5 Examples of How To Use Mobile Learning In Retail To Maximize Your Training Impact

Ways To Use Mobile Learning In Retail Industry And Face Challenges In Employees Skill Development

Skill development in retail industry is challenging. The key challenge is the rapidly changing product offerings and a pressing need to offer “just-in-time” training to the employees. There is the challenge of high employee turn-over and the need for new employees to be trained very quickly to meet the targets.

Employees often work under pressure of stiff targets and deadlines. They need learning solutions that are easily accessible and available precisely at the moment of their need.

While certain training needs can be met through classroom or Instructor-Led trainings, mLearning (or mobile learning) is the most efficient and effective way to mitigate these challenges.

What Is mLearning (Or Mobile Learning) And What Is Pushing Its Adoption?

Just look at the way mobile devices are an integral part of our life today, and it comes as no surprise that learning on these devices is a natural extension.

mLearning is an extension of the traditional eLearning and features training that is available to the learners on devices of their choice (read: tablets and smartphones). These solutions are designed for multi-device support and run seamlessly on desktops, laptops, and mobile devices.

The push for mobile learning is coming from the learners, primarily on account of the following aspects:

  • Change in learner profiles.
    Globally, the workforce has an increasing number of Millennials. As digital natives, this generation is addicted to using mobile devices.
  • Learners’ view on how they want to learn.
    The training deployment is no more limited by the way L&D teams want learners to go through it. Instead, learners ask for learning at their moment of need. The push for “just-in-time” learning aids that are available on learners’ mobile devices is very high.
  • Learning device of learner’s choice.
    Rather than be told how to consume training, today’s learners want the flexibility to learn on the device of their choice.

Not convinced? Take a look at these statistics (and plenty more that aren’t stated here) which clearly indicate the need to integrate mobile learning in your learning strategy:

  • Come 2018, 7 out of 10 professionals would be working on the go, using their personal smartphones.
  • A whopping 60% of employees feel mobile devices are their “most critical work device”.
  • Almost all the workers surveyed admitted to completing the training in mobile format.
  • Close to 47% organizations across the world have already adopted mobile learning solutions to train their workforce.

How Can mLearning (Or Mobile Learning) Help Increase The Impact Of Workforce Training In Retail?

Mobile learning is an effective approach in achieving the training goals with quality and efficiency.

Furthermore, mLearning delivered in microlearning format is probably the ideal approach to adopt, as it provides learning available to the employees on the floor, in short, bite-sized format that are easy to review, internalize, and apply.

How Can You Use mLearning (Or Mobile Learning) To Design Training Programs That Map To Retail Industry Dynamics?

mLearning is primarily known for the flexibility it offers to learners, in being able to access the training on the go, at the precise time when they need it. In addition, presenting information in a format that learners can easily understand, internalize, and apply on the job is crucial to further enhancing the value of training to both, the learners as well as the organization. Employee performance improvement is directly connected to:

  1. Easy access to the training (at the time of need).
  2. Presenting the training in an engaging format that is easy to relate to, learn, and apply in these 2 ways:
  • Using strategies that increase the learnability (or learning effectiveness) of the training.
  • Using strategies that reinforce primary training and help learners apply the learning on the job.

Once all these aspects are in place, the learning would not be acquired quickly but would be internalized for effective on-the-job application. It would be highly beneficial for the learners and will bring the required impact the business seeks.

If we look at retail industry dynamics, the need for flexibility in learning and being able to learn on the move (including within work premises) are critical factors that make mobile learning the ideal training delivery format.

You can use mLearning or mobile learning to train employees in retail industry through the following 3 approaches:

  1. For formal training.
    Do not limit your approach to traditional, structured training delivery formats. Take a step further and offer the learners flexibility through learning paths. Instead of holding discrete sessions, foster a culture that promotes learning as a continuum. This would encourage the learners to invest on learning over an extended period of time, be abreast of the latest updates, and apply the learning to attain a demonstrable gain. You can also evaluate learning portals that integrate microlearning, mobile apps, gamification, and social learning elements to double the impact of formal training.
  2. As Performance Support Tools (PSTs).
    Offering job aids (or just-in-time learning aids) for learners’ access within their workflow is a great way to trigger the desired behavioral change. You can also use PSTs to engage the learners post the formal training and facilitate reinforcement of learning.
  3. To digitize ILT.
    Blending mLearning components with the traditional ILT training format is another effective means to achieving the impact you seek. This can include pre-workshop collaterals, and/or simulations, exercises, and role-plays in the workshop, and workshop assessments. This approach lets you establish and maintain strong relations between the learners as well as between learners and instructors to provide learning nuggets post the workshop. The combination of all these elements is bound to have a direct and lasting impact on learning and application and will help you bring about the desired behavioral change in learners.

At EI Design, we have been crafting mobile learning solutions for the retail industry for over 4 years now. Let me showcase a few examples on how we have used mobile learning for formal training and as Performance Support Tools.

Our retail training solutions have been designed for the following learner profiles:

  • Store management team.
  • Store staff, including sales representatives.
  • Customer care team.
  • Sales team.

The range of our solutions cover:

  1. Induction and onboarding.
  2. Compliance training.
  3. Sales training.
  4. Specific training programs to promote key campaigns.

Here are examples that demonstrate how you can use mobile learning to mitigate training challenges in retail and create high-impact training programs that meet the training mandates.

Example 1: Induction cum Compliance Program For Apparel Retail Employees, Integrating Gamification Elements And Supplemented By Performance Support Tools (PSTs)

The course was a learning journey through 6 interactive eLearning courses, supplemented with Performance Support Tools (PSTs) in the form of interactive PDFs that promoted deep, exploratory learning in all (new and existing) employees.

For immersive learning, each module contained interactive content and a key challenge the learners must complete before moving to the next module. It also included gamification elements like points, challenges, and levels for an engaging experience and for motivating the leaners to learn effectively.

EI Design - Induction cum Compliance program for Apparel Retail employees

Example 2: Gamified Product Training For Cosmetics Retail Employees

This standard product training was converted into a highly interactive, gamified solution to make the learning sticky and experiential. Featuring multi-device compatibility, the complete learning journey was divided into two sections – learn and practice. Learners were given store-like experiences to learn the key aspects of the products and then put in customer situations to handle queries.

To make the course motivating and challenging, the exercises and activities were time based and offered bonus points for finishing the course in lesser time. Upon completing each topic, learners would earn a star, which let them advance to the next level (topic) and finally become a star salesman.

EI Design - Gamified Product Training for Cosmetics Retail employees

Example 3: Induction Program For An eCommerce Fashion Company – Designed Using Millennial-Centric Strategies

This course was designed to train new joiners within an eCommerce fashion company to get them acquainted about the company, its business drivers, and leadership competencies. Since the audience was predominantly Millennials, we used a colorful and responsive user experience, with a fashion theme to match the organization’s primary mission – to “democratize fashion”.

