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Stine Sandbo is Motimate Creative Studio’s resident expert in learning content design. With a Masters in Pedagogy, the method and practice of teaching, she knows just how important well-thought-out design and communication is to creating successful online learning. Stine has made it her mission to help learning teams everywhere design and deliver the best learning content that they possibly can.

Today, we know that different people learn in different ways and at different speeds, which is why adaptive learning theory is becoming increasingly popular.

Adaptive learning is often related to technology-based thinking, data-driven, and sometimes non-linear, personalized learning. It’s a way of delivering custom learning experiences that address the needs of individual learners. 

Adaptive learning is about understanding and accommodating differences. It’s about different people, in different roles, with different levels of knowledge, who learn in different ways. It’s about creating adaptive learning experiences that take into account the differing needs of individual learners.

At its most sophisticated, adaptive learning is achieved by using AI-supported algorithms. These algorithms gather and analyze learner data and respond by presenting individuals with learning opportunities that match their personal needs and abilities – the right content, presented in the best possible way, for each individual learner.

This responsive approach to delivering learning is facilitated by some highly advanced learning management systems, which is not something that every company has access to. The truth, however, is that you do not need an AI-based learning management system to implement adaptive learning principles in your organization.

Why Adaptive Learning is so Popular

We know that different people respond to learning materials in different ways. Some prefer to learn visually, some are more susceptible to learning by listening, and some people learn best kinaesthetically, whilst performing tasks or actions (learning by doing). 

Providing content in different formats can help different types of learners keep up. At Motimate Creative Studio, we put a lot of emphasis on making sure every moti we create is populated with learning resources in multiple formats – text, video, audio, illustrative – so that every type of learner benefits. As students’ progress through a course, they may see information presented in various ways, tailored to their learning needs. 

A Creative Studio client asked the team to develop a moti (course) instructing mechanics on how to update a TV satellite dish, by climbing up on a roof and adjusting the dish. After careful consideration, we decided to present the information in three different ways:

  1. We created a video – so that the mechanics could watch first-hand how to perform the task.
  2. We published the same information in a series of photos – so that the mechanics could absorb the information more slowly, memorize the photographs and consider each element.
  3. We also presented the information in text format – for the mechanics who prefer to read a step-by-step guide.

In addition to catering to different learning styles, this formula also allows the individual to look at the same information in multiple formats if they so choose, helping them to absorb, reinforce and commit the information to memory in more than one way.   

An effective adaptive learning system requires assessment of individual learning needs – not just how people learn, but what they already know, so they don’t waste time going over familiar material. 

By identifying gaps in learning, remedial action can be taken to close learning gaps. If your learning system doesn’t use an algorithm to suggest modules that the learner should take, you can review the data and take action to make suggestions manually. This is what we do in the Analyze phase when planning courses using the ADDIE model.

Adaptive learning is also popular with learning designers because a structured, data-driven approach to delivering learning makes progress measurable and the results quantifiable, so you can better assess the impact of your learning programmes.

Making Adaptive Learning work for your Learners

Adaptive learning requires in-depth analysis of a target group – their learning needs and existing knowledge base – and structured planning to meet those specific needs.. At Motimate Creative Studio, we like to use the ADDIE model to do this. After all, you need to make sure that content meets both learner and organizational needs, and, even though they may be taking different routes to get there, your learners are still on a structured trajectory to where they need to get to. The shape of the building is the same for all learners, but they might use different combinations of staircases, elevators and ladders to get to the roof.

In taking an adaptive learning approach, it is helpful to understand three things:

  1. What knowledge is already held by individual learners 
  2. What each of them needs to know but doesn’t
  3. What needs to be done to get each learner up to speed

Creating a symbiotic process in which learning designers learn from the learners as they complete modules is really important. Using performance data and learner feedback helps continuously improve content and create courses that address those gaps in learning and truly meet the needs of individual learners. 

Regular analysis of data before and throughout the learning process can help managers to understand what courses and content types need to be created, suggested to individuals, or even groups of learners, or re-sequenced to create a more intuitive learning experience. 

Such a technology-supported approach enables personalized learning at scale, taking the guess-work out of provision and saving time and resources for learning managers.

At Motimate Creative Studio, we’ve got lots of advice and tips on how to implement adaptive learning theory into your online learning. So, if you want to know more, get in touch today

Stine Snekkenes is Motimate Creative Studio’s trained pedagogist and resident expert in the method and practice of creating online courses. Her experience working with diverse organizations has proven just how important well-thought-out design and communication is to creating successful online learning. Stine has made it her mission to help learning teams everywhere design and deliver the best learning content that they possibly can.

