Using scenario based learning

Scenario based learning

As the trend to use online learning for skill training increases soo too does the demand for scenario based-learning (SBL). Indeed, more and more of our customers are requesting this type of e E-Learning. In this article, we take a closer look at SBL and how it can be effective.

What are scenarios?

Scenarios are stories which place the learner into an online narrative to make decisions, judgement calls, and choices.  They are virtual role-playing activities where the learners play a certain role in a simulated real world situation.

Scenarios are a very flexible and adaptable instructional model and can be used for teaching or assessment purposes and to support a wide range of learning outcomes both knowledge and attitudes.

Why include scenarios in an e-learning programme design?

There are lots of good reasons to consider including scenarios in your programme design.  Here are a few:

  • Scenarios are engaging.  They take the learner on a journey with characters, obstacles, challenges and choices.  It is ‘pull’ content and makes the learner an active participant.
  • They make the learning very relevant for the learner by weaving it into real life work surroundings and situations.
  • Scenarios are useful for modelling higher level critical skills and reinforcing the nuances of professional judgement in complex situations.
  • They can also be used to reinforce more straight forward competent behaviour.
  • When it’s too dangerous, expensive or difficult to set up a work based activities, scenarios offer learning activities that are safe and cost effective, without negative consequences.
  • They are highly motivational as show the consequences of poor judgement, wrong behaviour.

Basic ingredients of a Scenario

For those of you who are new to creating scenario based learning solutions it is recommended you begin small before thinking big, and simple scenarios present an ideal entry point to focus the learner on individual decisions that they may find difficult in real-life situations.

Here’s a simple structure for a scenario:

  1. Outline a singular situation or problem to the learner.
  2. Present the learner with options to overcome that problem.
  3. Feed back to the learner the consequences of the decision they have just made.

For example:

Situation: Dennis has just begun a new job as team leader in a call centre, but on day one he walks into the kitchen to find 2 of his staff making offensive jokes about a fellow team member who is sitting at the next table.

Decision: What should Dennis do?

  1. Make his tea and pretend he never heard anything. After all he doesn’t want to make enemies on the first day of his new job.
  2. Verbally reprimand the 2 staff members telling them that if he hears such distasteful jokes again he will implement formal disciplinary action.
  3. Immediately implement disciplinary action.

Feedback: The correct answer in this case would be option 3. The teaching here is that the company have a zero tolerance policy against racism of any form, and a verbal warning is a compromise that also constitutes an unacceptable answer.

As you can see with this mini-scenario we are presenting to the learner not only a possible real-life situation, but also the finer rationale that may create conflict in the learner’s mind when faced with such a problem. As a result, the learner should now have very clear choice as to what action they should take if ever faced with this situation.

In our next instalment, we’ll take a closer look at the steps involved in creating a simple scenario. 

Please let us know your comments or share with others who you think may benefit from this. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.

10 E-Learning Trends to Watch in 2016

Being in touch with trends is crucial for anyone responsible for managing and delivering E-Learning and training within their organisation. So we’ve prepared for you our predicted 10 key E-Learning trends and foresights to watch out for in 2016.

If you missed our webinar on the e-learning trends to watch in 2016, you can view it here. 

10 trends to watch in 2016 infographic

You can also view, download and share our handy infographic from our slideshare page

1. Resources not courses

There is a big trend now in the E-Learning industry as whether we should be building resources rather than courses. Courses help prepare you for the future (just-in-case) and resources support you in the moment (just-in-time). At the crux of this is whether to build a course, structured with the resources or ditch the course and build a library of resources.

Another thing that is pushing the trend towards building resources is what we refer to as the ‘three moments of need’:

  • Learning something you need in the future (just in case)
  • Learning something that you need now (just in time)
  • Solving a problem (just in time)

A further factor that is also driving the move away from courses is the idea of microlearning or what is also referred to as bite-sized learning. Driving this is:

  • Cost
  • Attention span – shorter and sharper
  • Time poor
  • Flexibility

2. Gamification

Hardly a day goes by when we don’t hear the term gamification. Essentially what this means is what we, as creators and developers of online learning, can do to engage learners more in our e-learning. Often it can be seen as sweetening the pill, but it really can help learners engage more and motivate them to complete the e-learning content.

5 common mechanics used in gamification are:

  • Points
  • Badges
  • Levels
  • Leaderboards
  • Challenges

Learners like to have challenges. 4 main ways to drive engagement are:

  • Accelerated feedback cycles
  • Clear goals and rules of play
  • A compelling narrative
  • Challenging but achievable tasks

3. Explosion of devices

This is something that we are all aware of. This particular trend has been popping up for quite some time, however mobile learning itself is still in its infancy and has yet to make a real impact in E-Learning. Today though people have a multitude of different devices and they want to learn on all these devices. Although there is not a massive demand from clients at the moment for this, wearable technology such as the  Apple watch, will be something to consider in the future for delivery of e-learning.

4. Responsive design

This trend has primarily been driven by the increase in multi devices. Responsive design is a response to delivering content on multi devices. As you’re aware, taking a standard E-Learning module and scaling it down onto a smaller screen doesn’t work terribly well. Generally it works fine for a table providing the technical issues are sorted such as publishing it on HTML 5, but on the whole this generally doesn’t work on a smart phone as the screen is just too small and the screen is usually the wrong orientation.

So deciding what content to omit for smart phones is something to consider along with the capability of your learners as responsive e-learning is often a little harder to use as it requires more technical know-how than standard click next e-learning.

5. Continued rise of video

A lot of platforms today use video as their primary delivery mechanism, so missing video with resource downloads. In particular a lot of MOOC’s using video.  But video has a multitude of functions. At Aurion we use quite a lot of video, particularly as part of our E-Learning module build, embedding an explainer video or scenario based video as part of the programme. Something that we will be keeping an eye out for is video getting interactive.

6. Authoring in the cloud

Cloud based authoring tools have grown steadily over the past few years. These authoring tools are mobile ready, out of the box, some are responsive, and some aren’t. As a team working together on an e-learning project, these cloud based authoring tools are really powerful when used as part of a collaborative project. Because the programme built on the cloud and you press a button and it’s published on the cloud. So there isn’t an issue about getting it onto LMS and getting it working on the LMS.

If you design your own E-Learning in house, you will more likely start to use these cloud based authoring tools this year in combination with your standard authoring tools such as storyline.

7. Tin Can (xAPI)

Tin Can or the experience API in some ways a ties in with accessing e-learning content on multiple devices and resources rather than courses. The notion of Tin Can is that captures all of that, so no matter what we do, whether that is download a resource or comment on a blog, this is captured as part of our learning experience and in the case or Tin Can or xAPI it is record stored and can be accessed by multiple LMS’s. We think this technology is going to make great leaps forward in 2016 and beyond, potentially killing off scorm.

8. The new blend

The new blend of learning is not just combining traditional classroom methods and online learning, it is combining multi device learning, mixing courses with resources, different learning strategies, channels such as synchronous with asynchronous. There is a whole ream of possibilities for learning now by using a blend of technologies and channels and bringing all these things together to create a new learning experience. This is something that we will see more of in 2016.

9. Invisible LMS

Users will be looking to access learning without having to overcome any barriers of an LMS. People will be accessing learning in all different types of places, supported by Tin Can. What will be seeing more of in the future is what is referred to as the invisible LMS. It will still be tracked and reported on, but learners won’t always have to go to the corporate LMS in order to do their online learning.

10. The self-directed learner

Increasingly what we are seeing more of these days is learners wanting to take charge themselves. A lot of the technology mentioned above and approaches like resources more than courses supports this.

So what do you think will be big in 2016?

Please let us know your comments or share with others who you think may benefit from this. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.

Formats of video to use in E-Learning

using videos in e-learning Following on from previous post – Using videos in E-Learning, we take a further look at some of the formats and types of videos available.

Rather than bombard you with information overload, in this post we will give you a quick overview of four video types, when to use them as well as useful tips;

  • Piece to Camera.
  • Interview Style.
  • Mini-doc.
  • Tutorial.

In our next post, we’ll be covering Scenario, How to, Explainer Animation, Digital Story.

Piece to camera


Short movie featuring one person looking into camera while reading a script or presenting (as used in news on TV or by TV reporters).

What is it?

A piece to camera is the television and film term used for when a presenter or a character speaks directly to the viewing audience through the camera.

When to use:

Positioning piece by a leader in the team or organisation to provide a strategic context and the bigger picture.

Peer learning for people sharing their experiences.

Key points


  • Scripted in advance so ‘on message’.
  • Simple format one camera, tripod.
  • Controlled environment.
  • Quick to edit.
  • Efficient to use same set-up for multiple subjects.


  • Not particularly visually engaging.
  • Need someone who can read out in a natural, animated way.
  • Effort in advance of shoot to create a detailed script.


Use an autocue app for iPad and experiment with speeds so suit delivery of person interviewing. A green screen can make video more visual and relevant by positioning interview in a different locations.

Interview Style


Movie featuring one or more interviewees who are responding to questions.

What is it?

Talking head refers to a person speaking directly to camera usually in a medium shot, meaning they’re cropped at the head and shoulders.

When to use:

  • If subject is not able to write or approve detailed script.
  • Basis for a more ‘mini-doc;’ approach with video footage or stills to illustrate key points.
  • If subject matter more discursive or sensitive and lends itself to a conversation as opposed to formal written delivery script.

Key points


  • May end up with more natural delivery.
  • Basis for mini-doc.
  • You may be able to accommodate more than one interviewee.
  • Draws out reflections and narratives with emotional depth.


  • Works best with two cameras – more equipment can impact costs.
  • Longer shoot time as not so tightly scripted.
  • As not tightly scripted, sometimes issues with answering in full sentences.
  • Some believe less engaging as subject isn’t looking directly at camera.


  • Ask interviewee to answer in complete sentences, repeating the answer.
  • Cut out the interviewer – they are not the focus.
  • Ensure you don’t interrupt the interviewees answer or make sounds or noises of agreement (this is harder than you think).
  • Warm up the interviewee with some lighter chat.
  • Send them key messages to be covered in advance rather than exact questions so responses not too wooden.



A short documentary that tells a story with interview or voice over as the basis and a variety of action and static shots and sequences.

What is it?

A cut-away is the interruption of a continuously filmed shot by inserting a view of something else. It is usually, although not always, followed by a cut back to the first shot, when the cutaway avoids a jump cut

Video recording When to use:

  • Topic lends itself to sourcing interesting, visual footage.
  • Combine telling with showing to explore context or challenges.
  • Bring the learner visually into different situations and contexts.
  • Reinforce key messages visually.
  • Avoid jump cuts.

 Key points


  • Potential for highly engaging storytelling that informs and motivates.
  • Makes it real.
  • Shows the evidence not just someone talking.
  • Makes learning relevant and real with actual footage.


  • More effort and time needed to prepare and script.
  • Longer shoot as not simply capturing piece to camera or interview.
  • Variety of locations – consider permissions, noise etc.


  • When scripting consider sequences of shots that will tell the story.
  • Ensure the backdrop for key interview is ideally relevant to the story that’s being told.
  • Get shots from different distances and angles.
  • Think of establishing shots – buildings, doorways, signs etc.



Tutorial delivered via expert which mimics the experience of a lecture.

Get the lingo:

On screen graphics – lower thirds are commonly found in TV news and documentaries and in their simplest form, a lower third can just be text overlying the video.

When to use:

You have access to an expert in their field.

Teaching, information rich piece or complex concepts.

Strong presenter.

Key points


  • Fast way to convert classroom to virtual learning.
  • Lends itself to efficient use of templates for implementation.
  • May be a stand-alone topic in a programme design – less ID effort.


  • Push – may be passive experience for learners.
  • Heavily dependent on presenter for engaging delivery and content.


  • Include graphics and illustrations.
  • Intersperse with learning activities, pause points, questions and reflections.
  • Reinforce key learning with summary screens.

As part of our video production service at Aurion, we produce high quality and aminated content that can be used as a stand-alone asset or enhance and support E-Learning.

Please let us know your comments or share with others who you think may benefit from this. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.


Using videos in online learning.


The theme for our 2015 E-Learning Masterclass series held in Edinburgh, Dublin and Belfast throughout October was ‘Getting the most out of E-Learning’ and focused on three core topics:

  1. Learning platforms
  2. Creating efficiencies in E-Learning
  3. Using video in E-Learning

Over the coming weeks, we will share with you insights and practical tips from these topics.