The course comprised three modules that could be taken independently, though they were tied together by a visual menu that depicted a journey through a gallery, a retail space, and an office. At the end of each module, learners were given a fun game that let them check their understanding of the topics covered.

EI Design - Induction program for an eCommerce Fashion company

Example 4: Retailer Engagement Platform For Product Training – Featuring Gamification And Social Learning Elements

This course was designed as a retailer engagement platform that engaged trade partners. It was a meaningful learning journey on products and categories to engage and motivate retailers to come back to it and even share it with peers.

The content of the course was transformed into a gamified learning journey across various product facilities worldwide, and it was called the “Open Tour”. It included real stories from existing content delivered through animations and videos and through stories built and shared by users. Gamification and social learning elements were embedded to promote active collaboration with peers in social media and to impart a sense of social recognition as users earned rewards and feedbacks for activities they performed.

EI Design - Retailer engagement platform for Product Training

Example 5: Interactive Food Safety Compliance Course For Food Retail Employees

This course was designed to spread awareness of the best practices in food safety for a large food retail entity. It used rich, vibrant visuals, interactivities wherever relevant, and animations for processes related to food safety and compliance procedures, to make the training lively and engaging. Questions and activities were used at strategic intervals to test the learners’ understanding of the key processes and best practices.

EI Design - Interactive Food Safety Compliance course for Food Retail

I hope this article gives you insights on how to use mobile learning (with microlearning, social learning, and gamification elements) to create highly effective training programs for employees in the retail industry. If you have further queries or need any specific support, do contact me at apandey@eidesign.net.

Source: https://www.eidesign.net/5-examples-use-mobile-learning-retail-maximize-training-impact/

Tips and Strategies to Engage Your Millennial Workforce

Globally, there is an increase in the percentage of Millennial workforce, and by 2025, it is estimated that three out of four employees would be a Millennial. This generation has grown up differently, features very distinct traits and learning styles. It comes as no surprise that they need a different learning strategy too.

In this blog, I outline who Millennials are and what are their characteristics (traits and learning styles) that would have a bearing on the required learning strategy. Then I share several tips and strategies that you can use to engage your Millennial workforce.

Who are Millennials?

Also referred as Gen Y, Millennials are people born between late 1980s and early 2000s. This is a generation of Digital natives who have grown in the world of Internet, Smartphones and Social Media.

As a result, they expect the training delivery to factor for all these and more.

What kind of learning strategy would engage your Millennial workforce?

Even in the past, L&D teams have handled generational changes leading to a need to relook or overhaul the existing training strategies. (Many of you would recall the transition from Traditional learners to Baby Boomers and then to Gen X and the corresponding impact on the training delivery).

What makes this transition more challenging is the stark difference in Gen X and Gen Y in the way they work, collaborate, interact and hence the way they want to learn.

Micro Blog - Millennials report

Source: https://www.hrpa.ca/Documents/Public/Thought-Leadership/HRPA-Millennials-Report-20161122.pdf

The table here captures the generational change very succinctly. As I move on to share some tips and best practices you can use to engage your Millennial workforce, you will see how I have used cues from Assets, Motivations and Preferred modes of communication.

What are the key behavioural traits of Millennials that should be factored for as you identify the right learning strategy?

Following are the key behavioural traits in Millennial learners that should be considered as you arrive at the learning strategy:

  1. First generation ‘Digital Natives’
  2. Tech savvy
  3. Possess strong multi-tasking capability
  4. Short attention spans
  5. Easily distracted
  6. Ambitious
  7. Need a clear and definitive goal and outcome
  8. Need recognition
  9. Need constant feedback
  10. Need flexibility

How different are  the learning styles of Millennials from those of older generations?

Here are some noteworthy considerations on the Millennial learning styles:

  1. They are keen to invest on learning as this would help them grow at work.
  2. They like to explore things by themselves rather than being told to follow a rigid learning path.
  3. They don’t like taking orders and stay away from prescriptive or preachy style of teaching.
  4. They want to be in a work environment that encourages them to voice their opinions.
  5. They don’t like to be pressured, want flexibility and seek channels to express their creativity.
  6. They seek attention and focus more on personal care.
  7. They tend to seek out only concise, relevant information and usually omit detailed supporting information.
  8. They enjoy being part of group-based activities.
  9. They enjoy active participation and experiential learning.
  10. They want rich media to visually aid their learning.
  11. They prefer to learn from real-life scenarios and experiences, as they find them easy to relate to and apply.
  12. They are very comfortable with technology and relate to interactive learning formats that involve the use of multimedia.

What are the tips that can be used to design Millennial-centric training programs?

I’ve handpicked the 10 most Millennial-centric designing tips, which are as follows:

  1. Courses must be mobile-ready (must be accessible on Tablets and Smartphones).
  2. Deliver the learning in short, bite-sized nuggets that are fun to go through.
  3. Learners must be able to access the training material within their workflow (rather than having to sign up on the LMS).
  4. Information presented in the course must be easy to go through, review, relate to, and apply.
  5. Learning outcomes should be precise and defined clearly.
  6. Deliver the learning in high-impact formats that would keep them hooked.
  7. Integrate Gamification elements to engage and motivate as well as impart ‘a sense of reward and recognition’ in learners.
  8. Leverage on Social or Collaborative Learning to foster a learning environment beyond the formal training.
  9. Offer Personalised Learning Paths so learners can have the flexibility to ‘pull’ what they want rather than be ‘pushed’ towards what you think they are supposed to learn.
  10. Give the learners opportunity to contribute by leveraging on content curation.

What are some strategies you can use to engage Millennials at your workplace?

Here is my list of 8 Millennial-centric strategies you can use to engage them at your workplace?

  1. Leverage on mLearning or Mobile Learning.
  2. Break down huge chunks of information and deliver them as Microlearning nuggets.
  3. Allow room for Personalised Learning Paths in both, Formal training as well as for Performance Support.
  4. Use Gamification elements to boost learner engagement.
  5. Use Videos and other rich media formats to deliver the learning in bite-sized nuggets.
  6. Use Social Learning with curation (as an extension to primary learning).
  7. Personalise the learning.
  8. Leverage on Wearable Tech to supplement the learning.

I hope this blog provides insights on your Millennial workforce (who they are, what makes them different, what are their characteristics and so on. I recommend you use these pointers to create an effective learning strategy that would engage them.

