From Saffron’s award winning instructional design team, senior instructional designer Kim George recently presented at a social media workshop with client and marketing manager Joanna Liem. Organised in collaboration with the not for profit partnership Time & Talents, the reputation management consultancy ReputationInc and Whizz-Kidz, a charity for disabled young people, the event was a huge success.
In this day and age, we see videos played out to introduce learners to the learning objectives of the course, to show them a simulated problem-solving scenario that they can identify with, or even to relate previous learner experience.
Rapid development. One of those fairly nondescript-seeming phrases you might see anywhere on an agenda at pretty much any company in the City. For those of us who work in e-learning, though, it’s a bit of a buzzword (or should I say buzzphrase?). Semantics aside, these days it’s all about delivering the same quality at half the price and twice the speed.
Social media is a hot topic in all industries and businesses nowadays. However, research has proven that the charity sector and volunteering movement is not maximising the potential of social networks – less than 25% of volunteer involving organisations and support services are using them.
Three months ago, completely new to the world of e-learning, I was given some time by Saffron to do as much research as I could on instructional design and effective learning strategies before starting my first project. It was rather daunting, but I leapt to the challenge and one of the ways I found out what good instructional design looks like was to review some of Saffron’s past courses and do some research online. Now that I have experience of both writing and reviewing courses, there are a few things that I’ve learnt. So, if you’re also new to this industry, read on for my thoughts on how best to write an engaging e-learning course that achieves the desired behavioural changes.
Plain English isn’t dull writing, and it’s not about banning new or long words. It’s all about using words that are easier to read and understand, and faster to write! Here are our top ten tips for writing an e-learning course in plain English.
First impressions count, so it’s important that an induction programme is effective. We work with our clients to find out how their current induction programme can be improved. Businesses often have trouble making sure a comprehensive induction to the company is completed in a new starter’s first few days, and once a new starter is no longer new it can be difficult to deliver an effective induction – they may have already made up their mind about the company!
The ability to communicate effectively with video in the mix is a highly desirable skill, one for which demand will only increase. Almost everyone carries a digital camera these days, making the idea of creating video for e-Learning more accessible than ever.
Interactions pose a dilemma to all instructional designers. While they can be fun, visually exciting and effective, they can also require a lot of development and be difficult to create.
Saffron Interactive is proud to announce the development of a bespoke sustainability e-learning course at Bovis Lend Lease UK, a leading project management and construction company.
If you had to pick your favourite e-learning interaction, which would it be, and why? For me it’s easy: the myth and reality screen takes the top spot. “But why?” I hear you cry. Here are my top three reasons (although I do have many more!).
Once you’ve built an e-learning course you’ll want to get it onto your LMS so that people can access it. More than that, you’ll probably want to see how well your learners have done – how long did they spend, have they passed the quizzes and which questions did they get wrong? All this information and more can be sent back to the LMS using SCORM.
Totalling three hours of e-learning, the new programmes (one on health, safety and wellbeing, and one on equality and diversity) will help increase awareness of key organisational and individual responsibilities for 4,000+ of Home’s colleagues and enable them to provide exceptional services to their customers and clients as a result.
How often do you learn something new? And I mean completely new – something you’ve never heard of before or perhaps something you’ve never tried. What’s the process that you go through to learn this new knowledge or skill?
Saffron Interactive is proud to announce the release of its free e-learning quiz tool.
Clarity and legibility are essential in e-learning. Here are Saffron’s top tips on how to use some of the basic principles of typography not only to achieve legibility but also to bring interest and energy to your e-learning projects.
A storyboard review stage is crucial as it’s hard to be objective when you’re the one who’s written the content. Here are our top ten questions to ask yourself if you’re the one reviewing someone else’s storyboard.
The challenge facing instructional designers is always to think of new ways to make our learning courses interesting, engaging and effective. We look at how we can make the best course possible by focusing on the technologies, design, graphics, content and writing style, but what about thinking about a course’s personality?
With their apparent ubiquity amongst office staff, their ease of use, and their mobile connectivity, BlackBerry phones make an attractive platform for e-learning. Here’s our list of things to consider when designing training for this new and different learning environment.
We at Saffron don’t like to pigeon hole ourselves as simply training providers. Yes, we design and develop e-learning, but we do a whole lot more than that too. We’re all about performance improvement and people productivity, and there are more ways to achieve those things than training alone.
Back in February one of Saffron’s people, Stephanie Dedhar, was named Instructional Designer of the Year at the IT Training Awards 2010. Her submission centred on a major compliance training project and the judges were impressed with her focus on using innovative instructional design techniques to make the project a success, achieving both competence and compliance.
Compliance training has a bad reputation for being little more than a box-ticking exercise. But here at Saffron we believe it’s absolutely possible to create effective, engaging training that achieves both competence and compliance. Read on for our top five tips for breaking the mould and delivering gold standard compliance training every time.
Saffron Interactive is pleased to announce ongoing e-learning development collaboration with defence consultancy 3SDL.
