Driving Employee Engagement using Digital Learning Methods

Employee engagement is essential for the overall development of an organization. Given the times we live in, digital learning has become more relevant than before in driving employee learning and engagement.

The Pandemic has taught every organization to be more agile and adaptive in its approach to training. As work from home or remote working has become a new normal for many employees, digital learning has taken center stage when it comes to training implementations.  Employee engagement continues to be a priority for organizations as they continue to reinvent themselves for post-pandemic times as well.

In this blog, I will explore digital learning methods that can be used to drive employee engagement.

ELearning

eLearning can support the learning needs of existing and new workforce and drive employee engagement in different and interesting ways. Organizations can provide personalized learning with the help of eLearning. They can develop courses that match learning goals with individual competencies, skills, and business priorities. With eLearning, employees will have the flexibility to learn at their own pace and time. Organizations can develop engaging eLearning content with the help of videos, interactive games, animations, webinars, podcasts, etc. It enables the L&D professionals to capture the attention of employees in new and exciting ways.

With eLearning, employees will have 24/7 access to training materials. L&D professionals and SMEs can add new content or revise materials when business needs or trends change. Employees can also contribute to the development of content based on their experiences and challenges. All this will ultimately result in continuous learning for the employees and empower the workforce for the organization.

Virtual Classes

A virtual class is an online teaching and learning environment where instructors and employees can present course materials and interact with each other. Participants can work in groups and participate in learning activities. Virtual classes provide live interaction between instructors and participants, encourage group learning, and engage in online forums within the organization for enhanced collaboration and for building relationships between employees.

Also, optimizing the virtual classes to access through mobile devices like smartphones and tablets offer more flexibility to the learners. Sometimes, it becomes difficult to get your employees to participate in virtual classes when they don’t know what they will get out of the training. Therefore, it is better to communicate the specific benefits of the virtual training session, in everyday tasks and future activities, making virtual classes a good option for driving employee engagement.

Mobile Learning

Most of the traditional eLearning strategies can be well adapted for mobile learning. However, you can see some added advantages to the mobile learning approach. Mobile devices are well suited to offer short chunks or segments of training content, a popular learning method that can increase employee engagement. Mobile learning supports self-paced learning. It allows employees to learn at their own individual pace. Another advantage of mobile learning is that it can be molded to suit different learning styles of employees.

By using gamification elements, such as badges, leaderboards, points, rewards, etc., you can make mobile learning more fun and engaging for your employees. You can motivate your employees by rewarding those who watch a full video, complete a quiz, listen to a podcast, or take an online course on their mobile devices. This will encourage the employees to continue participating in mobile learning, which will ultimately drive employee engagement.

Microlearning

Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets are suited to provide bite-sized learning content or short segments of training content that can increase employee engagement.

Microlearning can hold an employee’s attention more effectively and, they can apply the learning on their job right away. For example, sales teams can spend a few minutes to refer a short learning nugget on sales techniques, sales pitch, new product or conflict resolution before they meet a customer. When they meet the customer, they have better clarity and increased confidence. This ultimately results in increased employee engagement.

Employee Engagement During A Crisis

In the present crisis time, many employees are working remotely from different geographical locations. In such times, driving employee engagement becomes a challenge for organizations. You can drive employee engagement during a crisis by maintaining regular communication with employees, motivating them to perform better, recognizing their efforts, conducting fun activities online at the end of the week, etc.

Leaders need to build a well-rounded communication strategy to drive employee engagement. This strategy must include newer methods of communicating and engaging with employees, along with traditional methods, like emails and phone calls. You can also consider knowledge sharing activities, online real-time surveys, virtual team building activities, entertainment activities, virtual quizzes, etc.

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2020 Advent Calendar

I made my first blogging advent calendar last year, as a a bit of fun, and decided to do it again ot mark the end ofa rather strange year, 2020 … the year we kind of “lost the plot, found it again, lost it again, didn’t go out, and then couldn’t see friends or family for months on end. And worked from home. A lot.”

Below is my 2020 blogging advent calendar. I’ve linked to 24 of my own blog posts, tweets, or updates/shares that have either struck a chord with me, my blog/social readers (from the stats) or mean something to me personally – in no particular order. Each entry is released on the corresponding day of the festive advent, so please come back and see what else I’m sharing as part of my 2020 blogging year.

