How Can L&D Teams Design a Virtual Learning Journey that Delivers Seamless Training Results

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered workplace dynamics, and we now witness the “new normal” of remote operations. In this article, I share strategies that L&D teams can use to design their Virtual Learning journey and deliver seamless training results.

Background

While the percentage of remote learners may change over time, it will clearly be an integral component of the workplace in the future.

The high impact of the trainer-led classroom sessions is difficult to match when the entire audience is working remotely. L&D teams clearly need to have an effective strategy in place to design their Virtual Learning journey that delivers seamless training results.

What Are the Steps that L&D Teams Need to Follow to Design an Effective Virtual Learning Journey That Delivers Seamless Training Results?

  1. L&D teams should plan a progressive transition of classroom/ILT sessions to the online mode. This Virtual Learning journey could feature:
    1. ILT to Virtual ILT (VILT). This would map to:
      1. Synchronous connects or live sessions.
      2. Asynchronous connects via online access to VILT recordings and supporting collateral (prep material and hand-outs).
    2. ILT to the Self-paced or Fully Online mode.
    3. ILT to an optimal Blended mode that offers VILT with a Self-paced or Fully Online mode. This would again leverage VILT sessions in synchronous/asynchronous modes.
  2. L&D teams must factor for tips and strategies that will create high engagement for the remote learners in each mode.
  3. L&D teams should draw up a long-term, sustainable action plan that covers not only the transition but also has crucial measures to ascertain:
    1. The effectiveness of the training in the new mode.
    2. The training impact.
    3. The demonstrable value for learners and business – matching or exceeding what was being met in the classroom/ILT mode.

What Strategies Can L&D Teams Use to Design an Effective Virtual Learning Journey That Delivers Seamless Training Results?

L&D teams can leverage our Learning and Performance Ecosystem to create an immersive Virtual Learning experience and provide a rewarding Virtual Learning journey that delivers seamless training results for remote learners. 

Learning and Performance Ecosystem EI Design

Through the following 6 strategies L&D teams can create immersive Virtual Learning experience:

  1. Capture attention about training opportunities – Leverage Newsletters and Teaser Videos to highlight the significance of the initiative.
  2. Build awareness around What’s In It For Me (WIIFM) – Highlight what is the value this training will provide to learners.
  3. For Formal training, opt for immersive learning strategies like Gamification, AR/VR, Scenario Based Learning, Interactive Story Based Learning, and Branching Scenarios.
  4. Augment Formal training with Performance Support Tools (PSTs) or job aids – For knowledge application/assisting the learners at the moment of need.
  5. Post the training, reinforce learning to minimize knowledge erosion, challenge workers with complex and advanced learning content, provide practice zones for learners to hone their skills, and have frequent reconnects through curated assets to continue the learning journey.
  6. Offer Social or Collaborative Learning opportunities so learners can learn through peer networking and other group forums – both within and outside of the work environment.

Given the “new normal” of remote learning, Virtual Trainings must be the core of an organization’s learning strategy. The Learning and Performance Ecosystem is a great way to work with a bigger picture and successfully achieve your training goals by:

  • Creating “sticky” learning experiences.
  • Enabling effective application on the job.
  • Driving change in thinking and behavioral change.

I hope our unique Learning and Performance Ecosystem provides the right platform to implement strategies for your Virtual Learning journey and deliver seamless training results.

If you have any specific queries, do contact me or leave a comment below.

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How To Use Blended Training In 2021

The pandemic has affected the workplace in more ways than one, and that includes training. As a result of this pandemic, organizations around the globe are redesigning, and blended/hybrid learning is becoming the new normal. It is time for us to think of a more thoughtful approach to implementing impactful blended learning. Organizations worldwide are gravitating toward the new normal precisely because it works and also because it is important for them in the face of future disruptions.

As businesses deal with the transition, there is a clear shift from the structured and well-planned corporate learning to the more agile operational learning. Blended learning is the preferred choice for corporates not only because it is cost-effective, but also because it is a more natural way to learn and work at the same time. Combining conventional training with online training helps the organization have full control of how, when, and where the employees choose to learn.

We will have a closer look at what is blended learning, the benefits, the various blended learning models, and how to utilize them in 2021.

How Will Blended Learning Work In The New Normal?

Blended learning has been around for a while now. It offers the best of face-to-face/instructor-led training and eLearning/digital training. Not only can you benefit from the implementation of synchronous learning, but you also have the opportunity to benefit from “going at your own pace” techniques that are a part of asynchronous learning.

Blended learning can be used as a viable solution also as part of the continuous learning journey experience for the learner. A continuous learning journey means that the learner accesses content not just during the formal virtual training sessions or an online learning experience, but also during the lull periods, or what we call the “forgetting period.” What we mean here is that learners tend to forget the content they learned a few days after a class. To reap the full benefits of implementing a blended program, organizations can give learners other short nuggets using learning strategies such as microlearning to help them recall the learning and apply it better on the job.

To elaborate further, learners can play mini-games or take up some microlearning courses after attending a blended learning program. They can also download a PDF of the best practices covered in training. This is to ensure that the blended learning experience is complete and helps learners pace their learning better.

Methods To Create A Blended Training Program

There are various ways to create blended programs. Some are enumerated below:

  1. A program that starts with pre-training reading material that learners can go through, followed by a virtual training, and then a follow-up eLearning session.
  2. A program that starts with an eLearning program as an introduction awareness session, followed by a detailed hands-on workshop style training program, followed by refresher nuggets using microlearning.
  3. A virtual session followed by a series of microlearning [2] nuggets or mini-games that will reinforce the key concepts learned in the virtual session.

