Screenshot of iSpring

Using Course Authoring Software to Improve Training

On a regular basis I write technical documentation for IT systems. These documents consist mainly of text and images. I also put together training sessions from time to time, which are useful when introducing concepts that are more complex and don’t follow a standard process like something that would be documented. While in-person or even video conferencing can work for these types of training sessions, they still suffer from two major problems: scheduling and lack of interactivity.

Though training sessions can be recorded to accommodate anyone who’s unable to attend, viewers often feel disengaged and bored. What’s needed is to find an asynchronous method of training people that is engaging and interactive. Luckily, there are tools for authoring interactive content so users are able to learn at their own paces.

I’ve created an example in a tool called iSpring, which is an add-on for Powerpoint that allows for the creation of highly-interactive scenarios.

Screenshot of iSpring
Scenario introduction

iSpring allows you to create an interactive scenario for the learner where decisions can be made in a safe environment. Negative outcomes from the decisions should not be penalized during the learning process; if a learner chooses a “bad” option, it’s a good opportunity to see why making the decision in a real-life scenario should be avoided.

Screenshot of iSpring
The learner chooses how to respond to the situation.

Depending on the option the learner chose, the character can be programmed to respond in different ways.

Screenshot of iSpring
The character can be programmed to react with different expressions based on how the learner previously responded.

There are many authoring tools that allow for the creation of interactive scenarios like this that give learners the ability to learn at their own paces in a safe environment. Rather than conduct a traditional training session, consider using one of them to create a training course that avoids many of those limitations. You may find that it turns out to be the more effective training approach.

Oh, and don’t forget to document any processes and technical information you reference in your course! If you want users to be able to accomplish a task at the end of the training course, users should not be expected to memorize complex sets of instructions.

Check out my example here:

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