So you spend decades trying to convince people to learn online, then in a day or so, the whole word does it - not from choice but necessity. Necessity is clearly the mother of innovation. But educators and trainers hit a blockage. Time was short and the processes for online production long. That's because online learning is still in the hand-crafted stage. It has failed to adopt agile methods using the latest technology. It is largely still in the 'multimedia' world of 20 years ago.
One important lesson in being agile is the ‘Garbage IN: Garbage OUT’ rule. When you use an agile production process, you need agile preparation. An intensive look at the input material pays dividends. Eliminate all of that extraneous material and text, cut until it bleeds and cut again, catch those pesky spelling and punctuation errors, make sure things are consistent. In our TUI work the source material was edited down to the essential ‘need to know’ content.
Agile project management
Another essential ingredient is an agile project manager. In both the TUI project, we spoke frequently, but didn’t have a single face-to-face meeting (invaluable in these Covid times). It was all quick decisions, problems solvedon the spot and process change to get things done. The project manager never saw problems, only issues to be solved – quickly.
This was made easier by the fact that AI was used to produce content in minutes not months. That means the quality control was on real content, not paper documents. And as we use approved documents, PowerPoints and videos, there was no real need for intensive SME input, which is the main brake on agile production.
This is where the real gains lie. AI is now being used to create content and add curated resourced at the click of a button. WildFire will take any document, PowerPoint or video and turn it into high retention online learning, in minutes not months. Want an audio podcast or audio introduction to the course? It takes seconds using AI to do text to speech. The time savings are enormous, as well as costs. AI is used not only to identify learning points, it also constructs the questions, assesses open input (words or full short answer) and locates external resources for further learning.