  • I’ll also be sharing my ‘52 things I learned in 2020‘, a follow up to my list from 2018 – I’m not sure where the 2019 list went but I’ll go and find and publish that one shortly too.

Enjoy, and please feel free to share (and get your own on the MyAdvent website).

Photo by Alexander Sergienko on Unsplash

7 websites with free video-materials

It is much easier to find images that are not subject to copyright that we can use in teaching, this is not the case with short videos. Compared to free images, which we use more in teaching, free videos are used less. Also, there are fewer sites where you can find those that are free and available for commercial purposes.

Lately, teachers (but also students) are increasingly turning to learning through video material. In addition to learning through video materials, there are more and more teachers and students who are the creators of teaching materials. You will have the opportunity to read about programs and tools for creating video material some other time. For now, in this blog post, you will read about the sites where you can find short videos that you can use to create your materials. If you are tired of presentations and want to innovate your teaching materials, I suggest you try short videos. Because, it is more probable that the student will watch an interesting video more than a presentation that contains only text and static images. In relation to the presentation, the video is a form that students better accept.

How can you use them?

You can use short teaching videos (up to 5 minutes) to highlight key points in a lesson / topic, to send students some additional instructions, as material for a inverted classroom, or to save your shared activities and memories from school. By using ready-made, high-quality videos, you will avoid the hassle of shooting shots yourself, worrying about the quality or length of the footage.

If you want to create a short video or an explainer video, on any topic, for your students, but you are missing videos, check out the list below.

Websites where you can find videos:

  1. Pexel 
  2. Mixcit
  3. Pond5
  4. Videvo 
  5. Pixabay
  6. Coverr
  7. Motionelements

*Note:

By typing a keyword in English, you will find the desired video. However, be aware of which license it is subject to and always choose the free or commercial option in the search filters to find the ones that can benefit you.

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Reduce Amount of On-screen Text

To reduce cognitive overload, it can be helpful to reduce the amount of initial content that displays to include graphics/images and text. Below are a few methods I use to reduce the amount of on-screen content (more specifically text) for a better learning experience.

Click to Reveal or Replace
The logic behind this is to only have content visible when the user triggers it via a click of an object such as a button or icon. The trigger can either make content visible as an overlay (i.e. a popup) or have content appear and replace (or fill) a reserved area.

*Blank with Nothing Clicked
Picture1

*Reveals Content Once First Icon is Clicked [Click to Replace]
Picture2

*Reveals Content Once Second Icon is Clicked, Replacing Any Before It [Click to Replace]
Slide2

*Reveals the Content for both the First AND Second Icons Once Clicked [Click to Reveal]Picture3

Other Click to Reveal/Replace Variations

  1. Accordion: Click title/topics to expand the display of corresponding content (typically displays below the clicked title/topic)
  2. Tooltips: Hover or click a triggered object (button, key term, etc.) to display additional content
  3. Tabs: Click of a tab reveals the corresponding information in the associated reserved area
  4. Pagination: Much like tabs, pagination offers a concise presentation of content in a reserved area that corresponds to the number (button) clicked to reveal content
  5. Timeline/Roadmap: Timelines are commonly used to provide audiences linear content (i.e. process steps, historic timeline, etc.) and in many ways resemble tooltips.

Branching [Menu]
Branching allows content to “branch off” and segment content with one central location by an umbrella topic or category.

It’s less common when referring branching, but branching may intend to reveal content on the same page/slide, but more often a new page/slide is used to display content. Branching can be beneficial if presentation needs involve larger amounts, or more detailed content.

Convert Text to Other Media Type
Visual cues can help to reduce text as well. For example, icons and symbols may be used to compliment and further support smaller amounts of text.

More efficient media use may involve creating visual content from the initial [text] content provided to include video, infographics and illustrations, or interactive content that helps to embed the learner (ex. interactive video and virtual or augmented reality).

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Building Your Portfolio

Anyone who has ever searched for an Instructional Design job or sought new clients is likely familiar with the need and benefit of having a strong portfolio. And understandably, starting a portfolio may prove especially daunting to new designers, so below are some suggestions for where to find inspiration and other resources.

Find Inspiration

A bulk of my first portfolio featured products from assignments I was given in my graduate program. If you are in currently enrolled in school (or part of a certification training), consider showcasing both your design work and documented reports (project plans, documented needs analysis, etc.).