As virtual training sessions will be the norm, you must use the best tools available to conduct the sessions. Here are some of the tool options available:

  • Zoom
  • Cisco Webex
  • GoToWebinar
  • Adobe Connect
  • Google Hangout
  • AnyMeeting

Thus, blended learning represents a model that integrates technology to boost learning and deliver business impact.

Benefits Of Blended Learning

Learners across the organization can benefit from using a blended learning strategy. This is because a combination of learning approaches used in the blended program can stimulate their interest and increase their participation, thus increasing their efficiency.

Anyone would want to adopt a learning strategy that comes with great benefits! Let’s go through the top blended learning benefits for corporate training.

  • Increased retention of concepts learned
  • Better engagement, as there are multiple modalities of training
  • Better application of the learning, leading to increased productivity
  • Increased benefits to the organization due to increased engagement, participation levels, and performance improvement
  • Use of games and microlearning within the blend can take the learning and retention to the next level

Conclusion

To conclude, blended learning has several benefits and will be adopted in a big way during 2021. It is going to be interesting to watch how organizations use blended learning in a plethora of learner-centric offerings.

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Blended Learning 2.0: Adopting The Next Gen Blended Learning Model For The Digital Workplace

Our latest eBook, Blended Learning 2.0: Adopting The Next Gen Blended Learning Model For The Digital Workplace, provides insights, tips, and strategies on Blended Learning 2.0 that you can use to maximize the impact of your virtual training transformation.

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Key Chapters

  1. Introducing Blended Learning 2.0

    This section begins with the current context and the impact of COVID-19 on the workplace. It captures how social distancing and remote operations have triggered the need of rapid Virtual Training Transformation. It outlines how the Next Gen approach of classic Blended Learning, that is, the Blended 2.0 mode is the optimal solution as it matches the current needs (both learners and trainers connecting virtually).

  2. Handling The Challenges In The Transformation To The Blended 2.0 Mode

    This section outlines 2 key challenges – Can the VILT/Blended mode match the impact and value of ILT sessions, and how can you keep the remote learners engaged? The approaches that will help you match the impact and value of ILT and strategies that will enable you to successfully engage remote learners are progressively revealed in the subsequent sections.

  3. Making It Work: Creating An Effective Transformation To The Blended 2.0 Mode

    This section lists 5 key options or building blocks that can be used to redesign the learning journey in the Blended 2.0 mode.

  4. Embarking On The Transformation To The Blended 2.0 Mode

    This section provides insights on 3 key aspects that are crucial to succeed in the transformation to the Blended 2.0 mode. These include the workflow to be adopted, an introduction to various technology pieces you should factor, and the toolkits that will help you in an effective and high-impact transformation to the Blended 2.0 mode.

  5. Creating A High-Impact Transformation: Tips And Best Practices

    This section lists tips and best practices you can use – for the ILT session’s conversion to the VILT mode or Blended 2.0 mode.

  6. Adopting The Blended Learning 2.0 Approach For Trainings—Examples

    The last section showcases how you can transform your key trainings that had the ILT mode to a high impact Blended 2.0 mode. The featured examples provide cues you can use to convert your Sales, Leadership, Compliance, and Applications trainings to the Blended 2.0 mode.

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Measuring the Business Impact of Your Training & Development Programs

To determine the ROI of your training, you need to measure its impact on both learners and business. This article offers insights on a set of practical cues that can be used to measure the business impact of your training and development programs.

Background

Organizations make steady investments in training and development programs every year. With COVID-19 and the changed workplace dynamics, the work from home mode has led organizations to make significant investments in rapid virtual training.

As a result, today—more than ever—there is a need to assess the business impact of these trainings. These insights can help organizations determine which training and development programs are aligned to the business goals and update/modify the ones that aren’t.

What Are the Inherent Challenges in Measuring the Business Impact of Your Training and Development Programs?

While there is no debate on the need to measure the business impact of the corporate training and development programs, there are several inherent challenges in this exercise. The key factor being that there is no easy way to obtain analytics that can measure the business impact.

The L&D teams are constrained by the fact that the standard reports from the LMS are not able to measure the impact. Even if they know what should be done, they often do not have the resources (team and tools) to collate the additional data, analyze it, and draw actionable insights.

On account of this, this exercise either never gets attempted or takes an inordinately long time. By the time the insights come in, it may be too late for the business to apply them. As a result, you are likely to see that the training investment in a given financial year may not impact the business goals in the same year, as planned.

What Should Be the Way Forward to Help You Measure the Business Impact of Your Training and Development Programs?

The first correction needs to be done at the beginning of the exercise, that is, during the Training Needs Analysis (TNA) phase. Typically, at this stage, the metrics that will be used to determine the training effectiveness and impact is established.

L&D teams typically look at the following metrics:

  1. The number of training registrations and completion rates.
  2. Learner reaction/feedback on the training/the trainer.
  3. Assessment scores (to assess training effectiveness).

However, the crucial missing link is the Business metrics – that is, by making a specific training investment, how will the business see a specific gain that will influence/impact the business goals.

The correct way forward is in combining the evaluation through L&D metrics as well as business metrics. The focus on the L&D metrics alone is inadequate in helping you get the impact on business. Only when you couple them, you will be able to determine the impact of the training on business.

Take a look at this example to understand the value you get as you couple both L&D and business metrics.

Background: An organization invests in an enterprise-wide CRM tool for their Sales and Marketing teams. The new tool is planned to replace the multiple legacy tools and Excel-based trackers over a short period of 6 months.

