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Strengthen eLearning with the Pre-Training Principle

elearning training Sep 14, 2023
Employee attending an eLearning course remotely

The Pre-Training Principle, an integral part of Mayer's Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning, stipulates the need to familiarize learners with core concepts before diving into complex explanations. This provides a foundation for better comprehension of subsequent, more detailed learning materials.

How Does the Pre-training Principle Enhance Employee Performance?

With a solid grasp of the basics, employees are better equipped to comprehend advanced concepts. This enhanced understanding results in improved knowledge application, leading to superior workplace performance.

Here are examples of how you may see this principle applied to improve eLearning.

  • PoorJumping straight into a complex topic.
  • Better: Briefly introducing key concepts at the beginning.
  • Best: Providing a separate module for understanding the fundamental concepts before moving on to the main topic.

  • PoorA coding course begins directly with complex programming concepts.
  • Better: The course provides a brief introduction to basic concepts before delving into advanced ones.
  • Best: The course includes a comprehensive pre-training module on fundamental concepts before proceeding with complex programming concepts.

  • PoorAn eLearning module on project management jumps straight into advanced methodologies without initial groundwork.
  • Better: The module starts with a brief overview of basic project management concepts.
  • Best: The module incorporates a detailed pre-training module on foundational project management concepts, setting the stage for advanced methodologies.

  • PoorA course on digital marketing dives directly into sophisticated strategies.
  • Better: The course begins with a summary of basic digital marketing concepts.
  • Best: The course includes an exhaustive pre-training module on fundamental digital marketing concepts before advancing to complex strategies.

Your next steps. Identify courses in your eLearning catalog that could benefit from pre-training. Incorporate detailed modules on fundamental concepts to enhance learner comprehension of advanced materials.

Mayer, R. E. (2005). Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning. In R. E. Mayer (Ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning (pp. 31-48). Cambridge University Press.
Clark, R. C., & Mayer, R. E. (2016). E-Learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning. John Wiley & Sons.