Call it what you want. Online training, e-learning, m-learning, or any other catchphrase that comes out over the next few years that applies to learning management systems (LMS). One thing that remains consistent, are the best practices that apply to your business’ training needs. There are a set of rules, a recipe so to speak, that will ensure that training, be it for on-boarding or ongoing staff needs, will be effective.
Securing an online training program for your company is an investment, but one that delivers a very real ROI, if it is executed correctly. As experts in e-learning with a pedigree in working with both SMBs and enterprise level businesses (including Fortune Global 500 companies) we know what those best practices are. Today, we are happy to share them with you.
7 Steps to Making e-Learning Programs More Effective for Your Business
1. Provide a User-Friendly Platform
Your staff is supposed to be learning more about your business, your new product/service, your new customer engagement strategy, and so forth. They are not supposed to be learning how to take a test or training program. That should be the easy part. From the moment they login, the online platform (more on this in item #6 below) should deliver a self-explanatory journey, one that walks them through each step in a logical manner until it reaches its conclusion. Otherwise, cognitive attrition will set-in midway and you won’t get a true accounting of their ability to digest the information.
2. Deliver Content in an Engaging & Interactive Format
The online training experience should not speak at staff. It should speak with them. That means doing away with old school training that delivers a succession of mundane jargon that makes them feel as they've just watched a Terrance Malick flick. Instead, the platform needs to provide context so that they can apply information to their own day to day work agenda. It needs to apply high-engagement interactive features that include quizzes, surveys, and even e-games to facilitate learning. There should be visuals, including vibrant graphics, video, images, and media-rich content that encourages them to want to learn more. The last thing you want is for staff to race through a training program with the goal of just “getting it done”.
3. Encourage Real-Time Feedback
Fortunately, many modernised businesses request feedback on their training programs. However, when this feedback occurs after-the-fact (common) it is nowhere near optimal. Those taking the test may not have retained every instance of where they thought an element on their e-learning journey could have been improved. Nor will they recall every part that they liked best. You cannot depend upon memory recall. Feedback needs to be delivered in real-time. That means the end-user should be provided with highly visible prompts that encourage some sort of feedback while they progress through the course. Sometimes this feedback can be provided in comment form, in others it can be done through a feature that they commonly find on their existing social networks, such as a “Like” or “Favourite” option.
Feedback should also be provided in a non-threatening environment. End-users should not feel as if they will be judged on their feedback, so make it clear that all real-time feedback is welcome and appreciated.
4. Encourage Social Collaboration
Your staff is already versed is social media. Capitalise upon their savviness on Twitter and Facebook and set up a pre-assigned group on either. Your e-learning platform should incorporate a “social wall”, where trainees can post comments and pose questions before, during, and after a training session. This will encourage staff, managers, and other users to collaborate and interact with one another. Not only does this contribute to the real-time feedback addressed above, it facilities a supportive team environment in an online manner that the end-user is accustomed to.
5. Deliver it Anywhere, Anytime - Go Mobile
Truly modern businesses no longer have staff operate solely from a desk in a cubicle. Some staff are remote, some part-time remote, and all should at least be flexible in some manner, even if that mobility simply includes them working in breakout spaces on an office floor. Harvard studies show that staff performs better when they control their space. Thus, not only should their work be mobile, their e-learning should be too. That means they need to be able to take courses on assigned laptops, tablets, and smartphones. The courses should be able to be paused so that the end-user can halt and then return to a session when available. If your business functions in real-time, your employees do to. They may not be able to complete a course in one sitting. There should be flexibility that allows them to complete a course or session on their device of choice, should they be traveling for business or sitting down over a cafe latte between client meetings.
6. It Should Go Beyond On-Boarding
Learning is never done. Yet far too often businesses limit online training to the employee on-boarding process. Does your business not evolve and adapt to the marketplace? Assuming that the answer is “yes” then your online training should do the same.
Need an example of how not doing so can crush your business? Look no further than cyber-security. Your business data is likely to get breached this year. Factor in the fact that 60% of small businesses that suffer a cyber-attack are out of business within six months and you’ve got cause for alarm. Employee tools (email, etc.) are among the most common gateways for hackers. Your employees will need immersive training on how to recognize and prevent cyber-attacks. Because cyber-criminals change strategy and update malware on a monthly basis, your staff training on this topic alone needs to be just as frequent. This is just one of many examples of why your online training needs to go beyond the on-boarding process.
7. Choose an Online Training Platform that Addresses All of the Above
This seventh sign is the inevitable conclusion, right? But truth be told, it’s much easier said than done. That reason alone is what drove our team to spend years in LMS-based engineering and development, to design a one-stop shop that accounts for the above best practices. Your choice of platform is critical to the success of your entire online training goals and thus you want one that integrates best practices within. Apprendo, is it. View more on our user-friendly, engaging, collaborative, and scalable LMS and select a subscription plan that best suits your business.