 

Source: https://www.eidesign.net/tips-strategies-to-engage-millennial-workforce/

How To Use Microlearning To Promote Informal Learning At The Workplace

Informal Learning At The Workplace: How To Foster It Using Microlearning

As we know, formal learning is structured, training developed, and deployed by Learning and Development (L&D) teams. It features:

  • Fully online training (eLearning or mLearning).
  • Facilitated training, that is, Instructor-Led Training (ILT) or Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT).
  • Blended training (featuring a combination of both, online training as well as facilitated training).

Typically, the control in these rollouts is with L&D teams on how they will be made available to the learners, and over what period of time they should be consumed. L&D teams also determine how learner performance should be tracked.

In contrast, informal learning is driven by the learner’s passion and motivation to learn and grow.

What Is Informal Learning?

Informal learning is learner-centric, triggered by the learner’s motivation. It provides control to the learners to choose the learning content (from various sources), based on their interest, preferences, and relevance. These can be consumed at the learner’s pace.

It is worthwhile to note here that successful use of informal learning rests on the learners. Typically, a learner who invests in informal learning is an individual who is goal-oriented, and is always on the lookout to explore, experiment, and learn.

  • Unlike formal learning, informal learning does not follow any set methodology.
  • Informal learning not only happens from structured content or programs, but also during the day as leaners interact with colleagues and seniors at (or even outside) work.
  • As mentioned earlier, informal learning is typically spontaneous, and is triggered whenever the learner encounters something that tickles their curiosity and is relevant to their personal or professional interests.
  • Informal learning rewards the learners with a sense of satisfaction by addressing and acknowledging their curiosity, subsequently expanding their knowledge base, helping them learn a new technique, or sharpen a set of skills they currently possess.

What Is The 70:20:10 Model For Learning And Development, And Where Does Informal Learning Fit In This Model?

The 70:20:10 model for Learning and Development is a commonly used approach to enhance the effectiveness of training. It is used globally to create successful learning ecosystems that boost employee performance and help create more value for business.

As per this model:

  1. 70% of the learning is experiential and happens on the job.
  2. 20% is through social or collaborative learning, that is, learning with or from others.
  3. The remaining 10% learning is delivered through formal training programs.

Undoubtedly,

  • Informal learning constitutes to the major chunk of learning that happens through the first two ways.
  • Furthermore, since informal learning is self-driven, it can be used to support formal learning, in particular, eLearning.

How Can Informal Learning Find Its Place In And Benefit Your eLearning Programs?

You can promote informal learning at your workplace by blending components of informal learning with eLearning. In this exercise, you are leveraging learner motivation to enhance the impact of your formal training (that is, eLearning, facilitated or blended training).

Here are some ways to meet this mandate:

  1. Use informal learning to prep the learners for the formal online training or ILT sessions.
  2. Use it post the formal training to help reconnect and reinforce the learning.
  3. Organize and conduct group discussions (peer-to-peer or peers-to-seniors), as part of the formal training schedule.
  4. Conduct design thinking workshops to encourage on-the-job-application.
  5. Include coaching, mentoring, or incidental support as part of your formal training.
  6. Promote collaborative and social learning using the collaboration features of your LMS and facilitating online discussions, and content curation.

This way, you can use informal learning to support your online training, or ILT sessions, as well. This will work to boost learner engagement and motivation levels, and thereby double the impact of your formal training.

How Can You Use Microlearning To Promote Informal Learning At Workplace?

If you look at the possible ways you can leverage on informal learning for eLearning programs, the first 2 aspects map to using microlearning.

Essentially, microlearning nuggets can be used to supplement and add value to both, online training or facilitated sessions, as follows:

  • For pre-learning or prepping for online training or ILT sessions.
  • For reconnecting and reinforcing learning (post online training or ILT sessions).

I have selected 6 different microlearning formats that you can use to enhance learning.

All these formats:

  • Are short and aligned to meet a specific learning outcome.
  • Feature multi-device support (work seamlessly on desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones).
  • Can be used to support ILT/online training.
  • Can be used to prep or reinforce formal training.

My selection includes the following 6 formats to deliver microlearning-based support for informal learning at workplace:

  1. Interactive PDFs.
  2. eBooks.
  3. Explainer videos.
  4. Whiteboard animations.
  5. Kinetic text animations.
  6. Branching scenario-based simulations.

Let’s look at each option, and see how to use microlearning to promote informal learning at your workplace.

Option 1: Pre-ILT Workshop/Prep For The Online Training

Format 1 – Interactive PDFs

You can structure reams of data into a well-structured interactive PDF format that enables the learner to quickly browse through lengthy information in seconds.

  • These formats offer interactions and layering of information that is similar to eLearning or mLearning courses.
  • They can be developed quickly, updated easily, and can pack a lot of data in a single document.
  • You can also embed audio/video links to make the learning experience more interesting and engaging.

Interactive PDF Sample 1 - EI Design

Interactive PDF Sample 2 - EI Design

Format 2 – eBooks

Like Interactive PDFs, eBook formats also enable you to share lengthy information in bite-sized chunks. However, eBooks don’t offer interactivities and have a linear flow and structure. eBooks are designed to be print-friendly, and can be offered as a job aid that can be made available within the learner’s workflow.

eBook Sample 1 - EI Design

eBook Sample 2 - EI Design

Option 2: Post The Online Training Or ILT Sessions

Format 1 – Explainer videos

Using explainer videos is a great way to recap the primary learning. In a bite-sized format, you can visually showcase highlights of the formal training. More significantly, this can be used as effectively as a job aid that can be made available to the learners within their workflow, on the device of their choice. This flexibility will ensure that learners browse through this, and can use it to reinforce their learning.

Explainer Video Sample 1 - EI Design

Explainer Video Sample 2 - EI Design

Format 2 – Whiteboard animations

Often, complex concepts can be taught through very simple design techniques. Whiteboard animations that feature hand-drawn imagery, can demystify complex learning concepts. Available in short bites, these can be used to recap and reinforce primary learning.

Whiteboard Animation Sample 1 - EI Design

Whiteboard Animation Sample 2 - EI Design

Format 3 – Kinetic text animations

Sometimes, the content of primary training is not amenable to be converted to visual-based concepts. For instance, when we want to highlight a process, checklist, or best practices, using kinetic text-based animations is the right answer. Through text animation accompanied by minor special effects, you can create bite-sized learning nuggets that can be used to recap and reinforce the primary learning.

Kinetic Animation Sample 1 - EI Design

Kinetic Animation Sample 2 - EI Design

Format 4 – Branching scenario-based simulations

When you want to check if the learner can apply the learning of the formal training, you can use this technique to help them practice what they have learned in a safe environment.

This technique can handle simple scenarios to very complex decision-making situations featuring a series of situations.

Branching scenario-based simulation sample 1-EI Design

Branching scenario-based simulation sample 2-EI Design

 

Take a look at this explainer video we have created to summarize the key points (including the 6 examples) covered in this article.

