The problem with traditional online courses is that they are typically one dimensional. They are, in effect, self-directed PowerPoint shows with a recording mechanism. In this regard, they are good for simple knowledge-based learning and so are often used successfully in compliance type courses.
Traditional online courses do not deal well with more complex subjects that require more in-depth learning (for example soft-skills that aspire to behaviour change). This type of learning needs to be multi-dimensional.
SmartProgrammes are the next generation of online training. They bring together all dimensions of online delivery into an integrated programme:
SmartProgrammes recognise that successful training requires us to create training in four dimensions:
All four of these dimensions are important for effective targeting.
We will start with application. In addition to the practical learning content you would expect, all SmartProgrammes include exercises and Assignments that involve the learner in practical work.
Through the Daily Lessons system these exercises are sent to learners on a regular basis. They will also remind learners to complete an Activity Log (and make suggestions as to what to do). The results of any activity can be logged in the Activity Log. Daily Lessons are sent to learners by email. They don’t have to literally be sent daily, but they add a time dimension that supports the repetition of application.
Learners are required to complete a Self-Assessment of their needs prior to starting the programme (the same assessment may be sent to peers, managers or customers for comparative assessment). The results of the assessment will suggest an appropriate route through all the material for learners who may not need to study it all.
“People motivate people”. It is well known that the best way to get learning completed is to ensure people are supporting the learner. The learner’s manager is encouraged to complete the Pre and Post Course Objectives Evaluation and can get involved in the practicals. They can watch and support the learner through the shareable ePortfolio that includes details of all activity, scores, assignments etc. In addition, course tutors are directly involved with learners through the marking of their Assignments.
Completion of the SmartProgramme leads to the award of Certificates.
Arguably, none of this is rocket science. What is new is the way SmartProgrammes are integrating all the dimensions though a set of simple to use tools. Of course, an author does not have to use every tool and can pick and mix depending on the required outcome.
SmartProgrammes currently available include: