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RYA: Teaching in the classroom elearning

A delve into digitalising classroom training

Digitalising Traditional Learning - Thrive Learning blog header image

Naturally, as a start-up, we want to shout about how good we are. But what’s the value of blowing your own trumpet if there’s no substance behind it? We keep banging on about the fact we’ve brought together the best in the industry to create a team with over 40 years’ of combined experience. But in the world of bespoke elearning, all the experience in the world doesn’t mean a whole lot without something to physically show.

Our first bespoke elearning project

Luckily for us, we didn’t have to wait long for our first bespoke project to come along (it was actually before we officially launched as a business, which was rather nice). All those years of experience created some great connections, and our old pals at RYA didn’t hesitate to let us show them that this new company could be as trusted as the rest.

Personally, I’d not long signed off a project with RYA in my previous role. So I was more than thrilled to learn in my first week at Thrive that we’d be kicking off another with the same team.

Digitalising traditional training

RYA came to us with a challenge: to convert day one of their two-day face-to-face Teaching in the classroom training course into digital learning. The main aim of this conversion was to provide consistent messaging to trainers and instructors across the UK. The training needed to explain how different people learn, give a good understanding of tools and techniques that instructors could use in classroom sessions, and teach them about lesson planning, in preparation for day two, where they’d put it into practice.

But converting to online training isn’t going to solve all problems. Our challenge was to retain the essence of face-to-face training and create a standout module that would capture the learners’ attention… and motivate them to actually complete it!

Not much to do then…

So, what did we do?

Like with everything we do, we started by applying our principles. We worked with RYA to see how we could strip back the content to its core principles, and deliver the practically focused content. The structure then nicely formed into six discrete topics, aligning with our microlearning approach.

But that was just the beginning.

RYA - Teaching in the Classroom - Bespoke elearning

A personal touch

Our next challenge – replicating face-to-face. Translating training to an online format instantly creates a disconnect, so we did a couple of things to reconnect our learners.

Personalisation. It seems simple, but when it’s done right it’s oh-so effective. At the beginning of the course, learners enter their name, in the same way they’d tell the instructor who they are. This was then used throughout the course: to welcome them on the menu, to pull through into activity feedback and even to cleverly add their names into relevant images.

Next, we drew on RYA’s experience and created real-world examples. Who doesn’t love someone telling a good story about something that happened to them or someone they know? We extracted some of this wisdom from our friends at RYA and included them in the module itself, making the examples as realistic and relatable as possible.

Creating a digital reality

And on the topic of making the training realistic, RYA were really keen to replicate real-life classrooms and settings in the training. Taking an illustration style we all love, we used that as a basis and built upon it. This gave us masses of flexibility in terms of creating characters and conveying emotion, as well as showing different classroom settings and environments. We were able to add in specific equipment and props, and even put real diagrams on whiteboards.

And we didn’t stop there.

One size doesn’t fit all

Taking inspiration from the format of face to face training, content should take a lead in how key messages are explained and taught. So why should the module itself?

We let the content dictate how it appeared on screen, rather than awkwardly shoehorning it into templates. And that didn’t stop with the text, that meant exploring different ways to present the content – would a picture illustrate this content better, or a sound effect perhaps? The result was not only visual variety, but also bespoke interactions and activities that truly suited the subject matter at hand.

We knew this approach would help retain the learners’ attention to an extent, but we didn’t want to rest on our laurels.

High impact video

Unlike a face to face setting, you can’t just pick on someone to answer a question if they’re not paying attention. We used high impact video in a few ways to help counter this.

We created a high energy video of RYA instructors and students discussing what makes a good instructor, which learners see when they first launch the training. We used animated video to introduce key topics, providing the all-important hook into the topic and answering the question: “What’s in it for me?”. Video was also used within topics to present more visual content, e.g. to show real-world kit, how to arrange a classroom and how to do a demonstration.

RYA - Teaching in the Classroom blog post - Thrive Learning

Learners front and centre

Throughout the whole process, our learners were at the heart of everything we did. Put simply, the trainers at RYA could be anyone. They could be teaching topics from VHF radio and Day Skipper qualifications to First Aid. With such a broad spectrum, a number of the factors I’ve just talked through were even more important in ensuring that each learner felt included, engaged and motivated.

Isn’t this just a lot of hot air?

So coming back to my original statement, what’s the value of blowing your own trumpet if there’s no substance behind it? Well, we’ll keep on blowing because the substance is well and truly there. It’s early days for RYA as only three rounds of students have been through the training, but the initial feedback is that it’s a resounding hit!

Emma Clayton, Training Advisor at RYA said:

“The TIC online module has been very well received by our Instructor Trainers and we have had positive feedback from students as well… So far though we have received, from people who have done the module, quite a lot of requests to widen access to it as they believe that others would benefit.

We are really pleased with the end result, the substance within it, the flow, the interaction, the user engagement and the way that it really relates to our group of instructors. It was a pleasure to work with you and your team and thank you for all the effort that you put in.”

RYA will be doing a full case study in a few months time, so watch this space…And in the meantime, if you’d like to help your learners THRIVE, get in touch and we’d be happy to help!

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