Rapid elearning

Rapid eLearning – Benefits and Challenges

A rapid eLearning development or rapid eLearning is the ability to generate eLearning courses quickly, with much-condensed development cycles, leveraging the power of authoring tools, without compromising on course quality and having to use complicated software and techniques.  In short, rapid eLearning is a perfect way to keep up with training your staff quickly on the launch of a new product, update with system changes,  onboarding, compliance and scalability training,  policy changes, or any other thing that needs to be done quickly.

Rapid eLearning is a faster way of generating online-based learning content.  For instance, if the course can be completed quickly in a shorter duration compared to the time taken for a regular course, it is called a rapid eLearning course.  After the entire package is developed by the provider, it is delivered to learners via LMS or emails. The courses are updated periodically from the provider’s side without much cost and time, and without using complicated software or design processes.  This can enable learners to absorb information while they are on the go or looking for some specified information.  The key to the success of a short period of rapid eLearning is ‘learner engagement’ which will raise the likelihood of knowledge retention and ensure one gets the most out of the experience.

In its simplest form, rapid learning can be constructed from PowerPoint slides or narrated videos, which can be later adapted into a SCORM Framework to be used in our Learning Management Systems (LMS) for dispensing information quickly.  SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model), is an authoring tool, which takes units of online training materials in aggregation, processes them, and then shares them across systems such as LMS.

In today’s competitive market, companies are more inclined towards rapid eLearning, owing to their faster delivery model and lower development cost.  If you have been training in remote areas, you will be aware that rapid eLearning is the order of the day.  Technology-enabled learning has given rise to a culture of learning that is more intuitive and challenging.  Though investing in rapid learning seems to look like a step in the right direction, various other options need to be explored before taking a final decision.

Rapid eLearning is sometimes interchangeably used with micro-learning where a topic is broken into ‘Bit Size’ chunks or smaller units which can be digested easily by the learner.   In other words, they are delivered in smaller capsules that can be consumed easily by the learners.  Therefore, the provider should understand the needs of the learners before deciding on the delivery model,  by providing an engaging design and effective content management.  Courses constructed this way can be concise, high-quality content with the ability to generate robust learning experiences that can be rolled out quickly in a few weeks’ time.

Benefits of rapid eLearning:

  1. Quick turnaround times
  2. Enable greater control of course update and maintenance ie can be updated quickly and easily maintainable.
  3. Deliver value for money in training
  4. Deliver customized and cost-effective solutions.
  5. Effectively utilize Authoring tools with in-built asset libraries and templates.
  6. Can be accessed anytime, anywhere
  7. it promotes active, independent, and quick learning.
  8. Career Advancement
  9. Designed to be Learner centric, accessible, and innovative
  10. 10 Engaging and Effective ie., Personalization, Gamification, etc
  11. Micro-learning reduces cognitive overload.
  12. Provides cloud-based solutions.
  13. Knowledge Retention
  14. 14 Provide digestible ‘bite-sized’ modules to reduce cognitive overload.

Challenges while implementing rapid learning:

  • Dealing with complex subjects: You may consider a shorter curriculum with an effective rapid micro-learning module.
  • Classify your authoring tools based on your scenario viz.,
  • Standalone-based: for experienced eLearning providers eg., Adobe Captivate, Lectora Inspire
  • Power-Point based: used for in-house resources for rapid-eLearning development learning for updating courses without the assistance of experts.  Eg., iSpring Suite, Adobe Presenter
  • Cloud-based: Manage directly from the cloud.  Neither installation nor configuration is required. Eg., Lectora Online, Articulate Rise.
  • People who have very little time to spare for training: An increasingly mobile workforce is frequently on the go. Rapid authoring tools offer responsive design features that enable the development of ‘responsive eLearning courses.’.  By ‘responsive’ we mean the course content aligns automatically according to screen size and resolution of the device used by learners be it a smartphone, laptop, desktop, etc., which ultimately provides an optimal viewing experience.
  • Meeting project timelines with limited resources: provides instant training solutions to meet challenging schedules ahead
  • Rapid eLearning is not a ‘one size, fit all’ solution for all your training needs: For training that require face-to-face interactions (ie., Leadership training that needs to exhibit soft skills and communication skills), Rapid eLearning doesn’t make any sense. The same is the case for game-based learning scenarios and branching scenarios.  In such scenarios, Blended Learning (or Hybrid Learning) is a good option.
  • Avoid dumping all your content into the authoring tool: Remember, authoring tools are available to make your work easier, and not for developing monotonous learning. Hence, plan your instructional strategy keeping in mind your business goal and learner’s needs and prioritize your content.
  • Do not restrict yourself to a single authoring tool: Different authoring tools come with different features and limitations. So make your selection accordingly.
  • Avoid reusing the same template over and over again: No matter how much you like a cake flavor, it ceases to be appealing after a certain point. Similarly, if the same template is utilized over and over again for displaying multiple contents, it will lose its appeal, though the content quality is good.

Many corporate companies have been using end-to-end eLearning solutions in their workplace over the years.  They have realized the amount of time it takes, and the cost involved in conducting a training program.  This form of training will not suffice when you are looking to meet the training needs rapidly.   Undoubtedly, rapid learning is an ideal way to achieve quality, scale, and speed in corporate training, by making corporate upskilling / reskilling a much more efficient and cost-effective affair. A growing number of firms have moved to rapid eLearning development in recent years because of its time-saving and affordable training options.  Rapid eLearning Development requires a good knowledge of the subject matter and instructional design,  authoring tool proficiency, quality assurance technique, and readily available resources to ensure that the training program scales up quickly and efficiently.    Although, people favoring rapid eLearning development boast of the benefits that can appear attractive but there are still concerns about its real value.  While it is true that rapid eLearning provides a cost-effective solution with quick turnaround time, that may not be appropriate for all kinds of courses and training,  as there is not much scope for high-level interactivities in Rapid eLearning, because it involves a lot of time and cost to develop.  To overcome these challenges, a clear understanding of what rapid eLearning development can do and can’t do needs to be figured out. Ensure that you get rapid eLearning right!

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