While e-Learning has many advantages in corporate training, it is important to implement the following key points when developing courses. This helps to ensure a smooth delivery with successful outcomes.
Are the learning objectives and goals measurable?
Ensure that the objectives and outcomes for the course are well planned and clearly outlined. Having well developed expectations set from the outset provides a clear path for the learner. This also serves as a roadmap for the delivery of the content. In other words, the objectives should read; “At the end of this course you will be able to…” as opposed to “This course will teach you…”
At the end of each section, refer back to the objectives to reinforce the relevance of the content. In doing so, this roadmap emphasizes the key components of the course. This, in turn, provides the learner with a clear path so they feel the learning is a valuable use of their time.
According to Adobe Articulate’s e-Learning community, one of the world’s leading e-learning software provider, understanding why the course is being built and what the learner will take away from it, helps to create learning objectives that meet the course’s goals.
Who are the learners?
When it comes to learning, one size does not fit all. It is important to incorporate various e-Learning tools in order to ensure the content is effective for all learning styles and approaches. A major selling feature of e-Learning is the ability to learn anything, anywhere. This can be accomplished by integrating interactive content to engage the learner. At the same time, these tools test the knowledge gained. Clients can then customize the e-Learning programs by picking and choosing the tools they feel are best suited for the learners. Clients can empower their employees to learn more effectively and at their own pace by taking advantage of this flexibility.
Is the content accessible?
Not only must the content be relevant and presented in an engaging and effective manner, it must also be accessible. Learners may miss content or give up entirely if it is not easy to navigate through the content. Keep in mind the technology level of the users when developing the layout and delivery of the content. What is the point of developing a flashy e-Learning program with all the bells and whistles if the learners are not able to navigate it?
At the other end of the spectrum, if the graphics are outdated, for example images of professionals with flip phones, or of poor quality, this could be translated to the content being obsolete.
E-Learning programs hit the mark when they are user friendly and the content is presented in a clear and professional manner.
What are the end goals?
Be sure to review the content from their perspective, in order to increase the buy-in from the learner. Here are some questions to consider:
• What will I get out of this? / What’s in it for me?
• How is the content related to my day-to-day activities?
• Why do I have to take this course? I don’t have time.
• Will this course lead to advancement in the company?
• Will this course help me to do my job more effectively/efficiently?
• How will I be recognized / rewarded for completing this course?
It is important that the learner sees the advantages and relevance of what they are learning. As employers, it is essential to provide employees with the tools and resources they need to succeed in their role. Therefore, the employee must be able to take the outcomes of the course and directly relate them to their role within the organization. It also demonstrates that the company is investing in them by expanding their skill sets and knowledge.
Are you tracking the results of the training?
Another key factor is to do a check once the training is complete. The Kirkpatrick Four-Level Training Evaluation Model can be employed to gauge the outcome of the training. This model considers the following levels of post-training:
• Reaction: The degree to which participants react favourably to the training. (Did the participants like the training?)
• Learning: The degree to which the participants acquired the intended knowledge and skills. (Are the participants getting the knowledge they require to fulfill their current role).
• Behaviour: The degree to which the knowledge gained through the training is applied to their daily activities on the job. (Will the participants use the training in their daily performance on the job?)
• Results: The degree to which the desired outcomes were met as a direct result of the training. (Did the training succeed at achieving the initial goals?)
Many learning systems focus on the delivery of the training. This includes incorporating interactivity to gauge the participants’ motivation and assessments to measure retention. However, it is essential to include tools to track the results and to provide on the job resources or job aids as a form of on-going support.
With these key points in mind, e-Learning can become an effective complement to more traditional corporate training approaches.