Top 5 Benefits of Custom eLearning in Retail Industry

In the Retail Industry, custom eLearning offers massive benefits as opposed to the traditional instructor-led training in terms of retail employee training. Training the sales staff pose industry specific challenges such as restricted training budgets, dispersed workforce, high turnover rates, etc. Embracing custom eLearning for product knowledge, onboarding, compliance and sales skills would help retailers…

5 Advantages Of Creating Your First Self-Paced Course

How do you the address the growing popularity of remote classes and take advantage of the opportunity they present? How big a change is this for you from what you do currently? Let us talk about creating your first self-paced course.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

3 Ways To Make Sure Your Employees Care For Self-Paced Learning

When developing courses for experienced learners, it is important to keep in mind what motivates them to invest their time in learning. So, if you want a positive response to your online courses, it pays to design and promote courses keeping in mind adult learning principles. This is how to get the employees of your organization to care for self-paced learning.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

5 Innovative eLearning Solutions For The Self-Directed Learner

We are long past the online coursework and training that involves video lectures, unit plans and assignments, and exams. This type of instruction is no longer embraced by learners, and those who design eLearning coursework for students or business training are embracing new strategies and technology very rapidly now. It is a new day for eLearning, and the self-directed learner will have access to all of these new innovations.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Asynchronous Learning Advantages And Disadvantages In Corporate Training

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Asynchronous Learning In Corporate Training

Offering the employees control over their online training experience is often a priority for eLearning professionals when designing and developing online training courses. This is exactly what asynchronous learning does; it allows employees to learn at their own pace by giving them full responsibility of learning and the power to attend only when it is convenient for them. It really sounds fantastic. Synchronous learning techniques, on the other hand, may simulate the traditional classroom experience more successfully, but the truth is that the average modern learner leads a busy life; more often than not, aligning a busy schedule with the synchronous learning requirements is quite challenging. Asynchronous learning respects factors affecting regular attendance to online training courses and ensures that they are accessed and completed at different times for each employee, improving learning outcomes. But are there any drawbacks of the asynchronous learning method? In this article, I'll share 5 advantages and 5 disadvantages of asynchronous learning in order to help you determine when you should use it for your online training deliverable and when you should not.

5 Asynchronous Learning Advantages

  1. Offers employees complete control over their learning.
    As a learner-centered method, asynchronous learning gives employees full responsibility of their online training experience. This means that everyone is allowed to decide how, when, and where to learn. Furthermore, not only distance but also time barriers are eliminated, and thus, as employee-trainer interaction takes place according to personal schedules, there is more potential for personalized guidance and attention from online facilitators or trainers.
  2. Respectful to one’s own learning pace.
    Asynchronous learning gives employees time to reflect on what they are learning before answering questions or joining online discussions. As not all employees absorb the online training material in the same way, an asynchronous learning solution can benefit even employees with poor learning skills by offering them the ability to take their time to complete responses and develop their critical thinking skills.
  3. Convenient.
    Asynchronous learning is the ideal learning solution for adults with busy schedules, as it doesn’t require employees to be online at a specific day or time. Employees can communicate with their online facilitator or virtual classmates at their own convenience and instantly have access to information, online training assignments, and other online resources.
  4. Less social obstacles.
    While online interaction and collaboration are proven to enhance the online training experience, the truth is that there are many employees out there who don’t enjoy socializing and feel uncomfortable about the idea of participating in online discussions, where their more dominating peers have the greatest impact upon the virtual classroom. An asynchronous learning approach helps introverted learners eliminate social anxiety, as learning in isolation makes them feel safer and more comfortable.
  5. Interactive regardless of location and time barriers.
    Asynchronous learning methods allow employees not only to learn at their own pace, but also to interact with their peers and online facilitator no matter which the time zone they live in is. Discussion boards, blogs, and emails are always available to ensure that online interaction is effective, online collaboration for group projects is possible, and conversation takes place over distance and place.

