Each year, learning professionals produce many outstanding and innovative online programs. However, examples and demonstrations are often hard to come by because many contain proprietary content.
Since 1995, I have been showcasing examples of outstanding online courses and recognizing the creative developers behind them during the Excellence in Learning Awards. This year, the program included 248 entries from multiple countries. These entries were assessed by hundreds of volunteer judges around the world.
Many of the winners are sharing examples and descriptions of their programs. I hope they help inspire your staff members to develop even more engaging and innovative online material.
1. DOD Information Assurance Awareness: Think compliance training is boring and dry? Not in this case. Department of Defense (DOD) employees and contractor personnel take this course to fulfill their annual information security training requirement. The overall course structure includes an introductory presentation that overviews important concepts and a scenario-based exercise that proposes a series of security risks and situation-based activities, each with follow-up instructional tips. An opening trailer presents a “doomsday scenario” to convey the critical importance of information security awareness. One judge deemed the course “absolutely interesting, creating enthusiasm to know about the security.” This course was created with Carney Inc.
2. myLearning Mobile: Accenture used mobile learning to reach a specific audience that was both hungry for the convenience and technologically savvy enough to take immediate advantage. One judge said of the mobile learning program: “Anything that can make learning easier and convenient without compromising effectiveness is part of the learning quest. I like how the business case was formulated. It would have been difficult to not support.”
3. IKEA Concept Training Program: This program is a redesign of an existing foundation course for first- and second-line managers throughout the Ikea businesses. The new blended program reduces the participants’ dependence on trainers and introduces a discovery model for learners. To create a rich, immersive learning environment that would motivate and inspire participants as well as accelerate the learning, Ikea learning leaders abandoned the usual linear approach. Instead, small teams of participants would research a topic in a self-driven discovery and then create their own “learning materials” with the objective of training the other teams. This program was created with LINE Communications.
4. On-Demand Labs (ODL): In the early days, skills practice was only possible by sending an IT professional to a computer lab. In the Internet age, IT pros can remotely access lab environments as part of instructor-led training. Sun Microsystems has created an infrastructure with 24×7 access to live technical support and live instructional support in which moderators can even take control of the learner’s screen and speak with the learner by phone or voice over IP. Other help features include asynchronous Q&A with tech and instructional experts; FAQs; help screens; video demos; and peer support forums. The online ODL runs in Sun’s computing cloud, allowing unlimited simultaneous access.
5. Project Executive Virtual Negotiations: In this program, IBM uses virtual technology to improve negotiation skills. The course has two primary learning modules: a “Preparing to Negotiate” module and a “Client Negotiations” module. The preparation module uses several interactive learning exercises that simulate real-world activities. The actual negotiation module provides a one-on-one client negotiation experience to resolve three contract issues. During the negotiation, the student is silently observed by up to three different peers.
Following the negotiation, the student receives real-time peer feedback regarding his or her ability to apply the seven best negotiating practices. This technique provides a rich learning experience. The module is also recorded to provide replay and review capabilities for the student. One judge said: “I believe the design of this program was very well thought out. The use of the virtual world places the learner in touch with real-life experiences. IBM does a good job of identifying the learning gaps, providing feedback and assisting the learner.”Filed under: Leadership Development