When I used to be in the hospitality industry, I focused on teaching employees contact points as a means to ensure quality guest experiences. A contact point is any form of contact a guest has with a business, and in the process forms an impression. My view was (and still is) that if the contact points were well managed, the overall experience would be positive.
Every industry/field has its own contact points…and here are some (not exhaustive, but broad overview) that I feel are important for organizations to manage in order to provide quality experiences for learners
Contact Point #1: Registration…how simple is the process? How long does it take? Has it been piloted (i.e. have people been observed going through the process)? How is payment handled? Is the process designed for the benefit of the learner or the organization?
Contact Point #2: Technology…is the technology easy to use? Has it been selected carefully to achieve specific objectives? Does the technology inhibit or enable learning? Are tutorials available? Remedial resources? Has the technology used been evaluated via an observation pilot (watching a learner)? Have various circumstances been considered (bandwidth, problems, students support)?
Contact Point #3: Course Content …was information provided for course access clear? Is the content designed with a learner-focus for navigation as well as content itself? Visual-rich? Focuses on learning styles? Brain-compatible? Accessibility audited?
Contact Point #4: Instructor…has the instructor taken an online course? Does the instructor understand the role of facilitation online? Can he/she handle potential challenges (student disagreements, technology failures, etc.)? Are expectations for learners clear? Has a personal connection been made with each student (welcome email, “thank you for you last provocative post”)? Instructors, more so than any aspect of the elearning cycle, determine student success.
Contact Point #5: Support…Are guidelines for support clear (hours, how soon concerns are addressed during evenings/weekends)? Various forms of contact available – IM, phone, email? Do help desk staff understand the centrality of learners to the organization? Has a FAQ been compiled to allow learners to “help-themselves”? Are support forums established within a course to allow learners to help each other?