In the spotlight this week is using videos in online learning. In this post, we’ll share the rationale for choosing to create different video types, some tips and the formats available.

video 2Why use videos in E-Learning

We are all aware that the more learners are engaged, the more they will learn. Using videos in learning can improve and support E-Learning content. The video takes them from reading or interacting on screen to become immersed with a story or interview and ultimately increasing retention.

  • Engages learners
  • Make topics real and relevant – no longer theoretical, illustrating real world impact
  • Demonstrate process/best practice
  • Motivates and inspires
  • Informs and help memory retention
  • Ability to share on multi-platform
  • Offers just in time learning

Things to consider when using video in E-Learning

  • Keep it simple and short – ideally 3-5 mins. Reinforce messages visually so audio script can be tight.
  • Make it credible – poor quality video can distract and be funny for the wrong reasons.
  • Ensure it’s accessible – make sure that your audience has access to transcripts, sub-titles where necessary.
  • Focus on learning outcomes and key messages – start with the learning objective, key messages, purpose of the video informs the format. What competent behaviour do you need learners to recognise and replicate? Or how can you motivate them about consequences of actions or inactions, not following processes. Reinforce competent behaviour.
  • More than just show and tell – show-and-ask or watch-and-identify. Add questions and activities that requirement watching the video to answer.
  • Think budget and time– anything that adds time, adds cost. Record as much as possible in one location so time not wasted travelling.
  • Opportunity – look at opportunities you have, strong presenter, staff with stories to share, visually engaging locations etc, ideally a two person crew with subject matter expert.
  • No video is an island – weave the videos into your programme design. Include within structure and flow. Consider activities and challenges for learners to complete during or after watching a video.

formats of moviesFormat of videos available

Although not an extensive list, the formats outlined below are those which we regularly use to support content in online learning programmes and some move beyond the traditional norm usually associated with video.

When we are working with clients on developing a programme design, we think of which format of movie or ingredient fits best in terms of learning outcomes, scope, topic, opportunities.

  • Piece to Camera
  • Interview style
  • Mini-doc
  • Tutorial
  • Scenario
  • How to
  • Explainer animation
  • Digital Story


Over the coming weeks, we will explore each video format and detail when to use it as well as outlining pros and cons and some useful tips.

Please let us know your comments or share with others who you think may benefit from this. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.

Are you getting the most out of E-Learning in your organisation?


As L&D professionals we tend to be busy bees. Planning, implementing and tracking training and development initiatives takes time. Often though, this results in little opportunity to lift our heads from the day to day busy tasks to take stock of where we are in our overall strategy.

Ideally, what we should be doing is taking a leaf out of our own books and practice what we preach.

Next month we will provide busy Learning and Development Managers, Learning Consultants, Trainers and Facilitators the opportunity to attend a free morning of e-learning. Our free-to-attend, half day e-learning masterclasses will provide attendees with a better insight into what’s happening in e-learning and how it can help improve learning and development throughout their organisation.

Held in Edinburgh, Dublin and Belfast throughout October, these events will also deliver  a quality programme of content and real-world speakers from organisations in Ireland and the UK will also share their insights deploying e-learning, and how the team have embraced the new challenges and opportunities.

What’s more, our masterclass events will also offer an unrivalled opportunity for networking.

Like-minded attendees with a passion for E-Learning looking to get the most out of it and optimising its potential for the future have already signed up, meaning there are no shortage of chances to expand your professional network with the right contacts.

Whatever stage your online journey is on, you’ll also get practical tips and techniques on how to put a plan in place to make informed decisions on the best learning design, tools and technology for you and your organisation. It’s a morning of e-learning not to be missed.

So busy bee, what’s stopping you? Take a look at what you can learn at these free events.

Register for free and find out more.

E-Learning Motivation Made Easy: How To Keep Learners Engaged

E-Learning Motivation Made Easy: How To Keep Learners Engaged

We think E-Learning is great. It’s cost-effective, time-efficient and ideal for delivering standardised training to huge groups of learners spanning even greater geographical areas. However, it does not come without its challenges. One of the key issues with E-Learning lies in its struggle to retain, engage and motivate learners. Today, we’ll tackle the topic of motivation, giving you sound advice and simple ideas to help you excite and motivate learners.

