Using Visuals In Training Materials to Reduce Complexity

Today’s workers have to learn many complex things. The visuals in your training materials can help level the odds and make it easier to learn all those complexities.

Want to know more? Check out the post we just wrote at OpenSesame’s blog.

The post gives some great tips for using visuals this way. Plus, it includes some cool examples from the Convergence Training retail training course libraries. Brilliant!

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Graphics for Training Example: Using Maps

Recently, we’ve been writing a series of posts about using visuals to improve the effectiveness of your training materials. You can check out articles about organizing visuals to aid perception, directing the learner’s eyes, reducing realism, and making abstract concepts more concrete. There are two more to come in this series, and then we’ll be creating something that summarizes them all in one handy guide–so wait for that.

That post on making the abstract more concretes lists several techniques for doing just that. One of those is using maps and mapping concepts within your training visuals. We saw a really great and fun example of that in a New York Times visual called “Up Close on Baseball’s Borders,” which uses colored regions on a map to show where the fans of different major league baseball teams live. Seeing this information laid out on a map is a great example of how effective this technique is. Just imagine trying to digest this same information if it were presented in numbers within in a table.

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How to Write Learning Objectives: The Ultimate Guide

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Learning objectives are a key part of effective training materials. Create and use them correctly, and you’re well on your way to helping your employees learn the knowledge, skills, and attitudes they need.

Neglect to use them, or misuse them, and you’re setting yourself at a serious disadvantage right out of the gate.

At the bottom of this page, you can download a pretty-near-definitive guide that covers a lot of the basics about learning objectives. If you’re new to training or looking for a refresher, the guide may be helpful.

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How To Create an Effective Training Program: 8 Steps to Success

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Nearly everyone recognizes the value and benefits of workforce training. When done properly, training can make workers more efficient — increasing production, revenue, and profits while decreasing costs, waste, and inefficiencies. Effective training can lead to increased compliance with regulations. It can even lead to a happier, more satisfied and engaged workforce, which in turn reduces turnover and costly new employee onboarding. So the benefits are many.

But creating effective training isn’t easy. Some common problems include creating training that doesn’t support a true business goal, or that’s intended for a problem that training can’t fix, or without first identifying the true purpose of the training, or that includes too much information. Or maybe all of those things.

So, how does one create effective workforce training materials? Below is an eight-step road map to help you create more effective training materials. Entire books have been written about each of these steps, so there’s far more to say than what’s written below. But this article should serve as an effective getting-started guide in your quest to create workforce training materials that actually work.

Beyond that, we’ve added some notes in the conclusion of this blog to get you thinking in a “what’s next?” manner. Because the neat thing about designing, developing, delivering, and evaluating training is that you’ll never know everything and you’ll be best-served by being a lifelong learner yourself.

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Smart Ideas: E-Learning, Airline Boarding Passes, and User Experience Design

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Part of my job is to meet with customers who have recently adopted the Convergence learning management system (LMS) and want some face-to-face instruction on how to use it in the most efficient manner at their work place. As a result, I do a good deal of flying.

And while I’m flying, I’m often confused when scanning my boarding passes. It’s hard to find the information I’m looking for—what is my flight number, when does my plane leave, and what gate do I need to get to? You’d think finding that information would be simple enough, but it’s not.

Well, apparently I’m not the only one who gets confused by this. NPR’s All Tech Considered blog recently ran an article about British designer Pete Smart (good name for this guy) who felt the same way. Except, unlike me, Pete Smart did something about it. He created a new design for boarding passes that’s brilliant. It’s easy to read, the information is clearly displayed in logical places and in larger fonts, and it’s even oriented in the proper direction based on the assumption that you dual-purpose your boarding pass as a book mark. Again—brilliant! (Or maybe I should say “smart!”)

These are tips you can use when designing your own elearning courses and other training materials, and most of this falls under the category of visual hierarchy. We’ll share some of those tips in the article below, and we hope you find them helpful when you’re creating your own training materials.

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Teaching Attitudes: The Affective Domain of Learning and Learning Objectives

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[This is the eighth in a series of posts about learning objectives. We’ve now compiled all the posts into a single downloadable guide to writing learning objectives if you want to check that out.]

As we mentioned in a previous post, there are three different kinds of learning: learning about things you can “know,” learning about things you can “do,” and learning about things you “feel.” We will refer to these as knowledge, skills, and attitudes, or “KSAs” for short.

In this post, we’re going to consider the “attitudes” domain more closely. The information below is based on the theories of Krathwohl, Bloom, and Masia (1973), and it relies greatly on explanations of those theories that appear Don Clark’s well known “Big Dog Little Dog” instructional design blog. Check out Clark’s material on learning domains to read more about this and to learn about alternate versions of this hierarchy and other learning hierarchies.

You can use this information to create a more effective workforce training program.

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Making Sure Your Training is Effective-Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Evaluation

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Companies pour a lot of money into training. And of course, they hope that money is well spent.

