Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Blended e-Learning Gets Higher Grades

As many of you know, I've been working on making e-Learning an effective and attractive method for skill building in software testing. The number one thing I have learned is that there must be interaction with the instructor to make the learning effective. This interaction can take many forms - e-mail, phone, chat sessions, teleconferences, etc. That's why in my e-Learning courses I include live call-in teleconferences at talkshoe.com. My goal is to do 90% of my training this way!

One of the tools I use for creating e-Learning content is Articulate. It creates Flash presentations from PowerPoint and has a nice interface with many good features such as bookmarking, notes, attachments, etc. I ran across an interesting post on the Articulate blog recently about how one college professor compared the grades of two similar classes - one using traditional classroom teaching only and the other using blended learning (e-Learning with live reinforcement).

From the report: "A technical report from a University of Houston Department of Health and Human Performance researcher finds that students in a hybrid class that incorporated instructional technology with in-class lectures scored a letter grade higher on average than their counterparts who took the same class in a more traditional format."

You can read more here:


So, why is this important to testers and managers? I think the way we build skills is as important as the skills we build. Training and skill building can be transforming and exciting, or it can be torture.

Some people look forward to a day of training (for more reasons than just getting away from work) while others dread it. When people get excited about learning, amazing things can happen. The link to the Articulate blog is interesting because it goes "behind the scenes" in the theory and practice of e-Learning.

As testers and managers, we must learn about learning. We need to understand the different learning styles, attention spans and what works in training adult learners. My observation is that it's the people that don't care about how to make training effective that are the worst trainers.

By the way, as my way of saying "thanks" for reading this post, here is a link to one of my conference presentations (The Risks of Risk-Based Testing) created using Articulate:


Best regards,


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