Often when people think of e-learning, it brings to mind images of presentation-style page turners with lots of bullet points, pictures, and clip art. At WisdomTools, we have developed WT Authoring Studio™, a propriety course-authoring tool that we use to create cost-effective, flexible, and effective e-learning courseware that can be as simple and traditional or as complex and cutting edge as our clients desire.
The advantages of e-learning have become plain over the last two decades. The ease of use, always-on accessibility, lack of need for scheduling, and cost effectiveness often make e-learning a solution to many problems commonly associated with classroom based training. However, many e-learning modules available today serve as nothing more than online delivery mechanisms that test learners’ ability to accomplish basic recall. WT Authoring Studio™ includes a suite of advanced collaboration and embedded technology tools that make the creation of innovative blended e-learning solutions fast and easy.
WT Authoring Studio™ includes tools that allow us to create not only our tried-and-true story-based learning solutions Scenarios™ and eScenes™, but also traditional e-courseware or blended solutions with video, audio, Flash media, simulations, embedded games, and any combination thereof.
WisdomTools eScenes™ are customized learning and communication tools that can complement Scenarios™ or stand alone.
Each eScene™ is 2-6 minutes long and is similar to a Scenario™ in much the same way that a trailer is similar to a movie. eScenes™ still feature realistic characters, dialog, and follow the story-based learning approach. However, whereas Scenarios™ are suitable for up to several hours of instruction and are primarily text-based, eScenes™ are short, illustrated vignettes with voiceover, and they are usually designed with only one learning point or message in mind.
eScenes™ are designed to provide information or motivate interest quickly, and they make an excellent introduction to a group discussion activity. eScenes can include online discussion forums, in-depth resources, or any other electronic asset, accessible at the click of a button.
When you think of the really good stories you have read, the aspect that made them memorable was probably the ups and the downs of the characters as they interacted with each other. At WisdomTools, we use the same principles of story development to create training. The use of story gives learners the opportunity to experience some of the problems (as well as the solutions) they will encounter during their daily interactions through the characters’ eyes. The learner is offered a bird’s-eye view of situations they might encounter in their own work, and the story-based approach addresses the many shades of gray that real-life situations bring, instead of presenting black and white facts out of context. By understanding the characters’ motives and seeing the consequences and results without any risk, learners receive unique insight into many of the issues they may encounter in the field.
Additionally, using stories for training assists with recall. Our research shows that learners retain more information as time goes by when it is presented in Scenarios rather than traditional e-learning programs.
Scenarios™ allow us to embed company-approved resources such as white-papers, spreadsheets, operating models, and process manuals. These resources become a part of the solutions that the Scenario characters use to resolve problems. In turn, learners see how their organizations best resources can be leveraged successfully in context, which ensures that learners know how, when, and where they can access the information they need to do their jobs.
Employees need the combination of both tacit and explicit learning to be able to understand sophisticated problem-solving in the field. Our experience in working with training and HR departments has convinced us that companies are looking for training solutions that provide employees with greater understanding of problems and provide deeper insights.
E-Learning is becoming a key part of the corporate training landscape, but so much of it consists of nothing more than an online delivery mechanism that tests learners’ ability to accomplish basic recall. With increased recognition that understanding and critical reasoning help employees contribute far more to the success of a company, HR and training departments are asking us:
- How can we maximize information retention for every employee in our organization?
- How do learners go beyond the hard skills to develop much-needed soft skills as well?
- How can we help them make good decisions?
Our answer is to engage learners through the imaginative use of stories. Through stories we can focus on tacit knowledge and work around problems that occur in the workplace. Stories are customized to meet the needs of our clients and take place in their own settings, not abstract or vague locations. The environments in the stories are safe and familiar, allowing learners to experience problems and issues through interesting characters.
WisdomTools works with subject matter experts (SMEs) to craft real-world solutions to these complex problems. Our time-tested processes give employees a mechanism to retain their training longer, and it ensures that using the appropriate resources becomes a part of their daily skill set.
Simulations & Games
Simulations and games have supplemented training in various forms for decades, but in the world of e-learning, these two immersive technology platforms continue to evolve as increasingly effective and engaging instructional tools.
Simulations and games both provide learners with a unique opportunity — the ability to practice problem-solving skills and strategies in a challenging, competitive, low-stakes, and safe environment. In addition, unlike real-world practice, games and simulations enable learners to experiment and even fail, which provides the crucial opportunity to learn from mistakes in an environment with limited consequences. All of these factors contribute to enhancing learner engagement, which in turn increases knowledge retention.
WisdomTools’ team of instructional designers, learning scientists, entertainment game designers, game developers, and digital media designers work together to blend all the most effective aspects of games, simulations, and immersive learning theory into learning and performance-enhancement solutions that work.