 

I hope this article provides the required perspective on how to use microlearning to promote informal learning at your workplace. If you have any queries, do contact me at apandey@eidesign.net.

Source: https://www.eidesign.net/use-microlearning-to-promote-informal-learning-at-workplace/

3 Traditional Learning Theories and How They Can Be Used in eLearning

Learning Theories are frameworks that are extensively used by Instructional Designers to meet the requirements of the target audience and the situation.

To do justice to this mandate, an Instructional Designer must first understand the Learning Theories in order to apply them. Once they understand the strengths and weaknesses of each Learning Theory, they can optimise their use.

In this blog, I provide an introduction to three traditional Learning Theories, namely:

  1. Behaviourism
  2. Cognitivism
  3. Constructivism

Furthermore, I show examples that illustrate how they can be used in designing eLearning courses.

Before I outline how Learning Theories can be used in designing eLearning courses, let me highlight a couple of foundational aspects on:

  • Why we need Learning Theories
  • How Learning Theories influence learning.

Why do you need Learning Theories?

Learning Theories are conceptual frameworks that describe the manner in which the information is absorbed, processed and retained during learning. Often, the same content can be presented in different ways. Learning Theories provide a framework for such learning solutions.

What factors influence learning and how do Learning Theories help influence it?

The factors that influence learning are:

  1. Cognitive
  2. Emotional
  3. Environmental
  4. Prior experiences

Learning Theories impact learning practices by:

  • Prescribing the right methodology and formats of learning
  • Making it effective, meaningful and engaging for all types of learners

What are the key traditional Learning Theories?

From the range of options that you can pick from, I will focus on three key traditional Learning Theories, namely:

  1. Behaviourism
  2. Cognitivism
  3. Constructivism

Behaviourism

  • Behaviourism is based on observable changes in behavioural patterns.
  • It focuses on a new behavioural pattern being repeated until it becomes automatic.
  • The learner depends on an instructor for acquisition of knowledge.

Example: In an online learning course that required learners to memorise the capital cities of states:

  • Learning outcomes tested how effectively learners imbibed the information.
  • Practice opportunities were provided to the learner using a simple game-based approach.
  • Appropriate feedback was provided.

Cognitivism

  • Cognitivism is based on the change in behaviour through sequential development of an individual’s cognitive abilities.
  • It indicates the thought process inside the learner’s mind.

Example: In an online learning course that involved two sets of audiences with varied knowledge levels taking the same application training:

  • A pre-test was used to define the appropriate learning path for each learner profile.
  • A visual organiser was designed, which allowed the learners to explore the topics relevant to their knowledge levels.
  • The cognitive flow was determined as per the existing skill-sets and the content was accordingly chunked into relevant topics/lessons.

Constructivism

  • Constructivism explains the manner in which knowledge is constructed.
  • It focuses on construction of knowledge when the information obtained comes in contact with the knowledge acquired by experiences.

Example: In an online learning course for Instructional Designers on how to write effective storyboards:

  • A real-life perspective was provided through the use of a character who is an ID.
  • A “story” was created, and the character was placed in real-life situations where she had to understand and tackle different aspects of storyboarding.
  • Practical tips and guidelines were provided to help learners apply their learning in actual work-environments.

Summary

Typically, one Learning Theory may not be adequate as a stand-alone framework and often strategies promoted by different theories would inevitably overlap.

You can pick from a wide range of options to test the learner’s knowledge and decide on the most appropriate strategies and solutions to meet a variety of learning situations.

I hope this blog provides a glimpse of traditional Learning Theories and more significantly, how they can be used in designing eLearning courses. If you have any queries, do contact me.

Need More?

Want more insights on Learning Theories? Schedule a call with our Solutions Architecting Team.

Source: https://www.eidesign.net/three-traditional-learning-theories/

Top 10 Benefits Of Converting Your Instructor-Led Training To eLearning

Today, several organizations are planning to convert their Instructor-Led Training (ILT) to online training (eLearning or mLearning). In this article, I highlight the top 10 benefits of converting your Instructor-Led Training to eLearning.

Converting Your Instructor-Led Training To eLearning: 10 Benefits

The triggers for conversion of ILT to eLearning or mLearning are many. The push is coming from learners on one end (who seek the flexibility of a self-paced eLearning training offers). Organizations see this as an option to reduce costs and reach out to a wider audience in a shorter time.

Before I outline the benefits of converting your ILT/Instructor-Led Training to eLearning, a word of caution – this exercise is not about conversion of the existing Powerpoint slides to an online format. Instead, you need to treat your existing source content as the baseline or raw content, and plan to go through all stages of eLearning development. One of the models used extensively in eLearning development is the ADDIE model, comprising the following 5 stages that you can use as you convert your ILT to eLearning:

  1. Analysis
  2. Design
  3. Development
  4. Implementation
  5. Evaluation

I am highlighting this important perspective because without going through this rigor during the conversion of ILT to eLearning, you will not be able to see the required benefits.

Next, let me outline the top 10 benefits that you will see as you convert your ILT/Instructor-Led Training to eLearning. I have structured these benefits into two levels:

  • Benefits for organizations
  • Benefits for learners

Benefits For Organizations

  1. Savings in cost.
    The most significant benefit that organizations see is cost saving. With a one-time investment on the conversion of ILT courses to eLearning, the online training can be used repeatedly. It helps organizations save on the recurring costs of travel. as well as on the instructor fees.
  2. Scalability.
    The second significant benefit to organizations is the potential of scalability that the online training offers. Now, they can reach out to the entire audience (spread geographically) with one version and at the same time.
  3. Consistency.
    Unlike ILT, which heavily depends on the capability of each trainer, eLearning provides an identical and consistent message to all learners.
  4. Leverage new and emerging trends.
    With changing learner demographics (read that as inclusion of Millennials as a significant part of the global workforce) and the range of learning strategies that are available in online training, organizations are spoilt for choice. Along with the conversion plan of ILT courses to online, they can enhance its impact and eventual ROI by opting for current and trending approaches like:

    • mLearning or mobile learning.
      Provide the online training in multi-device format (across desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones).
    • Microlearning and learning paths.
      A study conducted by Deloitte shows that an average employee can only dedicate 1% of their work week for training, which breaks down to 24 minutes in a typical 40-hour work week, or 4.8 minutes a day. You can overcome this challenge through Microlearning and using personalized learning paths to deliver exactly what the learner needs in the short amount of time they can spare for professional development.
    • Gamification.
      Use gamification elements to pump up learner engagement levels among the modern learner demographic and to encourage them to keep coming back.
    • Supplement formal training with Performance Support Tools (Just-in-time learning aids) to push learning acquisition to application on the job.
  5. Higher training efficiency.
    Show that adoption of online training improves training efficiency. Not only do the learners go through more training material (as compared to ILT), this is done in a shorter time with much lesser disruption to their time on work.

