Importance of Staggered Content in eLearning
As humans, our brains follow the same process when it comes to learning (eLearning). We absorb the lessons for the day, which are then processed through the Hippocampus while we sleep. This ensures our brain is able to compartmentalise the lessons which are most important to us. Another important process, is how we strengthen our understanding of a topic, which occurs through recollection. The more recollection on a topic the stronger the synapse in our brains becomes. This is an important piece of understanding, and vital to our ability to make sense of a world with literal infinite information. This explains perfectly why we become more efficient at something, the more time we practice it. The result is that our brain begins to store these processes within the other parts of itself, resulting in less strain on our frontal cortex, which in turn results in less energy expenditure. Do an activity long enough, and it literally becomes an almost ‘autopilot’ process. Now my description of the entire learning process, only really scratches the surface, but provides a good overview of how our brains learn. So what is the lesson to take away here?
Improved eLearning Training Content
Stagger your eLearning content, so that the learners can fully absorb the theory, and so that they have more opportunities for recollection, resulting in a much higher topical retention rate and proficiency. It also means you should be developing supplementary and complementary content and assessments, which are presented to the learners over longer periods of time, to ensure their proficiency on the topic does not wane.
Another important consideration here are the learning principles of Bloom’s Taxonomy, whereby topical proficiency is qualified through ever increasing topical understanding. In other words, understanding the theory of a topic, is only the beginning of the journey. You need to improve the students proficiency by translating that theory into comprehension, application and creation. Now this process may vary depending on the topic at hand, but the concept remains true. I recall the first time I studied content strategy, as I became more efficient on the topic I began writing articles on it. This was increasing my proficiency on the topic, but was only the tip of Bloom’s ‘iceberg’. The first time I had to present my knowledge of content strategy to a potential client, I completely bombed the pitch. Why? I was not proficient enough in speaking on the topic, which in turn also meant I was nowhere near ready to implement it for them either.
This scenario can easily be applied to your eLearning content, simply by scaling the difficulty of the topic and how it must be presented, along with a staggered training schedule to further strengthen those synapses. Take this lesson to heart, and don’t make the same mistakes I did. Break your training up and extend its lifetime to create a more proficient workforce.
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