Training need: The entire Sales and Marketing team needs to undergo training for the new CRM tool. The L&D team maps the training to the following profiles:

Set 1: Sales Executives, Sales Managers, and Head of Sales – Maps to acquiring three levels of tool proficiency.

Set 2: Marketing team.

Set 3: CEO and COO – Dashboard review – with a focus on analysis and actionable insights.

The L&D team plans the training modules to achieve the required proficiency levels, across the three audience profiles. The assessment scores are the selected indicators to validate the proficiency gain.

The Missing Business Metrics: What wasn’t discussed with the business (Sales and Marketing teams) was that once the team members have the requisite proficiency in the new tool, what is the anticipated business gain, and how should it be measured?

For instance, the Sales reps will save 1 hour/day once they move to the new tool (instead of wading through multiple Excel trackers) and this time could be used to step up their target by 12.5%.

Now, this impacts the business directly and is a great way to ascertain the impact of the planned CRM training on business.

Remember: If this collaborative quantification (coupling of L&D metrics and business metrics) isn’t done upfront in the project, it would be impossible to track and measure the business impact of the training. This exercise (to couple the L&D metrics with the business metrics) needs a strong collaboration between the L&D team and the business team. During the TNA phase, the parameters that can help ascertain the business impact of the training must be identified.

How Can You Measure the Business Impact of Your Training and Development Programs?

A good approach is the adaptation of the Kirkpatrick’s model of training evaluation to measure not only training effectiveness but also its impact on business. Take a look at how this can be done.

Kirkpatrick’s model of training evaluation

Level 1: Reaction

Objective: The exercise begins with ascertaining the learners’ reaction. Typical insights sought are if the learners found the training to be relevant, engaging, and easy to internalize and apply.

How is this done: This is typically done through polls and online surveys.

From an evaluation perspective, this feedback allows L&D teams to confirm that the basic goals have been met and if there are any gaps, they should be addressed through remediation/additional intervention.

Level 2: Learning

Objective: At this stage, the validation is done if the training’s learning outcomes were met.

How is this done: The right assessment strategy is critical in determining if the required cognition levels were met. Hence, the key measure at this stage are the scores of the summative assessment.

From an evaluation perspective, this feedback allows L&D teams to measure if the training met the required learning outcomes. If any gaps are identified, the required action (reinforcement, remediation, or providing supplementary learning aids) can be taken.

Level 3: Behavior

Objective: At this stage, the validation is done if there is a change in the learner behavior that is directly attributable to the training.

How is this done: This is typically done by polling the learners and their supervisors after 30/60/90 days, and a validation of the required gain is done. The gain is measured through a combination of L&D metrics and, more specifically, business metrics.

From an evaluation perspective, this feedback is the crucial validation of internalization of learning and its application on the job as well as its ability to trigger a behavioral change.

Level 4: Impact

Objective: At this stage, a validation is done if the training created the required value for business and was able to impact the business KPIs.

How is this done: This is done by tracking the parameters captured in the business metrics.

From an evaluation perspective, this feedback provides the crucial validation that the business impact goal was met.

Determining the business impact of your training and development programs is a complex exercise – with several inherent challenges. Hope this article provides easy to apply cues that you can use to effectively measure the business impact of your trainings.

This article was first published in Training Industry.

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9 Strategies to Encourage and Drive Informal Learning in a Remote Working Environment

Humans learn a lot informally. In fact, this is a significant way how we learned as children. In this article, you will learn how to leverage informal learning in today’s remote working environment to drive creativity, innovation, and engagement.

What Is Informal Learning?

There’s been a lot of discussion about informal learning over the years – what it is and isn’t and its place in corporate training. As corporate training departments are scrambling to deal with the implications of a remote working environment, the importance of informal learning is again at the forefront.

Informal learning differs from formal learning in the following ways:

Formal learning is usually mandated by an organization or regulations. It takes place in structured eLearning courses, face-to-face or virtual classrooms, or as a blend.

Informal learning, in contrast, happens organically. It is an extension of the way all of us have been learning informally since childhood. It is self-directed and self-motivated and is usually done in situ. It supports performance when it’s needed.

Why Should Leaders and L&D Teams Care About Informal Learning?

Informal learning provides significant benefits and value for individuals, teams, and corporations:

  1. Informal learning drives collaboration. Employees organically seek out and create bonds within and without teams, breaking down silos.
  2. Within the intersection of creativity and collaboration is where innovation occurs.
  3. Informal learning is driven by the learners and is focused on exactly what they want, exactly when they need it.
  4. Adults find more fulfillment and intrinsic rewards through informal learning.
  5. Informal learning tends to stick better. Learners create mental constructs within which new information is effectively stored in the long-term memory.
  6. While it’s often overlooked by corporate training teams because it’s outside their control, informal learning doesn’t require formal L&D direction, design, or development.
  7. Organizations with a strong culture of learning benefit from greater creativity.

What Are the Challenges of Promoting Informal Learning in a Remote Workplace?

Unfortunately, some L&D departments ignore informal learning because it’s difficult to measure its impact.

Additionally, a remote working environment has accentuated information silos and scattered tacit organizational knowledge, increasing the risk that distributed teams aren’t equipped to proactively share knowledge. Some workers, especially those who are used to traditional face-to-face communication, are more hesitant to remotely contact a coworker.

However, it’s important that leaders and L&D departments acknowledge and face those challenges head-on.

How Can You Drive Informal Learning in a Remote Working Environment?

There are several things that L&D departments can do to drive informal learning.

