Regardless of the learning theory that is used to design instruction, it is essential to make the learner aware of what they know and what they don't know about a particular topic. This is an applicable statement regardless of the context in which the instruction or training is occurring. Consumer education is education that the customer undergoes in order to learn how to better use a product. Using a corporate training company can create sound training for customers to take so that they are better equipped to use a product.
Previous consumer education was not typically concerned with what the customer knew before beginning the training or what they learned as a result of the training. Making what is known explicit and forcing customers to articulate what they know is an essential part of self-regulated learning. Since the customer will be taking the training in an online environment, it is essential that they are able to regulate what they know and what they do not know.
It is essential to assess what is being taught in order to accurately interpret its value. Without an assessment of customer-based education, it can be argued that it is not necessary to invest in education for the customer. This is because the assessment can inform instruction and if the instruction has been effective. We all have been in a situation where we purchased a product for work or for home and were not sure how to effectively used what was purchased. Having some sort of e-learning custom training for that product is helpful because it tells the consumer how to effectively use the product and also can lead to a repeat customer because they leave feeling confident that they know how to use the product.
Assessment can take a variety of forms and designs. A simple way to assess is to ask customers for how they think the product works or how they have used similar products in the past. By doing this you are activating prior knowledge and connecting what the customer will learn in this module with their already existing knowledge. It is also helpful to create some formative assessments that can be used in the middle of the consumer education modules. These formative assessments can be combined with adapti ve learning tools to meet the customer with what they know. These environments can afford for a personalized learning environment and can make customers feel like they are learning relevant information.
At the conclusion of the training, an assessment is also necessary. This assessment should bring back into focus the initial assessment and force the customer to reflect on what they have learned. At this point, it is also helpful to pose questions that will require the customer to reflect on any points of confusion they may still have with the product. These are the facets of assessment that are helpful for the customer. Assessment can also be extremely helpful for the company that is doing the instruction.
By getting customer feedback through the assessments, a corporate training company can refine or iterate on their initial e-learning training modules and improve for future offerings of the training. The prior assessments can let the company know where many of their customers are starting with regard to their knowledge about a particular product. The formative assessments can inform the company if they have created instruction that is relevant and helpful for the customers in their time-of-need. These assessments should have some performance aspect to them because the customer might be working with the product while they are taking the training. The final assessment can provide a comprehensive picture of how the customer did during their training, and if the learning objectives of the training were met.
It is not easy to design instruction that is engaging, relevant, and creates meaningful assessments, but doing so can create a standout training experience. Accessing helpful organizations like the E-Learning Guild can provide networking, webinars, and other learning opportunities for companies that are creating consumer education.