Typically, when a person mentions training, what comes to mind is a course, electronic or classroom-based, with lessons, assessments, activities, etc. When the audience is one of adults, however, traditional training can be a big burden, and the reasons can be anything from training being too tedious to lack of time.
Although it is nearly impossible to think of learning without structured courseware, a lot of post-college education is actually happening through self-paced, multichannel learning.
It is in this context “learnability” that some of the instructional tool kits provide comes into play. Tool kits, if designed and developed with appropriate instructional strategy, can be an excellent alternative to traditional courseware for providing training.
So, how are tool kits different from customized e-learning courseware? The difference is similar to the difference between TV miniseries and soap operas.
Tool kits would be most effective in corporate scenarios, in which employees and customers (most of whom are unwilling to go through training) need to be trained on anything from a new product to crisis management to compliance to workflows to company vision and history.
Consider the example of a company launching a new product and needing to train its employees on it. A tool kit can provide this training, created as an instructional unit tied to tangible learning objectives without overtly designating it as a learning course.
There would be separate modules to provide product information, the need for the product, data on competition, sales process details, repository of documents needed, tools for calculating ROI, etc. This modularity also would be organized in such a manner that there would be a coherent flow in the ideas presented in the modules.
The modules would be presented in such a way that the specific ideas are explained with the help of appropriate strategies built on appropriate instructional ground.
Additionally, there would be enough hands-on practice on the tool, service or product being offered through scenario-based presentation for the learner, and there would be questions for the learners to test their understanding of the subject without receiving a certain certificate.
Learning would happen without the learners realizing they had to go through a course, and all the other benefits of an e-learning course would still hold.
SM Nafay Kumail is assistant vice president with Content Solutions group at Genpact and co-author of “e-Learning: An Expression of the Knowledge Economy.” Bhupendra Bahadur Singh is an e-learning solution architect with Content Solutions group at Genpact. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.