Archive for June, 2010

First impressions count, so it’s important that an induction programme is effective. We work with our clients to find out how their current induction programme can be improved. Businesses often have trouble making sure a comprehensive induction to the company is completed in a new starter’s first few days, and once a new starter is no longer new it can be difficult to deliver an effective induction – they may have already made up their mind about the company!

We can see that a move from a face to face induction to an online version benefits our clients in a number of ways:

  • The induction programme is consistent across the company
  • It is cost effective and the financial benefits are measurable
  • The induction can be completed on a new starter’s very first day
  • The learner is able to repeat parts of the course and take as long as they need
  • Legal requirements can be met – for instance, a new starter might only receive their login details once they’ve completed an induction that includes fire safety and emergency evacuation training

As with all e-learning programmes, it is our challenge as instructional designers to make sure an induction is engaging, effective and relevant. An online induction is an exciting opportunity to show new starters where a company came from and where its aspirations are taking it. Although these programmes vary, we find that effective inductions:

  • Are short and concise, effective inductions can take around 30 minutes to complete
  • Orient the learner through the use of videos, images and virtual tours
  • Have a distinct and appropriate tone of voice
  • Include details of a company’s branding, values, culture and ambitions
  • Are visually exciting
  • Contain effective interactions

Induction programmes are a chance to show new starters how a company wants to be perceived and to make their first few days, weeks and months easier, more enjoyable and productive. We find that our instructional designers need to work closely with clients to find out what’s at the core of a business – once this is established an online induction can be created that reflects a company’s values.

The ability to communicate effectively with video in the mix is a highly desirable skill, one for which demand will only increase. Almost everyone carries a digital camera these days, making the idea of creating video for e-Learning more accessible than ever.

Devised and presented by the BBC, this workshop will show you how to create a great video. You will learn by working in groups facilitated by Nick Shackleton-Jones and his BBC colleagues. Topics to be covered include:

1. Introduction to developing e-Learning content

2. Design: what to film

3. Script content; collecting images

3. Filming a video with voice-over

4. Editing and uploading the video

All done on a shoestring.

The workshop took place on Friday April 30, 2010.

To learn more, go to the Informatology website.

Interactions pose a dilemma to all instructional designers. While they can be fun, visually exciting and effective, they can also require a lot of development and be difficult to create.

It’s worth taking the time to get your approach to interactions right because they’re key to making e-learning effective. Think about it… do you remember how to cook by reading the recipe or by having a go at cooking it?

Here are our top five tips for creating effective interactions…

1. Make them relevant

Interactions should mirror the realities of the job. If you’re creating a financial management course, why not get the learner to solve a fictional financial dilemma? This gives them an opportunity to safely make mistakes without looking stupid or incurring consequences. You can also surprise the learner by following up on an interaction – demonstrate the consequences of the action they took and those they didn’t. Focus on what learners need to DO not just what they need to KNOW!

2. Test, don’t just tell

Just like in the classroom most people prefer to be involved in something active rather than a passive experience – learning doesn’t occur passively. Test the learner when introducing a new topic and make the learner justify their answers. Don’t just ask the learner to click, you should also ask them to think. One of our favourite testing interactions is the myth or reality screen. You can surprise the learner and dispel misconceptions by including false statements and delivering the true facts in the feedback.

3. Be creative… and savvy

It’s possible to make interactions carry a visual punch by making small changes to traditional and familiar templates. Why not animate hotspots, or use images in the place of boxes? Get to know your templates – you may be able to use an existing one – and find out what your developers can achieve in a set amount of hours.

4. Follow the Goldilocks example

Each learner is different, so getting the degree of difficulty right can be a challenge. We try to follow the Goldilocks example: if it’s too easy, people will be bored… If it’s an impossible task, people won’t try… success should be possible but not guaranteed! Double negatives and options that are very similar can make interactions too difficult. Similarly, the longest answer being the correct one can make testing too easy.

5. Know when not to use an interaction

Think – does an interaction really add value? Or are you adding an interaction for the sake of it? Some parts of a client’s content may seem more suited to interactions than others, and this is fine. However, try to make sure your interactions are fairly distributed and test the learner on the key learning objectives.

Saffron Interactive is proud to announce the development of a bespoke sustainability e-learning course at Bovis Lend Lease UK, a leading project management and construction company.

The e-learning course represents an innovative approach to engaging staff on the subject of sustainability.

The interactive course (Every Action Adds Up) is part of Bovis Lend Lease’s wider sustainability strategy. This strategy is to enable the company to design, contract and manage zero net carbon, waste and water developments as part of the wider Lend Lease group. As a result the company realised it needed everyone to understand the current activities required to deliver the strategy.

The e-learning course highlights the small changes which all employees can make to increase the positive impact that the company and the wider industry has on the environment and local communities. Using bespoke interactions and graphics, the course is designed to make the already award winning sustainability strategy engaging and relevant to learners whilst motivating them to make a difference.

Bovis Lend Lease’s Learning and Development Manager, Siobhan Glover, says “This is an exciting time for us, developing Training and Development content which both communicates our core sustainability values plus encompasses the spirit of sustainability via the web access facility through which our people will access and complete this programme. The project team have worked hard to interpret our requirements and are about to handover a programme which is engaging for our people whatever level or aspect of our business the work within.”

About Bovis Lend Lease

Bovis Lend Lease is one of the UK’s leading construction and project management companies and has a strong track record of delivering landmark projects.

The company offers a growing range of sector skills from the mainstream commercial and retail markets to leisure, pharmaceuticals, airports and public private partnerships. Bovis Lend Lease UK has recently been involved in a number of flagship projects including Central Manchester University Hospitals, the Broadgate Tower and the Ministry of Defence’s Single Living Accommodation Modernisation programme (SLAM).

Bovis Lend Lease has established a number of joint venture partnerships to plan, project manage and deliver regeneration schemes around the world and we are committed to being a sustainable organisation, both in what we do and what we build.

Bovis Lend Lease UK is the 2010 winner of the Environmental Leadership for Cultural Change Award at the National Environment and Energy Awards 2010 whilst Dr. Paul Toyne, Head of Sustainability, Bovis Lend Lease UK was awarded Environment Manager of the Year Award.

Bovis Lend Lease UK is also the 2009 winner of the Green National Business Award for Overall
Environmental Management and the Business Commitment to the Environment Sir Peter Parker Award.

More information on Bovis Lend Lease’s projects and programmes can be found at

How can we help

Click here to download a handy PDF about who we are and what we do.

Working for

Click here to find out more about jobs at Saffron.

t: 020 7651 4960

Or click here to use our online form.