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E-Learning
You blinked and technology has changed yet again. How do we learn best, and what programs cater to exactly that? Read on to discover E-learning and how can it be used to help train your employees 5x faster!

What Is E-Learning?

E-learning is a revolutionary approach to learning and development through the utilization of electronic (the “E” in E-learning) resources. By definition, the term “E-learning” encompasses D-learning (digital learning) and M-learning (mobile learning). In the workplace, this may look like online courses, modules, webinars, virtual training, mobile learning, gamification and microlearning.

Why Is E-Learning Beneficial?

In comparison to traditional learning methods, e-learning offers many benefits, such as:

Flexibility

E-learning offers a high level of flexibility in availability, location and time of day. This gives employees access to training materials and resources to complete at their own pace and convenience. It also eliminates the need for employees to be physically present in a specific location to attend training.

Cost-Effectiveness

Factoring in expenses associated with travel, hiring a trainer, accommodation, venue and physical materials, e-learning is notably more cost-effective. E-learning delivers training online, reaching a large number of employees without the costs of in-person training.

Efficiency

E-learning is more time efficient for both organizations and employees. Employees can quickly access the specific information and training they need without going through a full training session. Organizations can deliver large scale training without the time-consuming processes of organizing in-person training sessions. According to the Brandon Hall Group, e-learning programs take an impressive 40-60% less time to finish compared to classroom learning.

Standardization and Scalability

Utilizing a digital system with data tracking provides a consistent experience for all users. This guarantees employees receive equal opportunity and access to learning opportunities while also remaining scalable. This is particularly valuable for organizations experiencing rapid growth. As the company expands, new employees can easily access the same training materials as employees of tenure.

Personalization

With the rapid evolution of artificial intelligence and artificial learning, many e-learning platforms are utilizing these tools to closely evaluate employee’s learning style, pace and other components of how the individual learns. Using these data points, the systems adjust the information and teaching methods to better suit the employee. This can increase the learning curve and more efficiently convey information on an individual basis. Programs that don’t do this automatically typically offer customization features for the employer or employees to adjust to better fit their needs. This way, courses and modules that align with individual job roles, skill gaps, and career goals can be selected as areas of focus, aligning with areas that are most relevant and beneficial.

Real-Time Analytics

Most e-learning platforms offer tracking and monitoring features for employers to monitor the progress of their employees. This makes measuring the effectiveness of programs easy to track in real time.

Continuous Learning and Updates

E-learning teaching methods offer continuous learning for proactive employees, as well as upskilling and reskilling opportunities. This empowers employees to access new content and updates at their pace that align with their personal motivations.

Boost in Retention

According to this Forbes article, e-learning boosts retention as much as 60% compared to traditional training methods (which increase retention by 8-10%)! They attribute this to employees having more control over their learning process and the ability to revisit information as needed.

How to Implement E-Learning in the Workplace

To roll out a new program, you need a solid foundation, clear goals and predetermined processes to follow along the way. It’s important to note that each organization’s journey to a successful e-learning program will be unique. However, here is a general idea of what steps to follow.

Step 1: Do Your Research and Set Objectives

Before diving in, determine the needs that e-learning has the potential to meet. Determine what skills and knowledge gaps exist in your organization to understand which topics and skills need to be covered. This will equip you to select the best fitting e-learning program for your needs. Once you’ve identified these areas of improvement, reframe these needs into objectives for your future e-learning program.

Step 2: Research and Select the Right E-Learning Platform

When looking into platforms, keep your initial goals (determined in step 1) in mind. Additionally, factor in ease of use, built-in incentives, scalability, analytics, interactivity, mobile accessibility, appeal, customizability and integration with existing systems. It’s wise to understand in advance who will be building these learning modules. Many platforms offer a range of pre-built learning modules, but anything specific to your organization will need to be created by hiring a third party or assigning it to an in-house team member. If you know you’ll need multiple custom modules, it would be wise to look for a platform that offers customizable templates and the ability to create custom content.

Step 3: Develop Custom Content

If the needs of your organization call for developing your own e-learning content from scratch, this would be the time to develop said content. You could also look into hiring a third-party expert to develop these modules, such as:
  • Instructional designers
  • Subject matter experts (SMEs)
  • Multimedia designers
  • Content developers
  • Graphic designers
  • E-learning technologists
The size and learning needs of the company will determine the best option. If using templates to create modules yourself, remember that interactivity is key. Focus on presenting the information in a variety of engaging ways by including multimedia elements, infographics, quizzes, simulations, case studies and gamification elements to make the learning experience immersive and effective. Remember to reevaluate your original objectives to ensure the content remains aligned with the ultimate goals.

Step 4: Present, Monitor and Refine

Present the new e-learning opportunity to your employees by emphasizing how it will help them reach their goals in a fun and exciting way. Note how it will help their peers and the organization as a whole, and provide insights on the platform itself as well as the decision-making process involved in this new system. Provide ample opportunity for questions, training on how to use the platform, and ongoing support for anyone who wants it. From there, monitor the data collected by the platform. This data in combination with direct input from your employees (through one-on-ones, polls or surveys) should give you a good idea of the progress and if it is in line with your original objectives. Adjust and refine modules and support based on the information gathered and continue moving forward. How often you should evaluate and refine will be on a case-by-case basis. Starting out, do so once or twice a month. Once the data and input received is showing consistency, evaluating quarterly or even biannually is typically sufficient.

