In my posts on output learning I have tried to describe a method to connect learning to problems in the workplace. In this post I want to explore a first concrete step towards that goal.
I think that the first step could be formed by using ‘learning nuggets’. e-Learning is now often delivered as a SCORM package in an LMS covering a complete subject. This is fine for a first introduction into that subject, but research shows that just a small percentage of the presented knowledge is retained. The major reason is that you often can’t apply the learning content immediately into practice while you are learning and that is the most important condition for retaining new knowledge.
The solution is to bring the learning to the workplace. In order to do that we have to alter our Learning content. In stead of large subject oriented courses we need switch to small task oriented learning nuggets. And that is not the only thing. The worker has to be able to find that piece of content. You can offer search facilities to the worker, but it would be even better to ‘read’ his working context. When a task is performed using software there is a possibility to connect the learning nuggets to the context-sensitive help. When a user presses F1 we can offer him not only support for the use of the system but also additional information (nuggets) with task support.
When new software is introduced this is often supported by e-Learning, most of the times by a simulation where people can learn how to perform their designated tasks in the new system. This is a good way to introduce the new system, but it is not connected to the working environment. We could reuse that same content and split it up into small learning nuggets, based on tasks or sub-tasks. This is very easy to do in authoring systems like easygenerator. Then you publish the learning nugget as HTML package and place it on your intranet or on an internal server. You could enable the end user to find these nuggets through a search engine or even a simple list. But it is also possible to add links to these nuggets in your context-sensitive help system. When a user is performing a task in the system and he needs support, he presses F1. A list with relevant subjects (including the nuggets) is presented. The user clicks the link, goes through the learning content, returns to his system and completes the task. It seems to me that this is a very easy and cheap way to connect the learning to the workplace in a different way.