In this post, I’ll be exploring the difference between game-based learning and gamifying learning content, because there is a difference and it’s a distinction that can deeply impact the way you deliver training. As this is a fast-evolving area, definitions of these concepts are manifold and not always entirely clear. Knowing which approach to take to delivering your training can seem like a bit of a minefield. 

The conscious application of games to the task of learning is sewn into the fabric of human history and development, the first known games having been played as long as 4,000 years ago. Even then, some had distinct educational purposes with games such as Mancala, Kalaha and versions of Chess used to teach strategy, mathematics and logic in Africa and Asia. ­­Ancient Greek philosopher, Plato, believed in games as the first stepping-stone towards attaining knowledge. In the 17th century John Amos Comenisus, of the central European medieval kingdom of Moravia, acknowledged the role of fun in learning, proposing that games be fully integrated with learning processes. His work forms the basis on which 20th century academics Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky established the pedagogy of games at university level, paving the way for games in the world of corporate learning today.

How Games Help Us Learn 

Games are engaging because they present a motivating sense of challenge and competition, placing learning in context and making less engaging topics fun. Structured properly, games help us retain learning because we learn best through repetition and practice. When completed successfully, games offer a sense of achievement, a reaction that triggers the release of the chemical dopamine in our brains, the effect of which makes us want to go back for more. 

In this sense, games could be said to offer both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, but it is primarily the extrinsic motivators that well-designed online learning taps into, because we want learners to complete levels, retain information, and keep on engaging with the learning.

To Game or to Gamify, That is the Question!

If you google the terms gamification or game-based learning, you’ll find a lot of different definitions. There is, however, a significant and important distinction to be made between the two. 

Gamification implies the integration of engagement software and techniques (known as game mechanics) to existing training content – using tools such as quizzes, swipe games and unlockable and timed content together with recognition and reward systems such as badges, points, scores, leader boards, certificates – to create a tangible sense of challenge, competition, progression and achievement. In game-based learning (or gaming), the lesson itself becomes a game. This approach requires that learning content be designed from scratch – identifying its purpose and designing a game aimed specifically at achieving this goal. This is experiential learning and, at its most sophisticated, it might make use of 3D virtual environments, Virtual Reality, personalized learning pathways, and collaborative, team-based online games.

Choosing the Right Approach for Your Learning Strategy

Both gamified and game-based learning have their merits. In any learning context, making the decision to choose one approach over the other will depend on three key elements:

Learning goals

Depending on the content type and purpose of the training, you might favor one approach over the other. Gamification lends itself well to the delivery of more process driven training topics, such as basic onboarding and functional training. In this sense, it’s a great approach for onboarding new employees.

Game-based learning allows you to communicate more complex learning scenarios. You might use it to teach more strategic thought and develop problem-solving skills. It’s also great for engaging learners on less engaging topics – like this life-saving VR based health and safety training game created for Norwegian power grid operator, Statnett. This game enables employees to experience potentially dangerous work situations in a life-like arena.

In 2009, pharmaceutical company Merck Sharp & Dohme became the first international company to implement a game, Merchants, to teach its employees negotiation, communication and time-management skills. After 5 years of training Merchants yielded a 25% improvement in skills covered and an 8% productivity increase in roles from senior management to executive level at Merck. The company cut training costs by 58% and revealed a 98% course completion ratio, as well as a 99% rate of application of course content. Pretty good results, and we’ve come a long way since then.

Time and cost 

Creating tailored games can be a costly exercise. Redesigning existing training content, or potentially completely scrapping what you have and starting from scratch takes time that you might not have. 

If you’re not a gaming company and you don’t have the skills required to create this content in-house you’ll have to bring in experts like Motimate Creative Studio to help you design and build your games. So, you might want to reserve this approach for special projects and more strategic training. 


Whether you’re gamifying or gaming, you’ll need the infrastructure to support delivery. Some learning management systems are often not game conversant, but there are ways around this. If you’re using Motimate, you’ll know that it is super easy to add gamification to your courses. It’s faster, simpler and the outcomes are very often just as effective. And, if you do have a game you want your users to engage with, you can link through to it directly from Motimate. 

REMA1000, a leading Scandinavian grocery chain and long-time Motimate client, created a custom-built game as part of their on-boarding program. They then linked the game to Motimate, so new recruits can log in to Motimate and simply click a link to play the game. 

Deciding whether to gamify or to game aspects of your corporate training is the first step in creating engaging, effective training, but then you need to do it. 

At Motimate Creative Studio, we are really passionate about game mechanics and game-based learning. If you’d like some advice on the best approach to take or some support delivering your training content, get in touch with me or a member of my expert team.

