At Lucid HQ we often find ourselves creating e-learning content combining graphical, auditory and text-based content – and please let’s bust any myths right here and right now – doing it this way isn’t straightforward!
We certainly don’t do it to ‘pad out’ the learning material or reduce the time spent writing technical text. In fact, it makes the process of content creation more complex as we gather information from different sources and in different formats. This is time consuming, and can also be costly, so it’s not something we would readily opt for!
However, recently a big customer asked us “Can we remove the voiceover and graphics from our e-learning and just stick with the text?”. In responding to the client, it made us carefully consider exactly why we do this…
You might be familiar with the “cognitive load” concept… we’ve certainly highlighted it in other blogs because it’s key in the world of training. It’s the notion that when we learn new information it must be stored in our working memories until it’s fully processed and passes into our long-term memory. However, our working memory is a crowded place, and if too much information is presented we run the risk of losing it altogether.
However, there’s a little trick termed the “modality effect” – which means if information is presented in different formats or ‘modes’, then our working memory can hold on to more – because it reserves a separate space for processing visual data and another space for auditory data. So, by using both visual and auditory stimuli in e-learning packages, we improve the trainee’s chance of avoiding cognitive overload and embedding new learning.
Building on the scientific basis, let’s face it, people also just have different learning preferences and by presenting information using a variety of mediums it keeps people’s interest throughout.
And finally, we live in a fast-paced world. With around 40% of consumers not willing to wait more than three seconds for a web page to render before abandoning the site, societal patience levels are at an all time low. But rushing can cause people to miss critical information. This is the last thing we want in a training scenario. So, delivering e-learning using a range of formats forces people to slow down and take the time to steadily digest all the new information.
So, can you see why we take the harder path when developing e-learning content for our customers?! It may be a longer process for us – but ultimately it helps to improve the learning outcomes for our clients.