Click-to-reveal. Try-it activity. Knowledge check. If you can storyboard these common e-learning interactions in your sleep (and sometimes do), then you may be one of many instructional designers who have fallen into a predictable “lather, rinse and repeat” cycle of e-learning design. On your next assignment, consider spicing up the same old recipe with a few fresh ideas.
Step 1. Use the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy to Write Objectives.
Before we dive into e-learning methods, let’s back up the learning delivery truck just a bit and figure out what we want learners to do differently (or better) than they are doing now.
Like most instructional designers, you probably classify training goals and objectives using Bloom’s Cognitive Taxonomy, but did you know this taxonomy was updated by Anderson and Krathwohl?1 The revision occurred back in 2001, but somehow many missed the memo.
The revised version defines knowledge across four dimensions—factual, conceptual, procedural, and metacognitive—and the levels are now phrased as nouns. For instance, the “Knowledge” level from the 1956 version of Bloom’s is now called “Remember,” and the former “Comprehension” level is now called “Understand.”
If you are not using the revised version of Bloom’s already, reference the updated levels listed below while you craft learning objectives for your next project. Then, you’ll be better able to map your objectives to the proposed e-learning treatments in this article.
Step 2. Select E-Learning Treatments that Support Your Objectives.
The concept of writing objectives before selecting instructional treatments sounds basic, but sometimes our excitement to ride buzzword trains (like “rapid design” or “agile development”) convolutes the process, so it’s worth restating.
The great news is, once your objectives are written, selecting the best e-learning treatment can be a rapid process. Simply use the outline below as a quick reference tool to identify the best types of e-learning treatments for your objectives.
For instance, if your objective starts with the verb “identify” then it falls under the “Remember” level of Bloom’s Taxonomy. According to this outline, an effective e-learning treatment might be a multimedia presentation, labeled graphic interaction, video, software demonstration, interactive process graphic, etc. There are many options available, so you can spice up your storyboard with new and fresh ideas for your learners.
The outline below is merely a starting point; you could add other e-learning treatments to it as you begin to develop more innovative e-learning treatment ideas.
Try-It Simulation: The learner is presented with a screen capture with “try-it” prompts, interactions and feedback.
Case Study: The learner reads a case study (or watches it via video or multiple presentation) and answers a series of multiple choice/multiple select questions that require analytical thinking.
Branching Scenarios: The learner is presented with a scenario and answers a series of questions about how to solve it. The progression of questions varies based on the learner’s response to each question.
Hotspot Examination: The learner clicks a hotspot on a photo or graphic to identify what is wrong, out of place or otherwise different than it should be.
Drag & Drop: Drag and drop text or images into categories or into a ranking order. Or, drag and drop them freestyle to create a new concept, process or product.
Whiteboard: Allow learners to design/draw a concept or process map on a whiteboard. Then have them compare it with a sample concept or process map. Or, invite learners to draw a new concept, product or process on a whiteboard.
Step 3. Collaborate with Your Production Crew to Discover More Possibilities.
Some instructional designers storyboard and produce their deliverables; however, if you work with a production crew, involve them in your design discussions. Using their knowledge of multimedia design and production software, they can offer ideas you didn’t realize were possible. Also, they can also warn against treatments that may jeopardize the project timeline before the storyboard is signed off by your primary stakeholder.
Commit to Creativity
Are you ready to broaden your storyboarding horizons? If you are ready to commit to greater creativity, you can begin by:
Becoming familiar with the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy and write objectives before selecting design treatments
Using the outline in this article to select a variety of e-learning treatments that support your objectives
Involving your production crew (if applicable) to generate additional design ideas and explore new possibilities