Our thinking

Want to make your digital learning engaging?

Step 1: Kill the jargon


The digital world suffers from a mass of acronyms and technical jargon that is easy to feel lost in.

The eLearning industry seems even more in awe of technical jargon than any other - despite the fact that, if we’re being honest, the technical complexity in most eLearning is pretty basic.

I sometimes wonder whether it’s because of this the eLearning industry has lost itself in acronyms to make it sound like it's really complex. I’ve known the temptation myself and it’s almost forgivable - but not quite. By getting lost in the jargon we forget the real purpose of what we are doing: to help people learn.

So often I see or hear people talking about ‘gamification’ as if it’s some kind of format in its own right, rather than simply a particular approach to learning. Or a whole category of different platforms. LXP or an LEP... as if adding ‘experience’ into the acronym will ensure learners are engaged more.

Then there is the true silliness of SCORM.

There is a tendency to think that a ‘SCORM based course’ is an actual thing. The reality is that SCORM is a hangover from old technologies and at its most negative only traps learners into dull learning management systems of which only a small percentage of the features are actually used or needed by the learner.

I’m very sorry to disappoint anyone who likes learning technology, but, apart from a few properly interesting developments in some university and research departments around artificial intelligence, very little eLearning qualifies as ‘technology’.

So what are we doing? Creating content!

But what is this content?

It is text, video, pictures, chat and sometimes a bit of basic coding to make things interactive. But - despite what the industry would like to claim - most of that coding is pretty simple stuff.

Technology for the most part is only the channel to access and deliver the content to people.

Pre internet the channel was limited to schools, books, television and radio. What’s happened now is not that the learning has dramatically changed - it is that digital keeps on creating new channels to deliver the learning!

Of course every channel comes with its own particular characteristics - normally it’s just a different set of limitations. Classroom learning comes with one set of limitations, video with another set. But, you don’t need to be a technical expert to understand these limitations. All you need to do is experience it for yourself and look for the ways it is being effective and for the ways it’s not then adapt what you do next.

We all know the limitations of telephone conference calls because we’ve all been there. It’s the same with every new channel. Experience it for yourself and empathise with others who also
use it.

And here surely we see the biggest reason why most eLearning is actually dull. We spend our time worrying about the machine, when really we should be worrying about the person.

So, if you’re thinking ‘how do I get my eLearning to be more engaging’ the first step is to kill the ‘e’ and just think about learning, and remove one entirely pointless piece of jargon.

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Attic have been delivering engaging learning for clients since 1996 through stories, games and content.

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