As e-learning evolves and becomes more sophisticated, training providers are broadening their repertoire of educational tools to ensure they are always able to deliver effective teaching across multiple channels and to different audiences.
One trend that is becoming particularly important is the emergence of dynamic learning objects, a form of visual content that is becoming increasingly popular and widely used across both physical and online media channels. Designed to be both engaging and eye-catching, these objects can present information effectively and succinctly, without demanding too much of the learner's time or attention.
Although dynamic learning objects aren't necessarily suitable for every circumstance, they nevertheless represent an innovative learning aid in an environment where average attention spans are becoming shorter.
Dynamic learning objects encompass a range of different visual learning aids, including clickable infographics, interactive 3D objects, video content or explodable images. Rather than using text to explain a topic comprehensively, they provide a short burst of targeted information in a simplified manner, allowing the user to gain a basic but functional overview at a glance.
Of course, visual learning tools of this kind aren't designed to be a direct replacement for text-based learning, but they are nevertheless becoming increasingly widely used by newspapers, websites, advertisers and owners of social channels to ensure their messaging is easy to digest.
In the right circumstances, the benefits of dynamic learning objects are numerous. Visualisations can make it a lot easier to understand complex ideas - particularly when statistics are involved - and the process of compiling them is useful in helping to eliminate unnecessary data that only obscures the main point.
Visual learning tools are particularly well-suited to forming connections between disparate ideas or providing an easily comprehensible comparison between data sets, and can bolster retention due to their immediate aesthetic appeal and how easy they are to revisit.
The evolution of technology is also likely to mean that dynamic learning objects become even more widely used, as they are much easier to optimise for mobile viewing than a block of text; moreover, their highly shareable nature means that a good infographic or interactive guide can work as an advertising tool as much as a learning aid.
Creating a dynamic learning object is a matter of collating the relevant data, whittling it down to its most basic, essential elements, and then figuring out the best way to communicate that information visually in a way that flows logically and tells a compelling story.
Once the outline is in place, it will be possible to tweak and refine the visual design elements to produce something attention-grabbing, readable and streamlined, which can engage learners in a way that's different from plain text.
However, it's worth bearing in mind that the process of producing a dynamic learning object can be both time-consuming and expensive, so it's important to make sure they are developed in line with a coherent e-learning strategy, rather than simply as a response to a market trend.