Planning Collaboration Activities

Most instructional designers believe that their job ends with the launch of the eLearning program. While the content of your course determines its quality, the planning efforts needed to implement the course determine its delivery quality.

Don’t get us wrong, but delivery quality truly creates a learning community – the inevitable soul of the eLearning course. A great content is brought to life when it is communicated through different views of the learners.

Let’s discover how you can be mindful in planning and implementing a well-collaborated course – an increasingly important post-launch activity.

While we know how precious the involvement and contribution of an SME is to an eLearning course, we cannot ignore how the content is relayed to the learners. Your eLearning course can become dynamic in terms of application if you collaborate with your learners based on their learning needs and the organization’s learning goals.

A single concept has versatile applications. Bearing this in mind, you can drastically change how learners perceive and apply your content towards a better performance.

Let’s explore the planning stage of eLearning program collaboration.

Collaboration is an important part of the eLearning course. Creating effective collaboration requires real planning and continuous efforts on the part of the course mentor. Here’s what the best practices dictate:

1. Pre-plan the interaction: This includes ensuring that all assignments are not the regular Word-document submits. Require your learners to present themselves and become socially visible.

Others should be able to recognize their presence easily. They should know what to expect. This comes from quality introductions. This is necessary in every eLearning course.

While an “About Me” paragraph is becoming increasingly pedantic, you can create alternative methods of introduction. Have learners create a webpage that has a dynamic view of their interests and aspirations. Require them to record a video or some audio or an animated video to introduce themselves in a real-time manner.

2. Prepare an agenda for the collaboration and stick to that agenda: Create a collaboration visual or a diagram as a starting point for your eLearning program. Demonstrate what collaboration means for the course and how it will benefit everyone.

When you list the benefits explicitly, learners will understand its value and participate instantly.

3. Summarize the previous week’s learning and make an attempt to wrap up learning objectives: Always relate concepts you teach with learning objectives. This keeps learning on-track and offers a sense of accomplishment.

Also, relate the learning objectives directly with their work context. How were things done before the training? How will they be different at work now? Have learners comment on their real-world work-based problems. This will lead you to any uncovered concepts or ideas for another training and development program.

4. Ask unique questions to each participant and allow them to play an integral role in the session: Around the second or the third week of the course, you should have a fair amount of info about each learner. Try to frame questions for each learner.

This works well for small groups of learners. For larger groups, create question topics as separate discussion board headings and groups learners based on the right question for them.

For example, if you have an expert in productivity software, have them talk more about their ideas and software suggestions for various purposes. Productivity software is actually a set of eLearning tools that enable users to present their ideas, expressions, designs, and Internet searches in an innovative and collaborative manner.

Also request them to create a tutorial or direct learners to tutorials to encourage them to adopt eLearning tools.

5. Take learners on web field trips: This is a great learning activity. Discover sites that are like information-museums to encourage reading and discovery. Have groups create a combined report.

6. Share real world experience and knowledge: This discussion can go forever if directed intelligently and with empathy. Ask learners to share one issue at work and propose how they would change it. Listen to what they have to say and probe further.

7. Make the material relevant and current: We know you prune your course before each session. Do look into current articles and blogs for latest information. A current topic is a sensational topic.

8. Do not rush collaboration: Start slow and steady, and build upon the responses you receive.

9. Use graphics and color to keep the collaboration interesting: Create interactive diagrams for concepts wherever possible and immediately have a slot for comments available under the interactivity. Keep them engaged!

Collaboration is seldom automatic. Trainers need to learn the art of collaborating online with participants. Collaboration creates sense of direction in a course. It also brings out the much-needed excitement and anticipation of the eLearners.

We hope you find these collaboration planning activities useful. Do share yours with us.

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