eLearning modules: Disposable or Recyclable?

RecyclableWe think of an eLearning module traditionally as formal learning.  Several of the projects that I am working on are creating eLearning modules. The modules will be used once by someone and then they are “thrown” away by that person.  With the amount of time and resources that go into creating them, it makes me sad that they are disposable.

eLearning Modules Are Dead… They Just Don’t Know It asked this question: “Have you ever, in your life, used an eLearning module as a just-in-time resource? Have you ever voluntarily gone back to do an eLearning module just to reinforce its learning?

In addition to being disposable, modules are now dead, too?  That made me even sadder. It got me thinking about the content itself in the module.  There is great information in these modules.  An amazing resource.  What the subject matter experts put into them is really useful.

How can we recycle the module to support learning and performance?  We turn wind into power, we take two or more things from different sources and create a mash-up, we reinvent ourselves.  I don’t mean just sharing it as an Open Educational Resource for others to reuse.  In this case, how can we extend a module from formal instruction into a useful resource to refer to?

In one project that is creating eLearning modules, support and mentoring are part of the project. (YEAH!  Real people.)  Mentors will be identified at the district level and visit facilities on a regular basis.  The eLearning part is to reinforce a topic and/or introduce updated guidelines.

The objective is to complete that training.  Tick.  The formal education is done.  Good-bye module. Sadness.

The eLearning module is only formal education.  But I even know that module has important facts about dosage and recognition of symptoms.  Can we create the module in such a way that it will both provide framework and necessary information in the formal module and also be used for reference?    The information is there.

I think that it is possible to design and create a eLearning module with that end in mind. I don’t think it would take much change in the actual development.  It is “simply” organizing the information into the micro chunks that could either easily be found in the module or pulled out and put into a different format such as a job aid to access that same information.  Of course, everything is easier said than done.

Perhaps it is asking too much.  But considering the great need for resources and how much money is spent on creating a module, let’s not make eLearning modules disposable and recycle them.

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