At some point in our education, we’ve all sat in a classroom or lecture hall, tuned out the voice of our teacher and let our thoughts drift off to other things. Many traditional classroom trainers find it difficult to recognise when students are there in person but not in mind. Often it is not until assessments are introduced that they discover whether learning has occurred or whether all of the knowledge they have so painstakingly put together and delivered has went in one ear and out the other.

With online learning, however, the difference is often much clearer. Learners who are not engaged or enthusiastic can be recognised easily because they simply close their browser and fail to complete their learning. A key worry faced by many E-Learning practitioners is whether or not E-Learners will be motivated enough to complete their programmes and have a greater understanding at the end.

Luckily for us, we are not the first people to face the challenge of E-Learner motivation. Today we’ll explore some tried and tested techniques for learner motivation and give you some advice to help you avoid common pitfalls. The ARCS model of Motivational Design by John Keller is a useful starting point for the basics of motivational theory in learning and can be applied to E-Learning. The model outlines four ways of motivating learners; Attention, Relevance, Confidence and Satisfaction. We’ll cover each element in more detail now:

Attention: In order to motivate learners, it is important firstly to gain their attention. Keller proposes two main ideas for achieving this; through perceptual arousal or inquiry arousal. In other words, attracting learners’ attention by doing something out of the ordinary or else by appealing to their inquisitive nature.

Relevance: If learners are to deem content worthy of their attention and the application of their motivation, then the learning must be grounded in real life applicability. This can be achieved by giving examples of the learning’s relevance or even by profiling individuals who have already used the learning for their own betterment.

Confidence: By instilling a sense of achievability and by ensuring learners are aware that the work they put into learning will reap merit, it will give them reason to fully apply themselves. It’s important to map out the learning journey they are about to set out on, give guidance on how much work will be involved and directly link this to potential success.

Satisfaction: Each of us needs to feel like the efforts we are making are worthwhile if we are to continue to replicate them. If you are able to develop a meaningful rewards system for your learners, it will reinforce the relevance of their learning and recognise that their hard work has paid off, thus creating motivation for further learning.

Keller’s theory is easy to understand and for many L&D practitioners components of it may seem fairly obvious. However, often in practice many people deviate from these principles in favour of more superficial or gimmick-filled learning solutions. It is important both when planning your next E-Learning programme and also when assessing its success to consider whether it meets Keller’s four principles of motivation.

How can you avoid gimmicks and inspire real motivation?

In pursuit of the latest trend, it can be easy to get carried away and forget about the simple and effective ways of motivating learners. By adopting a range of intrinsic and extrinsic motivational techniques, you can expect to see more leaners completing your courses and applying the learning within your organisation. We’ve identified three areas where you should be particularly cautious:

1. Gamification

Like many others in the industry, we’re excited about the rise of gamification in E-Learning. In our blog about the gamification of E-Learning in 2015, we predicted that it is to become more practical, more integrated, more fun and more common. Because of the hype created around gamification, however, many have raced to embrace it without fully understanding how to utilise it in a learning context. When we adopt superficial games with low relevance to learning content, we distract from learning instead of encouraging it. Our advice is to carefully consider how you can use game mechanics and gaming narratives to motivate your learners.


2. Badges and Reward Systems

A potentially useful way of motivating learners is through awarding badges or by developing a rewards system. It can serve as a form of intrinsic motivation by appealing to the learner’s sense of achievement and is useful as a type of extrinsic motivation because it can give the learner status amongst their peers or qualify them for a reward or promotion. The counterfeit cousin of a good reward system is one which recognises trivial achievements with meaningless rewards. In order to use badges and reward systems to truly motivate learners, it is essential that the achievements are tangible and worthy of recognition and that the rewards are meaningful and roughly equivalent to the amount of work the learner has put in.


3. Graphics

The rapid advances within graphic design and constantly growing industry of web-design means that people are increasingly used to highly-stylised web-content with high-quality images and beautifully presented content. This is exciting because it means that we can produce digital learning that is easy on the eye and attention-grabbing. However, in order to maintain learners’ engagement and motivation, ensure that the instructional designer holds the reins in decisions about layout and that content design is not decided by graphic designers. The work of graphic designers should complement the aims of the instructional designer. For more advice on using graphics in E-Learning, download our recent infographic, The Six Golden Rules for Using Graphics in E-Learning.

Please let us know your comments or share with others who you think may benefit from this. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.