Soft skills have become an area of increased focus for organizations. The global Covid-19 pandemic has seen companies switching from face-to-face training to online delivery. In a sense, increasingly digital workplaces and hybrid working arrangements have emphasized the need for organizations to consciously hone and apply these skills to create and maintain inclusive, engaging, sustainable working environments.

Now organizations are facing the decision of whether to go back to in-person training, or to keep soft skills training online. We’re going to look at what these soft skills are, and the benefits and challenges of online and face-to-face soft skills training.

What are Soft Skills and why are they Important?

Development of soft skills is about personal growth as much as it is about organizational gain – from developing emotional intelligence, to improving communication, increasing adaptability, and learning to motivate yourself and others. These are the skills that help us build trust, collaborate, and innovate. They are the skills that influence organizational culture and that help create environments in which new employees thrive and more seasoned employees stick around. 

It’s important to identify the soft skills that you want to prioritize to support organizational goals before designing your courses. Soft skills training might include courses on developing skills such as workplace communication and empathy, time management, personal branding, collaboration, organization, coaching, mindfulness, stress management, decision-making, critical thinking, problem-solving. 

These are also skills that contribute to personal health and wellbeing outside of work environments, because they are tools that can be used, and are helpful, in every area of people’s lives. They are also core skills required of leaders, so, by investing in developing these skills, you are equipping your workforce for long-term success. 

A company that invests in soft as well as hard skills training is likely to be one that understands that the growth and development of its people is directly linked to its success as an organization. 

Can you Learn Soft Skills Online?

Delivering face-to-face training can be costly and time consuming. Online learning is undoubtedly more efficient and scalable. However, whilst online tools are undoubtedly fantastic for sharing information and transferring knowledge, a significant part of honing soft skills lies in practical application, and there are limits to what digital learning can achieve when it comes to putting the training into practice and really embedding these soft skills. This is where online learning falls short. A significant part of honing soft skills is in the practice of their application. 

More recently, companies with bigger budgets have been developing Virtual Reality (VR) based training to help embed learning. VR offers learners the opportunity to practice what they have learned, as though in the real world. However, as this technology is not available to every company, we need to find other ways of helping learners to really absorb the skills that they are learning about.

Is Blended Learning the Answer?

Experience has proven that online learning can and does play a significant role in soft skills training. The generous availability and popularity of online courses alone is testament to this fact. 

This blended approach to soft skills training is being favored by companies such as Amazon Europe, who, having rapidly reinstated face to face soft skill training following COVID, are actively exploring what the optimal blend of on and offline training is. 

Including digital elements in your learning strategy saves money. Sharing information with employees for them to read before training sessions and meetings so that people come to these already prepared, cuts down the amount of face-to-face training needed and, therefore, reduces cost. It’s not just about cost though. VR training environments also require the know-how of a technician  to operate effectively so they require in-house know-how of their own.

So, unless you have a VR technician at your fingertips and can afford to design and implement VR courses, the practical element of the learning needs, ideally, to happen in a room, with other people. For these reasons, some companies are choosing to maintain online resources for knowledge transfer, but opt for in-person training to embed the skills, making sure that learners are equipped with practical as well as theoretical knowledge.

If you would like to learn more about designing online, mobile-based resources to help your workforce develop essential soft skills, get in touch with a member of our expert team now. 

Stine Sandbo is Motimate Creative Studio’s resident expert in learning content design. With a Masters in Pedagogy, the method and practice of teaching, she knows just how important well-thought-out design and communication is to creating successful online learning. Stine has made it her mission to help learning teams everywhere design and deliver the best learning content that they possibly can.

Developing software training can feel like a daunting task. You’ve gathered your technical information, you know who you’re training and why you’re doing it, but now you need to turn this into a learning experience that users will engage with and find easy to follow. Where do you start?

I’ve put together some practical guidance and a helpful checklist to help you create software training that will hit the mark, because, as we know, online training has its own specific set of design considerations. 

We need to consider that people may be learning on-the-go, in real-time, and in busy or loud environments. We also need to factor in shorter learning times and attention spans.  With this in mind, I’ll be zooming in on three important aspects of creating engaging software training:

  1. How to motivate your learners 
  2. How to engage your learners 
  3. How to help them retain the learning

How to Design Software Training That Works

1. Set the scene, outline the purpose, and highlight the benefits

It’s important to engage learners right from the beginning. If you don’t seize their attention from the word ‘go’, you’re going to struggle to engage them with the rest of the training. 

Get straight to the point. Make it clear what benefit the learner is going to get from completing the training – what are they going to learn and how is it going to make their life better, their job easier?