Benefits For Learners

  1. Providing flexibility to the learner.
    eLearning is “learning on the go” and provides an anytime-anywhere access to the learners. This flexibility is the most significant benefit from the learner’s perspective.
  2. Providing control to the learner.
    By definition, the eLearning approach is learner-centric. The self-paced core of online training empowers the learners and gives them control to take the training at their preferred time, on the device of their choice, and at the pace they are most comfortable with. This is not all; online training is always available to them should they need to refer to it or go back to refresh.
  3. Shorter seat time.
    As you convert ILT to online, you would find that the run length of the eLearning programs is much shorter (typically the reduction can be 50% or, in some cases, even to 33%). As a result, learners are spending much lesser time to achieve the same learning outcome.
  4. Extending the learner engagement.
    Unlike ILT session engagement that normally ends with the conclusion of the facilitated session, with online training, you can continue to engage the learner. After the primary training is over, you can create learning paths to offer reinforcement/remediation and supplementary learning nuggets.
  5. Higher retention of learning.
    Several studies indicate the retention levels of eLearning-based training are significantly higher than those of ILT sessions. A study conducted by the Research Institute of America in 2014 showed that the retention rate was in the range of 25-60% for eLearning as opposed to a mere 8-10% for face-to-face training. This value-add directly impacts the ROI of training.

I hope this article provides the required insights on the 10 benefits of converting your ILT/Instructor-Led Training to eLearning. Do contact me at apandey@eidesign.net if you have any queries.

Source: https://www.eidesign.net/top-10-benefits-converting-instructor-led-training-elearning/

eLearning Trends And Predictions For 2017

As you plan further investment on training in 2017 and are on the look out for ways to enhance employee performance, read on and check out my list of eLearning trends and predictions for 2017 for cues on what may work for you!

2017: eLearning Trends And Predictions

Organizations around the world are looking for some foresight, and it’s prediction time. I’ve got a few, but here’s a little disclaimer – I have no crystal ball, no tarot cards.

  • My list of eLearning trends and predictions is based on my observations of how ideas evolved into trends in the last few years and ideas that are simmering today with all the ingredients to make them the hottest thing in town in the days to come.
  • I also believe that looking at eLearning trends and predictions becomes more meaningful when it provides you with inputs you can use. This was exactly my objective and this article on eLearning trends and predictions for 2017 will provide several pointers that you can use to uplift your current learning strategy (better learner engagement and other measures to create the impact businesses need to see).

And now, it’s time to look at the eLearning trends and get going with the predictions for 2017. I have banded this into 3 parts:

  • What will continue to offer value (what has worked and delivered value in the recent past).
  • Where we will see increased focus.
  • What to watch out for in 2017.

What Will Continue To Offer Value

1. mLearning Or Mobile Learning.

Over the last 5 years, adoption of mLearning or mobile learning has been on an upswing. Flexibility to offer the courses that are multi-device (they run seamlessly on desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones) is the single biggest gain. The next year will see maturing of delivery that is completely responsive that is, the online course will adapt to the device it is being viewed on. There will be a wider adoption of mLearning across all training needs.

EI Design microlearning example 1

2. Microlearning And Learning Paths.

The shift from courses that need 60 minutes or more to bite sized learning that can be easily taken on the go will gain further momentum. Using multiple microlearning nuggets to create a learning path would be another related approach.

Microlearning-and-learning-paths

3. Mobile Apps For Learning.

To offer learning solutions that appeal to learners and engage them, usage of mobile apps for learning will increase. They offer additional flexibility to take the online course when learners do not have access to internet and can be used for both formal and informal learning.

Mobile Apps for learning

4. Gamification.

Predicted as the “next big thing” when it first appeared in Google Trends in Sep’10, gamification for corporate learning has finally arrived. It will continue to be a strong strategy to create high impact, immersive learning. It will also leverage on mLearning, microlearning and social learning to multiply its impact.

EI Design gamification in training

5. Videos And Interactive Videos.

Learning through videos will continue to hold its appeal. As an extension, the capability of interactive videos to flip the passivity of videos to rich, interactive experiences will see an increase and will be used for both formal training as well as performance support.

Videos and Interactive videos

6. Collaborative And Social Learning.

Today, social learning is more than a buzz and is increasingly used by forward thinking organizations to foster collaborative learning and more significantly its application on the job. While there will be a continued need for formal training that meets specific learning outcomes, there would be an increase in platforms for informal or social learning where learners can network, share, collaborate, and exchange ideas on problem-solving.

Collaborative-and-Social-Learning

7. Performance Support Tools (PSTs).

Performance Support Tools or PSTs are learning aids meant to help employees with on-the-job support at the precise moment of their need. With wider adoption of mLearning or mobile learning and varied, innovative formats of microlearning, there would be a steep increase in the use of PSTs.

Performance Support Tools (PSTs)

Where We Will See Increased Focus

1. Learning Portals.

Focused responsive portals that offer a range of assets for formal learning, Performance Support Tools, collaborative and social learning will see an increase. They will extensively use mLearning or mobile learning and learning paths that can be personalized. microlearning, gamification, and leader boards will be an integral part of these solutions. Specific analytics to assess learner engagement and performance will further increase its impact.

2. LMS (Learning Management System), LCMS (Learning Content Management System) Refresh.

These are already evolving from corporate avatar to dynamic, learner centric platforms from cloud. The shift is on control to learners as more and more learning is becoming “pull” based rather than “push” based. With features ranging from support of mLearning or mobile Learning to personalized learning paths, flexibility of social learning and enhanced learner analytics, they will be a vital tool to engage learners and assess their performance. They will increasingly feature curation with contributions from learners to keep the resources contextual and relevant to the community.

3. Measuring Learning Effectiveness Or Learnability Of Online Courses.

Learning effectiveness or learn-ability has a direct impact on learner reaction, learning, and application on the job. This year is likely to witness increased usage of frameworks that enable you to measure the effectiveness of your courses and also bring in predictive learn-ability for new development.

4. Learner Analytics.

The coming days will see an increased focus on understanding learner behavior and its analysis to assess what can impact it and align the learning experience to the performance gains that the business seeks.

Watch Out For

1. Personalized And Adaptive Learning.

The trend will be on personalization of learning rather than “one size fits all”. This will become a significant aspect of formal learning. It will provide learners with a personalized learning path based on their interaction with learning components.

2. Content Curation For Learning.

Essentially, this is the process of sorting of data on the internet and presenting it as meaningful, easy to process assets for learning. It can be used to support formal training or part of formal learning. While recommended learning paths can be established, the control will still be with the learners to customize and reconfigure the way they want to learn. The initiative will support the “creation” of content and can be used to have wider contribution from users.

