The demand for developing quality e-Learning programs and immersive learning simulations is skyrocketing. Company leaders are realizing the dramatic and immediate impact technology can have on learning opportunities. Whether you’re new to e-Learning, or a grizzled e-Learning veteran who wants to re-evaluate current training options, we’ve created a top ten list of tips for making your e-Learning strategy successful. Yes, there are 11 tips listed because at NexLearn, we like to over deliver!
Here’s the list (in no particular order):
1) Evaluate the need for training
Before diving head first into training development, first evaluate your company’s training needs. Answer questions like: Who needs to be trained? What do they need to learn? When do they need to learn it? and Is there any existing training material? The answers will help you focus on filling training gaps. Plus, the people who control your company’s purse strings will be happy that you’ve done your research and have a plan of attack BEFORE you ask them for development money.
2) Create training that suits your company culture
Consider members of the workforce and how they work. Do Boomers, Gen Xers, or Gen Ys dominate the staff? Do most people work at desks or are they on the move? Is there currently a sophisticated communication network in place that people are familiar with using? Is the work routine structured or does it follow a more autonomous schedule? By creating training experiences that suit YOUR learners, you can lessen the potential for resistance to change, which can be overwhelming if people are forced to do something that’s unfamiliar to them.
3) Manage stakeholder expectations
Communicate, communicate, communicate. Share your training strategy with those people who need to know, and keep them updated on progress during course development and into implementation. Only guarantee goals you know you can achieve because you could lose stakeholder trust (and a cut of future budgets) if you are unable to deliver what you promise.
4) Create user-centric courses
Keep your learners in mind when designing e-Learning courses or immersive learning simulations. Consider their level of exposure to both technology and e-Learning programs. Make navigation inherent without losing the challenge that experiential characteristics can provide—perfecting this can be tricky if you must train a group of people that includes both computer novices and seasoned users. Never “dumb down” your course for newbies. Challenge them at every opportunity.
5) Identify delivery methods before development begins
There is (almost) nothing more frustrating than creating an interactive e-Learning course filled with animation and robust video that no one can view because of delivery issues. One of the first questions to ask during your research phase is “How will users be able to view the course?” Know the capabilities and constraints of your delivery system before developing your course.
6) Motivate users to participate in their learning process
Attitude is everything. Learners who enter training with a positive attitude will typically learn more than those with a negative approach. Make e-Learning courses engaging, interactive, and relevant, and promote the personal and professional benefits of the training to motivate users to take—and more importantly complete—the training.
7) Create components once and use often
As the economy continues down its rollercoaster path, it’s more important now than ever to get the most bang for your development buck. When creating your e-Learning course, develop components such as navigational menus and buttons, page layouts, and quiz engineering to use them in future courses. Reusing components will save you time, effort, and of course, money.
8) Create content in easy-to-digest chunks
Few employees have the luxury to dedicate blocks of hours to training. In fact, most workers prefer shorter training periods spread out over time. Thanks to the Internet and the latest mobile apps, people now get the information they want, when they want it, and they expect to access training material the same way. Break your content into small chunks that focus on one topic each, so users can better understand the information and keep their focus even during interruptions.
9) Make the learning experience interactive
The real world isn’t passive, so why should training be any different? Create e-Learning courses that feature interactive elements that challenge your learners. Keep in mind that clicking a button to advance is not interactivity. Course components should force learners to use their knowledge to address challenges and solve issues.
10) Monitor user performance
It’s important that users know how they’re doing as they progress through the course. When creating quizzes or simulations, provide immediate and directed feedback that explains why a selection is correct or incorrect. If you want to allow users to try again and don’t want to give away the correct answer, offer helpful information for users to consider. Monitoring user performance (via an LMS) also lets you evaluate learner progress and the overall effectiveness of the course by reviewing areas that might be too easy or too hard.
11) Recruit a C-level e-Learning champion
Your job can become much easier if someone in a position of authority realizes the power of e-Learning and understands how you want to use it. Recruit an e-Learning champion who has a say in budgeting decisions and training strategies. Once you get a C-level executive on your side, your e-Learning projects will have a better chance to get off the ground.
About the Author: Patrick is the Director of Editorial Development at NexLearn. He has over 20 years experience converting ideas into words. He has helped develop hundreds of hours of immersive learning for some of the world’s leading organizations…and he’s picked up an armful of cool shiny and see-through awards along the way. He loves the challenge of creating innovative learning programs that entertain, engage, and actually teach.