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What’s Cooking at Epicor University

I absolutely love to cook.  While others are binge-watching Stranger Things, I am mesmerized by the Barefoot Contessa and reruns of the French Chef. Ina Garten and Julia Child might seem like unlikely superstars, but they are royalty in the culinary world. Yet when my favorite foodies turn toward the realm of baking, I immediately tune out. Cooking and baking are two different animals in my mind. One allows freedom of expression and constantly evolves with your mood and the contents of your spice cabinet. 

A little of this, a little of that and voila! The other is rigid and defined with rules, measurements and arbitrary time limitations. Temperatures must be just so, substitution of ingredients is frowned upon, and even your elevation on the earth affects the outcome. Who has time for this? Cooking is free flowing, like painting happy little trees with Bob Ross, while baking is more like being stuck with a sad numbered kit from Hobby Lobby. 

OK, but what does this have to do with Epicor University? Well, although many of us here like to be creative and 'add a little spice' to our training, we still have to follow the same basic recipe or we can end up with a pretty sad looking soufflé. This is principally true when writing storyboards  and documentation. In our industry, keystrokes matter and if we forget to explicitly define one, our learners can end up lost and confused. We have to imagine that our audience has no other input other than our instructions. To obtain a consistent outcome, we need to follow a particular recipe and not miss a step. Now I am not saying there isn't room for some frosting and maybe a few sprinkles, but the elements of the cake itself need to be exact. 

So how do we balance the opposing forces of creative expression and explicit instruction? We know that eLearning research lauds the success of storytelling, user experience and scenario based content. But we can't lose site of the fact that our learner often has to know how to do something very specific by the time we are done presenting that content.   According to eLearning consultant Shift, one of the biggest challenges we face is "making engaging courses from dry material".  While we don't want to be a big ole snooze fest, we can easily head into the overwhelming and distracting categories when trying to keep our audience engaged. Epicor University strives to find a balance by adding engaging quizzes, real world examples, fun interactive games and the occasional sprinkling of humor.

Epicor University learners can also work on this balance by utilizing all of the features of the Epicor Learning Center.  Keeping with this cooking theme, here are a few tips that you might use when you create training content on your Training on Demand site:

Whether you are a baker, an aspiring chef or a burner of water, you can mix it up and keep learners wanting to know more. Here at Epicor University, we will do our best to stay on top of trends and continue to look for new ways to make education fun and easy. And while training might never seem as appealing as a perfectly cooked, well-seasoned T-bone, we can at least try to keep it from being a dry, worn out chuck roast. 

Kim Stanley is the Manager for Digital Content Development at Epicor University. Connect with her on LinkedIn.


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