5 Asynchronous Learning Disadvantages 

  1. Lacks instant feedback.
    Feedback in eLearning
     is essential, as it helps both employees and trainers address issues and misunderstandings related to the online training course material. And, of course, the quicker the feedback is received, the sooner can the employees get back on the right learning track. In an asynchronous learning environment instant feedback is impossible, as the online training course is not live and employees may waste valuable time waiting for their questions to be answered by their trainers or even their peers.
  2. Lacks personal interaction.
    Personal interaction among participants is eliminated in the asynchronous learning context, and the lack of a more “human” atmosphere disconnects employees not only from their peers, but, interestingly enough, from the online training material itself; not feeling part of a learning environment can make employees see the online training course as a burden. Learning in isolation may work for some, but it certainly does not work for most people who need personal interaction in order to maintain or even increase their motivation levels. All in all, not being able to personally interact with other people can lead to failure to achieve the learning goals and outcomes of the online training course.
  3. No live collaboration and real time activities.
    Learning at one’s own pace also means waiting for others to respond, often for long periods of time. Asynchronous learning doesn’t offer the ability for real time discussions and live collaboration, both of which are proven to increase motivation and engagement. Furthermore, overall communication between collaborators can be difficult due to the general sense of being isolated and “disconnected”.
  4. Can cause lack of motivation.
    Lack of live interaction can disengage and demotivate employees, who may need encouragement and stimulation in order to log in, read the material, and complete the online training course. In fact, procrastination is more likely to occur in an asynchronous learning environment than in any other online learning environment. Personal interaction helps employees maintain their interest, whereas isolation rarely boosts motivation.
  5. Requires self-discipline.
    Finally, asynchronous learning asks from participants to be focused, goal oriented, and with great time management skills. Success in an asynchronous learning environment requires of employees to be both strongly committed and disciplined, which can be a huge disadvantage for those who are not exactly highly self-motivated.

Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of asynchronous learning can help you determine whether it is ideal for your future online training plans. There is no doubt that asynchronous learning can be incredibly beneficial, but there are certainly some cons to consider before following a pure asynchronous learning approach.

However, there are certainly some ways in which you can achieve success in developing effective asynchronous learning programs: Read the article 6 Tips For Creating Engaging Asynchronous Online Training Courses and discover 6 tips for asynchronous online training that can help you develop engaging, exciting, and memorable online training courses.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

The Problem With Modular Learning And 3 Easy Ways To Fix It

The Problem With Modular Learning  

One of the biggest challenges organizations have today is managing their capacity to produce learning that meets all of their training needs. The struggle to create a wide variety of effective learning materials that cater to a broad range of needs for different departments, roles, and competencies can be a daunting and extremely costly endeavor.

At Learnkit we see a lot of organizations attempt to overcome this challenge by developing an extensive content library. Human Resources and training departments try to create large content repositories that can satisfy all of their employees’ learning needs. However, these content libraries can be hard to navigate (for learners and administrators alike), have content that is too general, and can really decrease the effectiveness of your learning initiatives.

The problem with creating a large content library is that the courses are usually catered to one department or job function. This can end up leaving many employees feeling disconnected from the material. If I’m in the marketing department, then I want all my learning to be tailored to me as much as possible. If the learning I’m going through speaks more the sales department, I’m not likely to internalize anything. What’s more, a lot of content ends up packaged in longer courses and it can be hard for administrators to tailor learning paths for the needs of different departments.

For example, a restaurant will offer their staff an online learning module for dress code training. A kitchen employee will take the training and find themselves having to sit through the first portion that goes over dress code for front of house staff and servers; information that has little to no value or relevance to their job. If your employee makes the time to do their training, only to be submerged in learning that is catered to another department, they will get bored, disconnect, and likely not complete the training.

Employees want personalized learning. We hear the need to create learning that is personalized to the learner time and time again. However it is extremely costly to create a learning module tailored to the needs and realities of your sales team and then re-create similar learning modules with customized content for marketing, operations, and customer service. Many organizations don’t have the staff, time, resources, or money to build out personalized learning modules for each department or role.

So how do we address these learning module challenges? The trick is to find ways to reuse content so that you aren’t reinventing the wheel.

