E-learning, should it continue to adapt, will only continue to grow worldwide. The challenge often lies in finding a platform that is engaging, efficient and gives the most ROI.
Some providers know the secret. Do you?
Whether you run a multinational operation or a single location, content accessibility is key to your success (and your profits) in the digital age. The shift from the traditional computer to mobile provides both new opportunities and a host of new challenges. Your company can be scattered across the globe, but able to access the same content.
However, engaging your staff with the content, rather than falling victim to an infinite loop of online cat videos, will affect your bottom line. Many companies have already begun to address this shift and have started to adapt their platform, content, and compatibility to keep up with the modern learner.
9 Things e-learning Companies do not want you to Know
1. Assumptions Become Counterproductive
Take the time to assess your audience, even if it means reallocating portions of your e-learning budget. Pulling data based on user’s behavior has become commonplace. Do not cut corners in developing or updating your online training by forgoing any data analysis. Making assumptions about users’ learning pace, or what knowledge they already bring with them becomes counterproductive to your cause.
Know what motivates your user. Do they seek certifications? On-the-job resources? Perhaps just looking to pass the time on a slow afternoon? Some degree of standardization makes for an efficient build, but a one-size-fits-all training program may actually fit fewer than you would think. Do your research and know your audience.
2. Content Must Be Engaging
Employees expect corporate training to be boring or dry. Prove them otherwise! Depending on the industry, developing personable, entertaining content can help liven up your training program. You may even consider, when appropriate, a joke or two. In fact, a bit of humor or an unusual tidbit tends to stick around in our memory a little stronger than just fact, after fact, after fact. Think of how much “useless trivia” you have retained through the years. You remember it all for a reason.
Above all, the content must be engaging. The average learner gives content less than seven seconds before deciding to move on! When surveyed, the majority of people (76%) expressed the most concern over the quality of e-learning digital content. That means it ranked higher than relevancy, clarity, and the ability to earn certifications. (Remember that whole thing about assumptions being counterproductive?)
3. Appearances Matter
First impressions stick. Aim to present your content in a visually interesting, engaging way. The two most important things to hone in on? Interactivity and convenience. Drawn out power-points and hours-long modules no longer mesh with the life of the learner-on-the go.
Consider the micro-learning style of language acquisition app and site Duolingo. Many of the lessons can be completed in 10 minutes or less, but the learner has the option to do as many of those micro-sessions as they feel appropriate. If you quit after section three of a six section module, you can pick up at section four without an issue.
Experts predicted the “gamification” of e-learning years ago. Today, you can find it beginning to roll out in some e-learning platforms. You cannot really get much more interactive than a game that trains you, often in the exact scenarios you would be expected to perform in.
Most modern learners will not have the necessary patience or free time to pour through pages and pages of documentation. But they may have time for a 5-10 minute video. Include multimedia content to engage the learners, keeping the ideas fresh and timely.
4. Collaboration Must Be Encouraged
The rise of social media has gotten people accustomed to sharing, discussing, and interacting online. By incorporating social tools into your e-learning site, the site becomes a viable alternative to scrolling through a social media feed. Turn a passive habit into a productive one, utilizing this craving for discussion. To engage your learners socially, add message and discussion boards, integration with social media pages, and group projects to the e-learning experience.
5. Mobile is the Future
By 2021, smartphone traffic will exceed PC traffic. The modern learner uses two or more devices a day, usually a computer and a smartphone. But in e-learning, only 12% of platforms have a mobile component, highlighting a missed opportunity for many providers focused on productivity and affordability.
Employers have a bit to gain from mobile learning, especially due to the fact they do not have to purchase special equipment or devices. Using their personal devices, employees can enjoy learning on their own time, anywhere there is Wi-Fi or data coverage.
Mobile learning also allows for push notifications, informing a user if they have not logged into the site for a while. Out of site out of mind holds significant weight when it comes to education. In order to retain meaningful content, the content must be reviewed and refreshed in one’s memory frequently. Well timed notifications at appropriate intervals can help refresh past lessons and improve the overall success of an e-learning platform.
6. Users Need to See Real-World Value
If you want to get the most out of your course management system, you do not want your users to think “…but when will I use this in the real world?” Aim to make the real-world applications of your content clear and concise. Keep the line between the hypothetical and the abstract cut and dry. This highlights the importance of personalized content. You would not have employees of a ski resort take modules related to renting beach equipment, even if they were part of the same company or brand. Some degree of specialization is required in order to retain the attention of the learner, regardless of location or company ownership.
7. There is a Difference between Personalization and Customization. Know it.
Will a personalized system or a customized system perform better for your company? Knowing the differences between these two can have a huge impact on your e learning site, especially in how it pertains to the end user. The system performs personalization, the user performs customization.
Personalization comes in two forms:
- Role based- Groups together users by certain advance, well-defined characteristics.
- Individualization– An individualized system creates of model of each individual user, and presents different things to each person. For an example of this, check out your shopping recommendations on Amazon.
In customization, the end user performs all adjustments to suit their own needs.
8. Variety is Key
Corporate training is not one-size-fits-all. Recent polls have shown that the way in which people prefer to learn consists of a bit more variety than one would assume. While most people prefer to google all of their questions, people enjoy collaborative tools, self-paced e-learning, manager support, and job aid/checklists as their preferred learning methods.
A strong e-learning system would not be able to provide just that. Currently, the majority of people approach education like this: Have a Problem, Google the problem, apply the solution. Some experts feel that this mindset will lead to the death of e-learning, as the self-motivated learner will just find the solutions to their questions themselves. The challenge lies not in inspiring the quest for knowledge. The challenge lies in leading learners to this particular path on their educational journey.
9. Localization May Be Necessary
Depending on the location(s) of your business and employees, the e-learning content may need to be localized, and simple translation may not be enough. Be sure that words or phrases can be understood by those who will use the platform. Consider that in the US alone, we have different words for things depending on the region one lives in. (Soda versus Pop? Sandals, Slides, or Flip-Flops?) Consult with an expert when developing localized content.
When the development and distribution of e-learning content exists almost exclusively in English, regions such as Asia, Africa, and Latin America remain at a disadvantage. A lack of localization becomes more than just a language barrier, but a regional one as well. And no, a simple run through Google Translate does NOT work for this purpose.
The landscape of e-learning continues to evolve. Engagement, accessibility and affordability, disrupted by the ever-shifting needs of the learner, are now the priority when it comes to providing online corporate training. By adapting to the changing world of corporate training, the success of e-learning companies and the employees that use them, have nowhere to go but up.