Course Authoring Company Challenges

Follow any/all companies that offer a course authoring challenge or contest to practice design and hone your skill. You don’t have to use THEIR solution (assuming the challenge is not specific to their solution and its features).

Showcase a Course Function or Learner Activity

Focus your instructions on HOW content is presented to include transitions, animations, click-to-reveal/hide, etc. to demonstrate how you scaffold information using design. For presentation, I look to web elements for inspiration and W3Schools is an excellent resource! Some examples include:

  • Accordion
  • Navigation [Menu]
  • Pagination or Carousel/Slideshow
  • Tooltips

Alternatively, you can focus on specific learning activities and interactions such as hotspot, assessments, drag-n-drop, interactive video, augmented reality, virtual reality, etc.

Transform Content

Taking available content from various sources with the intent to transform it into a course can serve as a more dynamic source of inspiration! This isn’t limited to instructional content, such as a PowerPoint turned eLearn, but presentation content meant to inform audiences. For readily available content, I seek:

  • Whitepapers, [government] reports, and case studies (typically just a few pages),
  • Infographics (I search infographic data bases and Google images),
  • Product/Service Info Sheets
  • Various Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
  • Niche/Industry Forums
  • Topics from open learning or paid platforms (i.e. MOOC.org, Skillshare, Udemy, etc.)
  • Ted Talks

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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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Advanced Action for Hotspot Activity

First you will need to have created the objects that will act as your (1) hotspot and (2) popup or panels that reveal additional details once the hotspot is clicked. The object can be a shape or an image, for example.

You will create an Advanced Action for (1) the hotspot and hide the output of (2) the popup in Properties panel.

For the Advanced Action you are simply writing an action so that Captivate will show the related popup panel when its hotspot is clicked and hide all others.

Hotspot Clicked:

In the first image below, the Advanced Action is written so the first clicked hotspot shows the first popup and hides the second, third, and fourth. In the second image, the hotspot will show the second popup and hide the first, third, and fourth. This way, no matter what order a hotspot is clicked, the corresponding popup will show and all others hide to avoid blocking the view of other that appear before or after.

Key Takeaways:
1. Create hotspots and popups so that the popups all are hidden (initially using the hide from output option)
2. Write advanced actions to apply to each hotspot object so that the corresponding popup will SHOW and any/all other popups HIDE. If you prefer all popups show and stay opened, then only SHOW your panel, no need to HIDE any other object(s)

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Looping Slide Video

Intro

A user asked recently for a step-by-step workflow to have a video – inserted as slide video – looping until the learner clicks a button. User tried to attach an advanced action to the On Exit event, but because that event is not to be trusted (happens after the last frame) this was not functional.

You can have a look at the example project, where I inserted two short videos which are looping until you click the Next button. To make the loop really visible a playbar with the progress bar is visible.

The workflow (see below) is not suited for longer videos. However I don’t think looping is often used for long videos. It would be not very user friendly. For a long video I would use the features of an interactive video to allow the user to jump to different bookmarked frames. I explained that workflow in:

Navigation to Bookmarks

Example project

One long video was added, which can be replayed with a button, to give control to the learner.

Play

Workflow

Step 1

Create a user variable, which will be used to store the frame number of the first frame of each slide. It is a reusable variable. In the example project it has been used three times: twice for the looping short videos, and once for the long video. The actions for the long video are in the Example project.

I labeled this variable v_start. No need for a default value.

Step 2

Create a Shared action with one parameter: the duration of the slide video.

Step 3

Attach the shared action to the On Enter slide event of the slide where you want the video to loop.  You find the duration of the video in the Timeline panel. It needs to be entered in seconds, but you can use decimals.

Depending on the styling of the video you may find it useful to add a short Fade in and/or Fade out transition to the video object to make the transition when the video restarts in the loop more smoothly.

Why not suitable for Long video?

Since the command ‘Delay next actions….’ is used, the chance to lose some synchronisation is much bigger for a long video. Similar to audio, the video needs to be loaded when entering the slide. For a long video that may lead to some lagging.  But the time in the Delay command starts right away when entering the slide.

Avoid a pause button as well, because the Delay command ignores all pauses.

For that reason, all buttons used in the example file have either no pausing point, (for the short videos which are looping) or a pausing point at the end of the video (for the long video).

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