Custom E-learning: Playing Games With Your Employee Training

Custom E-learning: Playing Games With Your Employee Training

Many of the challenges organizations face related to eLearning can sometimes resemble a game.  Goals are set and problems are solved.  There are big wins and disappointing losses concerning the effectiveness of the training.

By utilizing a game metaphor to examine training strategies, we can discover some tactics that are credible and others that fail to hit their target.  When a corporation is instituting an online training program for its employees, they tend to follow one of three main paths.  They are Bingo, Poker and Chess.  Let’s take a closer look. 

The Bingo Approach

This style of delivering online training often indicates that your internal training program may be in disarray.  The state of your eLearning program likely resemble a  game of chance rather than an organized system.  With little or no control over training outcomes, employee success mostly depend on luck.

 There is no clear mechanism, such as a Learning Management System, in place to observe training progress.  Without being able to track such statistical information as test scores, attendance rates and course completion, a company remains in the dark concerning the eLearning program’s effectiveness.

 Effective online training lends itself to knowledge retention and learned capability, which in turn leads to improved performance behavior in the work place.

 The online training courses within the larger training program are fragmented.  As a consequence, employees fail see how an eLearning program is relevant to acquiring the skills they need to optimally perform their job.  They also might not understand that by obtaining new knowledge and capabilities, online learning has the potential to act as a vehicle to transport them down the path of career advancement.

Training sessions themselves are random events. Employees are told to log on to their work stations or portable devices “when they have a few extra minutes.” No dedicated time blocks are set aside for their online training participation.

There are no deadlines presented to employees that ensure they complete certain sections of the E-learning course in an agreed upon time.  This chronic lack of structure leads to procrastination and more than likely, poor completion rates.  Is it surprising then, that course attendance rates suffer with this approach?

The Poker Approach

While this technique allows you to hold some potent cards (read: your online training program has some quality assets), the overall structure of the program remains patchy and unpredictable.  There may well be components missing from the training equation preventing your overall program from achieving its goal.

The Players, in this case L&D, are holding their cards too close to their chests.  They are hesitant to be open with management regarding the program’s validity, as their jobs may be at stake.  A communication breakdown exists at all levels.

This creates gaps and overlaps in program design and construction.  It also manifests a disconnect between staff who the program is meant for and the overall learning goals desired by the company.

In poker, most players have no choice but to play the hand they’re dealt.  If your online training program deals only with the short term, it may lack the  flexibility to adjust to industry change over time (these may include technological growth, economic variables and competition).

If this is indeed the case, you will more than likely be continually shelling out cash in installments, to cover periodic upgrades in order to maintain your e-learning’s relevancy.

 The Chess Approach

Chess is considered the king of games for good reason.  It represents a challenge where planning and developing the best strategy will often result in victory.  A company who chooses to apply this approach to their online learning programs is likely to value knowledge, problem solving skills and employee performance.  Like chess, they view their custom e-learning courses as offering no end to their employee’s learning prospects.  How can adopting this style improve your training program?

 Beginning with a clear strategy is vital.  In online training, this known as developing Learning Goals.  These will define the overall design and structure of the eLearning course being built.  The instructional design specialist will work with you to develop a training strategy that combines quality assets from your existing online training program, with new components addressing employee’s current needs.

Chess is about accountability. The same is true of your online training program.  If it is thoroughly researched and well planned from the start, you will see a concurrent rise in your employee’s engagement, knowledge retention and performance behavior.

Much of the beauty of chess lies in the play of a variety of pieces, each with a unique purpose and value within the game.  The same can be said when we look at a “well played” custom eLearning design.  Often the most effective training programs include a combination of online training with traditional, classroom style instruction.  This creates a robust blended learning program that meets a wide variety of training needs.

What’s Your Game?

When it comes to the serious game of delivering the best possible E-learning programs to your employees and  business, you need to take the same careful and strategic approach as one would in a game of chess.  Any other gaming method proves to be risky and leaves far too much to chance.

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