Developing your elevator pitch can be a useful way of doing this. An elevator pitch is a statement of intent that you would be able to recite in a 60 second lift ride before losing your captive audience to the world outside. 

You might choose to deliver this statement of intent in video format, using text, or a combination of both, but either way, keep it short. 

2. Give the training a face 

Introducing yourself to the learner with a photograph or selfie video at the beginning of the course establishes human connection, engaging learners and helping them place the learning in context. It’s a reminder that behind the training is a person who has created it with them in mind. You could even appear more than once during the training, or interview a colleague or two to create variety and encourage learners to keep going!

3. Break up the learning and keep it short

Our attention spans can be short, and we can only absorb so much information at one time. Applying the principles of micro-learning can help offset these factors. 

Micro-learning is all about delivering learning in small chunks – one lesson at a time. Chunking up the learning in this way and not trying to cover too much ground at once helps us absorb and retain information. In a sense, this enables us to file the information away in our brains more easily. 

Diversifying content types is also a micro-learning principle. Where it makes sense, try breaking up the learning by using multiple content blocks and including different content formats based on imagery, videos, screen recordings, games and quizzes. 

When it comes to videos and screen recordings keep them short. Films should be no longer than 1 – 2 minutes long. If you have a lot to cover, it is better to use multiple short films than one long film that tries to cover everything.

4. Keep your content formats simple

Generally, when creating software training, designers tend to default to video, but you might not always need to use video. Sometimes using images to guide learners through a step-by-step approach can be just as effective. In some cases, it can work well to use a combination of video and imagery.

To decide on the best approach, try storyboarding your ideas. Create a sequence of drawings and directions representing the direction of travel and intent of the training. This should help you understand what content formats to use and where. 

5. Accommodate different learning styles

Because different people learn best in different ways (visual, audio, kinaesthetic), consider including text below your videos, with step-by-step instructions. No matter a person’s personal preference, having the information presented in different ways helps reinforce the learning by stimulating different parts of the brain.

Including subtitles on videos is also something to consider – for reasons of hearing impairment or because your learners might be training in busy or loud environments. 

6. Make sure the training is easy to navigate and follow 

Software training can sometimes be hard to follow. Help learners stay on track by making  the training easy to navigate. Here are some tips to help you do just this:

7. Make the most of Motimate’s Hotspots feature 

The Hotspots content block is a quiz feature. Using Hotspots, you can drop images into your training and ask learners to click on the part of the photo that they think answers the question or challenge. You might add a screenshot of a feature from your training and ask your learners to identify the element that achieves a goal in a specific scenario. 

Hotspots are a great way of getting learners to interact with the training and help commit information to memory. Consider what elements of your content would be enhanced by such an interactive approach. 

8. Never compromise on sound quality 

It’s essential that the training is supported by good sound quality. In some ways, sound quality is more important than picture quality because it prompts emotional engagement with the content. Sound establishes the tone and creates the mood of every video and screen recording in your training. If a film has no sound, it becomes very difficult for a person to follow for long. 

Make sure your sound quality is up to scratch. Get to know your recording equipment properly before you start recording and test the sound. If it’s not good enough, find the right equipment. 

 9. Always edit your content 

It’s important to review and edit your video, text, and audio content to keep it short and to the point. You will probably find that you can edit out a significant amount of unnecessary material – written words and surplus audio time (pauses and chatting).  Good editing will help you keep the training relevant so you can keep your learners engaged. 

 10. Make the training attractive 

Training that looks dull, is dull. Liven it up with a visually dynamic and colourful interface, using colours, Gifs and fun images. Drawing on your company’s image library can be a good way of including images that people recognise and find more engaging.

You can use Motimate’s PosterBlocks feature to edit your photos, create headers and make everything look a little bit more fun and engaging. 

If you’ve found this article helpful, you can download my handy free checklist to share and follow next time you are designing software training. 

When people talk about inclusion, they often talk about diversity too. It’s true that the two are inextricably linked, but it’s important to recognize they are separate parts of an equation. We think Laura Sherbin and Ripa Rashid said it best when they said that:

“Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”

We’ll be exploring the second part of this equation – inclusion – specifically, why it’s important and what it means for digital learning design.

Why Inclusive Digital Design is Powerful

Inclusive learning design provides opportunity for everyone to succeed, in any given learning context, regardless of age, ability, experience, gender, race or religion. This means creating a safe space to learn that encourages everyone to have a go.

The benefits of learning reach far beyond the immediate. The things that we learn in a classroom or through an online training program often benefit us beyond the work environment in which we are being trained to use them, and sometimes in indirect ways.