I’m currently reading a book by writer and consultant John Simmons, Dark Angels: How Writing Releases Creativity At Work, which has got me gripped. As an instructional designer at Saffron, my job involves writing – and lots of it. Every course I write is on a different topic and therefore demands a different style and tone, focused towards a particular audience. My aim is to always write the content, regardless of what it is, in a light, positive and conversational way so as to engage the learners and motivate them to want to take the training. But it can be tricky to strike a balance between making sure the right message is conveyed and trying to banish the business speak and avoid switching the learner off.
We’re excited to announce that we’re putting together a Microsoft Silverlight development team for e-learning.
Evaluating the effectiveness of a learning intervention is often where projects fall down – it can be hard to know how to prove a return on investment. But isn’t it about time we had some common methods to evaluate and measure the value of learning? Here are Saffron’s top five tips for measuring that all important ROI.
Saffron is proud to announce the development of a sub surface fire awareness e-learning course for Heathrow Express.
I was interested to see that Skype has recently announced a partnership with LG and Panasonic, which means we will soon be able to buy a TV which we can use to Skype and browse the internet (find out more here). Promoting this new technology Skype’s business development manager, Jin Kim claimed that, “TVs have lacked two things to date… eyes and ears” because “they haven’t had cameras and they haven’t had microphones.” This led me to wonder… does e-learning also lack eyes and ears?
I recently completed a project for a client which went so smoothly it was over before I knew it. I really enjoyed the whole process from start to finish and the course we created received rave reviews from the client, stakeholders and users. I was actually quite sad to see the project come to an end. And so, it made me ask myself, why do some projects run like a dream and others don’t?
One of Saffron’s senior instructional designers, Stephanie Dedhar, has been named Instructional Designer of the Year at the IT Training Awards 2010!
It doesn’t take a genius to make a presentation look great. All you need is a set of well designed master slides. Now read on for five top tips to help you get the most out of your master slides.
Saffron is the official sponsor of the IT Training Awards 2010 champagne reception, and has also been shortlisted in two high profile categories. These annual awards are hosted by the Institute of IT Training and recognise best practice, innovation and excellence in the IT training industry.
Saffron is proud to announce the development of its new SmartVideo™ Workbench, an easy to use toolkit that can turn existing video into truly interactive training material. Quiz questions and text can be added to enhance the learning, while transcripts and translations ensure the video is accessible to as many people as possible. Completion rates can be tracked on an LMS as the SmartVideo™ Workbench is SCORM compliant.
Two of Saffron’s instructional designers, Stephanie Dedhar and Jennifer Wrigley, gave a seminar called ‘social learning: all talk and no action?’ at Learning Technologies 2010.
We English like nothing more than a bit of bad weather. It gives us something to talk about. We discuss it in the lift, in the bus queue and on the train. Bad weather is probably the only time that it’s acceptable for the English to talk to strangers!
We’re excited to announce the launch of our innovative Assure product at Learning Technologies 2010.
Videos can be a great addition to e-learning packages – but only if they’re used in the right way. Here are Saffron’s top ten tips for making sure videos are adding value to your e-learning rather than just adding megabytes to your course.
Imagine a fully immersive virtual environment created for a safety training product, for example. If this environment is presented to the learner using techniques similar to those used to create a game’s 3D environment, would they not find the experience closer to the real situation and would it not leave a more lasting impression?
To all our readers and contributors during 2009,
Merry Christmas and very best wishes for the new year! Thanks for reading and we look forward to seeing you again in 2010.
From everyone at the Spicy Learning Blog
Design work for a new client can be exciting and difficult at the same time. The novelty of working with a new brand and identity comes hand in hand with the challenge of unfamiliar ground. We’ve found the steps below really worthwhile at the start of the design process for a new client, so read on for our top tips for success!
Whether it’s a new client or one you’ve worked with before, the way you begin a project sets the tone for the rest of the project. Here are our top tips for ensuring every project starts with a bang!
It may sound harsh to say that the best thing about X Factor is the ad breaks, but that’s the conclusion I’ve started to reach recently. To be fair, it hasn’t just been Jedward’s tuneless pogoing or the stress of Deadlock that has me urging on the commercials, but rather the innovative ‘brightdancing’ spots for TalkTalk which bookend the ad breaks.
I encountered TED last year when my colleague Ali suggested: ‘Hey, check out how the octopus camouflages in this video on TED. Pretty cool!’ It was jaw-droppingly cool. In this video, David Gallo shows footage of sea creatures camouflaging themselves in spectacular ways, shifting colours and radiating neon lights in the blackest depths of the ocean. It was my first encounter with the marvellous source of knowledge and inspiration that goes under the name of TED. So, I thought it was worth sharing this discovery with those of you who are still not in love with it because, as the TED motto says, these are ‘ideas worth spreading.’
With rapid development techniques and easy to use content authoring tools, it’s never been easier to produce e-learning materials. Some of them are even quite good. But how do you make them great?