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7 Strategies to Enhance eLearning Programs

Great eLearning works by connecting with its audience. That may sound simple, but there are a number of challenges you must address to forge that connection. Michael Thiel, the host of our Performance Matters podcast, sat down with two of our eLearning experts, Andrew Joly and Geoff Bloom, to discuss the biggest challenges that arise when delivering successful eLearning in business. In this blog, we summarize their seven strategies to overcome these challenges and deliver eLearning programs that connect with learners and drive lasting change.

#1: Drive Engagement

It is important to remember that in a business setting, eLearning is delivered to individuals who are incredibly busy. Learning content takes up valuable time which creates a natural opposition. To overcome this resistance, your eLearning must be as engaging as possible. Moving beyond eLearning to incorporate a variety of different media types and activities can keep your learners engaged, interacting with, and connected to the experience. This blended approach to learning can involve everything from videos and podcasts to virtual workshops and learning games.

And there are so many tactics from that using different media, thankfully, blended learning experiences and thinking about how to develop interaction, a lot of great eLearning sort of started with we called it interactive learning back in, right.

#2: Make Content Relevant

One of the key challenges of eLearning design is delivering a consistent experience that does not fall into a one-size-fits-all approach. When content isn’t relevant, learners feel that their time is being wasted and will tune out. Make sure that your content is updated and, if possible, personalize it. One way to do this is by creating tailored versions of your program for different roles, departments, or locations. The actual content may only differ by a factor of 10-15%, but your program will feel more relevant to its intended audience.

#3: Ensure Learning is Usable and Accessible

To fully reach your audience, eLearning must be made as accessible as possible. Usability and accessibility are about removing every possible obstacle between the learner and your program. This means ensuring that your content is compatible with a variety of devices, including desktops, laptops, phones, and tablets. Your program also needs to function for learners with good or bad bandwidth.

There is also a human side to usability. It is critical that you consider the needs of your entire audience. Do your employees live in different regions or speak different languages? Are there visually or hearing-impaired individuals on your staff? Are there additional cultural barriers that need to be considered? If so, your curriculum must provide options such as translations, subtitles, or audio descriptions of visual elements.

#4: Keep Learning On-Brand

Brand goes hand in hand with relevance. If learning does not seem intended for your organization or for a particular role, it can be unengaging. Learners can spot generic, off-the-shelf learning and may treat it as an obligation rather than an opportunity. Learning that is not on-brand is a massive, missed opportunity to connect your learning with your organization’s mission, brand values, and culture. Be sure to incorporate your company’s voice and style into your eLearning efforts.

Staying on-brand does not require you to invest in expensive custom eLearning solutions. You can create an on-brand experience with an off-the-shelf eLearning package by changing it in subtle ways that connect it with your organization.

#5: Add a Social Component to Learning

Many individuals learn best when they are taught by, and engaging with, other people. In its early days, eLearning was a solitary experience. While things have changed significantly over the past few decades, it is important to remember that the social aspect of learning does not happen on its own; you must intentionally build those experiences into your program. Including interactive activities, such as virtual instructor-led training (VILT) sessions or user message boards, will help drive engagement by connecting individuals with other learners.

If those features aren’t possible, there are still ways to make eLearning feel more social even if the learner is not directly connected with others. Learner surveys are an effective way of showing employees that their training is connected to that of other learners. Scenario-based question and answer programs allow learners to see other responses, connecting them to part of a bigger experience.

#6: Measure the Impact of Your Learning

Measurement is key to great eLearning design. Identifying what success looks like should be part of the design process. Make sure that all stakeholders agree on the focus of your program and what you hope to accomplish. Are you attempting to change behaviors, increase sales, or decrease the amount of employee turnover? When everyone understands and agrees on your learning goals, you have a much better chance of achieving them.

Once you have defined your learning priorities, it is important to put a measurement plan in place. Work with stakeholders to identify metrics that will gauge the curriculum’s effectiveness. If you construct your measurement program the right way, you will be able to demonstrate a causal chain of evidence that reveals where your learning has made an impact.

#7: Prioritize Deployment

Deployment is critical to success. Think hard about how you are going to reach your learners. There are two key aspects of deployment: technical skills to deliver your eLearning and internal marketing to encourage your employees to engage with it. Deploying content to a diverse audience on a variety of devices can present a significant challenge which may require technical investment. This is particularly true for global organizations that employ individuals in several different countries. If deploying content on that broad a scale is beyond an organization’s abilities, the company may need to bring in an expert with a proven solution.

Internal marketing is another crucial aspect of deployment. Once you have constructed your curriculum and determined how to deliver it to audiences, there’s still work to be done. How you sell this learning to your employees will play a significant role in how successfully they connect with your curriculum. Creating an internal marketing campaign for your eLearning is a great way to drive learner engagement. As employees interact with the program, share their testimonials with the rest of the organization. These peer assessments will go a long way in convincing employees that a piece of learning content is worth their time.

Using AI to Overcome eLearning Challenges

AI is a game changer when overcoming eLearning challenges.

Here are some ways we think AI will enhance the success of eLearning:

  • Usability: AI can help make existing learning content more usable. AI programs have proven invaluable in helping content to reach a wider audience by providing subtitles and language translations quickly and easily. Organizations can also use AI to help make their learning and development content more searchable.
  • Organization: Many companies have L&D libraries full of content this is outdated, unorganized, and difficult to access. AI tools can help with content rationalization. This makes it much easier to access content and deploy it to its intended audience.
  • Personalization: Tailoring aspects of eLearning to its audience helps keep content engaging and relevant. In the future, AI could be used to create learning packages that drive this personalization even further by adapting content to each learner’s real time needs.

When dealing with AI, it is useful to keep a few guiding principles in mind. Be sure to respect intellectual property rights and properly credit the work of others. Although AI is a great accelerator for creating eLearning, human creativity and curiosity are still vital components of the process.

Creating Effective Digital Learning Solutions

Great eLearning content is designed while keeping the target audience in mind at every stage. It should be engaging, relevant, accessible, social, and should represent the brand image. By implementing these digital learning strategies, you can enhance your training programs and overcome the challenge of effectively engaging your learners.

For more information about creating great eLearning content, check out our podcast, Navigating the 7 Challenges of eLearning in Business.

About the Authors

GP Strategies Corporation
GP Strategies is a global performance improvement solutions provider of sales and technical training, e-Learning solutions, management consulting and engineering services. GP Strategies' solutions improve the effectiveness of organizations by delivering innovative and superior training, consulting and business improvement services, customized to meet the specific needs of its clients. Clients include Fortune 500 companies, manufacturing, process and energy industries, and other commercial and government customers.

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