eLearning is the ideal training solution for your company...if implemented correctly.
Employees love it for the flexibility it offers, while organizations like that it is cost-effective, customizable, and scalable. However, many companies try it and fail.
Why? Frequently, it is because they did not do enough audience needs analysis or did not create a strategic plan before implementing the program. It can also be because they did not define their objectives or never talked to the workers before demanding they train online.
If you are considering launching your first eLearning course (or the next one), there are five golden rules you must know if you want to succeed.
1) Know the Target Audience for the Course
One of the keys to succeeding with eLearning programs in your company is to have your audience at the center of the strategy. You must ensure that any program you develop is relevant and attractive to the target audience. While the course content is essential, it is not enough to guarantee program success. You must capture employees' attention from the beginning and keep them engaged throughout the course.
It is fundamental to know your audience before developing the eLearning program:
- Identify needs: It is essential to know the specific needs of the employees in their current roles. What skills do they need to perform their job successfully? What challenges do they face in their daily work?
- Familiarize with their current situation: Understand the current situation of employees in terms of their knowledge and skills. Are they beginners in the topic to be covered, or do they already have prior knowledge? What is their skill level in using technology? These questions must be answered to design a course that fits their profile and allows them to improve their skills and knowledge.
- Expectations: Additionally, it is essential to know employees' expectations regarding the course. What do they expect to get from it? How will they use it to improve their work or career?
- Behavior patterns: You must also pay attention to your workers' behavior patterns with technology. What social networks do they use? Do they read blogs or magazines? Do they watch series? Knowing these answers will allow you to create a course that fits their interests and preferences.
2) Involve Senior Management as Soon As Possible
Involving senior management as soon as possible is key to ensuring the success of eLearning programs in your organization.
Management has two important roles to play in this process:
- First, they must clearly define the course objectives. The program must have a clear goal, such as improving customer service, increasing task efficiency, or strengthening sales launches. Management must work closely with the learning and development team to determine how the eLearning program will improve the organization and impact corporate goals. Without proper planning, organizations will only be wasting money.
- In addition, leaders must also show their support visibly. If employees know that the eLearning program has the backing of senior management, it will have greater credibility and acceptance. It is important that leaders attend face-to-face sessions and actively participate in the learning process, as this will motivate employees to participate and engage with the program.
- Communicate the importance of the program: Leaders can explain to their employees the importance of the eLearning program, how it will contribute to the development of skills and knowledge, and how it will help improve the organization overall.
- Participate in the program: Leaders can demonstrate their commitment by participating in the eLearning program. This not only gives credibility to the program, but it also allows them to learn and improve their own skills.
- Celebrate success: Leaders can celebrate and recognize the success of employees who complete the eLearning program. This can include rewards and recognition, such as a completion certificate or a promotion.
3) Learner engagement Should Be a Top Priority
When learners are engaged, they are more likely to be motivated to learn, retain information, and apply what they have learned in real-world situations.
Engagement also leads to better outcomes, as learners who are engaged tend to perform better and achieve more. Additionally, engaged learners are more likely to have a positive experience with the program, which can lead to increased satisfaction and retention.
Leaders who prioritize learner engagement can design programs that are more effective and meet the needs of their learners. They can create a learning environment that is interactive, relevant, and tailored to the needs and interests of their learners. This can help to keep learners engaged throughout the program and lead to greater success.
It's important to keep in mind that simply completing a course or program is not the only indicator of engagement. The real measure of engagement is whether or not participants are actually learning and applying the knowledge they gained in their day-to-day work. This is what truly signifies a successful program.
Here are some ideas for leaders to foster commitment in eLearning courses:
- Goal setting: Encourage employees to set clear goals for what they want to achieve by taking the course. Remind them of these goals throughout the course to keep them focused and committed.
- Practice: One way to ensure commitment and application of knowledge is to provide opportunities for practice and feedback. Leaders can create situations or scenarios in which employees can practice what they have learned and receive constructive feedback. This also helps participants identify areas where they need to improve and focus on them.
- Competition and recognition: Use gamification elements, such as competition and incentives, to maintain employees' interest. Recognize and celebrate employees' achievements to motivate them and foster a culture of continuous learning.
- Personalize the experience: eLearning courses can be customized to meet the needs of students. For example, specific content can be offered for each department or team. Students are more likely to engage with the content if it is personalized and relates to their daily work.