  1. Peter Drucker, the famous management consultant, is credited with saying “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Therefore, it’s vital to create a culture of learning built on the foundation of autonomy, purpose, and mastery (explained by Daniel Pink in his book, “Drive”). Employees who find these three things at work will proactively seek informal learning
    1. Most people are driven to reach for a mastery of their profession.
    2. Truly engaged employees find purpose in the work they do.
    3. Many workers have a newly discovered sense of autonomy.
  2. Create a digital social learning space where employees can ask questions, give feedback, and curate content and ideas.
    1. Leaders should model constructive behavior by participating and encouraging others.
    2. L&D departments can reward constructive behavior and participation.
    3. Schedule focused chat and idea exchanges, leveraging things like hashtags.
    4. Establish rules so employees refrain from typical social media behavior, like contentious arguments or banal conversations.
  3. Provide semi-structured forums where coworkers can virtually mingle.
  4. Create pre-course preparation materials like interactive PDFs that summarize foundational information required for formal courses.
  5. Leverage content that’s been granularized into bite-sized pieces – otherwise known as Microlearning.
  6. Source other digital learning solutions and facilitate access to tools such as:
    1. LinkedIn Learning.
    2. Udemy.
    3. Pluralsight.
    4. Blinkist and getAbstract.
    5. Industry-related journals.
  7. Encourage reading by facilitating the creation of virtual book clubs. The 33rd president of the United States, Harry Truman, said “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”
  8. Create mentor and coaching
    1. Coaching and mentoring are a great way to augment formal training.
    2. Match training participants in short-term coaching relationships.
    3. Identify high-potential employees and match them with mentors to help prepare for their future roles.
  9. Facilitate informal, small groups and one-on-one virtual interactions.
    1. Encourage participants to opt for live video calls.
    2. Remind participants that in the current age of remote working environments, we need to forgive dogs in the background and hair that’s not perfectly quaffed.

Informal learning, while sometimes difficult to measure and seems like it’s outside the control of the corporate L&D department, is more vital now than ever in remote working environments. Hope this article gives you compelling reasons and measures to help as you seek to unlock its potential.

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eLearning Trends To Watch Out For In 2021

With COVID-19 taking a grip over the world, organizations across the globe are forced to rethink how they conduct business, train, and equip their employees to meet the challenges posed by the disruption and business dynamics. How are organizations gearing up for the coming year in upskilling and reskilling their employees? We will look at some key trends that will reshape the learning landscape in the coming year and beyond.

The pandemic has created unprecedented challenges that have forced organizations to look for alternative forms of work such as work from home or remote working and bring virtual training to the fore. Earlier, virtual training was used only for the remote workforce or people spread across geographies.

Working from home is the new normal now. Several surveys have shown that working from home has helped people improve their productivity several notches. While the pandemic has forced this disruption, it is essential to understand that this will become a growing trend in the coming years. Organizations see the benefits of working remotely, and in some cases, businesses see work from home as the permanent solution and not a survival strategy.

For a more detailed look at the trends with tips on how to use them effectively in 2021, you can download our eBook on our website(do check the link in my profile).

Let us first look at technology trends to watch out for in 2021.

Technology Trends

1. Artificial Intelligence

Several surveys indicate that Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to grow and will continue to be the number one trend in the technology space for years to come. No wonder, many big names are latching on to it as it will help people get access to content and assistance.

We firmly believe AI is an important trend. It is increasingly being used for automating several mundane or routine tasks that were done by humans just a few years ago, enabling humans to focus on tasks that require higher-order thinking skills. One of the biggest trends has been process-based automation.

In the digital learning space, Artificial Intelligence has a big role to play in 2021 and beyond. It will help personalize learning experiences, interpret the data or the reports generated for the courses taken, and make better recommendations.

2. Learning Analytics

Learning analytics is where Big Data meets traditional quantitative methods in education. Governments, universities, testing organizations, and Massive Open Online Course providers are collecting data about learners and how they learn. However, it has been mostly untapped until the advent of tools, methods, and algorithms that have helped in capturing the real intent of learners.

Learning analytics helps in measuring the key indicators of learner performance and helps learners understand their strengths and areas of improvement, which they can work on. Learning analytics is going to play a major role in 2021 as more learning happens through the digital medium.

3. Personalized Learning

Personalized learning in simple terms means providing learning content and activities based on learner choice as well as performance. To help learners take the learning modules of their choice, learning paths are used along with pre-assessments or recommended learning paths based on previous choices.

We believe personalized learning will continue to be a top trend in 2021 as well. We see it being used in conjunction with Artificial Intelligence, assessment engines, and other tools, becoming a must-have in the armory of L&D teams. It will continue to make waves in the coming years as an essential form of learning.

4. Adaptive Learning

In adaptive learning, personalization of learning happens using algorithms, confidence-based assessments, and competency mapping to the training.

With adaptive learning, employees can have flexible learning schedules. Learners can choose their learning path. Learners can learn from the content at their own pace. Thus, employees perceive this training as an opportunity and not as a task to be completed.

Adaptive learning will ensure that learners get the right knowledge provided in the right dosage and intervals. Adaptive learning will be a prime trend in the year 2021 and beyond.

5. Learning Experience Platforms

Learning experience platforms or LXPs are increasingly used by organizations to provide personalized interactive learning experiences to help employees scale up to the next level. The objective of LXP implementation is to provide learners with a platform where exchanging subject expertise is easy and open. LXPs are increasingly seen as a good alternative to the traditional LMSs that are administrator-driven rather than learner-driven.

LXPs are bound to grow further and add many more learner-friendly features in the years to come.

