The modern work environment is very different from what it was just a year ago. Companies are now challenged to offer more and better eLearning programs that adapt to the new context and workforce needs.
Without a firm basis in the needs of their workers, eLearning programs don’t succeed—in fact, some completion rates for online courses are as low as 4% because of this reason!
How do you make sure your employees, with their 21st-century attention spans, are finishing learning effectively, and actually enjoying your courses?
Be sure to pay attention to these trends. As technology, the needs of its employees, and the business context continues to rapidly evolve, it is necessary for organizations to continually revamp and adapt their eLearning courses.
1) Evolve From Long-form and Massive Courses to Micro, Personalized Courses
We hear about the importance of "niche" in marketing, but how does this apply to eLearning course development as well?
Your engineers shouldn't have to go through the same training as your sales team! Creating eLearning courses that are as targeted as possible is the key for your employees to relate to the content and know exactly how it will help them perform in their jobs.
It’s easy for a beginner to get overwhelmed with knowledge and tasks when they first start out on an online course. After all, daily job responsibilities have to be finished too.
In the case of microlearning, we believe that it is really an effective form of one-time content creation. You can create short courses for smaller and more specific audiences in your company that are really interested in that topic through micro-courses. It becomes a form of personalized learning experience where you can help a niche group in your company, with very unique learning needs.
So, we recommend repurposing all that long, text-heavy, graphic-intensive content in your business, and turn it into Micro Learning courses that can be accessed from mobile phones.
Make sure these micro-courses are:
- Short and simple: the main goal should be to provide students with quick content that is easy to understand. The total duration should not be extended to more than 20 minutes.
- Actionable. Limit the content of the course and focus on creating a specific outcome.
Recommended read: 4 Tips on How to Convert Long-Form eLearning Courses to Micro Lessons
2) Move From "Nice-to-know" to "NEED-to-know" Mindset
In the age of learner empowerment, learners expect companies to present relevant information and training that will make their jobs better and easier.
Your course should feel like a swimming pool and not a tsunami. Skip the extras that would be nice for employees to know—for now. People have busy lives, and they want eLearning courses that give them the meat of the information they need.
So, if you are just back from a session with the SME, you are possibly armed with a lot of information that he or she thinks is crucial to learn about the subject. Think twice before dumping it all on the learner. Your SME is undoubtedly an authority on the subject, but you are the training expert. You know the learning outcomes of your course. Best, you know the expectations of your learners. So you get to decide which is must-know (critical to achieving the learning outcomes), should-know (important background information that you can give away as handouts), and could-know (nice-to-know information that you may even omit from the course) information.
3) Timing Is Everything
In every math class, there’s always that one kid that raises their hand and asks, “But when will we need to use this?” Your math teacher might not have had an answer, but when you’re teaching adults in the workforce, they need to know exactly when their courses are going to come in handy.
Instead of sticking to a training schedule made by the instructor, allow workers the flexibility to take the courses most relevant to what they may be helpful in the moment of need. If one learner needs to know something today, and another one doesn’t need to know it for another month, each one can time their learning by taking the courses they need most.
Self-directed learning empowers employees by allowing them to take charge of their learning and professional development.
In addition, creating mLearning or mobile learning programs is key to being relevant in today's world. Modern workers want flexible and relevant learning experiences that fit their lifestyle and are accessible from any device, at any time. Mobile learning is the answer to this, allowing them to learn on the go.
4) Focus On The Application of Learning
When creating an eLearning course, it is important to think not only about including the right content but about helping learners APPLY the content post-course. This will increase knowledge retention and save the time and effort required to retrain your employees.
For instance, arrange frequent opportunities for learners to put into practice what they’ve discovered AFTER completing the eLearning course. Gamification techniques can contribute to making skills transfer both fun and rewarding! Also, pepper your course with actionable takeaways, so your learners have the confidence in the knowledge that they can apply the learning when they go back to work.
5) Make Your Course Social
How can you motivate corporate students to complete their courses with so much going on in their lives? The key is to make it fun for them. When employees view your eLearning courses as a break from their routine rather than an obligation, you've won half the battle.
One way to do this is to make your courses more social and gamified. Use rewards, badges, points, and other gamification elements to boost their motivation and their engagement levels.
Student interaction will improve both student engagement and course completion rates. In a study by Open University, participants reported that they were motivated to finish courses by a sense of loyalty to their learning buddy, especially if they were assigned to work together throughout the course on a number of tasks and assignments.
In-person, it’s easy to pair up students to work on projects together or have group discussions. Online, you have the option of creating virtual teams or online learning communities, as well as using video conferencing for lessons.
Other ways you can inspire this kind of motivation include:
- Giving out printed certificates of good attendance or course completion
- Sending congratulations emails to employees when they finish a course
- Featuring exceptional students or showcasing the work of others, like case studies or other completed learning projects
- Asking employees to share updates on their progress or projects with the other students, enabling the team to have insight into everyone’s milestones
- Using badges, leaderboards, or even progressive “levels” that are beaten by completing units or passing tests.
Recommended read: Successfully Apply Social Learning to Your Existing eLearning Programs
6) Create More Than Just A Course - Encourage Continuous Learning and Reward It!
To really achieve behavior change, it is not about creating a course and assuming that they will immediately gain the experience or knowledge by that single event.
You must build a culture in which learning is an ongoing process and becomes a natural part of daily work. Your role as a learning leader is to help employees incorporate learning into the workflows.
Learning in the workflow means providing tools and resources for employees to learn while they work, rather than making learning a lengthy, fixed, and time-consuming activity.
Also, recognize and reward those employees who are continually learning with digital credentials.
These strategies, when used correctly, won’t take a lot of time and effort, so always take the small steps to make sure your eLearning programs are appropriate for the modern workforce!
How are you going to change your training strategy? Let us know in the comments below!