This knowledge and these skills may be immediately useful at work or for securing our next job, but they have additional benefits – the learning might make you a more confident person, a better teacher to others, a more productive team-mate, a more engaged member of your community, a more fluent conversationalist around the dinner table – because learning reaches far beyond its immediate purpose and environment.

Inclusive design is the difference between disregarding and embracing differences in learners. Inclusive design takes individual differences into account. 

The power of inclusive design is in its ability to engage everyone with learning content, its ability to expose learners to cultures and ideas with which they might be less familiar, and its potential to inspire and reinforce positive behaviors both within and without the organization. 

Inclusive design aims to faithfully represent everyone at work, but it’s also a way of representing the place in which you aspire to work in the future – a workplace that reflects the world in which we live today, in which positive values are upheld, and in which people choose to behave with kindness and respect. Of course, this might not be the kind of place everyone would choose to work in, but for the majority this is probably true!

Designing Out Bias in Online Learning

Human beings make sense of the world around them by applying cognitive tools known as biases. The way we think and the decisions we make are subject to both conscious and unconscious bias. 

It’s important to be aware of this when designing learning materials because it is by directly addressing these biases that inclusive learning content is designed.  There are dozens of biases that affect how we respond to information with which we are presented, but here are three of the most important biases to be aware of when designing learning content.

1. Like-me bias refers to the human predisposition towards seeking out people with similar attributes. 

It’s important to be aware of this when selecting your beta testing demographic and analyzing the feedback. If everyone in the group is like you, you won’t get a true sense of whether the training is working for everyone. 

2. Confirmation bias leads us to unconsciously seek information and data that supports our existing beliefs and interpretations.

To avoid false conclusions, beta test your training content with as diverse a group of learners as possible. Try not to rely entirely on quantitative data, because you’ll lose a lot of vital feedback that can only be collected in quantitative form. Keep an open mind when analyzing the data to avoid zoning in only on the information that validates existing hypotheses about how things should be designed.

3. Anchor bias describes the tendency to hold true to the first explanation or viewpoint presented, seeing it as the benchmark against, or lens through which to view all future information presented. This has the potential to skew our perspective because we are not giving all the information equal consideration.

Your Checklist for Delivering Inclusive Digital Learning Experiences

In 2017 Barbi Honeycutt and Thomas Tobin coined the term ‘plus-one thinking’ – a learning design methodology advocating that for every learning interaction that you create, you should offer another way for the learner to access the same information. In practice, this means delivering the same content in more than one format (visual, audio, text) to cater to different learning styles and abilities.

In fact, there are many more things to think about when designing inclusive learning content …

1. Pay attention to language

Use straight-forward language and keep sentences short. Consider whether delivering content in multiple languages would better meet the needs of all your learners.

2. Customize functionality 

Designing in options to adjust screen brightness, text size and volume helps learners with visual or hearing impairments better interact with the learning. 

3. Use subtitles

Including subtitles on your videos isn’t just helpful for the hearing impaired. It can be a helpful aid to learners engaging with content that is not in their first language and to those learning on-the-go, accessing content on a busy train or in a quiet room. 

4. Represent a variety of people

Representing different ages, heights, skin tones and body types in your content helps more people to identify and feel part of the learning. Try going one step further by introducing scenarios in which a variety of different people face the same challenge or need to complete the same task, but overcome it or achieve it in different ways. Such scenarios are often best communicated using imagery.

5. Include different voices 

Recording different voices for your video and audio content is a good idea. Learners respond differently to different voices – male, female, with an accent… 

6. Design for varying levels of experience

Take into account the different experience levels of learners. This is an important part of keeping more experienced learners engaged whilst making sure that those with less knowledge get up to speed. 

7. Design for failure 

We learn through our mistakes so creating a safe space in which to learn is important. Designing for failure means creating opportunities for learners to repeat modules and to risk getting things wrong. 

8.  Talk to your learners

Learning management systems are brilliant tools, but nothing beats the encouragement of a conversation with your manager. A truly inclusive approach to learning is one in which managers take an active interest in the performance of individuals, make suggestions for further development and take on board their feedback.

9. Gather feedback in as many ways as you can

Collecting quantitative data in online learning is far simpler than gathering qualitative feedback. It can be easy to forget that quantitative feedback alone does not provide a comprehensive picture of how well learning content is performing. It’s important to include qualitative data when analyzing the performance of learning content. Think about creating opportunities for peer-to-peer discussion around particular challenges and topics and giving learners opportunities to offer feedback through conversation or other means.

If you’re looking for more ideas on how to design inclusive learning content for your organization, the team at Motimate Creative Studio are ready to give you a helping hand.