6. Microlearning Platforms

Microlearning platforms have grown in the last year and will continue to grow as a strong tool for learners to access impactful bite-sized learning. There are several microlearning platforms now that aim to help learners learn subjects quickly and effectively. While some use assessment as their core strategy, others use courses and gamification to make the learning stick. The emphasis has been on performance, and that is helping organizations reap rich rewards.

Tesseract Learning also launched a powerful Microlearning platform, KREDO. KREDO helps organizations create and publish microlearning courses in minutes, roll-out seamlessly, and track the performance of learners with built-in intuitive analytics. KREDO helps organizations utilize the continuous learning paradigm for all types of learning interventions, including pre and post formal virtual classroom or digital learning sessions.

Let’s next look at the learning content trends that will dominate 2021 and beyond.

Learning Content Trends

1. Virtual Classroom Training

Virtual training has been the defining trend of the year and will continue to be a strong trend in the foreseeable future. However, for many organizations going virtual was not an automatic step.

Many were apprehensive at first about its viability and were skeptical of its success. The pandemic induced disruption of working from home and remote working forced organizations to adopt virtual classroom training. However, what they found was that it was working quite well, contrary to their expectations.

There were few caveats though. Training via a virtual medium requires a different approach and skills. The sessions cannot be overly long. Technology needs to work effectively for people in remote locations. Many people are averse to using webcams as they work from home, creating another challenge to address. Virtual training is more flexible as compared to traditional classroom sessions with live interactions, ready-to-use features, polls, and more that give you real-time data. With virtual training, you can administer tests in real time, collect feedback immediately, and conduct sessions for teams spread across geographies.

Virtual classroom training is here to stay and will be one of the top trends for the year 2021 and beyond.

2. Microlearning

Microlearning has been a top trend in the last few years. It will continue to be a part of the learning strategy for every organization, big or small.

“Microlearning mainly focuses on a specific objective, cuts out all the fluff, and supports the primary training or learning journey. Thus, it helps in better understanding and therefore, better retention of the concepts learned.” Microlearning can be used as one of the primary modes of training delivery for some learning programs or just before an eLearning or VILT session, or a few days after the formal training as a reinforcement of key learnings to help the learners remember the concepts well.

“Another advantage of microlearning is that it can be created and administered in a variety of formats. The formats include videos, gamification, quizzes, podcasts, activities, and much more.” Microlearning will continue to be one of the top learning trends during 2021 and the years to come.

3. Gamification And Game-Based Learning

Gamification is an important strategy that will continue to hold the attention of L&D and experts to provide the right learning.

“Gamification features like unlockable achievements give employees instant feedback whenever they do something positive [2].” You can also assign badges to specific pieces of content, like assessments.  “Gamification gives a sense of advancement to the employees. Employees get to learn something new by feeling in charge of the whole training, resulting in executing the tasks effortlessly, and thereby performing the best at what they know [2].” Gamification will continue to help organizations create engaging, fun, immersive, and memorable learning experiences.

4. Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality has been a popular mode of implementing a variety of training. Whether it is assessing an insurance claim or working in a hazardous environment or learning a high-risk or high-cost skill such as flying an aircraft, Virtual Reality is the training mode to lean on.

Instead of conducting drills, companies can help employees gain exposure to concepts such as emergency response in a hazardous situation, like a fire or flood or a tornado alarm, through a VR based module. Virtual Reality need not be implemented using 3D only. It can be implemented and still be effective with 360-degree photographs or videos. Using an appropriate mix of photographs and/or videos and overlaying them with interactions, VR can be a fun, useful learning experience.

With highly sophisticated tools, the development of VR material is easier and cheaper. Today you can experience VR across platforms. Based on the increased adoption and good business cases, the use of VR will continue to grow in 2021,  and it will grow stronger in the coming years.

5. Catalog Courses

You might be wondering why catalog courses? How can it be a trend? Well, this year the catalog course industry has seen a massive revamp. With more organizations going digital, the demand for catalog courses has gone up. Many new players are vying for the catalog business pie. The primary advantage of catalog courses is that they are on varied subjects and ready to use or deploy without much effort.

This offering will continue to grow, and it gives an option to the learners to learn new skills faster as they are available readily.

6. Continuous Learning Journeys

The continuous learning journey is a relatively new concept wherein there is a tacit understanding that people need to learn continuously to retain the learning imparted during formal training sessions.

It is important to note that people tend to forget or lose the information that they have learned after a few days. Sometimes it may be a few days or a few weeks. This is known as the Forgetting Curve. The curve shows how quickly we forget information over time when there is no attempt to retain it.

For example, microlearning can be used as reinforcement in the continuous learning journey of a learner. A continuous learning journey can be implemented from the time a learner joins an organization to when a new product is launched, when employees need to be updated about changes happening across the organization or any new piece of training. Microlearning platforms, like KREDO, make implementing continuous learning journeys for employees very easy.

Continuous learning journeys are the need of the hour. We have seen an increase in its adoption, and it will continue to grow in the coming years.

7. Video-Based Learning

Video-based learning strategy continues to be one of the preferred methods to communicate crucial messages to employees. They work well in a variety of situations such as raising awareness of organization practices, or when making learners understand crucial aspects of their work.

Video-based learning nuggets can be both self-running and interactive. Increasingly, we are seeing the growth of interactive video-based learning to make a better impact on the learner.

Be it a product launch, or a newly designed process, change management, key messages from the management team, performance support in the moment of need, video-based learning can serve a variety of learning needs.

Video-based learning adoption will continue to rise, considering its continued popularity among learners.

8. Social And Collaborative Learning

Social learning has increasingly gained the attention of organizations as an important form of learning. Social learning as well as collaborative learning have more takers in organizations looking to leverage the strengths of these forms of learning.

