Your company can spend tens of thousands of dollars developing great online training programs, but if your users don’t engage the portal, your investment is wasted. In order to be successful with your training, you must address engagement on two levels. First, you must provide the motivation for users to use the training. Second, you have to remove barriers that make your training program difficult to use. Great online training programs eliminate the four most common barriers to e-learning, easing the pain points for users and enhancing the experience.
1) Lack Of Accessibility
- Problem: By the end of the 20th century, personal computers were everywhere, and most of your employees had some experience with a PC. Over the last ten years, there’s been a revolution in computing technology, namely a movement towards mobile computers. Today, more than 60 percent of all online traffic is completed through mobile devices, and that number is expected to grow in the coming years. This trend towards mobile computing is even more prevalent among older users, with more than half of people over 50 using a smartphone or tablet as their primary method of going online.
- Solution: The reason users love mobile computers is that they can access information wherever they are, for instance on the bus on the way to work or in the waiting room of the doctor’s office. When you unleash your great online training program from a stationary PC to mobile access, you allow your users to engage the training materials on their terms.
2) Language Hurdles
- Problem: In the United States demographics are changing rapidly, driven largely by immigration. While much of the discussion about immigration focuses on Latin American countries, whose primary language is Spanish, there are millions more coming from other, diverse regions of the world. As a result, millions of people in the workforce don’t speak or read English or Spanish as a native language. Therefore, they struggle with online training.
- Solution: Including a language package during the development of your online training programs allows users to access the materials in the language with which they are most comfortable. This not only increases their engagement with the materials, but helps them retain more of the information. As an added bonus, should you need to export your training materials to an overseas facility, those workers can instantly gain access to the training.
3) Boring Materials
- Problem: More than two-thirds of companies report engagement as their primary issue with e-learning, and users point to boring materials as their reason for avoiding the training. No one wants to sit and read text on the screen for hours at a time, so it’s up to you to develop content that captures the user’s attention.
- Solution: The solution to this problem is two-fold. First, you have to break up content into pieces that users can digest in a single sitting. The trend towards micro-learning is a powerful one in the e-learning community, and it can transform boring programs into great online training programs. You accomplish this by capping the time needed to complete a training module at no more than fifteen minutes. The other solution is the integration of multi-media into your training, especially video content. Human beings process visual imagery more than 60 thousand times faster than text or speech, so with video content, you reduce the amount of time users spend on the materials, while improving their level of retention.
4) Design Of The User Interface
- Problem: None of what you do with your content matters if your users can’t navigate through the materials easily. Confusing menus are a prime hindrance to e-learning, because users simply don’t know where to go to get the information that they need. The other component of UI design involves addressing quality of life issues for the end user. Not everyone reads text at the same size, nor are they able to hear the audio on your video materials.
- Solution: Common UI features that should be included in any great online training program include:
- Clearly marked navigation buttons
- The ability to pause or rewind video content
- Closed-captioning for those with hearing problems
- Text sliders to increase the size of written materials
- Progress bars that indicate how much of the training a user has completed
Great online training programs are more complicated than throwing your old training materials into an online interface. For your program to succeed, you have to understand the hurdles that users face when they participate in online training, and how the construction of your program can remove those obstacles. When you accomplish those goals, you are left with a versatile program that engages users, and trains them for the tasks at hand.