Helping people learn more effectively by combining learning science best practices with continually evolving content is a constant need across credit unions. When creating courses and content, the CUNA Professional Development Online instructional design team utilizes their expertise to directly address these needs of credit unions with the goal of creating training that uniquely strengthens staff performance and the credit union movement.
“The main goal behind training is to change behavior,” says Jenny Saucerman, Online Learning Instructional Design Manager with CUNA Professional Development Online (CPD Online). “The courses we are creating use credit union-specific knowledge, best practices and job-related scenarios to create personalized, behavioral-based courses that provide real-life takeaways for your staff.”
Saucerman shares the process of crafting course content. The team starts with hot topic issues facing credit union organizations as well as the overall requirements of the entire staff to identify the relevant skills necessary to keep credit unions on the cutting-edge. Interviews with subject matter experts at credit unions are then done to get a 360-degree perspective on these pressing problems.
By interviewing these subject matter experts, Saucerman and the CUNA CPD Online team can pinpoint the common behavioral mistakes that novices make at their credit unions and what actions help improve their behavior to incorporate these insights into CPD Online course content.
“People don’t learn by memorizing a list of regulations or best practices,” Saucerman says. “We work to create real-world takeaways by developing training approaches that require the learner to make decisions. This interactive training helps learners learn from their failures, providing them the experience and know-how to make better future decisions.”
Once salient topics and learning objectives are established, the CUNA CPD Online team selects the best teaching method for the problem to ensure learners fully comprehend the content and gain the skills they need to succeed.
“One effective teaching method we have been incorporating into course design is branching scenarios,” explains Saucerman. This method presents real-life scenarios and the learner needs to answer how they would handle the situation from a list of possible solutions. After the learner provides his or her answers, explanations are provided about each solution and the reasons why each answer is either a poor, adequate or an ideal solution to the problem. Exploring this reasoning helps the course taker understand the content on a deeper level, so that they can apply this new-found knowledge to a similar situation on-the-job.
“Successfully incorporating video to enhance interactive, decision-based courses has also become a part of CUNA course development,” Saucerman says. For example, to teach member-facing staff how to handle upset members, short video segments display actors portraying angry members. After each scenario, the course learner selects how to respond from list of options, and each answer is accompanied by feedback on how to address the situation. These video segments allow learners to experience their emotional responses first hand, so they can confidently handle a similar real-life situation.
Saucerman summarizes, “Creating engaging courses with valuable takeaways while continually updating content: this is the heart of what we create for CPD Online.” Learn more about CPD Online here!