Page Turners: Good for novels, not so good for elearning?
Posted by Ellen on January 5, 2008
Cathy Moore’s great blog on instructional design (“Making Change”) recently took on “page-turners” in online learning. Those are elearning courses structured like the model I posted recently (see link on the left). In her entry, “Is a course really the answer?” she’s hit on a very hot topic, with comments still getting posted.
A couple of points I didn’t see raised:
Sometimes there’s value in a page-turner course, especially for associations. For example, we created Powerpoint overview of our association that our board members present at various educational events. It seems to me that creating a series of quick learning objects out of it that can be accessed via our Web site, incorporate some matching and drag and drop activities, add some narration and illustrations (images of association leaders they might recognize), then we could engage them through the page-turning. And the board members could hit some key points during their live presentations, and refer members to the online version for more detail.
The difference between educating someone and training someone can make a big difference in whether a page-turner might be adequate (I can see some people cringe at that, even from here). Here’s why: in the “Association 101” example above, our intention wouldn’t be to train anyone to do anything. We just want to provide information, to education them a little more about the association they hold membership in. It seems to me that making that information as interesting as possible (and for us, on a limited budget) is a worthy goal. Training our members in some aspect of their profession (analyzing their financial statements for hidden costs, for example) would require an entirely different outcome (not just to know, but to do), and would require a very different approach in getting the learner there.
The point, of course, is that you need to know whether your members will need to know something or be able to do something at the end of the session. And, with that in mind, you can match the right type of online learning to that content.
What types of content is your association putting online? Are you using elearning to provide information, or to teach skills or processes?