From corporate training sessions to children’s online schooling during the pandemic, we have become very familiar with eLearning—the process of passing along knowledge and training via electronic media, usually in an online setting. But that doesn’t mean eLearning is always easy.
HR teams have quickly learned that eLearning presents unique challenges. It requires careful planning and management of key indicators. It requires a certain amount of self-led instruction, which means finding ways to motivate employees. And eLearning requires that learners be comfortable using software and have a reliable internet connection, which can’t always be guaranteed in every work environment.
Don’t let these challenges frustrate you. The benefit of eLearning is worth any minor hurdles. eLearning allows you to upskill employees easily in a timeframe that works for them, which helps to boost employee morale and increase employee investment in the organization.
Let’s look at how to create an ideal eLearning environment.
The Benefits of Online Employee Training
If organizations have a choice of training options, there are many reasons to pick eLearning.
Here are a few important points worth remembering:
eLearning is convenient.
Remote learning involves online resources that can be accessed from anywhere, and referred to frequently as employees learn how to do new tasks. There’s far less risk of employees forgetting key information or not knowing where to turn for answers. It also functions well as part of a remote work model that allows businesses to tap into talent that may not be in the same region.
eLearning is easy to customize.
eLearning can be presented in many forms based on what accessibility employees need, and what format works best for the content being shared. For example, trainings can include a combination of text, video, charts, and interactive learning opportunities in order to help employees absorb information and accommodate every type of learning preference.
eLearning is less expensive.
eLearning saves companies on costs associated with travel, renting meeting rooms, hiring in-person trainers, and more. Plus, costs don’t repeat over time, so it becomes an ongoing resource that eventually pays for itself.
eLearning makes it easier for employees to grow their skills.
eLearning can easily fit into employee schedules, allowing staff to learn at their own pace, and when it’s most convenient for them. That makes it much easier for employees to upskill, because they can focus on the training they most want or need. If employees decide that a particular training path isn’t for them, the cost of choosing a different direction is low.
5 Ways to Help Your Employees Become Better eLearners
If your company is new to online training, or you work with employees that aren’t especially comfortable with remote learning, it’s important to plan ahead.
We recommend you:
1. Identify Your Training Goals
This is a broad but important first step when developing any new training materials. State the training goals in writing. What new skills should employees possess when they complete training? This will set the foundation for making decisions later, so it’s important to clarify the goals ahead of time.
2. Create a Scalable eLearning Strategy
Go in-depth and put together a strategy for the training initiative. This will be a roadmap for guiding the creation of online training materials and how content will be delivered to employees.
Common elements of this roadmap include:
- Learning Objectives—Be specific with your training goals and keep the focus on the end results. What specific programs or capabilities do employees need to learn?
- Audience—Who exactly is your audience for each eLearning training? It’s helpful to create “learner profiles” similar to buyer personas. When and how do these employees prefer to learn? What motivates them? Are their learning preferences influenced by their age, location, or other factors? Finding answers to these questions (surveys are a useful tool here) can help. You can then use these profiles to create content.
- SMEs (Subject Matter Experts)—Gather and coordinate with your SMEs. These are the experts that will develop the content you’ll be present. SMEs will help decide not only what material to include to meet learning objectives, but the best ways to format it for a variety of learners, including text, video, web conferencing, quizzes, and more.
- Responsive Design—Design is also an important element of digital content. Content should be designed to be easily understood in any browser and on any device. That means making it mobile and touchscreen friendly, as well as designed with the right fonts, text spacing, colors, and more. Whether your team will be responsible for web design or you plan on outsourcing it, it’s important to make sure that design is a priority.
- Awareness Campaign—It may sound strange to have a marketing step in an eLearning project, but awareness is a key step to getting employees invested in their training. Put together a campaign to announce and market the training initiative ahead of its launch, and focus on the benefits of an eLearning approach.
- Delivery—How will the program be launched? What portals will employees use to access it? How long will it be available? What links, accounts, or profiles will trainees need to access the content? Plan out these details ahead of time so that no one is surprised.
- Evaluation—How will you measure the success of your online training program? What metrics will you use to measure the training’s effectiveness? eLearning allows you to collect several types of data, so there are plenty of choices here.
3. Set Aside Time
Schedule time for all the important phases of your project. For example, the awareness campaign should be scheduled in the weeks leading up to the launch of the eLearning project. Sometimes organizations make the mistake of thinking that because online learning is often self-guided, employees don’t need any time reserved for their training. But it’s important to provide time to encourage employees to engage fully with their training, especially in the early stages. HR leaders should also avoid cramming all the training into a single day, because this can decrease knowledge retention. While schedules can be flexible, planning for enough time before you begin will make the phases of the training go more smoothly.
4. Measure Results
Did the training succeed? Equipped with clear goals for eLearning, your organization will see if employees have the additional capabilities the training was designed for. But there are other indicators that can be measured to examine effectiveness of the training. That can include sessions logged, modules completed, test and quiz results, time spent on certain eLearning courses or pages, and much more. Your SMEs and digital content partners can help you measure the right indicators to understand how the eLearning content is performing—and if it may need any tweaking for the future.
5. Provide Reinforcement Opportunities
We mentioned that one advantage of eLearning is that the materials are always available online for reference. Use that with a reinforcement campaign to remind employees how they can access those resources and how they can put their new skills to use. This reinforcement should underline the company objectives while providing encouragement to employees now equipped with new skills and opportunities.
Overcome Training Challenges with KnowledgeCity
Looking to create the best training program possible for employees in your organization? KnowledgeCity’s courses are the perfect place to start.
Learn the biggest mistakes to avoid with our quick guide on the five reasons employee training fails. We also offer a targeted courses on a variety of business topics, from diversity and inclusion to supply chains, and more.