Virtual learning journeys are carefully curated digital learning experiences (LX) that pan out over a few sessions. Depending on the course objectives and load, these journeys could be spaced out across a few days or several weeks.

Table of Contents

This article will list ways of turning learning experiences into a concrete journey of growth and change for learners.

All structured digital instruction counts as a virtual learning journey. However, labeling courses as such during the development phase adds an element of intention to them. Instructional designers can optimize training to be immersive and engaging for course attendees by conceptualizing curriculums as passages and outcomes as destinations.

Creating virtual learning journeys involves a component of learner experience design (LXD). To put it simply, LXD is the e-learning equivalent of user experience design or UXD. In other words, LXD seeks to analyze and improve learner-course interactions.

According to Learn Jam, there is a wide rift in the strengths digital learning product vendors exhibit. Very few providers offer high-quality content and an intuitive user experience. Depending on their expertise, businesses either excel at pedagogy and content or the UX. However, considering the learner’s journey through the course can help bridge this gap.

Let us look at some innovative ways to do so.

Let Design Thinking be Your Guide

Design thinking emphasizes producing thoroughly tested solutions with empathy. It consists of 5 stages:

  • Empathizing with Users: To build empathy, instructional designers need to communicate with experts and learners, as well as experience the course for themselves. Feedback and independent testing help collect data for this stage. Empathic design creates an impactful virtual learning journey due to its user-centered philosophy.
  • Defining the Problem: Here, the insights gathered in the empathize stage become problem statements — the potential glitches and obstacles of the course surface.
  • Generating Ideas (Ideate): The ideate stage brings innovation to the virtual learning journey through extensive brainstorming.
  • Prototyping: The solutions added to the virtual learning experience come to life with a prototype. This working model demonstrates the flow of the learner’s journey. It also allows instructional designers to visualize the new fixes and add-ons.
  • Testing: The final product runs through multiple checks during testing to look for bugs, errors, and loopholes. Testing might send instructional designers back to earlier stages to fix any new issues that arise.
    Design thinking is, thus, an iterative and rigorous process fit for developing powerful virtual learning journeys.

Simulation-based learning

Simulation-based learning occurs in an artificial environment that mimics the actual context where learners will perform the skills they acquire during a course. E-learning adapts this approach via virtual simulations.

This type of learning excels for skills used in high-risk situations. By practicing in a controlled, artificial environment, casualties are avoided. CPR training is an example of learning in a simulated environment. In fact, the medical field is one of the biggest users of this learning mode. Other examples are aviation, manufacturing, data analytics, economics, etc.

Simulations can facilitate hard and soft skill development in a virtual learning journey. They are very effective in teaching practical knowledge such as operating software or machinery.

The best junctions for adding simulation-based instruction or activities are:

  • in the middle of topics; or,
  • at the end of modules.

In other words, whenever learners are comfortable with the theory behind the practice.

Structuring the learner’s journey in such a way will make it meaningful, organized, and easy to follow.

Break Information into Small chunks through Microlearning

Microlearning is one of the main pillars of modern e-learning. It breaks information into short, focused sessions. Each session is brief, not lasting more than 10 minutes, and covers one topic or idea. It filters out embellishments and redundancy from the course content and presents the essentials to learners.

It is designed for consumption in the flow of work. This is in stark contrast to more traditional e-learning approaches, which require learners to set aside dedicated time in the middle of their workdays to complete training.

Apart from convenience, microlearning also implements proven brain science to assist the retention of key points. Each microlearning module covers a core organizational learning objective. Additionally, it is flexible in the purposes it can fulfill for learners, ranging from simple revision to skill development.

How Microlearning Affects Virtual Learning Journeys

Microlearning shapes the virtual learning journey by simplifying and decluttering learning material. It is perhaps the biggest driver of a hassle-free LX. Employees can take microlearning courses at their convenience. Due to this, they are likely to engage in learning when they are in the right state of mind. A learner’s emotional context and learning environment can significantly affect the LX of a learning journey.

Visual design is important

Humans are highly visual beings, which stands especially true in today’s digital environment. Robust aesthetics are the greatest asset any product can have since they leave a striking first impression.

Thus, course designers need to be mindful of the visual appeal of their e-learning content. Visual design also ties into LX. And graphic media can enrich a learner’s journey through the curriculum.

Visual media helps learners process, integrate, retain, and recall information more effectively as vision is the quickest sensory modality human beings use.

There are 5 things to be mindful of when developing the visual aspects of a virtual learning journey:

  • The color palette – it is best to stick to 2-3 colors for one course
  • Fonts and icons – these elements should be simple, elegant, clean, and easy to perceive immediately
  • Stock images – stock images must be relevant and compelling. It is also advised to use them sparingly
  • The use of white space – white space can make or break the visual experience for the learner. Using it shrewdly will help learners focus on the critical information better and make the on-screen content easy to process in one go. On the other hand, too much white space might cause the learner’s mind to wander by giving them insufficient visual cues.
  • Creating visual hierarchies – visual hierarchies are a tool to simplify complex and technical content in the form of tables, vectors, pyramids, etc. At the same time, they help learners navigate courses when used for elements like interaction buttons.

Use time strategically

Lastly, a virtual learning journey should use time to its advantage. This means breaking up courses into predictable or logical sessions and cycles.

For example, one approach to follow could be breaking up a course that contains 3 modules into 6 weeks.

  • Each module would be covered over 2 weeks
  • This 2-week period would have 4 days of instruction, 5 days of self-learning and revision, a formative assessment at day 10, and social-learning, discussion-based classes, and a practical in the last 4 days.

Visual maps are a helpful way to communicate broad timetables to course attendees. Organizational calendars can also be a good tool since employees typically engage with them daily.

Organizing learning in this way provides temporal checkpoints to learners and helps them visualize the bigger picture, as well as the smaller milestones, and truly think of the process of learning as a journey.

Infographics

5 Elements to Enhance Virtual Learning Journeys

5 Elements to Enhance Virtual Learning Journeys

FAQs

What is a virtual learning journey?

Virtual learning journeys are carefully curated digital learning experiences (LX) that pan out over a few sessions. Depending on the course objectives and load, these journeys could be spaced out across a few days or several weeks.

How do you create a virtual learning journey?

Some innovative ways to create virtual learning journeys are:

  • Let design thinking be your guide
  • Use simulation-based learning
  • Break information into small chunks using microlearning
  • Use compelling visual design
  • Use time strategically
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