Okay, so your eLearning course is all wrapped up and ready to go – but what do you do now? Do you feel a strange sense of inertia? Like you should be doing something? You’re right. If you are creating eLearning programs at your company, this post is for you! There are five essential things to do after you’ve done with the development phase.
Here they are:
1) Promote it!
Okay, so you should really start promoting your course before it’s launched. But still, you have to keep the momentum going. Once it's launched, you have to kick the promotion up a gear.
Even if you’ve created a beautiful, functional, and effective eLearning course, you can’t leave it hidden in a dark corner or buried somewhere in the murky underworld of your LMS. You have to COMMUNICATE it to your audience with a bit of an ‘elevator pitch’ as to why it’s worth doing. Oh, by the way, an automated email from the LMS with ‘NEW COURSE AVAILABLE’ doesn’t count. Sorry!
But what other tools are available then? Well there are a number at your disposal, and knowing how to leverage them can increase learner uptake, course participants, and ultimately provide a return on investment for your business.
Here’s are some ideas:
- Email and blog: Make sure your emails are regular (but not too regular!) and post on your company blog (if you don’t have one, make one!). Remind your audience of why they should take the training, what it’s designed to do, and more importantly, what’s in it for them. As with anything, keep it short, sweet, and simple. For longer publications like newsletters and blog articles, don’t shy away from a bit more detail. Still keep it simple, but explain a few more reasons why you’ve designed the course, what it’s for, and the derived benefits for the learner and the company. The audience reading these longer-form articles will already be a little more invested, so they won’t necessarily go ‘too long; didn’t read’ as quickly.
- Gamification: For something a little more off-the-bat, and with a little more budget, consider running a competition. These are great ways to inspire your staff to get on with their training and try your eLearning course. A monthly prize draw for learners who complete the course within a given time frame for example, or a prize for those with the most hours of training logged. Incentivizing a little never hurt anyone, right?
“The fact that just over half the workforce finished the course had nothing to do with technology or instructional design. It had to do with the motivation they got from their managers”
- Mike Markovits ( GE’s Center for Learning & Organizational Excellence). Source: www.clo-me.com
Find more ideas here: Motivate Employees to Participate in Training: 8 Ideas
2) Keep Engaging with Students
Another important point is to emphasize the importance of active learning. Active learning allows students to become involved in their learning, relate the content to their own (or others) experiences, and apply it to their daily lives. Here are some ideas for getting your learners interacting with each other a little more, and sharing their learning experiences: discussion forums, live sessions, and online group activities
Use forums to discuss topics related to the eLearning course they are taking, related to other training, or related to what they had for breakfast! Anything will provide stimulation and communication, and that’s what we’re after. If you can hook a couple of thought leaders in your company to join the forum then all the better.
Discussion forums in general let users post a query, which other learners then chip in with answers, or potential answers. Trainers monitor the discussions and provide a little bit of hand-holding to get them to the answer. So that’s our recommendation.
Coming back to the main point though (interaction), the benefits of encouraging it are numerous. The most important include:
- Interaction allows learners to reflect on their opinions and encourages critical thinking.
- It enables learners to explore related issues and encourages constructive discussions among different types of learners with different ideas, priorities, and skillsets.
- Provides qualitative information and detailed records. This means that feedback can be more effectively tailored to the learner.
Recommended read: 9 Student Engagement Strategies for Online Discussion Forums
3) Ask for Feedback
Evaluating your eLearning course and receiving client and learner feedback is one of the most crucial tools you have at your disposal for professional development. If you don’t get feedback, or accept ‘everything was fine,’ then you’re missing out on a learning opportunity; something you’d never want your learners to do!
Adopt the habit of creating a survey or poll to receive student input on the course or invite them to engage and co-create upcoming eLearning courses.
We’ll keep this one short and sweet, but always remember to get feedback. A GREAT list of questions to ask your learners is available here.
4) Track and Analyze
Once you've created and launched your eLearning course, you need to start analyzing how effective it is. The course can be awesome (great content, great design) but if you can't measure its success, it probably isn't worth the effort.
There are some success metrics you can choose to monitor, for instance:
- Level of satisfaction: What do learners think and feel about the training or eLearning course? Do they like it? Do they hate it? (Point #3)
- Knowledge: What knowledge, skills, attitudes, confidence, or commitment were acquired by participants?
Behavior change: Do participants use their newly acquired skills on the job? Also read: Are Your eLearning Courses Achieving Behavioral Change?
- Business impact: Has the course helped improve business results?
You can also review the previous iterations of the course and the results – this process of ‘continuous improvement,’ tweaking and changing, and comparing is a really smart way of moving your eLearning game forward. For instance, if the data reveals that most learners aren't completing the eLearning course because they think it is too difficult, then the designers can make the necessary modifications to change this situation.
5) Refresh, Reuse, Recycle
Of course, learners tend to forget things over time. We all do, just like I can’t find my keys in the morning…or in the afternoon, or the evening. Anyway, in teaching, we refer to ‘reuse and recycle'. This means that every 3 to 6 months, or in a cycle of your choosing, you can choose a way of reminding your learners of the content they’ve studied. This can be adapted depending on how vital the skills are – for instance, if your health and safety training program isn’t getting results and accidents continue to happen, consider recycling the course sooner!
Aside from that, there are some diagnostic tools you can use to tell whether your learners are due for a refresher:
- Failure to complete the eLearning (obviously!)
- Lower standards of work
- Frequent mistakes or difficulties at work
- Failure to implement new concepts effectively
If you don’t want to recycle the whole course, however, then you can try using ‘microlearning’ as a refresher tactic. This can complement your existing program and give you a fun follow-up to your course. Try sending out a summary quiz, an interactive video, or even a short eBook a week or two after the course has finished, just to really solidify their learning and keep it fresh in their mind.
So there we have it, the blueprint for success in ‘life after the eLearning course’. All you have to do is promote, get your learners talking, ask for feedback, analyze and optimize, and keep your learners in the loop after the course is finished. Simple enough, right? Stay tuned to our blog for more information in all things eLearning – including more on ‘life after the eLearning course’!