3. Usage Of Virtual Reality (VR) And Augmented Reality (AR) For Learning.

While the jury is still out on the viability of this one and if this will be a force to reckon with in creation of immersive learning, I do believe that this something to watch out for. With early adoption in Health and Safety and practical training in dangerous or hazardous fields, this would also find a place for training on behavioral change. Gamification too will leverage on this for diverse training needs. Today it comes with a prohibitive cost tag but over the next 2-3 years, this will change the learning scope dramatically.

4. Wearable Technology For Corporate Learning.

This is truly a trend to watch out for as it enables several prevailing trends to move on to another dimension. On one hand, gamification will also see usage of “wearable tech” like a VR headset to make the learning experiences even more immersive. I believe that we will also see usage of smart watches to provide just-in-time learning (micro nuggets for performance support that are easily available to learners precisely at the moment of need).

Final Word

In this article, I have shared my list of eLearning trends and predictions for 2017. I am sure you will find their application to be useful in mitigating some of your current challenges as well as scaling for the future (in sync with changing expectations).

As a follow-through, I am releasing an eBook shortly that will provide examples on how several of these trends can be practically applied in your organization. Meanwhile, do contact me at apandey@eidesign.net if you need any specific assistance.

Source: https://www.eidesign.net/elearning-trends-and-predictions-for-2017/

6 Strategies You Can Use To Design Effective eLearning For Your Millennial Workforce

With increasing millennial workforce, organizations need to re-evaluate their existing learning strategies. In this article, I will explain 6 strategies that you can use to effectively engage and motivate your millennial workforce.

Why Do You Need A Different Learning Strategy For Your Millennial Workforce?

6-Strategies-to-design-effective-eLearning-for-your-millenial-workforce-EI-Design

Of late, there has been a lot of discussion on the need for corporates to re-evaluate their existing learning strategies so that they can meaningfully engage millennial workforce.

Is there a clear business case for this? Absolutely! The percentage of Millennials in the workplace is increasing steadily and over the next 4 years, they will be a significant part of the workforce in several leading global economies. (For instance in India, over 50% of the workforce by 2020 will be Millennials).

The fact is that this generation thinks, behaves, and learns differently, and this opens up a clear need to re-evaluate your existing learning strategies to make them appealing to this profile.

Why Is The Existing Or Traditional eLearning Not Enough To Engage The Millennial Generation?

The answer to this question lies in understanding what sets the millennial generation apart (in contrast to the Baby Boomers or Generation X who respond well to traditional eLearning).

For instance, there have been reports of folks in the academia in several parts of the world being appalled at the increasing use of the SMS language (or “textspk”) in essays, exam papers, and other stuff written by students. While literature pundits are gnashing at the idea of students murdering Shakespeare with “2 b r nt 2 b”, as Learning and Development professionals, this learner attitude can give you a whole lot of food for thought.

What it tells you is that today’s learners, mostly Millennials, don’t shy away from making their non-conformity to traditional methods obvious besides taking the quick route to gaining and sharing knowledge.

To nail this challenge, we must identify the traits of Millennials, which determine how they work, collaborate, and learn. These factors need to be then incorporated in creating the learning strategy that would engage the millennial workforce and motivate them to apply this learning on the job.

What Are The Traits Of The Millennial Workforce That Impact The Learning Strategy?

Some of the key characteristics of the millennial generation are:

    • First generation “digital natives”.
      They have grown with the internet, smartphones, and the world of social media.
    • Tech savvy.
      Goes without saying, an intrinsic understanding of technology comes naturally to them.
    • Strong multi-tasking capability.
    • Are ambitious.
    • Have short attention spans.
    • Easily distracted.
    • Need a clear and definitive goal and outcome.
    • Need recognition.
    • Need constant feedback.
    • Need flexibility.

Furthermore, their learning styles show the following notable aspects:

    • They understand the value of learning to grow at work.
    • Prefer visual aids (rich media).
    • Prefer exploration (rather than a rigid learning path).
    • Want experiential data that they can relate to easily and apply (real life scenarios).
    • Relate easily to technology and online training, and respond best to interactive and engaging multimedia formats.
    • Love working in groups (collaborate and learn).
    • Bottomline: Have a desire to learn but want this to be short and fun.

Apart from these characteristics, we also need to see the key aspects that determine the learning styles of the millennial generation. Both of these would help us in defining the required learning strategies and training Millennials effectively.

What Learning Strategies Would Engage Your Millennial Workforce?

Looking at the traits of the Millennials in the workplace and their preferred learning styles, there are 6 learning strategies that are bound to work and engage Millennials. These include:

    1. Offer responsive mLearning or mobile learning.
      Researchers say that Millennials check their smartphones 43 times a day on average. As Learning and Development professionals, there’s a huge cue you can take from this millennial demeanor. You can offer them responsive mobile learning solutions and the flexibility of device to learn (from desktop/laptop to tablets or smartphones).
    2. Use microlearning.
      As pointed out earlier, Millennials have short attention spans. You can make their life a lot easier with microlearning, that is by breaking the bigger chunks of learning into snackable bites that can be taken on the go.
    3. Extend to Social learning.
      Millennials spend 5.4 hours every day on social media. Now that tells you something. You can use this inclination towards social media that they have to your advantage with social learning: Create forums and communities of practice that facilitate collaborative learning, knowledge sharing, and curation of learner created content.
    4. Engage with gamification of learning.
      How gamification of learning boosts learner engagement? Well, the Baby Boomer population would have been more than content watching Batman and Superman do their stuff on the silver screen. The typical Millennial of today wants to be the Batman himself and bash up the bad guys with the gaming console in his hand in a bid to outdo the Superman (being played by the guy with a gaming remote sharing sofa space with him). You can tap into the competitive spirit that gamification induces and offer learning that is aligned to a learning outcome while making no compromise with the fun bit.
    5. Use videos extensively and offer learning nuggets in rich media formats.
      According to a research, 72% of the millennial population turns to video-based information hubs such as YouTube for their various infotainment needs. You can leverage on the video technology, microlearning approaches, and social learning to offer high impact learning nuggets.
    6. Offer a learning path based approach.
      Rather than an intense but discrete training program, you can use a series designed as a learning path to create a journey that helps learners learn, practice, and take remediation as required. More significantly, these assets are easily available in their workflow, on the device of their choice.

These approaches will certainly appeal to your millennial workforce, engage them, and motivate them to perform better. If you have any queries or would like to see examples of how you can use them in your organization, do contact me.

Source: https://www.eidesign.net/6-strategies-you-can-use-to-design-effective-elearning-for-your-millennial-workforce/

Migration From Flash To HTML5 – Warning: You May Be Losing Money

If you are reading this, you have decided to adopt mLearning or mobile learning and are evaluating an efficient way to migrate your legacy Flash content to HTML5. Your objective is to provide enhanced flexibility and a better learning experience to your learners. However, there are several issues that you must be aware of as you move forward with migration from Flash to HTML5. Otherwise, you may be losing money in the process and might not meet the required ROI on your investment.

