We are constantly striving to find innovative ways of engaging learners. Often Scenarios are designed to illustrate correct behaviour in a given situation. The problem is we cannot really tell if the learner is paying attention and grasping all of the subtle nuances to be successful.
By creating a “First Person” reinforcement activity, learners can practice what they learn in a safe and supportive manner. A few years ago I began to experiment with this technique. As technology has evolved we have become able to do some amazing things. In the past we would have to create a storyboard matrix and lay out the possible paths a learner could take during a conversation. Once these were identified, scripts for both the Learner and the person with whom they were interacting onscreen had to be created. The script for the onscreen person was recorded with an actor in character. The script of possible responses or questions was laid out on screen, giving the learner the opportunity to select a response or question from 4 possible ones at that moment.
The tricky part was recording the video with all the necessary outcomes that wouldn’t take the learner so far down a path they couldn’t recover. I remember in one situation we had to get the on screen character to get more and more upset with the learner during the course of the conversation. We had over 40 video clips she needed to record. By the end the actor told me that this was one of the most difficult shoots she had done, especially getting more and more upset, staying in character while keeping it feeling real. However the project, which was for a very large accounting firm in the US, got an overwhelmingly positive response, with learners scoring very high.
The feedback from this style of learning was fantastic. Companies were able to see immediate improvements due to the fact that the training was not static and the role playing that typically went on in the class was much more consistent and controlled to maximize the learning.
Results from this online learning experience were fully tracked and then sent back to the LMS when appropriate.
Where are we headed next? Avatars, “Second Life” style characters, Learning 2.0 online virtual mentors ….?