The modern work environment is unlike any that has come before it, and organizations often find themselves struggling to provide the kind of training that their employees want for maximum effectiveness in their careers. 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?
1) Assign courses in bites, not in banquets
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.
A good rule of thumb is to assign no more than two courses at a time to each learner. As a course is finished, another one can replace it.
2) Focus the training on what your workers absolutely NEED to know
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 achieve 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.
4) Ensure they’re using their skills
Try to plan employee training so that they use their new skills often. This will increase retention of the knowledge and will save the time and effort it takes 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) Realistic completion dates
When training has a certain number of days to be completed, make sure that number isn’t too high or too low. If your course has been split up correctly, thirty days will be more than enough time to complete a course. However, there may be times when it’s appropriate to shorten the deadline, like if the employee will require the skills sooner.
6) Make your course social
For better or for worse, we’re all up to our ears in social media. We’re used to constantly being in contact with other people, and that affects how we learn, too.
Student interaction, whether online or in-person, always improves 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.
7) Target groups of employees
Your engineers should not have to sit through the same training as your sales team! Keep your training as finely targeted as you can, so that learners know exactly how it’s going to help them perform in their jobs.
8) Establish the importance of training
Your entire workplace culture needs to be altered to show your employees that everyone is serious about learning, and they need to be, too.
Supervisors must be aware of the training assignments of their direct reports, so it’s best to give them access to the training records for their employees.
Also, keep your learners informed about the deadline. Sometimes employees (and even managers) simply forget to complete the training. When taking into account self-paced learning, time constraints, and lack of accountability by management, it’s no wonder these courses aren’t top of mind for employees. Once they complete the course, send a quick congratulations to acknowledge how much they’ve achieved!
9) Align training with development plans
When eLearning course completion is factored into annual review assessments and development plans for individuals, it can dramatically improve course completion rates.
For corporations, of course, every eLearning course has to align with business goals, but for learners, it must align with their personal career goals. In the Deloitte Milennial Survey 2016, 71% of participants said that they would leave their current company in the next two years because their leadership skills were not being tapped into. Help an employee develop their talents and you’ll have a much more loyal worker on your hands.
These strategies, when used correctly, won’t take a lot of time and effort, so always take the small steps 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!