Break through the barriers to effective eLearning: three key techniques

What’s stopping your eLearning getting off the ground? Audience research from our Learning Technologies 2014 seminars exposed some common barriers to effective eLearning, including:

  • Difficulty making learning accessible across multiple devices
  • Making it engaging and appealing
  • ‘Selling’ it internally to staff
  • Finding the time to complete training during a busy working day

So following this, we’ve taken a look at three ways to overcome them.

  1. Cater to any deviceNo one seems to use a PC all the time anymore. Staff have all got smartphones or tablets, but catering for them means building eLearning for each platform. It’ll multiply your costs and the experience won’t be the same on each device. Or will it? Last month something called the Adapt framework was launched. Adapt is a new tool that allows developers to create a single version of an eLearning course that will then adapt the content and interactions to work on all devices. This means for the cost of developing one eLearning course, you have something that will work on desktops, tablets and mobiles.The framework was developed by a community led by Kineo, Learning Pool and ourselves at Sponge UK, however it is an open-source tool so completely free and anyone can download it and get involved. Visit the community site for more information.
  2. Chunk your learning, to boost engagement in less timeIt’s impossible for anyone to take in and remember huge amounts of information in one go - our brains all have a limited capacity. So if you give your staff a really long eLearning course, they’re bound to struggle with it.Not only is it difficult to find the time in a busy day for an hour or more of eLearning, there will be too much content for them to absorb and it will be less effective. Instead, consider strategically breaking the learning down into more manageable chunks.The brain can process chunks of information easier and faster. Completing shorter 5-20 minute modules over a period of time will help ensure your learners take away the key information and are able to apply it quickly in the workplace. It will also stop them from disengaging with the eLearning because of distractions or information overload.To keep your eLearning engaging, also remember the importance of relevant, quality images and videos. Often stock photography doesn’t convey the feel you need, so take some time to make sure any visuals are compelling, relevant and achieve what you want.
  3. Consider campaigns to sell it internallyQuality eLearning takes time and money to develop so once you’ve gone to all that effort; you want to be sure staff will complete it.To improve the way training is communicated internally, you can run your eLearning as part of a bigger campaign. And a good way of structuring this campaign is to view it like a three course meal. First, you have your appetizers. These are initial communications activities that make staff aware of upcoming training, what it involves and what the employee benefit is. Some examples to use are: posters, emails, newsletters, screensavers, microsites and intranets.Next you have your main course, and this part of the campaign will feature more substantial activities such as eLearning modules (bitesize chunks), online assessments, workbooks and perhaps face-to-face sessions.And finally you have dessert. This is made up of performance support items like follow-up questionnaires, refreshers and job aids.A key to this is tying it all together with a single look and feel, so you might want to create a theme that you can design an identity around.

If you would like more information or demonstrations of Adapt, eLearning campaigns and chunking, please get in touch by leaving a comment.