Stine Snekkenes is Motimate Creative Studio’s trained pedagogist and resident expert in the method and practice of creating online courses. Her experience working with diverse organizations has proven just how important well-thought-out design and communication is in creating successful online learning. Stine has made it her mission to help learning teams everywhere design and deliver the best learning content that they possibly can.

What is micro-learning?

Micro-learning, or nano-learning, describes the practice of providing learners with short, focused units of learning content. The idea is to break content up into short lessons, focused on individual morsels of information, to make it more easily absorbed by learners.

Micro-learning has rapidly gained traction in organizational learning because it works in synergy with people’s busy schedules. It can be difficult to take time out of our working lives to dedicate to learning new skills and absorbing information that is important to our jobs. Micro-learning helps us to learn in short bursts so that we can learn faster – whilst we are commuting or during other moments of pause in our day. It also helps us to learn as we perform work tasks, so that we can apply the information in real-time, a concept known as learning in the flow of work

What does it mean for your learning content? 

We are used to digesting information on-demand, on our mobile phones. Micro-learning is a useful approach to creating content that works on a mobile phone.

At Motimate Creative Studio, there are a key set of principles that we apply when creating strong micro-learning content. I’m going to tell you what these are and how they work…

Break it up

Divide content up into individual content blocks. Assign just one key lesson per block. Dividing information up into manageable chunks helps learners digest and remember the information. 

Keep it short

Use short sentences. Make a single point in each sentence. Don’t use extra words.  

Use visuals

Imagery and graphics help punctuate word-heavy content, helping to break it up and bring it to life. They are also a useful tool for conveying messages and concepts faster and with fewer words.

Mix up your formats 

Applying alternative formats to content blocks helps make the learning more engaging by stimulating alternative parts of our brain, helping to make the information more memorable. Duller subjects can be made more engaging by using alternative formats to text, for example:

So, how does this transform the learning content? Here’s how we, at Motimate Creative Studio applied Micro-learning principles to communicate important messaging about cyber security to our customers.

Cyber security is of great importance, but when we are busy, we do not always pay as much attention to the risks as we should. At Motimate Creative Studio, we took a long piece of text about how to offset the risks of cyber-crime and turned it into something intensely more engaging and memorable delivering far greater benefit to Motimate’s users.  

The difference is obvious at-a-glance. The first is simply paragraphs of black and white text. The second is colorful, visual, and presented in sections. Which course would you rather follow?



 Here’s how we did it in 5 steps . . .

  1. We kick-started the course with a set of direct questions to set clear objectives and map out a learning path, so the learner immediately knows what they will achieve by completing the course. 

2. Cyber-security can be a bit of a dry subject, so we used an animated video to introduce the topic and engage learners with the course. 

3. We divided information into easy-to-digest chunks with a dedicated section for each element of the module – delivering just one learning point at a time.

4. We also broke the text up, using short sentences to convey meaning and punctuating it with visually stimulating colorful graphics.

5. And we made it interactive, putting the individual in control of their own learning. We did this by including two buttons, requiring two separate actions at the end of every section:

1.    Validate completion of the section with a slider button 

2.    Actively select ‘Next’ to move to the next session.

Here’s what that looks like:

If you would like to find out more about how you can revolutionize your learning assets and create really engaging courses using micro-learning, get in touch with the team at Motimate Creative Studio today.

We know today that most successful organizations focus as much on supporting and developing the people running them from within, as on their outputs and the customers and audiences they serve externally.

For learning professionals this means shifting the focus beyond satisfying immediate training needs, making learning a core organizational priority, and creating opportunities for continuous learning for all employees. Doing this has been shown to help organizations stimulate productivity, innovate, and remain relevant.

Technology is not the answer, but digital learning is an enabler, particularly as workforces become increasingly distributed, and because technology makes learning more accessible to more people.

Learning Is as Much About Psychology as Providing Training

In the 1940s’, psychologist Abraham Maslow made a series of observations about human motivation. He developed a framework, known as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, that has become one of the cornerstones of developmental psychology today. His framework is a classification system describing eight stages of motivation, through which human beings graduate on a journey towards self-knowledge and fulfillment.

The system is usually represented as a pyramid, with the pinnacle, or final phase of development, classified as “self-actualisation”. Maslow pointed out that human beings are innately curious, naturally seeking out opportunities to learn. Self-actualization is the point in life at which human beings are focused on becoming the best versions of themselves – seeking out opportunities to improve, grow and develop. Typically, this coincides with people reaching their mid-thirties to mid-fifties. This is when most people are putting down roots – ‘settling down’ and starting families – having addressed the preceding phases of Maslow’s hierarchy.