Collaborative learning, as the name suggests, is about the collaboration between individuals in the workplace through various modes, such as forums, informal chat sessions, sharing sessions, and learning circles. The social and collaborative learning methods are cost-effective as compared to other forms of learning. Further, social training is effective and efficient thanks to a plethora of platforms and tools that are now enabling this form of learning. The learning is open or transparent and encourages learners to overcome their fears of seeking new knowledge.

Social and collaborative learning is here to stay and will grow by leaps and bounds.

9. Smarter Content Curation

Many organizations are aware that the internet as well as their knowledge bases have a massive repository of content and information. They also know that users would prefer content that is the most relevant to the subject that they want to learn. For this, organizations are adopting content curation. However, content curation must be done in an effective or rather, smart way. Smarter content curation helps find the right learning content for the learners.

Content curation will become more sophisticated and turn into one of the best ways to create high learner engagement.

Conclusion

These are the trends we foresee as preferred modes of learning in the coming year.

Whether they are learning technology trends or the learning content trends, the trends will continue to impact the way learners learn and organizations benefit from these modalities and interventions. While learners will be able to apply their learning to the job better and retain the learning, organizations will save several manhours in training if these tools and methodologies are implemented effectively. These must be utilized by the organizations to make progress in their quest for becoming more agile and adaptive learning organizations.

We would love to hear your thoughts on what other trends will contribute to enhancing the learning space during 2021. This will help us in making a more meaningful contribution to the learning space.

The post eLearning Trends To Watch Out For In 2021 appeared first on eLearning.

15 Tips and Strategies to Engage Remote Learners Through High-impact Virtual Training

With a manifold increase on Virtual Training in the last few months, the focus shifts towards the approaches to increase remote learner engagement. In this article, I share 15 tips to help you achieve a high remote learner engagement quotient.

Background

Triggered by the work from home mode on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, L&D teams are looking for ways to move their classroom or ILT sessions to Virtual Training programs.

The high impact of the trainer-led classroom sessions is difficult to match when the entire audience is working remotely. However, by adopting the right tips and strategies that engage the remote learners, this goal can be met successfully.

In this article, I share 15 tips and strategies that will help you improve the learner engagement and enable you to deliver high-impact Virtual Training programs.

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Workplace – The New Mandate for the L&D Teams

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the workplace dynamics, and we are now witnessing the “new normal” of remote operations. While the percentage of remote learners may change over time, it will clearly be an integral component of the workplace in the future.

As an extension, it clearly heralds the need for L&D teams to have a clear strategy toward the Virtual Training program transformation:

  • Planning a progressive transition of classroom/ILT sessions to the online mode. This journey could feature:
    • ILT to Virtual ILT (VILT). This would map to:
      • Synchronous connects or live sessions.
      • Asynchronous connects via online access to VILT recordings and supporting collateral (prep material and hand-outs).
    • ILT to Self-paced or Fully Online mode.
    • ILT to an optimal Blended mode that offers VILT with a Self-paced or Fully Online mode. This would again leverage VILT sessions in synchronous/asynchronous modes.
  • Factoring for tips and strategies that will engage remote learner teams in each mode.
  • Drawing up a long-term, sustainable action plan that covers not only the transition but also has crucial measures to ascertain:
    • The effectiveness of the training in the new mode.
    • The training impact.
    • The demonstrable value for learners and business – matching or exceeding what was being met in the classroom/ILT mode.

What Are the Key Challenges in Engaging Remote Learners Through Virtual Training Programs?

Before moving on to the tips and strategies, let’s look at the key challenges associated with training remote learners.

  1. Given the scale of the pandemic, with no clarity on when this will end, there is an underlying anxiety that each one of us, including the remote learners, is going through. With this, it is difficult to get their mind share and have them fully engaged to the Virtual Training.
  2. Every day brings in new variables and as businesses react and respond to them, this impacts the remote learners. While they are aligning to the changing dynamics (with different degrees of success), it is difficult for them to retain the focus on Virtual Trainings.
  3. Several organizations made a quick transition of ILT sessions to a 100% VILT mode. This call was made to ensure a timely rollout of the planned, essential trainings. However, in the process, the adequate analysis of the new medium (VILT delivery platform) was not done, which could have helped achieve the required degree of learner participation and engagement. What they are seeing is that the long drawn VILT sessions do not hold the attention of remote learners.

So, while offering Virtual Training for remote learners is the need of the hour, it will not be successful unless L&D teams adopt certain tips and strategies to engage them. In the process, they must map the current trainings to the appropriate Virtual Training mode (VILT/Blended/Fully Online) that will provide the required impact and accomplish the learning objectives.

Here are 15 tips and strategies you can use to make your Virtual Training Programs more engaging for the remote learners.

What Tips and Strategies Can You Use to Engage Your Remote Learners as You Opt for Virtual Training Programs?

