Interview with M. Diaz: Avatars and E-learning Industrialization

Rapid-Learning and industrialization are key components for today’s e-learning managers. This is due to an urging need to control the training budgets, industrialize the production process, capitalize on best practices, and to reduce the Time-to-Market.

I’m pleased to publish this post following a very interesting interview with Michel Diaz, Associate Director at FEFAUR, a leading French consulting company in the field of e-learning and management consulting. Michel explained his vision of how avatars can answer the needs of industrialization in e-learning production.

 

Michel Diaz, directeur de FEFAUR et rédacteur en chef de e-learning-infos.com Michel Diaz has been an Executive Manager of consulting and training companies since the late 80′s. He is the co-founder of Fefaur and assists enterprises and training structures in e-learning and blended-learning strategies. Michel is a well known keynote speaker and heads the news for the website eLearning-infos

First of all, why should one talk about industrialization for e-learning?

Michel Diaz: In the Banking and the Insurance Industries for instance, about 15% of the total training actions are made using e-learning or blended learning solutions. This is because retails banks are composed of a widely spread network of small branches with few employees per site, all of which are equipped with a personal computer. Moreover, the rules and commercial offers are often updated. The consequence is a need for frequent training sessions. Face-to-face training would be too expensive and difficult to organize in a short time.

On the other hand, many other industries or domains don’t use e-learning solutions because they can’t find appropriate on-the-shelf e-learning content. This point is critical for the massive development of e-learning especially for SMEs. A small company manager would not be able to invest more than couple thousand dollars to train his 20 employees.
As a matter of fact, the need to create an important catalogue of qualitative e-learning modules or to provide users with fast produced and low cost specific e-learning modules is the key to fit market needs.

Is it possible to industrialize the e-learning production without neglecting the quality?

Michel Diaz: Yes of course! Every mature economic activity demonstrates this by the industrialization of its production and processes. Of course, everything cannot be industrialized: Training and above all; e-learning content, need to be specifically designed but the design process itself can be industrialized, as well as multimedia and production steps.
All of the process must be prepared from the beginning with industrialization intentions such as the number of e-learning modules  to produce, the time frame and time-to-market constraints, the need for content localization in different languages,…
All of these criteria and many more will lead to the appropriate decisions to ensure a high level of quality and industrialization.

How do avatars fit in the industrialization process?

Michel Diaz: The avatars answer an obvious instructional need by adding a virtual expert or tutor in the e-learning module or by simulating real life situations corresponding to the topic of the e-learning course. They are much more attractive and credible than static mascots, which have been over-used in the 2000′s, and are tremendously easier and cheaper to use than video production with real actors.
Of course, they still need to respect a high quality script to be efficient. A useless avatar in a module will generate a worse result than a “boring” course with no multimedia content!

From the Industrialization perspective, avatars are very interesting tools when they are proposed as ready-to-use galleries that can fit any producer’s needs. The SaaS (« Software as a Service ») offer that is presented on your www.livingactor.com website perfectly fits this need.

What use of avatars for e-learning do you foresee in a near future?

Michel Diaz: I think that avatars have a great future in the e-learning industry as they are able to give life to day-to-day working situations in the enterprises. They make the content production easy and cheap to produce and more importantly, to update!

Time-to-market is one of the keys for the success of avatar solutions as the companies expect their employees to be immediately operational and can’t afford long delays to design and create an e-learning course. The avatar solutions have to be easy-to-use by instructional designers and very qualitative.
One important point: E-learning modules have to respect technical constraints, so the avatar solutions have to be compliant with several systems.

Michel, thank you very much for sharing your expertise!

To read more about FEFAUR and Michel Diaz, I invite you to visit his website : http://fefaur.fr/

 

Andrew.

 

First of all, why should one talk about industrialization for e-learning?

This post is also available in: French