How To Make A Successful Migration From Flash To HTML5

In this article, I will outline what aspects you should watch out for and how the measures recommended here will help you in making a successful migration from Flash to HTML5.

Let’s begin with the two key triggers that include the need for migration and the solution. I quote these two from my earlier article 8 Tips To Convert Flash To HTML5 That Will Help Your Business.

    1. The need.
      Over the years, all of us would have created courses that predominantly used Flash for development. With increase in demand to offer mobile learning, you would have realized that Flash courses do not work on most mobile devices. As a result, you need to plan to migrate the existing legacy Flash content to HTML5.
    2. The solution.
      HTML5 supports all mobile devices (tablets and smartphones). Additionally, the more recent browsers support HTML5 enabling you to run the mobile-ready courses on desktops and laptops as well. This flexibility now allows a single build to work seamlessly across all devices starting from desktops/laptops to tablets and smartphones.

If we look at the solution, the answer to the challenge seems quite straight-forward. So why the warning that you may be losing money? Let me elaborate this further.

At EI Design we have been working on migration from Flash to HTML5 for nearly 5 years now. During this journey, as we converted several hundred hours of Flash content to HTML5, we were able to clearly identify what can potentially go wrong and what one should watch out for. To mitigate this, we established some best practices that will ensure that you avoid losing money during the migration effort.

Prerequisites

The success of any project is in direct proportion to the effort put in the pre-planning stage. We have noted that the success factors during this stage can be enhanced through the following four measures:

  1. Ensure readiness of supporting aspects.
    This includes browser support for HTML5, Learning Management System support for mobile learning solutions, and updates to your security policy.
  2. Draw up the priority list of courses to be converted from Flash to HTML5.
    Begin the migration exercise by picking a small number of courses, migrate, and perform a user testing for the feedback. More significantly, assess if the impact you had envisioned is being created (that is, better learning experience for the learners).
  3. Validate that all assets and prerequisites are in place.
    We often see delays (typically post the pilot phase) on account of all assets not being accounted for and accessible. Again, this must be in place and availability of assets should be in line with the migration project schedule.
  4. Understand the pros and cons (the trade-off between the punch of learning design capability that Flash offers and what HTML5 can offer).
    This is probably the most significant aspect to watch out for. The kind of user experience that HTLML5-based designs offer is different from the Flash-based approach. It is very important to understand this, identify the frames that will have a different user experience and have a clear Instructional Design support in place to map certain frames of legacy Flash courses to HTML5.

Scoping

Watch out for the following three aspects:

1. Identify the need: Technology update vs. complete redesign.
As highlighted earlier, the nature of value addition sought in a course or a series can vary. You must ascertain how you should plan the migration. Some of the cues could be:

  • Recent courses.
    These may need technology uplift only (conversion to HTML5 – no Instructional Design and Visual Design enhancements).
  • Compliance courses.
    The migration cycle in compliance courses can also factor for textual updates as well as visual enhancements.
  • Legacy courses.
    You can only re-use the content and then completely re-design (both from Instructional Design and Visual Design perspectives).

2. Identify what more do you want to achieve as you craft your mobile learning strategy.
Besides providing flexibility to the learners to learn on the device of their choice, it is important to identify the other aspects you may want to address (user experience, learning experience, better retention and performance gain, and so on).

3. Identify the devices to be supported (including the testing methodology).
With the ever expanding range of options available for tablets and smartphones, there is no way you can check your HTML5 courses on all. Instead, identify the key models (for both tablets and smartphones) and have exhaustive test cases for this. During release, do caution the learners on this aspect.

Key Selections

Here you need to watch out for two crucial aspects:

1. Select adaptive vs. responsive designs.
You have two options as you begin the migration from Flash to HTML5. You can opt for:

  • Adaptive.
    These are multi-device custom mobile learning solutions that support PCs, laptops, and tablets.
  • Responsive.
    These are multi-device custom mobile learning solutions that support PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

2. Select the right authoring tool.
Selection of the right tool is a tough decision and this must be done so that it can help you deliver the gains you want to accomplish. Today, there are multiple options to choose from. Besides offering adaptive or completely responsive design capability, the tools can be further classified into rapid development (Articulate Studio 13, iSpring, Adapt, and so on) or standard mobile learning authoring tools (Adobe CS6 with CreateJS, Adobe Captivate, Trivantis Lectora, Articulate Storyline, and so on).

I hope this article will help you in an effective and efficient migration from Flash to HTML5 (without losing money). If you have any questions on how you should create your approach plan for success in this endeavor, do contact me.

Source: https://www.eidesign.net/migration-from-flash-to-html5-warning-you-may-be-losing-money/

How To Measure The ROI Of Online Training?

Today, most organizations use eLearning as a significant part of their training delivery. As traditional eLearning moves towards mobile learning or mLearning and provides learners the flexibility to learn on the device of their choice (notably tablets and smartphones), the eLearning adoption is gaining further momentum. eLearning and mobile learning provide several benefits to organizations. However, the focus is now shifting to determining its impact and the Return On Investment or ROI of online training.

Measuring The ROI Of Online Training

In this article, I will begin with a quick summary of the benefits that eLearning offers, what ROI is, and how you can measure it. I will also outline the ROI methodology we use.

What Are The Advantages Of eLearning?

I am quoting extensively from my earlier article Return Of Investment (ROI): Are You In?. This article had originally appeared in CrossKnowledge’s Learning Wire Blog. It also outlines the measures to maximize the ROI.

Over the last two decades, most organizations have made investments in eLearning primarily for the following benefits:

    • Anytime, anywhere access (on demand availability).
    • Self-paced, interactive, and more engaging learning (learner perspective).
    • Less disruptive delivery (in contrast to ILT).
    • Cost-effective (particularly when reaching out to a large audience).
    • Consistency of message and easy updating of content.
    • Easy tracking of learner progress and completion (business perspective).

While the eLearning advantages are well accepted, increasingly organizations are seeking ways and means to determine its impact on learners as well as on business. Let’s see what Return Of Investment (ROI) is and how you can assess if your eLearning or online training initiatives are generating the required ROI.

What Is ROI?

ROI is the return on investment that an organization makes (ROI = Gain or Return/Cost). It can be determined through two factors namely the Investment made (or cost incurred) and Value/Gain accrued (or return).

A successful eLearning initiative should be able to demonstrate gains that are more than the investment.

How To Determine Costs And Assess Returns?

Costs are fairly easy to define and would normally include the cost of eLearning course development as well as associated costs of team members (including teams that are associated with the development process and Subject Matter Experts).

