Conversation-Driven eLearning

, , , | Colin Dawson

Let’s face it even good voice over, can be tiring to listen to for long periods.

We get a bigger buzz by listening to the to and fro of two voices.

A change of pace and tone.

It’s easier to write dialogue and you tend to stay away from bullet point lists.

Some studies have found learners can remember information in a narrative form better than bullet points.

What characters should we use?

In a two-narrator episode, one character is the coach, and one is the learner.

There should be a marked difference in the knowledge and experience level in order to drive the conversation.

The job or role should reflect those of your learners.

Some tips for writing conversation-driven eLearning

  • Don’t make the learner dumb

Don't fall to the temptation of making the learner an empty vessel

If the learner just nods along what should be a dialogue ends up as a traditional lecture

Better to treat your learner as an adult with prior knowledge and experience

Let your character figure some things out and make intelligent guesses

  • Coach questions

Just like a good coach, the coach character can ask questions to draw out information.

The answers can be wrong sometimes, as they are in real life, but should be as they are in real life.

  • Don’t talk too long

Don’t let your coach lecture for multiple paragraphs at a time.

Neither person should have a monologue.

Add dialogue going back and forth to show your learner is actively listening.

Have the learner reflect back what they heard from the coach and connect it to something they already know or share an example

“Coach : When handling a Customer complaint always let the Customer feel you are in their corner.

Learner : You mean saying something like, “I understand how you feel.”

Coach: Absolutely”

  • Scepticism and objections are good

When training, your audience doesn’t always buy what you say.

So, let your learner character be sceptical too.

This character can voice some objections that your learners might have.

Over the course the learner character will become less sceptical so sceptical members of your audience will feel less resistant as they see the change in character.

Here’s an example of a manager having a conversation with a new accounting assistant.

“Tom (manager):     We make regular phone calls to follow up our delinquent debtors.  Are you comfortable with that?

Robyn:       I hate asking people for money.  I never used to ask my little brother to pay back money he’d borrowed.

Tom:    We believe that cash flow is the life blood of the business and our Customers should be reminded of our terms of trade.

Robyn:      But don’t they get angry if you keep asking them for money.

Tom:     Some do, but it’s usually a frustration caused by their own inability to collect their debts.

Robyn:       I’m a bit nervous, will there be any training?

Tom:     We have an excellent eLearning course that you can do.  There are different conversations that you can listen to so you can become more confident.

Robyn:     That could be the confidence boost I need.

This conversation is the introduction to a course on debt collection.

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