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5 eLearning Lessons in the Age of Distance Learning

Like many households in America today, my family has had to adapt to working and learning from home while sheltering in place from COVID-19. It’s been… interesting? There’s been some big headaches—but also little wins. And a few ‘aha’ moments.

Every day is an opportunity to learn something new. And this current era of delirium and disruption has brought one obvious opportunity—a new perspective on eLearning. With each of our eLearning initiatives, we are constantly on the search for new insights into the minds of our end-users, and ‘distance learning’ has helped to reinforce and reveal a few good tips that I’d like to share…

 

1) “I got this, Dad!”
…. or, Understand & Empower Your eLearners

The teachers at our elementary school are great; they know their students’ learning styles in-and-out. I’ve been amazed at how seamlessly they’ve applied content and digital platforms to the homeschooling process.

To me, this just reinforces a classic tenet of Learning & Development: Put your students first! Thriving companies know that happy, confident, and well-informed employees can be their greatest asset. With that in mind, a focus on employee-empowerment is a key component to eLearning success.

Today’s employees want digital experiences that can be tailored directly to their needs. To put it another way: “Cookie-cutter” simply won’t cut it. How do you create eLearning that is perfectly suited to your employees? Let’s take a closer look with the points below…

 

2) “This isn’t working on my tablet!”
…or, Adapt to the Moment of Learning

By far, our family’s biggest homeschooling issue has been technology. Certain websites aren’t responsive on a phone, or YouTube videos won’t play on a kid-friendly tablet.

This drives home another point about corporate eLearning: You can invest hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars into your curriculum, but that can all fall apart if you can’t connect that content to the learner’s circumstances at the ‘moment of learning.’ Will your team be forced to complete modules after-hours? Do they spend most of their days on the go, and out of range of reliable Wi-fi? It’s essential to understand these questions and to adapt.

 

3) “Ugh. Are we done yet?”
… or, Streamline Your Content and Make it Modular

It’s a safe bet that your average employee has a longer attention span than the average eight-year-old. But I guarantee your employees don’t have nearly as much free time. That’s why you have to treat each minute of their time as absolutely precious.

Consider breaking your content into bite-sized modules that can be completed in less than 15 minutes. Look for opportunities to streamline content—or to edit out redundant (or flat-out contradictory) details. Then, if your employees have a free moment (between customer calls, for example) they won’t feel intimidated to tackle a new concept or a bit of new information. Also, this makes it easier to revisit content weeks or months later. Your employees can browse through a modular program and refresh themselves on certain ideas in a way that’s convenient and intuitive.

 

4) “I totally get it now!”
… or, the Best time is ‘Just In Time’

The other day I was helping my daughter with a science assignment. (Electricity can run through a ‘closed’ circuit, but not an ‘open’ one. Does that sound like it makes any sense?!) I started thinking: wouldn’t it be nice if anyone who wanted it could have a tutor right there over their shoulder, walking them through a conundrum at work?

Of course, we’re getting closer to on-demand tutoring environments every day, with both AI assistants and augmented reality on our phones. But in the meantime, you should look for ways that you can incorporate access to digital ’Just In Time’ learning tips directly into your employees’ job tasks.

One way we’ve done this in the past is by utilizing QR codes that can be affixed to equipment, to allow quick links to videos right where cleaning & maintenance take place. Also, if your team uses a platform to access selling or marketing assets on-the-go, consider including FAQs, to-do lists, or other insights on that platform as well.

 

5) “Uh… I already forgot.”
… or, Invest in retention

Finally, don’t forget about the problem of forgetting. If your eLearners are memorizing answers just to make it through the next knowledge check or manager review, then they’ll never actually absorb new skills and insights. That’s a recipe for a workforce that never truly adapts to changing markets or technology.

Remember that education is never a ‘one-time-only’ event. It is a continual process of reinforcement, adjustment, and inspiration. Is your eLearning curriculum linked with your company’s pre-existing certification or incentive programs? Maybe your answer to that question is ‘what certification or incentive programs?’ If so, we can help you find ways to extend awareness and motivation beyond the completion of your eLearning modules. This could involve gamification, incentive contests, and continuity campaigns.

 

Set up your eLearners to succeed, and you’ll succeed as well

Hopefully these tips have given you some food for thought! If so, why not learn more about how Planet Studio can better enable your eLearning initiatives? Schedule a call today, and we can walk you through our capabilities and a demo.

 

James Bizzell
Creative Director at Planet Studio.