That would mean that the training worked, in casual terms. Or, to be more specific, that employees learned things, developed new skills, and changed their behaviors at work, and those changed behaviors ultimately contributed to progress toward a business goal, such as increased workplace safety, higher production efficiency, increased sales revenue, lower total costs, the roll-out of a new product, or similar goals.

But exactly how do you know if your training was effective?

To figure this out, Donald Kirkpatrick came up with something now called Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Training Evaluation. There are other methods to do this, but Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels are a widely used method. They became very popular after he published his book Evaluating Training Programs in 1994.

We’ll learn more about the four-level Kirkpatrick evaluation in this article.

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Teaching Skills: The Psychomotor Domain of Learning and Learning Objectives

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[This is the the seventh in a series of posts about learning objectives. We’ve now compiled all the posts into a single downloadable guide to writing learning objectives if you want to check that out.]

As we mentioned in an earlier post, Bloom believed there are three different kinds of learning: learning about things you can “know,” learning about things you can “do,” and learning about things you “feel.” We will refer to these as knowledge, skills, and attitudes, or “KSAs” for short.

In this post, we’re going to consider the “skills” domain more closely, looking at six different levels of skill. The information below is based on the theories of R.H. Dave (1975), and draws from explanations of those theories that appear at Don Clark’s well-known “Big Dog Little Dog” instructional design blog. Check out Clark’s material on learning domains to read more about this hierarchy and to learn about alternate versions of this hierarchy by Simpson and Harrow if you’re interested. I’ve written about Dave’s hierarchy because it’s the one that seems most useful to me, but the others are also popular, well-known, and well-regarded.

This information can help you create a more effective workforce training program.

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How Video Can Help Us Learn: A Fun Example

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Every so often, when we see some effective training material during our daily lives outside the office, or when we see something that explains things nicely, we like to share it here.

Some years ago, we found the video below from a story on the National Public Radio (NPR) website about an informational video that explained a physical process. The video was created by a college student named Dan Quinn. Mr. Quinn has a YouTube channel where he publishes videos he creates, and one is a really interesting piece on why wine “cries” in a glass.

We decided to write more about that video for our “things from everyday life that related to job training” series below.

For more articles in this series, check out this article on visual design and airline tickets and this article on humor in pre-flight safety videos.

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Teaching “Knowledge”: The Cognitive Domain of Learning and Learning Objectives

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[This is the the fifth in a series of posts about learning objectives. We’ve now compiled all the posts into a single downloadable guide to writing learning objectives if you want to check that out.]

As we mentioned in the last post about learning objectives, you can think about three different kinds of learning: learning about things you can “know,” learning about things you can “do,” and learning about things you “feel.” These are called the Cognitive domain, the Psychomotor domain, and the Affective domain. Because we try to avoid $25 words here at the Convergence Training blog, we will also refer to them as Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes. But we didn’t make that up–it’s a somewhat common way to think of this, and trainers often call these “KSAs” for short.

In this post, we’re going to consider the “knowledge” domain of learning more closely–things you can know. We’ll find that there are actually six different levels of knowledge, from simplest to most complex, and we will give a list of behaviors that learners must perform to show they’ve mastered each type of knowledge. This will help you pick the verb you’ll use when writing learning objectives dealing with knowledge. We’ll look at the Skills and Attitudes domains in following posts.

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Benjamin Bloom’s Learning Objectives Taxonomy: Cognitive (Knowledge), Psychomotor (Skills), and Affective (Attitudes)

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[This is the fifth in a series of posts about learning objectives. We’ve now compiled all the posts into a single downloadable guide to writing learning objectives if you want to check that out.]

If you search the Internet for “learning objectives,” you’ll run into the name Benjamin Bloom quickly enough.

That’s because Bloom gave us a handy way to think of different kinds of learning and the learning objectives to write for each. It’s not the only way, and it’s been revised by his followers since he developed it originally, but it’s a help when you’re writing your objectives.

Before we begin explaining his theories to you (over the next four blog posts), take a moment and think of learning. Is all learning alike, or do we sometimes learn different “kinds” of things? For example, consider learning how materials flow through a machine, learning how to weld a metal seam, and learning why it’s important to follow safety rules. Are these the same kinds of learning, or are they different?

If you agree that we learn different types of things, you’re halfway to understanding Bloom’s three “domains” of learning and learning objectives.

Once you’ve read all this stuff on Bloom’s learning objectives for different types of learning, you may also find our Different Types of Training for Different Types of Learning article interesting.

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ABCD: The Four Parts of a Learning Objective

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[This is the fourth in a series of posts about learning objectives. We’ve now compiled all the posts into a single downloadable guide to writing learning objectives if you want to check that out.]

A simple way to make sure you’re building a useful learning objective is to use the ABCD method. Each letter in ABCD stands for a different part of your learning objective. These different parts answer four questions about your objective: who, what, how, and how well.

We’ll spell it all out for you below. Then you can use this information to create better learning activities as part of your workforce training program (or similar learning program).

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