Study Some Examples of eLearning, CBT or WBT
by Ron Kurtus (revised 20 July 2000)
One of the best ways to learn about computer-based training (CBT) is to examine various examples of it. You can then try them out and draw your own conclusions of what works and what doesn't work.
Questions you may have include:
- Why should I bother?
- Where do you get samples?
- How can I evaluate them?
This lesson will answer those questions.
Reason to study examples
One of the best ways to learn is by studying the work of others. If you can gather samples of others' work and examine it with an objective eye, you can get a good idea of what works and what does not work.
The expert in any field knows what type of work is being done by other professionals. He or she can then see what things to avoid and can use those concepts that work. This does not mean to plagiarize, rather to emulate.
It is not easy to find examples of computer-based training. Many are developed in-house and are not available to the general public. Others are extremely expensive and not something you would buy just to take a look.
Popular CBT titles and tutorials are sometimes worth studying. You can also try to get samples from training companies.
Get some from instructor
If you are taking a course in CBT development in school, you should make sure that your instructor provides some good examples and material to review. Any course worth its salt should have some good samples to study. The more the better.
Get some from your company
If you are studying CBT development as part of your on-the-job training, see if your company can get some samples for you. Also, check any previous material developed in the company or purchased by them.
Samples from vendors
Some of the companies that sell computer-based training titles (companies where you may also be seeking a job), offer sample CBT lessons as a means to sell their programs. CBT Systems is one such company.
Evaluate CBT examples
For every CBT you look at, be a user with e critical eye. Ask yourself:
- Is there is a clear objective to the training session?
- Is it easy to use and understand?
- Can I go through it at my own pace, or am I controlled by the program?
- Is everything value-added?
- Is it boring? Too simple? Too difficult?
Do you have some other questions to ask?
Two examples of computer-based training .I have seen that I like are the SkillWare series from Manpower and the tutorial presented with Asymetrix Toolbook.
The Manpower Inc. SkillWare series of software application CBT is generally well done. Each page consists of 1/3 page of explanation, done in a light manner. Manybut not allpages require the user to perform simulated operations in order to learn the software application.
Of course, simulations are great tools in teaching, as well as keeping the user involved. Software application CBTs is the most common and the easiest to employ simulations.
A very good example of a tutorial that teaches how to use a software application is that which is included with Asymetrix Toolbook. Being a CBT authoring tool, it is only appropriate that the tutorial is first class.
It has a very good menu system that allows you to move through the lessons and gives you the choice of leaving a bookmark where you left off.
The best part of the tutorial is that it not only explains how to perform a specific task, but it also gives you a choice of seeing that task performed in an automated simulation. In other words, you can see the application screen and watch as the cursor goes to the required menus or performs necessary operations.
Besides seeing the task performed, the learner also has the option of trying it out himself.
Study examples of as many CBT titles as you can. Be objective and learn what works and what does not work Then apply your conclusions to your future work.
Study the masters and the fools. You can learn from both.
Resources and references
Questions and comments
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Study Some Examples