For many people, annotations bring up memories of long and detailed research papers or maybe even little scribbles in the margins of a Shakespearean play. To annotate is to simply add notes to any kind of text or diagram that provide an explanation or comment. Annotations are a natural continuation of reading and are used to clarify or expand upon a particular passage.
Annotations, like many text-based features, have made the digital leap. And for many learning and development teams, these digital annotating capabilities have made a huge impact on training initiatives, retention and overall user collaboration.
Annotating is a reciprocal process that works for both users and creators. Users have the opportunity to engage more actively in their learning process. From there, writers and training leaders can take the information garnered from these annotations and continually create stronger materials based on engagement level with the content, areas of confusion and overall user feedback.
“Annotated learning is predicated on the power of a collaborative learning process.”
Traditional learning methods of the past didn’t quite embody the values of true collaboration. Annotated learning is literally predicated on the power of a more collaborative learning process. According to Cornell University’s Center for Teaching Excellence, the benefits of a participatory educational experience are considerable. From development of higher-level thinking to an increased sense of responsibility, collaboration for trainees can promote a deeper understanding of materials.
While collaboration is a major perk to using annotations, it is only the tip of the iceberg. Let’s take a look at why annotations are a popular driving force in L&D initiatives.
Content Improvement: Annotations allow writers to closely visualize the materials through a user’s eyes. This is a crucial function for the creation of training documents. When looking at wording or structure from the perspective of someone doing the learning, it becomes much clearer what areas are confusing and how it can be improved upon. You can think of improving your content strategy like playing with a Russian nesting doll. Open up your content, and you’ll find feedback. Open up the feedback, and you’ll find nesting annotations. Simply put, content is constructed of feedback, with annotations at its core.
Engagement Statistics: The goal of any learning and development initiative is to engage with the participants. But what if you could truly understand what content they spent the most time looking at? Which pages were frequently used as reference? What sparked the most annotations? Together, these are pretty valuable insights. They allow you, as a training leader, to better cater your training to your audience. Annotating is a process that evokes more engagement and sociability, rather than feeling like an unnatural task or reading strategy.
Reporting: Another exceptional advantage of annotations in learning and development scenarios is extensive reporting. Digital annotations allow training leaders to apply knowledge more than a mile wide and an inch deep. Instead of only seeing annotations for one document, users have the ability to see markups from the entire organization. This creates a comprehensive view of patterns and trends throughout the materials. If you’re looking for a way to deliver your training materials, utilizing content platforms, such as Mimeo Digital, enables you to push content to your audience for online engagement.
“Annotations provide a channel for continual feedback from different perspectives.”
Annotations are a useful tool for any professional learning and development team. They provide a channel for continual feedback from a variety of different perspectives. If the goal is consistent improvement then annotations are the ultimate tool for training initiatives. Online readers allow for comprehensive annotations that are stored securely and automatically in the cloud. Additionally, group annotations enable an entire group of users to share annotations across documents and designs.
Free L&D Toolkit: Top 10 Things to Consider When Delivering Training Digitally
Whether you’re struggling to reach more mobile learners, keep the ones in front of you engaged, or start an entire digital training program from scratch, this toolkit will help.