3 Simple Ways To Create Great Learning Modules That Increase Employee Engagement While Staying Within Your Budget  

  1. Axe the content library -quite literally- by creating easy to use, agile, and truly “bite-sized” content.
    When dealing with huge content libraries, we often see courses embedded in long training modules that take ages to move content around or take out small learning modules. To create amazing modular learning it is crucial that your content is developed into small, independent bite-sized chunks. All of your modules should be built as small, separate files. This will allow you to have 5-6 minute training sessions that employees can use throughout your organization, opposed to being embedded in a larger training course. When you create your training and learning courses as separate files, rather than menu items embedded in a larger file, you are given much more flexibility to slice and dice your learning for different purposes. This means, next time you want to put together a larger course you can simply pick and choose some of your small files to bring them together into a 2 hour course with just one click through your Learning Management System.
  2. Plan ahead to maximize learning effectiveness and efficiency.
    When we create digital learning for our clients we spend time upfront carefully planning how to build the content for multiple roles and departments at once. Simply asking your users in their training which department they belong to in a course (and then directing them there!) can help you make small adjustments. A simple “Choose your department” question at the beginning of a course will allow you to direct your employees to the course modules relevant to their department or role. The rest of these changes can range from little text changes to larger changes branching off from core content. Small items include changing the department name and role-specific language. Larger changes include things like the uniforms in the above example, or changing the dialogue in a branched scenario to match a learner’s role. All of these, large and small, go a long way to improving engagement and retention.
  3. Ask more open ended questions to encourage the personalization of knowledge.
    Would you tell me about a time where you feel like you learned quickly? Rather than have a multiple choice test with various questions and static four choice answers, make your employees feel like it is really applicable to their day-to-day job and responsibilities by adding open ended questions at the end of each module. Use general language when crafting the questions, so that they will be applicable to everyone. This will help your employees be more engaged in the learning by requiring them to reflect on their own role and experiences with the new material they are learning. When an employee goes through training and is asked an open ended question, the internalization of their own experience in their role and with the company will not only improve their engagement, but will  also increase their knowledge retention because they are actively processing the learning.

How does your organization stack up against the common learning module problem? What other strategies have you applied to help solve the problems with modular learning?

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Use Self-Paced Learning To Enhance The Learning Experience Of Employees, Customers And Channel Partners

How Self-Paced Learning Can Enhance The Learning Experience Of Employees, Customers And Channel Partners

  1. Convenience.
    When it comes to corporate eLearning, learners, be it employees or customers, always find it hard to strike a balance between work and training. Sometimes, they find it difficult to attend scheduled training programs due to overlapping work priorities. However, with self-paced learning people can learn anytime and from anywhere, whether they are travelling or at home. The convenience offered by self-paced learning enables more people to attend training programs, and reduces the drop out ratio.
  2. Cost effectiveness.
    Virtual or classroom training involves different costs such as fees for instructors, costs related to venues in the case of classroom training or technology costs in the case of virtual training. On the contrary, self-paced learning does not involve any of these costs and thus it is highly cost effective.
  3. Suited for all types of learning styles/needs.
    Different people have different learning styles. Some people prefer to go through the same learning content multiple times, and thus require more time for completing a course. Whereas some people get done with a course very fast. Likewise, the learning and comprehension capacity of every individual is different. Self-paced learning is suited for all types of learners. Learners who want to finish a course fast don’t have to wait for others; whereas learners who need more time to grasp the content can do it at their own pace.
  4. No scheduling issues.
    Scheduling is one of the major challenges for any learning program, especially courses that involve a large number of people. Self-paced learning takes scheduling related issues, such as rescheduling and cancellations, out of the equation. Learning managers have to simply launch a program and set a deadline for course completion.
  5. Helps in building a solid base.
    Similar to virtual and classroom learning, self-paced learning has assessments and quizzes at the end of each module. Through these assessments, learners can evaluate their understanding of the concepts. If any knowledge gaps exist, learners can review the content again till they have a solid understanding of the content. This kind of flexibility is not available in virtual/classroom learning. Also, in a classroom environment, sometimes students, especially introverts, hesitate to raise their doubts in front of others. However, in self-paced learning, learners can freely ask questions through mediums such as online chat or online messaging.
  6. Improves ownership.
    By its inherent nature, self-paced learning puts the onus of learning on the learners. This way there is greater ownership on learners, which forces them to have more internal motivation as well as better organize their own time.
  7. Greater focus.
    In a classroom environment, there are chances of students getting distracted. In real classrooms, these distractions could be caused by peers and in virtual classrooms these distractions could be due to family members/friends. However, with self-paced learning students generally learn only at a time where there are no distractions, which leads to effective learning.
  8. Good for permanent content.
    All organizations have some training content that’s permanent and that needs to be distributed to a lot of people. Common examples include company policies or standard training manuals. Self-paced learning is good for permanent content, because it eliminates the need of live facilitators and scheduling-related coordination.
  9. Ensures quicker adoption of products.
    In the case of customers and channel partners, self-paced learning ensures faster adoption of new products. As opposed to traditional learning, where you need to schedule a sizeable batch of customers or channel partners to demonstrate new products, self-paced learning helps them get started instantly. In the case of new products, these time savings are immensely valuable because you can get feedback faster and thus make improvements, if any, more quickly.

Concluding, self-paced learning offers numerous advantages to organizations, whether they are providing training to their employees, their customers or their channel partners.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.