In the past few years, online learning has come a long way from linear, static slides that the user clicks through. Modern systems engage learners with high-resolution video, audio, and interactive technologies that can ascertain learning, such as quizzes. In addition, companies are now making training accessible on mobile devices, so learners can train on their own terms and at a time that fits their workload and schedule.
These technologies and methods are helping make online training more equitable than high-touch (and high-cost) live training. Now we are entering the next phase of development for online learning. Platforms will incorporate analytics and sophisticated tracking and feedback tools to help close the gap on a distinct advantage of classroom instruction: emotions.
Feedback from learners
It’s pretty easy for a physical classroom instructor to determine whether her class is engaged or not. Body posture, body language, facial expressions, and eye contact are just a few of the available signals. The instructor also has the extra advantage of asking the class directly if they understand the content or if it is boring them to tears. With a perfectly timed raise of the eyebrow, the instructor can elicit laughter and make a meaningful connection with the audience.
The training software industry is beginning to deliver intuitive tools that allow trainers to understand how users are reacting to the content. This enables trainers to measure the effectiveness of the content and the likelihood that they are reaching educational objectives. This is important, particularly in fields such as law enforcement, armed forces, and healthcare, where missing information could result in dangerous consequences for users and patients.
Generally, trainers want to know when users are getting bored, or when the content is simply too complex. Electronic eye and facial tracking technologies embedded in training tools can give instructional designers and organizations an objective, more personal, and more relevant analysis of the training, through the collection and instant analysis of potentially thousands of data points captured about learners, their learning preferences, and their unique needs.
If 65 percent of users look away from the screen for 15 seconds or more during Section 3, that’s a pretty good sign that something is not clicking. Or what if 80 percent of users look confused during one segment? There’s another reason to reevaluate the content. Adaptive syst…
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