Learning Is Not Just About Jobs

Learning is a continuous activity. It is something we do all our lives, through
every new experience and interaction with which we engage. An organization that recognizes this and turns it into a core value, is on its way to becoming a learning organization.

Learning is intrinsically linked to value. By providing the right opportunities for people to learn and develop, we create value both for themselves and for their organizations.

This means that most of us don’t just want to learn to get better at the jobs we are doing. We want the knowledge to take our roles to the next level, or to do the job that we will have next. We want to develop our sense of self-worth and to become the best version of ourselves.

5 Lessons to Help You Put Learning at The Center of Your Organization

  1. Culture & Environment

A learning organization is one that supports continuous learning and in which learning is embedded into its fabric. It is an organization that recognizes the importance of investing in its people and provides opportunities for them to learn formally, informally, within a structure, but also with autonomy. This means making time for learning, because not all learning happens on-the-go.

Taking its cue from the first phase of Maslow’s hierarchy, a learning environment is one that offers psychological safety. It is an environment in which it is ok to ask questions, to disagree with other perspectives, to try new ways of doing things – to take risks, test ideas and fail.

Such an environment is cultural, and organizational culture is determined by leadership. Leaders who are open to new ideas, discussion, debate, feedback and failure tend to be the leaders of learning organizations.

TOP DIGITAL TIP – Provide a safe learning environment
Design content that makes it ok to fail. We learn best from our mistakes. By making mistakes we sometimes find new ways of doing things.

  1. Goal Setting & Reward

For learning to make a difference, it cannot exist in a vacuum. All learning, whether task oriented or more generally developmental, should be part of a clearly communicated trajectory. Goal setting helps create a structure within which individuals and managers can understand the progress that is being made and what needs to happen next. Such structures also help to determine the processes that need to be put in place to facilitate the right learning opportunities.

Rewarding your learners for achieving their goals reinforces a culture of learning. At IBM, people are recognized with badges for completing 40 hours of learning within a year, with additional recognition for completing 80 hours and then 120 hours.

TOP DIGITAL TIP – Structure your content
Provide options for compulsory and optional content, but make sure that content is part of a clearly defined, systematic learning trajectory. The courses a learner chooses to complete don’t all have to be relevant to a person’s immediate role, but could be useful knowledge in a different role as they progress through the organization.

  1. Learning Fast and Slow

A learning organization is a supportive learning climate providing opportunities for people to not only absorb knowledge that helps them perform existing roles, but that encourages them to engage with additional learning that helps them develop professionally, beyond the scope of their existing role. This is the road to what Maslow terms self-actualization.

In a fast-moving world where immediacy is the prevailing wind and increasing emphasis is placed on concepts such as learning in the flow of work, just-in-time and real-time learning, we also need to know how to slow things down. The chance to examine challenges and opportunities from multiple perspectives and explore possible solutions with colleagues is just as valuable an opportunity as learning in real-time to perform a task as you execute it. Slowing the learning down in this way helps develop analytical skills, lateral thinking ability, and problem-solving know-how.

Such a culture cannot survive on intention alone, it needs the support of well thought-through processes and practices that support self-directed and optional learning avenues as well as compulsory training. So, no matter how you are learning, you are on course to somewhere.

TOP DIGITAL TIPS – Enable Collaboration and make it social
Use communities of practice and closed groups to encourage colleagues to unpack problems and find solutions together. Also, make it easy for people to share ideas and experiences through social media walls and user-generated content.

  1. Use Data To Improve

A learning organization not only teaches but is itself learning all the time.

Whether you are using a traditional LMS or have a newer, Learning Repository Store enabled system in place, tracking learner performance and behaviors will help you understand whether the learning is working or not.

Additionally, encouraging learners to reflect on their learning and giving them ample opportunities to share feedback helps you continuously improve learning design.

TOP DIGITAL TIP – Track learner progress
Track your learners as much as you can to understand what is working for them and what is not. Use simple functionalities such as polls and likes to gather initial reactions, coupled with more in-depth feedback gathering.

  1. Learning On the Inside and From the Outside

A learning organization is not just inwardly focused. Finding ways to engage externally and learn from suppliers and customers is hugely helpful for improving the way your organization operates. Armed with such information, employees can learn to do their jobs better and with more satisfaction.

TOP DIGITAL TIP – Use the feedback
Give learners inside and adjacent to your organization opportunities to deliver feedback, contribute to courses or access learning themselves where appropriate.

Want to know more?

If you want to know more about how online learning can help you transform the power of learning for your organization, get in touch with the Motimate team and we’ll show you how.

