campaign to build readiness and pique interest. Online training simulations and branching scenarios are effective online training activities. Use humor for emotional engagement, and chapter summaries for primacy and recency. Multimedia tools enhance course intensity, while flexible timing offers freedom. Concise learning objectives and transparent targets fulfill the required quota.

Do you know what your adult learners need to achieve their goals and tackle everyday challenges? Download our eBook Designing eLearning Courses For Adult Learners: The Complete Guide to discover all about the adult learner characteristics, the obstacles they need to overcome, ways to engage and motivate busy adult learners, and some amazing adult learning facts and stats you need to know as an eLearning pro.

eBook Release: Thinkific
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