If you are concerned about online learning’s ability to capture the attention of and subsequently engage your employees in the presented course material, then you are not alone. When eLearning first began to emerge on the corporate scene, it was indeed a rather dry endeavor – not much more than a digitized “text and next” version of job aids and training manuals that had been in use for decades.
Fortunately, as time progressed, so did our technology. With tech improvement came advancements in the field of eLearning that moved at an astounding rate. We developed learning technologies that supported learner interactivity, directly contributing to vast improvements of employee engagement and consequent knowledge retention.
Staff who had been put through these modern versions of online learning repeatedly praised its effectiveness. They stated that such digital learning techniques as interactive quizzes, role-playing scenarios and gamification assisted with engagement and went a long way towards helping them remember the course information.
Now that the technology to support high levels of eLearning engagement is here, what about those of you who think that their training may still be on the bland side, causing learner retention loss and lack of course attendance or completion? Well we have a “spice rack” full of ideas that will hopefully prove to zest up your programs and provide your employees with interesting and effective online learning.
When considering eLearning for your company, it is usually best to remember the acronym KISS or ‘Keep It Simple Sir.” This practice can range anywhere from the actual language used (which helps to set overall tone) to the graphics and copy visually employed within the program. Text that is tightly packed onto one page can contribute to learner fatigue and disinterest.
So too, dense slides providing far too much image. Simply stated, packing too much information onto one page will only serve to confuse the learner. Try a combination of well-spaced text and bright, uncomplicated images. It may cost a little more in the end by adding a few extra pages, but the learning results make it a worthwhile practice.
Another positive formula for effective, engaging eLearning is the use of interactivity. It has been shown through time and experience that by involving your learners directly in the course material by requiring them to perform specific actions, they will display improved knowledge retention after the course. This is a proven precursor to employee performance enhancement, which is almost always the overall point of training to begin with. For a wonderful example of just how interactivity can positively affect online training, please check out our Patient Management course in the “Samples” section of the Vantage Path Website.
A very important best practice to keep in mind when selecting eLearning programs is course length. As learners and humans, our overall attention span is not nearly as effective as it was once thought to be. Long programs filled with alot of important material will fail time and again to engage the learner’s knowledge retention. In memory studies done by Will Thalheimer, it is found that memory loss after longer study sessions is highly variable and depends upon such factors as length of learning blocks and learner engagement. The longer the periods spent in study seems to be directly proportional to employee knowledge loss.
It has been suggested then that by breaking up the information into digestible segments and using reinforcement techniques such as summaries and short and simple quizzes, your employees will show a much improved memory retention of course material.
For example, instead of having staff sit through a two hour training program, break it up into 6 twenty minute sessions with summations of previous details stressed at the beginning of each section. You can still present all of the vital information needed to be passed on to employees, just in shorter bits over a work week rather than in one big lump that is likely to be quickly forgotten.
Finally, but certainly not of least importance is the practice of keeping your course material relevant. It is true that different industries develop and change at a different pace. However in today’s workplace of ever-evolving technology, it can safely be said that everyone will at some time need to update their eLearning.
This is an extremely effectual custom to employ if you operate within professions where your employees need to be re-certified in their fields on an ongoing basis. The actual certification course sits permanently on your LMS, for employees to take any time of the year. An excellent example of this practice being useful is for employees working in high-risk industries such as field workers for oil and gas companies. Safety standards and compliance requirements are constantly in flux in these fields, and all staff need to be kept apprised of any new developments that affect their personal well-being.
As can be seen, the old days of being concerned with your online training’s effectiveness, no longer need apply to your company. Through a combination of employing modern learning technologies and the best practices covered above, you are in a very good position to offer your company consistent, quality eLearning that is flexible and an overall value to everyone concerned.