Archive for February, 2013

This short post is an edited excerpt from the Spicy Learning Guide, an essential compendium of 101 tips to improve your learning strategy. Register here to receive your free copy!

An inaccessible e-learning course risks non compliance, frustration, anxiety and lost productivity. Saffron’s five tips will help you avoid all that and build something accessible, usable and ultimately more effective.

1. Revise your definition

Yes, accessibility is about catering to users with disabilities, but it pays to take a broader view: accessibility is about usability. Everyone benefits from easy-to-use interactions, intuitive navigation, clear language and a considered design.

2. Build accessibility into your plans

Many people believe an accessible course is an expensive course, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Consider accessibility from the outset, plan how you’ll build it into your design, and you’ll find that the investment pays off.

3. Aim for accessibility, not perfection

It’s worth finding some guidelines, like the W3C standards. They apply to websites rather than e-learning, so create your own test plans that tick as many of the boxes as possible and find alternatives if you can’t meet a particular requirement.

4. Don’t be tempted to build two versions

Creating a separate version of an e-learning course isn’t inclusive, so it opens you up to equivalence issues. It also adds to your workload, which impacts on the timescales and bottom line, and it can compromise testing procedures.

5. Be aware of the common mistakes

Don’t create interactions that require intricate mouse control. Don’t design a course that relies on an awareness of the visual layout. Don’t use descriptions that will be lost on visually impaired users (‘click on the green box on the right…’).

Last night’s Learning Awards saw Saffron Interactive win the coveted award for the second time in four years – the only e-learning provider ever to do so. Beating stiff competition from Mind Click, Dell and Unicorn Training, Saffron’s Moira Nicolson took the prize for an extraordinary e-learning course on mental resilience created for Transport for London.

This category, which is judged by industry figureheads including Clive Shepherd and Julie Wedgwood, recognises ‘exceptional instructional design’ which is ‘innovative and of high quality’ and delivers ‘demonstrable performance improvement for learners.’ In 2010 the same award was won by Saffron’s Stephanie Dedhar for her work with BT.

I’m immensely proud of Moira and I’m pleased to say I’m not surprised!’ says Noorie Sazen, Saffron CEO. ‘Winning this award for the second time shows why Saffron is such a special company. Moira never settles for less than perfection and always challenges our clients to develop learning experiences that really do change behaviour. That’s the Saffron difference.’

Moira is modest about her achievement: ‘I had a wonderful time at the Awards and I’m so happy that the judges recognised what this course achieved. Not only did we deliver £7.8 million in ROI by reducing paid absences, but we also tackled taboos around stress, depression and anxiety and helped to change TfL’s organisational culture for the better. This is a cause I’m passionate about.’

In the run-up to the Olympics and with various other high profile projects underway, it was important for us to boost mental resilience among our workforce,’ says Dan Church, online learning consultant at Transport for London, ‘but we never imagined that replacing a classroom session with this e-learning intervention would have such a positive impact! Moira did an incredible job in taking difficult subject matter and transforming it into very human, personalised online learning. It’s no exaggeration to say that this is one of the most effective and well received 40 minutes of e-learning I’ve been involved with in my career.’

The Learning Awards ceremony takes place each February and is hosted by the Learning & Performance Institute (LPI), which accredits L&D teams and vendors and drives better standards across the industry.

To find out more about the thinking behind Saffron’s award-winning approach to e-learning, readers can attend an LPI webinar on 28 February at 11am to be co-hosted by Dan Church at Transport for London. Register here

To read Moira’s case study about the project and find out more about Saffron Interactive, contact us today.

This short post is an edited excerpt from the Spicy Learning Guide, an essential compendium of 101 tips to improve your learning strategy. Register here to receive your free copy!

Developing courses with rapid authoring tools can run like a dream or turn into a nightmare! Here are Saffron’s top five tips to help you avoid pitfalls, reduce your costs and get the most out of your tool.

1. Don’t ignore the ‘simple’ tools

Do you really need an expensive tool? The ‘simple’ tools aren’t so simple nowadays. PowerPoint 2010 allows you to create slick animations without Flash. You can also use buttons and branching to build fairly sophisticated interactions into the course.

2. What’s your time frame?

Rapid doesn’t mean instantaneous, so it’s important to think about your time frame. Plan to include every step: data gathering, storyboarding, development, quality assurance and final ‘gold’ releases.

3. Know your limits

All tools have limitations. For example, check the size of the package your tool produces fits with the upload limitations of your LMS. It might not be possible to build some of the interactions you have storyboarded either.

4. Stay on target

You need to know whether your tool will work with all the devices you (eventually) want to target. Even if the tool converts Flash output into HTML5, that doesn’t mean the interactions will be touch-friendly.

5. Don’t tread the beaten path

An over reliance on default interaction models within an authoring tool can make learning content seem dry and unoriginal. Explore settings to make your course unique, and not just another faceless build.

Need fresh ideas for your e-learning?

Try 101 tips in Saffron’s new Spicy Learning Guide, our indispensable resource for anyone in learning and development.

Your FREE Spicy Learning Guide includes:

  • 101 ways to improve your learning strategy
  • Top 11 tips for measuring the value of learning
  • Top 5 tips for using social media with learning
  • Top 10 tips for excellent instructional design
  • Top 5 tips for using serious games in learning
  • Top 5 tips for using rapid e-learning authoring tools
  • Top 10 tips for designing a great user experience
  • “I have read through the Guide and found it very very informative, concise, relevant and positive. It is written in ‘easy to understand’ language and covers all the main points for each section. Everything said, I agreed with, especially all the tips for designing learning programmes and activities. A great resource! I will certainly be referring to this often, and using it to double check things I’m doing.”

Register now to receive your free copy

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