Online learning has boomed over recent years to become a very popular method of learning. In the CIPD’s 2015 Learning and Talent Development Study, 74% of companies reported using some sort of digital learning. The advantages of e-learning are numerous, from lower costs to accessibility to flexibility. However, when not delivered properly, online learning can have many limitations.
The Limitations of Online Learning and Training
There are several problems associated with e-learning classes:
- Isolation - Students often feel isolated and frustrated due to lack of human contact. There usually isn’t a place for the students to interact with their peers or with their instructor, and they are receiving feedback, encouragement, or support.
- Too much theory - The learning process is not experiential and students don’t always get to practice what they learn and apply it to their daily lives. Most online courses ask students to just watch videos and read information, but don’t prompt them to go out and experiment with the new knowledge they’ve gained.
- Lack of engagement - The engagement and completion rates of online courses are very low and students often don’t accomplish their goals. Research shows that 22% of students won’t finish a course they start in a particular year.
How the AFT Learning Model Can Help You Overcome The Challenges of Online Learning
The AFT (action, feedback, trigger) model was designed to solve the problems associated with e-learning. When used correctly, the model can increase engagement and completion rates as well as knowledge retention.
The AFT model is made up of three factors, each is important on its own, but when combined together a truly powerful learning method is created.
(A) Action – Transform Lessons Into Activities
According to the AFT model, the first step of an effective learning experience is to make sure students take action. Rather than just delivering knowledge through videos or written texts, try to encourage students to take action and experiment with what they have learned. Breaking down the content into micro-actions allows learners to easily digest information and internalize the skills they acquire. Through experience-based learning, students can establish lasting behaviour change and develop new habits.
(F) Feedback – Let Students Know How They Did
After an action is taken, it’s crucial to give the student feedback. When feedback is given immediately after showing proof of learning, the student responds positively and remembers the experience about what is being learned in a confident manner. The absence of feedback can lead to frustration, lack of engagement, and depleted motivation.
(T) Trigger – Make Students Take the Next Step
After giving your students feedback, make sure you trigger the next action to keep them engaged throughout the entire learning process. Use triggers such as reminders, messages, and notifications to motivate and encourage the students to make progress. The more triggers you use, the more automatic the process will become for the participants, and the less dependent they’ll be on those triggers to move forward.
Once a cycle of action-feedback-trigger is completed, a new cycle begins as the student is triggered to complete the next action. The momentum students create going through the AFT loop builds more inertia that propels them towards success.
Results of Using the AFT Model
The AFT model was designed based on hundreds of learning programs delivered through myQuest. The results are astounding:
- Completion rates are 5X higher compared to regular online courses.
- Students interact with other learners and with their instructor 30-60 times throughout the course (an increase of 89%).
- Learners are 10X more likely to retain the knowledge they’ve gained during the course.
How myQuest Uses the AFT Model to Improve Learning Outcomes
Encouraging students to take action
- The myQuest platform encourages students to complete ‘Missions’ instead of lessons. Each Mission is a bite-sized action that students need to take in order to move on to the next step.
- Actions that need to be repeated on a daily basis are turned into ‘Habits’. Students are reminded to log in to the platform on a daily basis and acknowledge that they completed their daily habits.
Giving feedback to students
- myQuest’s 1:1 coaching feature enables the instructor to give personal feedback to each one of the students and keep them motivated. Through the 1:1 coaching feature, one instructor can personally interact and train a hundred students in just 30 minutes.
- Students use the community section to ask questions, share their progress, and encourage one another. Instructors can either set up one community for all of the course participants, or divide the community into sub-groups, allowing each group’s participants to give honest and immediate feedback to each other.
- In order to provide relevant feedback, the instructor can add an automatic follow-up question after each Mission, allowing the students to share their thoughts with the community or just with the instructor. Students then receive feedback from other participants and from their coach.
Triggering the next step
- The most effective way to trigger students is to send push notifications directly to their phones. That’s why myQuest provides its clients with branded mobile apps, on top of a desktop site and a web app. The myQuest mobile app allows learners to carry their course in their pocket. They receive notifications, reminders, and messages on their phone and are constantly prompted to go back to the course.
When applied correctly, the AFT model can be a powerful tool to deliver knowledge and information online. If you’re looking to increase engagement and completion rates, cut the high dropout rate of online courses, and grow your business, then give the AFT learning method a try.