Part 1: Tips and strategies – When you move the entire classroom/ILT training to a VILT mode-based Virtual Training program

  1. Create manageable milestones: As you look at this transformation, do remember that the 7-hour long ILT session cannot be mapped to a 7-hour VILT session. The remote learner attention would be good only when the VILT program is divided into shorter and manageable chunks. Look out for the right option as you remap the ILT to VILT as:
    • A series of sessions – with each session not exceeding 60-75 mins.
    • A learning journey with live sessions, break-out sessions and activities, re-grouping, and interactions with peers/facilitator. This would help you match the flow and create the impact of the ILT session. Also, evaluate when you should opt for the live sessions – do watch out for the group size, if you need highly interactive sessions.
  1. Highlight the value of the Virtual Training: Prior to the Virtual Training roll-out, invest on short nuggets (Microlearning Videos/Infographics or even simple Newsletters) that showcase the value of the Virtual Training for the remote learners. Once they are in sync, you will see a more engaged audience.
  2. Learner interaction: If you opt for moving the entire classroom/ILT training to a VILT mode, assess the features available in the delivery platform first. Re-map the existing classroom interactions to the new medium. For instance:
    1. Most of the platforms offer interactions like polling questions and chats.
    2. You can also have provisions for breakout sessions, exercises, and re-grouping with remote learners’ presentations.
    3. You can also create a learning journey by structuring the multiple virtual sessions over a period of time and have interjections of supporting materials or exercises for the remote learners.
    4. If the VILT session delivery is integrated into your LMS, you can also add interactive quizzes at suitable junctures that can be tracked.
  3. Reward learners: Rewarding remote learners with a certification is a motivator to complete a program. This incentive is a great motivator for remote learners to complete the current one and, more specifically, look out for more Virtual Trainings in the future.
  4. Encourage Social Learning: Encourage your remote learners to collaborate through Social Learning by providing them the platform to discuss and collaborate. This can be done using chats, discussion boards, breakout rooms, and peer-to-peer feedback.
  5. Continue the connect with remote learners: Even after a successful completion of the VILT program, retain the connect with remote learners by facilitating sessions between other team members or with the facilitator/instructor.
  6. Take feedback for continuous improvement: Since Virtual Training is a moving target, upgrade your approach, delivery, and strategies regularly by asking learners to complete a review or survey to collect their feedback. Use this information to improve and hit the desired engagement quotient.

Part 2: Tips and strategies – When you move the classroom/ILT training to a Blended or a Fully Self-paced, Online mode-based Virtual Training program

The following tips and strategies are for the Self-paced, Online training that can be part of the Blended mode or offered as a stand-alone training.

  1. Allow seamless movement across devices: Mobile-friendly or Mobile-first designs provide multi-device support. Enable learners to move seamlessly across desktops/laptops to tablets/smartphones during the day.
  2. Offer Personalized learning: A great way to engage remote learners is by offering relevant content that helps them meet their personal learning goals. You can offer Microlearning based learning paths (with varied formats to suit different learning styles). Additionally, you can offer curation (both Formal and Informal training assets).
  3. Leverage Microlearning and action-oriented learning: This is engaging for remote learners as it is easy to learn and apply. Furthermore, you can engage the remote learners by offering spaced repetition for practice, proficiency gain, and meet the tougher goal of behavioral change.
  4. Use immersive strategies: Depending on the content and your budget, you have a wide spectrum of engaging and immersive approaches. You can invest in approaches like VR/AR, Gamification, Scenario/Branching Scenarios Based Learning, Interactive Story Based Learning, and Video and Interactive Video Based Learning. All of these approaches guarantee an engaged learning experience for your remote learners.
  5. Use brief and relevant content: When it comes to Self-paced Virtual Training, some remote learners take time to tune in. By keeping the journey intuitive, precise, and relevant, you will have their attention and higher engagement. Navigational aids like buttons, icons, and arrows must be well-designed, visible, and easy to navigate. An intuitive user interface will motivate learners to explore more in the Virtual Training programs.
  6. Have meaningful interactions: The days of mere “click to learn more” to engage learners are over. Learners demand interactions that make a compelling read and offer value. So, add interesting questions that probe and push remote learners to pause and think and stay away from the obvious ones.
  7. Integrate just-in-time learning aids: It is not enough to provide Formal training assets – what should the remote learner do when they encounter a problem late at night? Having a combination of just-in-time learning aids/job aids can help them. You can offer cheat sheets, ready reckoners, FAQs, tips, and so on. All these help remote learners apply their learning on the job. Additionally, they have easy access to learning aids/job aids within their workflow that help them at the moment of need.
  8. Retain the connect with remote learners: Even after the completion of a Virtual Training program, retain the connect with the remote learners. You can push curated information to support the initial program or keep them posted on what’s next. These simple approaches keep the remote learners connected and engaged. Furthermore, you are nudging them toward Self-Directed and continuous learning.

I hope my article provides you the tips and strategies you can use as you transition from classroom/ILT to VILT/Blended/Online Training for your remote learners. These will certainly help you improve the learner engagement for your Virtual Training programs, irrespective of the mode.

If you have any specific queries, do contact me or leave a comment below.

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Next Gen Blended Learning For The Digital Workplace – eLearning Industry

Our latest eBook, Blended Learning 2.0: Adopting The Next Gen Blended Learning Model For The Digital Workplace, provides insights, tips, and strategies on Blended Learning 2.0 that you can use to maximize the impact of your virtual training transformation.

Key Chapters

  1. Introducing Blended Learning 2.0

    This section begins with the current context and the impact of COVID-19 on the workplace. It captures how social distancing and remote operations have triggered the need of rapid Virtual Training Transformation. It outlines how the Next Gen approach of classic Blended Learning, that is, the Blended 2.0 mode is the optimal solution as it matches the current needs (both learners and trainers connecting virtually).

  2. Handling The Challenges In The Transformation To The Blended 2.0 Mode

    This section outlines 2 key challenges – Can the VILT/Blended mode match the impact and value of ILT sessions, and how can you keep the remote learners engaged? The approaches that will help you match the impact and value of ILT and strategies that will enable you to successfully engage remote learners are progressively revealed in the subsequent sections.

  3. Making It Work: Creating An Effective Transformation To The Blended 2.0 Mode

    This section lists 5 key options or building blocks that can be used to redesign the learning journey in the Blended 2.0 mode.

