Whether you’ve been in the workforce over the last few decades or even if you’re just becoming acclimated to the corporate world, chances are you’ve witnessed the evolution of learning in your lifetime. Most of us recall a time when learning was more traditional, and courses were predominately instructor-led only. But in walked eLearning to completely revolutionize the way we deliver, experience, and engage in training, and nothing has ever been the same.
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While eLearning has many advantages with regard to overall value and having the ability to learn at your own pace, you still may be wondering how it can best be utilized to meet the training needs of your organization. Maybe you’re not interested in a one-size fits all training solution and want something more customizable. Well, if this is you, you’ve definitely come to the right place. In this blog, we will explore how eLearning can be used to make the most impact on your organization and ensure positive learning experiences for all.
Define Your Target Audience
This is definitely the most crucial step in developing a successful eLearning course. After all, how can you even begin to design an effective eLearning course without having knowledge of your audience? So before entering the design and development phase, you’re going to need to do some research first. You should begin by gathering demographic information. For instance, what age range, educational and cultural backgrounds make up your target audience? You’ll also want to delve further by asking:
- What are their current roles in the organization?
- Are they tech savvy?
- How will they be accessing the course?
- What are their learning styles?
- What is their experience with this subject?
- What’s their incentive for taking the course?
- What skills are they lacking that this course would develop?
Set and Communicate Clear Learning Objectives
This is also quite necessary to help successfully achieve the learning goals of your organization. Take some time to think about what you expect learners to gain by taking the course. Once you’ve determined what the overall learning objectives are, you’ll need to make certain this information is communicated clearly in the course. The objectives will serve as a guide to learners throughout the course and help to assess their progress along the way. Some examples of course learning objectives might be:
- To develop strong relationships through open communication
- To better understand communication styles
- To develop leadership skills through practice and feedback
- To practice and improve key negotiation skills
By establishing and communicating your learning objectives upfront, you can better prepare the learners of your organization and help ensure their success in the course.
Create Relevant and Engaging Content
Raise your hand if you’ve ever sat through a boring course. Don’t be shy. There’s no shame in admitting this. We all have at some point, but the more critical question is: can you recall what you learned in the course? If you’re drawing a blank, chances are you just weren’t engaged in the content, and while that’s unfortunate, it definitely has the potential to happen in any learning environment. To ensure successful eLearning experiences in your organization, you’ll want to make sure the course content is both relevant and engaging.
Again, this is why defining your target audience is so important. You’ll need all that background information to design and develop an eLearning course that will resonate with each participant. In addition to making content that is relevant to your audience, it will also be necessary to consider a few different approaches. Consider other methods of engaging participants to ensure information is not just memorized for a short period of time, but engrained long-term.
For example, did you know that 70 percent of what we learn and retain is drawn from job-related experience?[i] This is why scenario-based learning is such an effective eLearning tool. It provides context for the course by placing learners in realistic job situations. The scenario-based learning approach not only motivates and engages learners, but also helps them to master the concepts presented in the course.
Welcome and Solicit User Feedback
Feedback is probably the most powerful tool you have in terms of improving the eLearning experience for your organization. It’s also one of the most fundamental components of learning for not only the learners, but also the instructors and designers. Feedback can come in the form of a survey tool or even a general questions and comments forum, but the accessibility of this kind of tool can help to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the course and also point out any opportunities for improvement in the future. In addition to being a continuous tool for course improvement, the solicitation of feedback from course participants can aid in opening the lines of communication within the organization, heighten transparency, and further engage eLearning participants within your workforce. All of this will go a long way toward the success of eLearning in your organization, and demonstrate to your employees that you genuinely care about their learning experiences.
The Future of eLearning
The future of eLearning certainly creates endless possibilities for the workforce. Long gone are the days of fidgeting at our desks while taking notes from a chalkboard or overhead projector. We now have options. To solidify long-term eLearning engagement for your organization, you may want to consider some of the many tools available, such as:
- Virtual and augmented reality
- Live video and virtual classroom
- Mobile-app experiences
- E-Mentoring and e-coaching
- Social Media
By incorporating just a few of these tools, the eLearning experience within your organization will be that much more successful. For more information on eLearning approaches to meet the learning needs of your organization, visit us at https://catmedia.com/ today!
[i]“What Is The Experiential Learning Cycle?”Growth Engineering, 1 July 2017.
CATMEDIA is an award-winning Inc. 500 company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1997, the company specializes in advertising, creative services, media production, program management, training, and human resource management. As a Women Owned Small Business (WOSB), CATMEDIA provides world-class customer service and innovative solutions to government and commercial clients. Current CATMEDIA clients include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).