Yesterday, we partnered up with Dawn Kohler of The Inside Coach to co-host a webinar on increasing utilization of elearning courses within an organization. Dawn spoke to viewers about the benefits of elearning – and the pitfalls. While surveys prove that employees prefer on-line training and learn more from ecourses, businesses are still having a difficult time persuading employees to use the elearning tools available to them.
For those of you who weren’t able to join us this morning, here are Dawn’s key recommendations for increasing elearning effectiveness in your organization.
The Inside Coach 5 Keys to Increasing elearning Usage and Effectiveness
- Plan your program. Before you go searching for courses, you need to determine the target audience and objectives for your elearning program. Ask yourself: who am I trying to develop? What skills do I want them to gain from this elearning program? Design your materials around these two considerations. Be sure your initiative has a beginning, middle and end. The process of being introduced to new material, absorbing and mastering it goes a long way towards creating the feeling of accomplishment that will motivate employees to engage elearning. With a clearly articulated development program, goals, and deadline, your employees will see the value and urgency in online training.
- Find good material. It’s easy to be dazzled by the various bells and whistles offered with elearning courses. But before you begin choosing your elearning courses based on which has the best color schemes or most exciting animations, consider the following:
- Courses with both audio and visual impressions creates the most engaging learning experience. Avoid courses that rely too heavily on text in particular.
- Courses with practical, relevant content provide more immediate value to users. If learners cannot easily identify what they’re learning and how they can use it, chances are the course is too esoteric or complicated to be worth their while.
- Courses that not only include retention tests but advertise to the learner that there will be a test at the end are more effective in holding user attention – leading to better learning.
- Courses completion should easily fit within an hour. In today’s fast-paced work world, that’s about all the time people will ever have. Don’t making elearning stressful. Keep lesson quantity manageable using the Goldilocks rule – give learners too much info, and they’ll become too overwhelmed to use it. Give them too little information, and it won’t feel like an accomplishment. It needs to be just right.
- Package courses. If you give employees a random collection of elearning material, they will know that you didn’t spend the time to make sure the content is relevant to their work, and they’ll perceive the program as a waste of time. By combining your courses into a relevant curriculum that makes sense to them, employees will clearly understand the intended outcomes and the personal benefit wrapped up in those outcomes. Find yourself struggling to put together a cohesive curriculum? Someone at OpenSesame is available to help you compile a program out of our available courses. If your organizational leadership doesn’t demonstrate that they care about the outcomes of the program, learners won’t care. Make sure management clearly articulates the program curriculum, expectations and benefits. Just this simple gesture bumps usage rate to 85% in conjunction with tips 1 and 2.
- Blend events to support material and assure accountability. This is the final key to ratcheting elearning engagement to 94%. Making curriculum completion a prerequisite to an event such as a webinar, onsite or one-on-one coaching session is one of the most effective ways of increasing engagement. By providing employees with a skills foundation through elearning and then actively practicing these skills in a group setting or one-on-one, you ensure they see the value of their new skills in action.
- Demonstrate organizational buy-in. Failing to recognize the elearning accomplishments is a mistake many companies make accidentally. Leadership becomes so excited at the success of their new elearning program that they forget to ‘close the loop’. When learners complete their online training, be sure to recognize their accomplishment – this can be as simple as distributing certificates of completion. Finally, when you notice employees using the skills they gained in training, be sure to praise them for their implementation.
For more great webinars from Dawn Kohler, please visit The Inside Coach event calendar. Don’t forget to check out The Inside Coach’s excellent catalog of courses on OpenSesame. We’re offering their Conflict Resolution course at a 15% discount until June 15th.