e-Learning – how to do it right

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by Laura Choate
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Gone are the days of hefty learning packs, bottled refreshments and an early afternoon finish, as the traditional external training routine is quickly replaced by more flexible e-Learning models. It’s a welcome change—when was the last time you dug out that ring binder collecting dust in your bottom drawer to look up the solution to your latest Microsoft Word crisis, instead of simply asking the person sitting next to you? It’s also a necessary adjustment in the new era of remote working and communication. Now more than ever, our interactions with colleagues and clients are long-distance, so why not our training too?

e-learning via the computer

Outside of the pure convenience, the added flexibility, geographical freedom, scalability, cost savings, and personalisation of e-Learning results in better learning retention. A more tailored approach to professional development and customer learning is a worthwhile investment that many organisations are pursuing. To ensure that you and those using your course get the most out of it, make sure you prioritise these key principles:

Content

It goes without saying that your content should be your greatest asset, don’t forget why you are creating a learning course in the first place. It should challenge, yet not confuse your audience. To get this right you need to get a great subject matter expert involved, and most of the content should be uniquely crafted by them.

For an intuitive learning experience, your audience should feel some familiarity with the early content, so start with some simpler modules and then gradually progress to more challenging and practical tests of their new skills.

With your shiny new content in hand, how you communicate it is equally important. Your course should tell a story, so link your messaging together and remind the audience why they are taking part. Also, create a scheduled flow of content over time—you’re guaranteed to completely put off your audience by unloading everything on them at once. Remember that big ring binder? Neither do we.

Engage your audience

The times of boring bullet-point presentations are gone. E-learning harnesses the power of emotional learning, and learners are better engaged when they are more practically immersed in the experience. Gamification is a small but crucial part of the potential for result-oriented learning and development, as it quantifies your audiences’ knowledge, telling you and they how much more they need to know, how far they’ve come, and gives them a healthy sense of progression. Further technologies open more doors to a truly immersive learning. For example, virtual and augmented reality are increasingly popular learning tools, and perfect for making your staff and customers more excited, empowered, and immersed in your course.

Communication is crucial too. Quizzes and forums are important, but also make sure to give your audience feedback and reminders. In the context of performance-led learning, a more tangible sense of achievement is rewarding.

Chatbots and search features help to create a learning ecosystem that blends into regular workflow while narrowing the gap between learner and teacher. This is where e-learning really comes into its own. It’s not reliant on a single one-off content-filled day. Instead, it offers a continuous, habitual process of productive learning. This is what makes your audience feel more motivated to tackle a big task, and more inclined to return to your course regularly. You create a culture of learning and development, and keep your audience engaged through interactivity and reward systems.

Access and usability

The joy of e-Learning is that it's flexible and on-demand so get the basics right. Make sure that your audience can access your carefully developed course wherever they are and whatever device they’re using—even when they’re offline. No excuses for anyone to not be learning!

After all the effort of making your course fun and informative, don’t fall down on the taken for granted, nitty-gritty, fundamentals of the online experience. No one deserves a clumsy interface. A great way to test the emotional curve of your audience while using the course is to test it yourself—if that dodgy sidebar irritates you, it’ll irritate everyone.

Finally, analyse everything

Use the analytics capabilities of online learning to your advantage. Measuring student engagement and activity levels can help adapt your course and renew your content to retain users over time, and enhance the course for future customers and employees.

Ultimately, for the best audience engagement, you need to go beyond courses and test results. Creating a more fluid learning ecosystem where your audience can receive relevant, on-demand assistance in their daily working lives is a better investment for you and your audience. Done right, e-Learning makes the most of technology innovations and your business’s unique style. If you are looking to improve your client or employee learning and development, drop us a line.