Relevance is the Key to Effective Training/Learning Material

I just read a post by Tom where he talks of the importance of giving the right information, leaving out all irrelevant ones to target audience in e-learning courses. He says that three questions that will help you in finding out the right information to give your audience are:

1. What’s the learner supposed to do?   

2. What course content will help the learner meet the course objectives? 

3. How will the learner use this in the real world? 

I think what Tom says in this post is very true.

I work in a software company and information is there everywhere, in wikis, ppts, documents, videos, podcasts etc etc. I just cannot use the information as it is. I need to be really selective and I need to clearly understand why I am writing a particular document or a specific tutorial or workshop. I need to know what purpose it will serve  and what the audience will do with the information they get.

I have been working on lots of tutorials.  I use real world business use cases in all my tutorials. I start with an overview summarizing a real world problem. Then I introduce the product and how it can solve the problem. Then I demonstrate using the product and its features how the user can solve the real world problem.

I basically write instructions for tasks that a user can perfom in the application. While introducing each feature and related tasks in the product I mention what is the use of the feature, why the user needs to perform each task, in what sequence the user needs to perform the tasks and how it will help him/her achieve a bigger objective.

This really helps. Just techie information as it is does not help.

The other day I needed to explain the concept of what exactly happens when you execute rules in a BRM. I knew the steps to execute rules, the steps were something that you do on the interface. But then I had loads of information on executing rules, very conceptual and very technical. I was not able to relate the concepts to the tasks I performed to execute rules.

I guess there was more information than was needed and I needed to pick out that information that was relevant to each of the steps that I actually performed on the product. I needed to know after each step what exactly happened within the application. The information as it is did not help me. It was just to technical. I needed to talk to people and find out what information I had to put so that it is relevant enough. 

I guess you really need to work hard on any kind of content you are going to give in the form of learning material.

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One Response

  1. You have summed it up well! I have been trying to explain this to few of my SMEs. One of them has a fetish of adding all he knows there. We have been working hard to stick to only those that we need. Otherwise we are doing a disservice to the students by bombarding them with everything.

    I plan to share these posts with my SME. 🙂

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