Stine Snekkenes is Motimate Creative Studio’s trained pedagogist and resident expert in the method and practice of creating online courses. Her experience working with diverse organizations has proven just how important well-thought-out design and communication is in creating successful online learning. Stine has made it her mission to help learning teams everywhere design and deliver the best learning content that they possibly can.

In the early 1900s, a Russian psychologist called Lev Vygotsky established a theory that has become a key influence in 20th century learning. Social Constructivist theory tells us that learning is a shared experience that happens through interaction with others.

Even earlier, in the mid 1700s’, the French philosopher, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, realized that learning needs to be contextual and relevant because we learn best when we can see the usefulness of what we learn and connect it to the real world.

Despite this, learning has historically been a relatively passive activity. Learners have absorbed information from teachers and instructors in classrooms and training rooms, or read textbooks, often taking a test or exam to see how much they can remember.

Applying knowledge learned in the classroom or from a book to your everyday life or job – solving problems and making decisions that affect people – is not an easy leap to make, no matter how many case studies you examine, because this is second-hand learning, or learning through the eyes of others.

Today, we’re able to introduce context into learning in ways Rousseau quite probably never imagined! We can create learning environments that mimic reality and help learners understand how to apply the learning in real life situations. We can even create courses that learners can follow as they complete actual work tasks, applying the knowledge as they learn it – something known as learning in the flow of work, or on-demand learning.


A Motimate client created a course to teach waiting staff about fire safety whilst on-site in their restaurants. In order to move to the next course chapter, they had to scan QR codes placed on fire extinguishers.

Thanks to Lev Vygotsky, we know something else about learning that we didn’t know before. We know that people learn best when interacting with others. Something the classroom does offer is the opportunity for discussion and idea sharing. This is something we need to think harder about in the digital world.

We also know more about the brain than we did before. We know that different activities stimulate different parts of our brain, helping us to develop important skills that help us to navigate our jobs and everyday life.

Active learning is about activating the brain, stimulating as many parts of it as possible to mobilize a person’s ability to analyze information, think critically, and make decisions that will solve problems.

By challenging learners to make decisions we are asking them to exercise critical thinking skills – creating a safe space in which it’s ok to experiment, to get it wrong, and to learn from their mistakes.

Reflection is important too. Taking the time to process the information we have received and think about what we have learned helps us commit things to memory and to develop our critical thinking skills. Previously this function would have been fulfilled by tests and exams, today we can do more.

Try incorporating these 5 principles into your digital courses

  1. We learn when sharing and discussing ideas
    Make learning a social activity. Use online forums and social media style sharing functionality to encourage learners to discuss ideas and share learning.

    Our customers use our Motimate Pulse platform to communicate, create posts, share information and engage in discussion with colleagues.This helps them share information in real-time, gain helpful input from across their organization, learn from each other and develop their analytical skills.
  1. We learn through variety
    Create dynamic content – mix up your formats because variety keeps learners engaged and appeals to different learning dispositions (visual, audio, kinesthetic). Make use of imagery and video, games, audio files and podcasts. This will help bring the learning to life and create an immersive experience.
  2. We learn through context and experience
    Contextualize learning to make it useful – share stories but also problems that need to be solved. Think about designing courses that can be completed in real-time, as people complete actual work tasks. This will help them commit the learning to memory and help people want to keep learning.

    A Motimate Creative Studio client created an active learning course to educate employees about the need to use a safety harness when working on construction sites. We kicked-off the course with a series of news articles about serious accidents that have happened on building sites – accidents that could have been avoided if a safety harness had been used. Putting the topic in context and using real-life events as examples helped learners to more quickly understand the dangers that they need to offset.
  1. We learn through our mistakes
    Place learners in the role of decision-maker by designing content that requires them to make decisions and get things wrong, because it’s ok to make the wrong choices now, so that they learn right choices in the future.

    At Motimate, we use games that put decisions in the hands of the learner – for example a simple swipe game that requires them to make a series of choices before they can reach the next stage in the course
  1. We learn through reflection
    Give learners the opportunity to reflect on what they have learned by using quizzes, polls, and discussion forums. This gives them the opportunity to explore ideas and offer feedback on information, helping to transform the learning from a passive to an active exercise.

Need a helping hand?

Getting active learning right can be a lot to think about. If you would like some advice, guidance, or even someone to just do it for you, get in touch with the team Motimate Creative Studio.

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How Adaptive Learning Principles can help you Create Personalized Learning Experiences

Today, we know that different people learn in different ways and at different speeds, which is why adaptive learning theory is becoming increasingly popular. Find out these principles can help you Create personalized learning experiences.

Learn more about How Adaptive Learning Principles can help you Create Personalized Learning Experiences
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