Today, e-learning strategies are more popular than ever. This is particularly true for B2B and B2C organizations that are looking for more convenient, cost-effective ways to keep their staff updated and informed.
e-Learning is not a “one-size-fits-all” initiative – it comes in a variety of different flavors. Some companies invest in a fully functional learning management system (LMS), while others opt for a more informal learning approach. There are also organizations that take advantage of blended learning, where they incorporate both online and in-person training sessions as part of their overall strategies. And of course, e-learning itself can be conducted both live and on demand.
Without the benefit of face-to-face interaction, creating effective on-demand e-learning content presents its fair share of challenges. Here are some tips to ensure your on-demand training program is a success.
- Stay focused. You won’t be there to keep your learners engaged when their attention starts to drift – and it will drift at some point. To minimize this, try to avoid cramming too much information into a single course or presentation, as simpler concepts tend to work best for e-learning content and can be handled one at a time.
You also don’t want your topic to be too broad. Trying to cover too much at once will make your content drag on for too long. This will often overwhelm your audience and cause them to lose focus on the material (this is especially true for mobile learners who train via smartphones or tablets). For on-demand content, it’s usually best to keep your information focused, short and to the point so that it’s easier to consume and retain.
- Don’t forget about interactivity. Another important training tactic is to ensure that learners are not only consuming content, but interacting with it as well. For on-demand training, this means including various interactive elements within your content for your audience to engage with. Usually, this involves simple things like short quizzes to ensure retention.
There are lots of quiz options to consider, though. Multiple choice or fill-in-the-blank questions can help reinforce new vocabulary terms, while short essay questions can show that a learner has developed more detailed comprehension. You can even set up a simple survey or poll questions that are updated in real time, enhancing learners’ sense of community, even if they’re training on their own.
- Make measurement a priority. Obviously, if you are going to test learners within your content, you also want to be able to measure how well they do. Make sure you are set up to grade your audience and track their progress. You should also be able to monitor who has or hasn’t taken the required training to help ensure that all the necessary people are viewing your content. In some cases, you can even set “completion criteria” which must be met before a learner can move on to next steps.
- Allow for easy access to experts. Finally, remember that with on-demand training, no matter how engaging and well-designed your content might be, learners will still have additional questions from time to time. Since they won’t have the benefit of a classroom setting to ask them, however, it’s important to make the answers as easy to find as possible.
Having learners submit questions via email is one option, but let’s face it – no single person at an organization has all the answers. From a learning and development standpoint, it’s important to identify who the subject matter experts (SMEs) are at your company for each topic that requires training. For example, who is the best person to go to with compliance questions? What about open enrollment? Is there a Salesforce.com guru available? Once you know who these people are, you can include that information with your on-demand resources so that learners will know exactly who to go to when they get stumped.
Brendan Cournoyer is a content marketing manager at Brainshark, Inc. Brainshark’s cloud-based technology lets business professionals create, share and track online video presentations for eLearning, marketing, corporate communications and more. For additional tips and ideas to enhance your e-learning and training programs, visit the Brainshark Ideas Blog. You can also follow Brendan on Twitter @brencournoyer and Brainshark at @brainshark.
Written for TrainingIndustry.com