If you are paying good money for a customised eLearning program, tailoring it through application of employee demographics is vital for performance improvement. This enables the program to be paired as closely as possible with the people who will be participating in it. Areas such as age, technical proficiency and overall employee experience in their particular field become extremely relevant factors concerning course design and construction.
A non-discriminatory characteristic, consideration of age is geared more towards the actual tone or mood of the course. It can also influence the type of language construct of the eLearning course. It is very important to understand age demographic – are you addressing Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials? Or possibly any combination of all three?
Each group displays distinct tendencies and possesses their own learning style. For instance, Baby Boomers may learn more efficiently from traditional instructor-led training. While on the other hand, Millennials respond much more positively to intensive interactivity within the eLearning course.
Key Question: Does the tone and language of your online training course jive with employee age range?
A company’s personnel, if expected to respond positively to training, must have their computer literacy match the eLearning program being built for them. A course’s training outcomes would be compromised for example, if a group of employees with a low technology I.Q. was faced with a course that presented itself with a complex, non-intuitive navigational interface. Making their way through the material would prove to be very difficult and all the neat bells and whistles would be lost on them.
Key Question: Does the content and construct of the online training course match your employee’s technical skill?
If Tech I.Q. is high, then the course being built needs to be designed to be more technically sophisticated to ensure learner engagement. Along with larger parameters and more freedom to design technically advanced navigation, the course can be constructed to include multiple computer command and response options and employ tech-savvy terms and language. A technically proficient group might include staff at a computer processor development firm. Considering their field, they would most likely appreciate a tech-detailed eLearning course.
If computer literacy is lacking, say like in a group of employees close to retirement, then the eLearning course needs to take a different tack when considering technical development. It could for instance, employ video and slides as opposed to interactive navigation. The degree of technology must attempt to meet these individuals at a non-intimidating level, designed for easy use by a computer novice.
Another aspect that needs to be taken into consideration when matching the most effective online learning program to the right people in the company, is employee experience in their field. Not only will a novice and veteran learn in a dissimilar manner, many times they will not be required to learn the same thing. A novice will have a completely different skillset learning curve than an employee who has been in the industry for fifteen years. With that being said, there are of course, exceptions to the rule.
Key Question: Are the employees participating in the eLearning course beginners or experts in their particular field?
With respect to ever – evolving safety standards within many industries, both the novice and pro need to know and understand the same details when new regulations are instituted. In this case, the learning material would be relevant to both and the evolving information could be presented to both in one complete course.
What happens if the information needed by the novice and the veteran is different? The obvious answer would appear to be “Build two courses!” This however can present itself as an expensive proposition to many companies. There is another solution.
The high degree of technology that can be applied when constructing online training programs allows for creation of such elements as adaptability. An adaptable eLearning course is more involved and complex than a regular performanced-based course. However, it presents the possibility for the novice to take the entire course without missing content that the veteran finds redundant. To avoid boredom, the expert can then navigate away from material they know and participate only in areas of the course where knowledge is new.
It is vital to understand and include your employee’s demographics when preparing to install an online learning program for your organization. It is key to course flexibility, employee engagement and successful attainment of projected learning goals.
Before introducing online learning programs in your company, always remember to ask yourself the three cardinal questions:
- Does course tone dovetail with employee age range?
- Is the course constructed to match staff technical knowledge?
- Are employees sitting the course beginners or experts in their field?
If you consistently address these important areas of staff demographics, you are assured to present your organization with the best eLearning for your budget.