The Modern Face of eLearning: Putting a Nimble Spin on Traditional Courseware

eLearning is evolving.

We’re in an incredible time in organizational learning. Between the collision of modern technology and the increased need to upskill people in different geographies effectively and efficiently, we’re seeing a seismic shift in what learning and eLearning look like. Until the last few years, when we onboarded or upskilled employees, it usually meant logging into an LMS from a computer and clicking Next between pages, reading, or being read to, and completing quizzes. Our modern learners demand a better experience. While eLearning experiences definitely aren’t going away any time soon, the potential certainly has evolved. The modern learner demands a blended, social experience that provides in-the-moment performance support and learning that they can complete where they are, when they are.

 How can eLearning look in today’s learning ecosystem?

Imagine a fresher delivery by incorporating more targeted eLearning elements into journey-based learning experiences that happen over time, or in the moment, served up by a learning experience platform (LXP).

Experience platforms can be curation-based, like Degreed or EdCast, or program-based, like Intrepid. How are they different? The modern eLearning components are shorter and more impactful and have moved away from the more legacy “course” feel. They’re woven together to create cohesive experiences that build, extend, and serve multiple purposes. These experiences include brief, micro-assets blended with opportunities to think about and reflect on. Learners can do something with what is being learned, collaborate with others, and connect directly with SMEs. While these platforms certainly help to make more nimble eLearning experiences, you don’t need an LXP to modernize eLearning.

 So, what can these fresh, more modern eLearning experiences look like?

When we’re developing Digital Learning Solutions for our clients, we encourage them to design and build for the future. This includes experiences that render well on any device; can be easily updated; offer more learner control regarding how, when, and the amount of training consumed; and provide the ability to easily retrieve key items that learners may want to reference later in the flow of work. For example, instead of a 45-minute seat time, break up the course into its components that are designed to standalone after the learner completes them. This could be done as easily as “chunking” topics and content in smaller, more nimble ways. Here are a few examples of what more modern eLearning experiences could look like:

  • Instead of a longer Storyline menu-driven course, consider a set of standalone exercises and interactions with opportunities to reflect and share (say, on a Program page in JAM or as a curriculum in other platforms). Each exercise includes an appropriate interaction or infographic paired with a job aid, an opportunity to practice what was learned in the real world, and a link to a Yammer page that is moderated by a SME—quick to create, targeted, and social.
  • Instead of a Captivate course on a specific process or set of steps in a system, create a PDF of a text document and embed quick, downloadable software simulations that mirror the steps within the body of the document—simple to create and update, a great performance support tool, and easily accessed inside or outside of an LMS, given the need.

Each of these examples:

  • Allows the necessary system communication for performance analytics and measurement
  • Can incorporate links to existing social constructs, like Yammer or JAM to infuse some social learning elements into what could otherwise render as a flat, individual-only experience
  • Provides content that could have been part of a traditional course-driven experience into a learner-driven one

 Let’s take a look ahead…

In the coming quarters and years, the notion of the traditional course will become more and more obsolete as the technology evolves and enables us to more readily do things differently. While many are still creating and deploying more traditional eLearning courses and may for some time, keep in mind that there are so many great opportunities for modern eLearning today. Your learners are already expecting it.

Consider experimenting on your next project with chunking, “microtizing,” and assembling assets so that they can be used for more than just courseware. Think about how you can space the content over time and add a social element to it that creates greater connection. These approaches will add shelf life to the eLearning experiences you create and give you the creative freedom to better serve the needs of your learners.

To see eLearning in action, visit our Innovation Kitchen.

Ann Rollins

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