4 Effective Strategies To Engage eLearners

In order to be competitive, training strategies and environments can’t be merely functional, they have to be engaging. What are the training strategies that will make that personal connection and effectively focus and engage eLearners? Here are 4 learning strategies to consider.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

5 Ways To Support Acculturation In Onboarding

From the way you dress on Friday to how you deal with serious issues, every organization has a culture. Your company culture is based on its mission and vision, and the little and big ways employees interact every day. For new hires, the first few days in the office may come as a culture shock. This makes acculturation a critical step in your employee onboarding process. Let us see 5 ways of supporting acculturation in onboarding.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Context In Leadership Training: Without Context, Leadership Training Will Fail

When a company implements a leadership training initiative, they shouldn’t lose sight of the context of the workplace, the workers, and the work overall. Why do they need to address context in leadership training? Because leadership training fails when it tries to churn out the same type of leader for every situation.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

5 Tips To Choose A Custom Training Vendor

If you’ve decided to go with custom training over off-the-shelf, you’re then faced with the task of finding a partner. Here are 5 important points to consider in selecting a custom training vendor that works best for your needs.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Being Smart About Smartphone Training

Why You Should Consider Smartphone Training When Training Your Employees 

In this article I will share my thoughts on why organizations should consider smartphone training to train their employees:

I bought my first smartphone in January 2013 (yes, I was a little slow), and I quickly got excited about all the things I could do with it: Check baseball scores, find weather forecasts, listen to podcasts, and occasionally even call people. I decided I would build my professional life around this amazing new tool, and I was soon using it to take notes in meetings, schedule client visits, and answer emails. I began to imagine a future where I didn’t need a computer at all – my smartphone would be my only device.

I was about three months into this personal technological revolution when I realized that just because I COULD do things on my phone didn’t mean I SHOULD. The notes I took in meetings suffered because I couldn’t get everything transcribed as quickly as when I wrote in my notebook, and the emails I wrote took much longer since, as a punctuation-obsessed English major, I made sure to use every Oxford comma.

So I began scaling back. I took pen and paper to meetings, I wrote emails from my desk computer, and I’m writing this blog post on a tablet. I still love my phone –it has revolutionized the way I watch baseball, and I’m never going back–, but I no longer think it’s the right tool for every task.

Turns out I’m not the only one. Americans still use smartphones a lot – a recent eMarketer report said it roughly averages out to three hours a day in 2015. And the amount we use them is still increasing, but the growth rate has slowed considerably in the last five years, from 100% growth rate between 2011 and 2012 to just over 10% growth rate between 2014 and 2015.

Even more revealing is how we now spend that time. A sizable majority is spent engaging with video, audio, and social networks –  we still like those tasks designed for smartphones, but we like less and less those that aren’t: Time spent surfing the web on smartphones has declined in the last 3 years. All this is to say, we are being more discriminating about how we use our smartphones and when we want other tools more suited to a specific task.

This is an important lesson for training. There are certain training tasks that work very well on a phone; some even require a mobile device of some kind. One of our clients, a major telecom company, recently needed Performance Support Tools (PSTs) for their technicians who were running into unfamiliar situations when connecting service for new customers. No matter how detailed the walk-through in a classroom setting, it was often impossible to remember all the steps out in the field. So they produced a series of smartphone training videos, meaning training videos that could be easily accessed on smartphones, showing the technicians every step they would need for a variety of installation scenarios.

Many other training tasks are less suited for smartphones. Complex concepts often require conversation with experts or peers, so they work well in face-to-face settings. In-depth application of principles to detailed scenarios requires significant interaction and will work best on a desktop or laptop where interactivity is less cumbersome. Detailed overviews can be effectively shown in interactive infographics, but they require a large screen to effectively absorb the big picture.

Simply put, the physical setting of our training matters, especially when we are considering smartphone training: If a salesperson is going to be sitting with a customer, showing a brief product video on a smartphone can be a nice, impromptu training session. Our client’s technicians benefited greatly from the ability to pull up process tools in the field. But if we want smartphone training because our learners aren’t doing anything else while they ride the train home anyway, let’s rethink. We want our learners to be in a setting that maximizes the learning potential by providing the most effective interactivity with the right tools. Let’s not use smartphones for training because we can. Let’s use them when we should.

Want to learn more about other top 10 training trends? Check out AllenComm’s #Trending 2016 eBook.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

3 Things Google Can Teach Us About Microlearning

What Google Can Teach Us About Microlearning 

Google, Wikipedia, and social media have dramatically changed the way we learn, and they are at least partly responsible for our current emphasis on microlearning. As we plan microlearning strategies, we would do well to remember 3 of the principles that have made Google successful.

