The role of the Guide in e-learning. Facilitating change.

We often use a Guide character within our videos. The Guide is there to interact with the protagonists and with us as viewers: they can speak directly to the characters and directly to us, breaking out of the dramatic scene. The role of the Guide character is to help us take the learning out of the screen and into our everyday lives.

Or at least that’s the theory. Getting the Guide right is important, because they need to have the right tone of voice, they need to be the person you would turn to for support. The purpose of the Guide has always been clear to me, to break down the fourth wall (if we go all theatrical) and to draw us into the story.

As with so many things, context is key when it comes to behavioural learning, where we are asking people to do things differently. Often we have to start by identifying what they are doing wrong to begin with. The Guide can fulfil this function well, by observing encounters, by commenting on the action and by interacting directly with everyone involved, “I see you did this at that point, why did you do that?”.

It’s a facilitating role, an enabling role, helping learners to translate what they are hearing and seeing on screen into their everyday vocabulary and actions. This part of the learning, the footsteps, is hard to do well. It’s easy to engage people directly in the subject, much harder to get them to identify changes that they can make, to work out what they can do differently tomorrow from what they have done today, but it’s essential that we do so. If we are unable to make the links between what happens with the ‘learning experience’ and the changes that are made as a result of doing it, then we are not really effecting change at all.

The Guide can be someone closely aligned to the everyday reality of the learner: if the target population is engineers, then the Guide should be an engineer, or if they are a manager, then the Guide should speak as a manager. Getting the alignment right is important, as is the tone of their interaction. The Guide is not a teacher, taking the didactic high ground, rather they are your friend, someone who understands your reality, but who also understands how to enact change.

I’m not overanalysing this, it’s important to spend time crafting the words and actions that the Guide uses. If we accept that they are the facilitator, the person who will help to embed the learning, then we need to spend the time to get the messages right.

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About Julian Stodd

A learning and development professional specialising in e-learning and learning technology.
This entry was posted in E-Learning, Guide, Interactive, Learning, Stories and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The role of the Guide in e-learning. Facilitating change.

  1. Pingback: A six stage methodology for learning. Part 3 – Demonstration | Julian Stodd's Learning Blog

  2. Pingback: A methodology for learning. Part 5 – Reflection | Julian Stodd's Learning Blog

  3. Pingback: A methodology for learning. Part 8 – Case Study | Julian Stodd's Learning Blog

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