Typically, there would also be associated costs of the supporting delivery (Learning Management System, Administrative cost of managing the initiative, and other related infrastructure required for delivery).

Determining the “value” or “gain” is far more tricky. We nail this by looking at the gains for the organization as well as for the learners.

  • Organizational perspective.
    Let’s begin by re-looking at the gains most organizations seek when they adopt eLearning and see how many of these translate to reduction in costs and hence improvement in returns.

    • Less disruptive delivery.
      This translates to man-days available now to the organization that would have been allocated to travel and training in the ILT mode.
    • Reduced travel costs.
      These can be determined easily.
    • No associated costs for trainers.
      These can be identified easily.
  • Learners’ perspective.
    Next, let’s take a look at the gains that accrue on account of effective eLearning course designs:

    • Immersive and engaging learning translates to better assimilation. This in turn leads to proficiency gain and a tangible increase in productivity.
    • More learners across the organization can be trained in lesser time (while they get the flexibility to learn at their own pace).
    • Coupled with tracking, the eLearning initiatives can be scheduled and completed faster as compared to ILT sessions.

What ROI Methodology Can Be Used?

Most of us are familiar with Kirkpatrick’s model of evaluation. In today’s context, adding Phillips’ ROI calculation as the fifth level makes this framework even more useful and relevant. By using Level IV evaluation data, we can convert the results into monetary value. Then we can easily compare them against the cost of the eLearning program and determine the ROI.

EI Design Kirkpatricks Model

To give you a sense of how it can be practically used, let me summarize the approaches we typically adopt:

    • Level 1:Reaction is measured by taking feedback from learners. We have used online surveys in the past but now we add features of “Like the course” and “Recommend the course” options within our eLearning course framework.
    • Level 2: Learning can be easily measured through scoring patterns in the end of course assessments.
    • Level 3: Behavioral changes are certainly more difficult to assess. We use a combination of techniques to assess how much of the newly acquired learning is being applied on the job. This could be measured through improvements in efficiency or doing the same task with a new approach.
    • Level 4: Business impact is generally measured through productivity gain, impact on quality measures through reduction in re-works, getting higher number of work assets first time right, and so on.
    • Level 5: ROI is normally calculated by converting the business impact gains (as shown in level 4) to a monetary value.

I hope this article was useful in understanding the ROI definition and more significantly, what ROI methodology will enable you to measure the ROI of online training. At EI Design, we do workshops that can enable you to adapt the standard ROI methodology to your organization. Do reach out to me if you need further details.

Source: https://www.eidesign.net/how-to-measure-the-roi-of-online-training/

What is social learning and how can you use it to foster collaborative learning

What is social learning and how can you use it to foster collaborative learning

As learning professionals, most of us are familiar with the 70:20:10 Model for Learning and Development that describes how learning happens. According to this, most of us pick:

70 percent of our knowledge from our on-the job experiences
20 percent from interactions with others
10 percent from structured or formal training


It is no surprise that today more and more companies are using some form of social learning solutions in their learning strategies that enables employees to learn from each other. In this article, I will touch upon the concept of social learning, its benefits and how can it be used meaningfully in an organisation to enhance collaborative learning. I will also share some best practices.

What is social learning?

In simple terms, social learning is learning with and from others. This can either happen online (for instance over popular social media tools like LinkedIn, Twitter and so on) or offline (during group discussions, over coffee or during conferences).

What are the aspects that most of the popular social networks provide that can be used to learn or collaborate and learn?

All of us use their standard communication and collaboration features like comments, posts, instant messaging, group discussion boards, wikis, video chats and so on. As an extension, you can bring a semi-structured approach to encourage this collaborative learning by building virtual communities to encourage them to provide a forum to share ideas, share knowledge and curate new inputs into a knowledge centre.

What is the relationship between social media and social learning?

Social media provides basic technology to connect people. All of us use it to keep in touch with our friends or for networking with business contacts and often to share our thoughts and opinions. But its capability does not end here. It can also be leveraged as an effective tool for collaborative or social learning. The key being, how we use this meaningfully to encourage exchange of ideas and knowledge sharing.

How can social learning help people learn?

According to Mason and Renniet (2008)*, there are four major benefits of learner-generated content that these tools provide:

  • Users have the tools to actively engage in the construction of their experience, rather than passively absorbing existing content.
  • Content will be continually refreshed by the users rather than require expensive expert input.
  • Many of the new tools support collaborative work, thereby allowing users to develop the skills of working in teams.
  • Shared community spaces and inter-group communications are a massive part of what excites young people and therefore should contribute to users’ persistence and motivation to learn.

Is there a flip side?

The jury is still out on determining the value of social learning and the time it takes to create an impact. While it is true that the process of going beyond individual learning to learning collaboratively can take time, it is still a worthwhile approach.

Are there any best practices that can help?

Yes. Some of these best practices can make your online Learning design initiative a success are as follows:
Facilitating a social learning platform where learners are spaced apart; this will help:

  • In distributed problem solving whereby small problems could be nipped in the bud without being allowed to cause bigger challenges later on
  • Nurture a creativity-fostering environment
  • Form temporary workgroups to tackle business challenges
  • Create a flexible work environment

Encouraging learners to build collaborative knowledge base of their own rather than depending on others’ assistance.

Bridging the distance gap between learners and fostering team spirit through:

  • Increased participation
  • Projecting them as representatives of the corporate brand
  • Developing a community

Providing them adequate motivation and learner engagement as it is a prerequisite for any learning to take place

How to use social learning meaningfully?
Social media has a number of benefits and uses. Some of the ways in which it can be used to good effect are:

  • It can serve as an auxiliary element to formal learning in the form of discussions, sharing of experiences, lessons learned and so on.
    • It can be used as a tool to encourage employees to generate, gather, explore, get access to, learn and relearn and review knowledge and skills to unravel hidden information.
    • It can also help learners with “personal knowledge management” or “smart working”. For example, they could use blogs to gain that extra bit of information or learn on demand using forums such as Wikipedia or YouTube to seek answers to any queries that they may have.
  • It helps create “Communities of Practice” for groups such as those of new employees, teams, project team members or other similar groups.
  • It facilitates the creation of a structured social learning framework. With social learning, one can accumulate informal content from learners and extract useful ideas and find solutions to problems that formal training may not be able to address.
  • With social learning, managing the inflow of informal content effectively and measuring of the benefits accrued on account of the same is possible.

I hope this article was useful in understanding what is social learning and how you can apply it to foster collaborative learning. Do contact me if you have any questions on how you would like to supplement it with your current learning strategy.

Source: https://www.eidesign.net/what-is-social-learning-and-how-can-you-use-it-to-foster-collaborative-learning/