The Six Golden Rules for Using Graphics in E-Learning

We are all forced daily to trundle through reams of written content to get to the information we want. We have learned to quickly scan text, pick out the points of interest and ignore the rest. Today we’ll tell you how you can use graphics to highlight which information is most important for your learners and to help them to memorise it.

Why are graphics so great?

Graphics are amazing because they can easily summarise huge amounts of written information in a small space, not to mention in a memorable and aesthetically pleasing way! The rise of the infographic and the popularity of memes are just small indicators of the potential in graphics to capture learners’ attention and act as a platform for our bright ideas and learning materials.

It would be a shame for the instructional designer to put together killer learning content, for the web development team to create a robust and multi-functional platform to deliver the content on and then to fail to think through how the content will appear to users visually. Without great UX design and appealing graphics, learners will simply switch off. So we’ve created six golden rules for using graphics in E-Learning:

Six Golden Rules for Using Graphics in E-Learning

This infographic is available to download here.

1)    Graphics should simplify learning content, not complicate it.

2)    Choose graphics that will be memorable and make learning content memorable.

3)    Consistency in style is key to creating beautifully designed E-Learning.

4)    If graphics aren’t self-explanatory, be sure to include a caption or explanation.

5)    Avoid including graphics just for the sake of it – they should add to the learning, not distract from it.

6)    Always use high quality graphics.


Please let us know your comments or share with others who you think may benefit from this. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.


The difference between chimpanzees and us: Social Learning?

The difference between chimpanzees and us: Social Learning?

Our ability to learn from one another and build upon each other’s wisdom (known as social learning) means that we can find new, quicker and more effective ways of doing everyday tasks. In this blog, we’ll explore why social learning is one of the things that makes us unique as humans and discuss why it is so exciting.

We recently watched biologist, Mark Pagel’s TED talk, How language transformed humanity and were blown away by the things he had to say. There are few better ways as a learning and development enthusiast that you could spend your next 20 minutes, so watch the talk now:

It’s difficult to sum it up more succinctly, so we’ll have to quote Pagel:

“Each of you possesses the most powerful, dangerous and subversive trait that natural selection has ever devised. It’s a piece of neural audio technology for rewiring other people’s minds. I’m talking about your language, of course, because it allows you to implant a thought from your mind directly into someone else’s mind, and they can attempt to do the same to you, without either of you having to perform surgery.”

Our capacity to communicate ideas, thoughts and feelings through language means that we can connect with others and work together to achieve mutually beneficial goals. In his talk, Pagel explains how chimpanzees can use simple tools to feed themselves but lack the ability to learn from each other and to innovate. This prevents them from building the social and physical structures (such as supermarkets, for example) which would allow them to feed themselves more easily and efficiently. Our ability to innovate and grow through social learning is a remarkable gift which allows us to achieve things which our monkey counterparts could simply never realise.

Social learning allows us not only to pick up good habits and useful knowledge from others but it also allows us to form close-knit groups of people who we can bounce ideas off and pursue innovation with.

We often talk about learning as if it were an individual pursuit to be undergone at a lonely study desk or whilst sitting by ourselves in front of a computer screen. Academics Lave and Wenger speak about learning in a different way. They talk about communities of practice which are “groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.”

According to Wenger, there are three distinguishing features of a community of practice:


1. A shared domain

Members share a discipline or sphere of interest.

2. An active community

Members interact, assist one another and impart information to one another.

3.    A shared practice

Members form a way of functioning. Through past experiences, they decide how to deal with future challenges.


Without realising it, many of us already belong to communities of practice; in our work units, sports teams and even our social circles. Social learning can often feel a lot more natural and appealing than formalised, traditional learning so it’s helpful as E-Learning practitioners to find ways to incorporate it into our teaching. Fortunately, there are limitless possibilities to introduce social learning online, including forums, group assignments and blended learning approaches.

The inclusion of social learning in E-Learning is exciting because if we are able to form communities of practice free from geographical boundaries and limitations, we can equip people to learn at any time of day, gaining knowledge from any number of sources so that they can use it immediately within our organisations. Social learning is interactive, attention-grabbing, inexpensive and potential filled.

Please let us know your comments or share with others who you think may benefit from this. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.