- Make learning fun: Learning does not have to be boring. Use gamification to make learning more engaging. Games, rewards, and competitions can make learning more fun and exciting. Commitment is not just completing the course, but also applying the knowledge gained in daily work.
4) Adopt a Mobile-first Approach
Mobile first is a design principle that emphasizes creating eLearning courses that prioritize the mobile experience. It means that the course should be designed first and foremost for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, with desktop and laptop versions being secondary considerations. This approach recognizes the trend towards increased mobile device usage and the need to ensure that learners can access content on-the-go, at their convenience, and without limitations. By adopting a mobile-first approach, eLearning courses can be optimized for the smaller screens of mobile devices, ensuring that learners can easily interact with the course content and have a positive learning experience.
Many employees find it difficult to make time for learning. This was confirmed by a study conducted by LinkedIn, which found that this was a major challenge for workforce development teams.
If you want your workers to be able to take the course anytime and anywhere, the course should be easily accessible from any mobile device. That way, they can review the content when they have time during the day or while waiting for a meeting to start.
Today, people consume a significant portion of their content on smartphones and tablets, and your role as a modern training professional is to reach where they are. Even if your learners are older, do not assume that they will not use smartphones to learn.
Here are some ideas to take action:
Review your existing eLearning courses and ensure that they are optimized for mobile devices. If they are not, consider updating or redesigning them to be mobile-first.
Create new eLearning courses with a mobile-first approach. This means designing the courses with the mobile user in mind and ensuring that they are responsive, accessible and easy to use on a variety of mobile devices.
Provide your learners with the necessary resources to access eLearning on their mobile devices. This might include providing them with information on how to download and use the learning management system (LMS) app or ensuring that the courses can be accessed through a mobile web browser.
Train your instructors and trainers on how to design and deliver mobile-first eLearning courses. Provide them with the necessary tools and resources to create engaging and interactive courses that work well on mobile devices.
Continuously monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of your mobile-first eLearning courses. Use learner feedback and performance data to make improvements and ensure that your courses are meeting the needs of your learners.
Consider even allowing workers to choose when they can complete each lesson and the order in which they do so. Some courses are structured in such a way that you cannot do Lesson 3 unless you have completed Lesson 2. Unless it is absolutely essential that the lessons be completed in order, remove this restriction. This way, students can use their limited time on the lesson they really need to take. If they feel they need to go back to the previous module, they can do so.
5) Always Simplify!
The final rule for successful eLearning in companies is to create simple and effective courses. In the past, the idea of success in eLearning was to include as many elements as possible in a course. The more "interactivity," graphics, and special effects, the better. However, nowadays, employees want simpler interfaces and shorter, more manageable courses.
If you've been in the eLearning industry for some time, you may need to review some of your courses and modernize them. Some modules may need to be presented in a way that is suitable for current needs.
Here are some ways you can keep e-learning courses simple but effective:
- Simplify the design: Reduce the amount of text and graphics on each slide to make it easier to follow and understand. Use clean, high-quality images that enhance the content and avoid unnecessary distractions.
- Make modules shorter: Instead of making modules long and overwhelming, break up the content into shorter, more manageable modules. This will allow employees to learn at their own pace and ensure that they don't feel overwhelmed.
- Eliminate unnecessary information: Do not include content that is irrelevant or does not answer the learning objective. This will reduce cognitive overload and allow people to focus on what really matters.
- Make the content exciting: Use gamification and interactivity to make the content exciting. This will help keep employees' interest and ensure that they retain the information.
- Ensure the content is applicable: Make sure the content is applicable in participants' real-life and daily work. This will allow them to apply what they have learned immediately and increase the effectiveness of the course.
A final note: Remember, simplicity does not mean boredom. You can make the content exciting and effective at the same time, just make sure to keep it relevant and focused. If the course is engaging and useful, and the screens are focused, employees will not feel overwhelmed or bored. Also, if audio is used, make sure it does not contain too many details, as it can also make the content too dense.
The success of your eLearning course largely depends on your ability to develop relevant and engaging content that is aimed at achieving the organization's objectives. It is crucial to focus on the learners' needs and skills and make it clear what you want to achieve from the course. When the five factors described above are not taken into account, it is unlikely that your eLearning program will result in a significant return on investment.