  1. Keep it simple.
    In an age when the temptation to add widgets to websites can be almost overwhelming, Google has stuck with a blank white page adorned only by a one-word logo, a search box, and two buttons. Similarly, microlearning is best when it follows the Albert Einstein adage to “make things as simple as possible, but no simpler”. If we want to accomplish real behavior change in a 5-minute web module, everything in that module must be dedicated to the same purpose. The media, the activities, the text – all must be focused on the same goal. Even worthwhile objectives like “learner engagement” detract from microlearning because the format creates its own engagement. Google works because it’s a user-friendly way to find what we need quickly. Microlearning must be the same.
  2. Keep it action-oriented.
    Most websites measure their effectiveness by how long they keep readers on the page, but everything on a page of Google search results is designed to help you leave the site. This clear path to action makes it very easy to accomplish your goal, and microlearning should have the same focus on behavior. When learners are on the job, they are often confronted with tasks they aren’t quite sure how to accomplish. An effective microlearning curriculum should be designed around individual tasks, providing tutorials that help users file a report or assemble a tool. If learners know your training curriculum will help them get better at the skills they need in their jobs, they will seek it out. And if each tool is a concise, focused experience, they will return again and again.
  3. Keep it connected.
    Google’s search algorithm is famously secret, but one of its main components is PageRank, which assigns part of its value based on the links a page has with others. If my site is linked to by other highly valued sites (those with a lot of traffic, for instance), it raises the profile of my site. Effective microlearning, likewise, cannot exist in isolation. We need to create catalogs of brief, focused training, and much of the strength of that training will come from the connections each module makes to others. A series of microlearning modules on the sales process, for instance, will more effectively change behavior if they build on each other and lead to a holistic view or summative assessment. This doesn’t mean we should create a progression of courses that can’t be altered; rather, microlearning should enable learners to use specific modules when they will be most useful. A connected curriculum will give learners the broad-based skill set they need to be successful.

There will always be a need for longer, more complex training, but microlearning offers significant advantages in how we present learning and development opportunities to our teams. And we can make that microlearning most effective by incorporating the principles that drive the way learners use Google to train themselves.

Want to know more about successful microlearning techniques? Download this free eΒook to learn how microlearning drives results by empowering learners.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Personalized eLearning: 3 Ways To Personalize Your eLearning Solutions

How To Create Personalized eLearning Solutions

When I was training for my first marathon, I found a plan that told me exactly how far to run each day in the three months leading up to the race. I came across this plan on a very popular website where they assured me that the schedule had been used by thousands of successful, happy marathoners. One of the key features of the plan was the longest run: It was only 20 miles. After talking to several other runners who said running the full race distance before the race itself wasn’t important, I started training.

Turns out, though, that every runner is different, and I suffered a pretty massive crisis of confidence at mile 21 when I realized I’d never run that far. I have no doubt the training plan I used has worked well for many runners, but I discovered that day that I was not many runners; I was an individual with individual training needs.

The training we produce for our teams can sometimes feel like the marathon training plan I used. It works great for some and less great for others. And if it works for most of our employees, maybe that’s the best we can hope for. But what if we could build training that worked for every employee? What if our eLearning solutions could be personalized to every member of our teams?

I’d like to suggest 3 tactics that can help us create personalized eLearning without breaking the bank: Pre-learning, microlearning, and learner input.

  1. Pre-learning.
    recent study by Matthew Schnurr, Elizabeth De Santo, and Rachael Craig found that pre-work, or “preparatory learning”, is a valuable tool to increase learner confidence in “both the process and the substance” of the training. This preparation is important because it lays the groundwork for training and helps the learner identify their strengths and weaknesses before the full training begins. This way, even when learners take the same curriculum, each learner is focused on the principles they need most.
  2. Microlearning.
    But, of course, the best learning solution is not a single curriculum for all learners. Why require training for team members who have mastered a skill? When we group topics together, our training does just that. While microlearning is much more than just breaking up training into 5- or 10-minute pieces, the shorter times have several advantages, among them holding learner attention and, according to a recent study by an Australian team, increasing the likelihood that voluntary learners will complete an extended curriculum. Microlearning also allows for the personalization of your eLearning solutions. Especially when grouped with pre-learning, microlearning modules can be selected for each learner, and a Learning Management System with adaptive functionality can create individualized curricula. This helps your learners stay focused on the training they need and saves your company money by avoiding time spent on the training they don’t.
  3. Learner input.
    One of the best ways to create personalized eLearning is to let the learners do it themselves. By providing avenues for learner input –such as tools for goal-setting, reflection, or social interaction– we allow learners to apply the training content to their specific workplace situation. A recent study on MOOC learning found that learner participation enhanced the learner’s ability to “develop skills of finding relevant information and become adept at filtering, picking and choosing information relevant to personal learning”. Getting our learners involved in their own learning will also keep them engaged, helping ensure they better understand the content we’re providing.

In a perfect world, it would be great to produce a truly individual solution for each person. But in reality, you probably won’t be able to produce a different eLearning solution for every learner on the team. However, by making a few tweaks to your curriculum design, learners can reshape each module to fit their own needs. Just like I would have been better at that first marathon if I’d taken the time to analyze the program and adjust for my strengths, the more we can train to each learner, the more successful we’ll be.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.