Loud and Clear – Four Questions to ask before using audio in your E-Learning

'Loud and Clear - Four Questions to ask before using audio in your E-Learning' and a picture of a speaker

Not all E-Learning programmes need to have audio, but it can help learners and create interest, if used well. This blog forms the first of a two part series which will highlight the different questions you should ask before using audio in your E-Learning and the different ways to incorporate it.

There are a number of practical questions you can ask yourself before you think about using audio. These will not only help you decide if you need audio but also how you might manage the recording and updating of it.

1. What technology do your target audience use?

 Is it likely that your target audience:

    • Have speakers or headphones in which to hear the audio?

 You can of course add audio transcripts for those that don’t have speakers or headphones, but it would be unnecessary providing audio if the majority of your learners don’t have them.

    • Have sufficient bandwidth to cope with a larger file size?

 Audio increases the file size of your E-Learning and it can significantly slow down loading times.


2.    What are your budget limitations and timescales?

Consider if you are willing to:

    • Invest in good quality audio.

This can be as simple as investing in a good quality microphone, and investing some more on soundproofing equipment. But don’t compromise on your audio. According to Byron Reeves and Clifford Nass at Stanford University, audio quality matters a lot so online learners are unforgiving when it’s recorded badly. If you are in doubt about the quality of your audio, have it recorded professionally.

    • Take the time to add audio to your programme and sync it up with onscreen text.

 This can take some time, especially if your text builds onscreen. Be prepared to add your audio at the end once all of your text is finalised and agreed, otherwise your audio will be out of date very quickly.

    • Provide and update an audio transcript.

 An audio transcript will help users with hearing difficulties read the audio at their own pace. If you add audio, make sure you are prepared to add this and update it when you make any changes to your content.


3.    Will your programme require any updates and if so, how often?

If you anticipate that you will make a lot of updates to your content over time, consider if you are willing to record new audio each time you make the changes. This is why deciding on the approach to audio is especially important from the onset – if you choose to record all of your onscreen text, are you prepared to record all of this content if you make even minor updates to your content?


4.    What is the nature of your content?

The subject(s) you will be covering will of course help you decide how much audio you will use in your programme. We’ll cover this in our next blog where we’ll explore the different approaches for the use of audio.


About Maresa

Maresa Molloy, Instructional Designer at Aurion Learning


Maresa is an Instructional Designer at Aurion Learning. She is also an avid fan of hill-walking and would love to be stuck in a lift with Andy Murray!

In her role as Instructional Designer, Maresa is responsible for working closely with Aurion client Subject Matter Experts and the in-house e-learning development team in the design and production of online and work-based learning materials for a range of programmes.



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Two heads are better than one: Five ideas for E-Learning team collaboration

This infographic is available to download here.

The E-Learning profession is a high-paced and demanding industry. Many E-Learning professionals feel they are constantly racing to the next goal or to finish their next project. We’ve come up with five tips that will help your team to communicate with one another, enjoy their work and use their time efficiently.

1.    Use the best tools

As learning technologists, we know that using the right technology can transform a process or task. By spending time researching the best project management tool for your team, you will save time, money and the sanity of your team. We recommend checking out Basecamp and Trello.

2.    Be clear about who is responsible for what

A common frustration for team members is the feeling that they are undertaking work which is not necessarily under their remit. To overcome this, set out clear roles and responsibilities at the beginning and remember to reinforce these when they go astray.

3.    Make a clear and concrete plan at the beginning

Be sure to have a project kick-off meeting where all team members are present either virtually or in person. A kick off meeting should communicate the vision for the project, the limits in terms of resources and map out a pathway to be followed. If you can pull this off, it will ensure buy-in from your team and make it easier for them to recognise and rectify any challenges that arise.

4.    Make allowances for set-backs and delays

Even with the best of planning, unexpected set-backs are bound to happen; whether a member of your team needs to take a few days off or you have technological issues. By anticipating unexpected and uncontrollable events in your planning, you can ensure that you reach project milestones on time.

5.    Create a culture of appreciation

A recent survey by Monster found that 58% of British workers feel they don’t get thanked often enough at work, leading many to feel both under-appreciated and demotivated. If you can lead by example and encourage your team to recognise success, hard work and talent then you will find team members are more engaged, more eager to share their ideas and generally more happy.


Please let us know your comments or share with others who you think may benefit from this. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.