  4. Embarking On The Transformation To The Blended 2.0 Mode

    This section provides insights on 3 key aspects that are crucial to succeed in the transformation to the Blended 2.0 mode. These include the workflow to be adopted, an introduction to various technology pieces you should factor, and the toolkits that will help you in an effective and high-impact transformation to the Blended 2.0 mode.

  5. Creating A High-Impact Transformation: Tips And Best Practices

    This section lists tips and best practices you can use – for the ILT session’s conversion to the VILT mode or Blended 2.0 mode.

  6. Adopting The Blended Learning 2.0 Approach For Trainings—Examples

    The last section showcases how you can transform your key trainings that had the ILT mode to a high impact Blended 2.0 mode. The featured examples provide cues you can use to convert your Sales, Leadership, Compliance, and Applications trainings to the Blended 2.0 mode.

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5 Approaches to Consider While Transitioning from ILT to Fully Self-paced Virtual Training

On account of the ongoing pandemic, employers are responding by changing their work paradigms to embrace greater work-from-home models. As a result, the L&D teams need to deliver all their training programs remotely.

In the context of this new reality, where physical distance between learners and instructors is the hallmark, Virtual Training offers the ideal solution.

In this Infographic, we showcase 5 approaches to consider while transitioning from ILT to fully self-paced Virtual Training.

5 Approaches to Consider While Transitioning from ILT to Fully Self-paced Virtual Training

The journey from ILT to VILT is way more than just putting the existing trainer PowerPoint decks online. Only a well-thought-out transition plan will resonate with your learners and help you achieve your terminal learning objectives. We hope this Infographic will help you achieve your transition from ILT to fully Self-paced Virtual Training.

Contact us to see how we provide just-in-time support for L&D teams and business units to effectively respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

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How Can Immersive Learning Benefit the Modern Learners?

Sufficing the needs of modern learner is a tough job, and traditional pedagogies aren’t enough. Hence, it becomes crucial to incorporate technology in some way as it caters to the requirements of modern learners. Immersive learning is one way through which the process of learning becomes more interactive and engaging. Here are how immersive learning benefits modern learners.

What is Immersive Learning?

Let’s first get familiar with what immersive learning is before we go through the benefits of immersive learning. Immersive learning is a broader concept that encompasses various methods of learning.

Immersive learning is a technique that makes use of an artificial or simulated environment to provide learning to students. Immersive learning always leverages some form of technology through which the process of teaching-learning takes place. The idea is to mimic real-life experiences and let the students immerse themselves completely to better understand various subject matters. Modern technologies such as mixed reality, artificial intelligence, 3D learning, virtual reality, and augmented reality make it easier for learners to understand topics faster.

Is Immersive Learning Similar to Experiential Learning?

Some people may confuse immersive learning with experiential learning. While the main goals of immersive learning and experiential learning are quite similar, there are many differences between these two learning techniques. The first one is use of technology. Immersive learning always makes use of technology is some form or the other. The same is not valid in the case of experiential learning. The other difference is that immersive learning essentially incorporates game-based elements to make learning more fruitful and productive. On the other hand, experiential learning is not certainly game-based.

Incredible Benefits of Immersive Learning

With immersive learning in the classroom, students can get benefited in a lot of ways. Some of these are listed below.

  • No Distractions!

We live in a technological world where distractions have become more common than ever. It makes it difficult for students to concentrate in the classroom. With immersive learning, it becomes easier for students to acquire education in a much effective way. The process makes use of the latest technologies (Learning Management Software), such as virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, etc. These technologies are capable of grasping the attention of the learners instantly and keep them engaged throughout.

  • Focused Immersion

As clear from the name, immersive learning creates an artificial environment with the help of technology, letting the students get immersed in the learning process. Through stimulating visuals, the learners get fully engaged and better understand what is being taught. Virtual simulations further help students to attain practical learning. 

  • Promotes Personalized Learning

Traditional teaching methods hardly provide personalized learning to students, unless there’s a dedicated teacher for each learner. On the other hand, immersive learning lets every student learn at his/her own pace. With simulations, learners can perform various experiments without stepping out of the classroom. The whole experience is so gripping and enticing that students are motivated to learn and grow.

  • Better Memory Retention

It has been proven that one learns better by doing. The concept of immersive learning is so formulated that learners have to immerse themselves in the process thoroughly. Students attain a deeper understanding of concepts, whether it is interactive videos, simulations, or virtual 3D models. This is not possible with other methods of teaching, not with the traditional ones, at least. When learners are engrossed in learning, they understand the toughest of topics without any ado.

  • Break the Tethers of Space and Time

When used the right way, technology is a blessing! With immersive learning, students can break the tethers of space and time and learn about historical events and various locations around the world. Virtual field trips have been gaining popularity among modern learners as they allow them to travel any place across the globe. Teachers can also organize sessions that will enable learners to go back to ancient times to understand various historical topics in detail. 

  • A Great Way to Educate Specially-Abled Students

Physically-challenged students cannot take part in various activities. With the power of technologies such as virtual reality, these students can be a part of various field trips and adventure sports. They might not be able to do the same on their own, but with immersive technology, they can. Virtual reality has also proved to be effective in educating students with autism and speech defects.

Immersive learning is a need for modern learners. Traditional teaching methods are not sufficient to fulfill the requirements of the students in the current era. Blame it to the distractions, or the impact of digital stimulation, immersive learning is crucial to cater to their needs. Hence, schools and educational institutes should find out ways to incorporate immersive learning in the classroom for better learning outcomes.

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