Tips for Evaluating the Effectiveness of E-Learning

To experience the full benefits e-learning has to offer, it’s vital to find blind spots in your e-learning program through thorough evaluation. Here are some tips to ensure you cover all of your bases.

Tip 1: Clearly Define Your Objectives

When setting the goals for your e-learning program, be sure to make SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound) goals. These objectives will serve as a basis for evaluating the effectiveness of the program. Be sure that each objective is clear and aligns with your organization’s big-picture goals.

Tip 2: Don’t Rely on Built-In Analytics (But Definitely Use Them!)

Regularly analyze platform-provided learner performance data such as completion rates, assessment scores and time spent on each module. Another data point is how many employees are doing more than the required modules. This will help you understand how engaging the modules are. As incredibly useful as this data is, don’t rely on it solely. Feedback from your employees is invaluable to get a comprehensive view of how engaging and effective e-learning is. Utilize one-on-one meetings with employees to ask their insights and create surveys or polls to get an overview of the overall feelings towards the e-learning program. Monitor on-the-job performance as well to gather how well learners are applying the knowledge and skills presented through e-learning. Look for evidence of effectiveness, such as behavioral changes and increased productivity. This can be done through performance reviews, supervisor feedback or job performance metrics.

Tip 3: Evaluate Regularly

Using the data gathered, compare results directly with your objectives. Is the data showing improvement in the areas you need? Are the employees taking initiative when using the e-learning platform? Do you see an increase in productivity? Are there positive work culture shifts? Use the feedback and data to identify areas in need of refinement and implement improvement measures that encompass them. This should never be a one and done thing. Walk through this process on a regular basis to ensure your e-learning program remains current and effective.

Best Practices for E-Learning

E-learning can be an invaluable tool, but only when implemented strategically and thoroughly. These best practices are tangible ways to increase the success of your new e-learning program.

Make Content Interactive and Engaging

According to this article, 80% of workers believe game-based learning is more engaging. In short, the more interactive and engaging your e-learning modules are, the better the information will be retained and the faster that information will be absorbed. Some ways to ensure your content is engaging include:
  • Social leaderboards
  • Quizzes
  • Games
  • Rewards
  • Multimedia
  • Customizability
Action Step: Check out these tools to involve gamification elements to your current e-learning.

Keep Content Up-to-Date and Relevant

For your learners to apply what they learn to their work effectively, it is vital that the content is relevant and current. If the information is outdated or irrelevant, it can hinder learning outcomes. Action Step: Set a regular (quarterly or biannually) e-learning content review to verify the information aligns with industry trends, best practices, organizational changes and technological improvements.

Encourage and Incentivize Collaboration

When employees are learning similar things, peer-to-peer interaction can help solidify and deepen the understanding gained through e-learning. Be sure to include opportunities for social reinforcement through online message boards, chat features, leaderboards, etc. These all help foster a sense of community and positive social pressure to improve self. Action Step: Upon completion of certain modules, assign a group project or collaborative assignment that targets the use of the new knowledge and skills.

Communicate Expectations Clearly

Involving employees in your goals for the e-learning program fosters a sense of individual importance and investment. You can involve employees by communicating expectations and objectives clearly and openly. Have them posted on the workplace forum where employees can ask questions and receive prompt public answers. It can also be beneficial to give regular updates on progress made towards meeting an objective and incentivizing with a reward upon completion. Action Step: Create a learning objective timeline incorporating elements of your initial goals for your e-learning program. Post this timeline publicly using whatever platform will best reach every employee.

Offer Opportunities to Apply New Knowledge and Skills

Providing hands-on opportunities to put new knowledge and skills into practice is a sure-fire way to reinforce what was just learned. This takes employees beyond theoretical understanding to solidify new skills and build confidence while doing so. This can be done through interactive simulations and practical assignments that allow employees to demonstrate their understanding in a work-related context. Action Step: Design and provide checklists or reference materials that employees can use to reinforce learning and apply skills on the job. Incentivise the completion of these resources.
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Kayla Farber

Kayla Farber

Kayla is the Chief Innovation Officer at Hero Culture, where the passion is to create company cultures of retention using the power of personality.
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Frequently asked questions
Other Related Terms
Adult Learning Principles
Career Coach
Career Pathing
Cross Training
Employee Development
Employee Empowerment
Employee Leadership Development
Group Training
Individual Development Plan
Job Shadowing
Learning & Development Statistics
Lunch and Learns
Manager Training
Mentoring
Networking
Reskilling
Rotational Program
Skills Gap Analysis
Skills Inventory
Soft Skills
Stretch Assignment
Time Management Training
Training Needs Analysis/Assessment
Upskilling
Virtual Team Building
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