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TrainingZone interviews: Dr Adam Chester

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11th Jun 2014
Editor, HRzone.co.uk Sift
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We caught up with Dr Adam Chester, co-founder of training platform Prodeceo, to discuss the benefits of short courses and his tips on optimizing existing content for mobile.

What was your experience of training materials that led you to realise there was a more compelling way to do things?

Having worked in environments where training was seen as a one-time event usually delivered at the time of induction, I thought that there must be a better way of integrating training into the everyday workplace. Fundamentally, I think that encouraging learners to engage with learning when it is required is an essential part of modern learning and development facilitation.

Engagement has always been an issue for employers. Why are short courses the way forward?

Engagement is a constant struggle for everyone! I think short courses encourage a "look it up" culture that allows learners to engage when required. Short courses also deliver instant gratification for learners.

In your experience, what’s the optimum length and depth for short courses?

It is essential that a course covers only a single topic, so that the learner doesn’t have to wade through irrelevant material. If they can find the information they need quickly then they are more likely to use short courses again. The length of a short course really depends on the topic, some topics might only warrant a few minutes, while others might cover a complex process which has many stages. A learner might only require a specific piece of knowledge in order to get back to the task, so they might not even complete the short course, however short it may be!

If you can’t build for mobile from scratch, what are your tips for optimising your existing content?

If you can’t build for mobile from scratch I’d recommend that you do as much as you can for mobile users. Start by assessing which parts of your content are not suitable for mobile devices and then establish if they are essential. The most common compatibility issues I see are with interactive resources that do not work well, if at all, on mobile devices. In the case of short courses a quick screencast with a voiceover can work quite well if the content is essential.

To create your own short course library, where do you start and how can Prodeceo help?

I would start with the low-hanging fruit and establish what questions come up repeatedly from learners. If there are common questions then getting reliable material out to learners on these topics is a good place to start. Once you have a small library working well, I would see which issues come up and add courses accordingly. It is important to keep them updated with any changes as out-of-date resources can deter uptake. 

Prodeceo enables you to get started with your short course library by offering an easy-to-use online course builder that creates mobile-ready courses, and a course library which can enable learners to look up resources as required. We also offer consulting services to help you create and deliver fantastic learning experiences and opportunities within your organisation. 

To download Prodeceo's latest whitepaper click here

Dr Adam Chester is co-founder of blended training platform Prodeceo.

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