Vocational Education and Training (VET) providers are operating in such a highly regulated and bureaucratic industry, that they find it easy to lose sight of the very reason for their existence.
We’ve become so fixated on maintaining regulatory compliance, that we add layer upon layer of excessive information, all in the name of risk mitigation. Yet, when it comes to fulfilling our learners’ needs, every additional layer we add also adds a further layer of complexity to their learning and assessment experience.
At BizTrain, we engage a customer centric approach to online course development. Whilst we must ensure our products are compliant against the Standards for RTOs 2015, we equally believe that training and assessment shouldn’t be complex. And, we believe when it comes to contemporary online learning, less is more.
Online learning, less is more
With 10 years experience in the fields of web-design, including the delivery of online training and assessment programs, we’ve come to appreciate that consumers of web-based information digest information differently. In fact, the University College London conducted a study, way back in 2008, which found that Internet users were not reading online in the traditional sense.
At the time, the study found new forms of “reading” were emerging, as users “power-browse” horizontally through titles, contents pages and abstracts, looking for quick wins. The University concluded that it almost seems as though Internet users go online to avoid reading in the traditional sense.
Armed with this knowledge, rather than contributing to learners’ information overload, we focus on total program brevity. And, as opposed to looking for unnecessary things to include, we critically search for irrelevant things to remove.
Face-to-face resources, converted to PDFs, don’t work
RTOs often make the mistake of converting face-to-face training and assessment material to PDF format. Upon uploading these PDF files to their LMS, they fall into the trap of believing that their students will progress autonomously.
While PDF documents do play an important role in many eLearning instructional design strategies, they should most definitely not be used to ‘deliver’ the majority of content to the user.
Although the online PDF approach is the easiest way to establish an eLearning presence, it’s also the least effective, as far as:
- Engaging learners
- Facilitating learner progression
- Retaining learners
- Optimising learner completion.
In our experience, we have recognised that face-to-face learning material is often:
- Designed to fill-in time during a semester
- Riddled with unnecessary information (content bloat)
- Difficult to navigate through when simply thrown online
- Requires manual enlarging on tablet an mobile devices (when converted to PDF)
- Contributes toward inferior completion rates.