Speed to Proficiency     Creating a sustainable competitive advantage



Electronic Pseudo-Coaches? I’m not a fan.

electronic-coach-smallSometimes I see “coaches” in higher-end eLearning modules. For instance, there may be some circles with pictures of “coaches” in them. Each coach is there to answer a question. That answer may be text, or a talking head video that allows you to spend two or three minutes listening to what you could have read in 20% of that time.

Using them makes me think of talking to a brain-dead Siri. They are a failed attempt to simulate a live human interaction with another live human being. And honestly, I don’t see the point.

Why are they there? I guess that the answer is that it makes the eLearning more “interactive.”

Interactive. That’s an interesting word. It used to mean people interacting with people. Now it refers to people interacting with computers – or computers interacting with each other, I suppose.

The thing that’s missing with these electronic pseudo-coaches is a human interaction where you ask the coach a question and you receive an adaptive answer to your question. Then you ask another question and what ensues is, well, a dialog.

Enough with the pseudo-coaches. If the question is important enough to post a stock answer, then build it into the eLearning module. There’s no reason you need to have a fake coach answering a pre-programmed question. It’s a parody of a human interaction does not really humanize the situation. All it does is to allow you to market your product in a different way.

Worse, by suggesting that you’ve built coaching into the product, it might appear to the uninitiated that you’ve checked of the coaching checkbox, so nothing further needs to be done, and perpetuates the myth that all training can be done via eLearning modules.

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