7 Strategic Questions Every eLearning Company Must Have Answers To

7 Strategic Questions Every eLearning Company Must Have Answers To
Summary: Every eLearning company needs to constantly adapt to learners’ preferences and the latest technology tools available. In order to build a robust and diligent product roadmap, every eLearning company needs to align their roadmap to how corporations are making decisions. This article outlines 7 strategic questions that companies that are looking to deploy eLearning solutions are using to evaluate eLearning companies.

The Strategic Questions Every eLearning Company Must Have Answers To 

eLearning is a fast evolving field. From a learner's point of view, preferences, and needs are changing very fast. Companies that are looking to deploy eLearning solutions are evaluating eLearning companies with a much longer term view. It's not a one-and-done transactional decision. Companies are looking for eLearning solutions and eLearning partners that can grow with them and cater to learner's preferences as they evolve. eLearning companies need to adapt to this fast changing environment; deliver highest quality learning today and prepare for the changes to come. Here are 7 strategic questions every eLearning company needs to have answers to as they develop their product roadmap for the next 12-24 months.

  1. How do you measure improvement in learning outcomes?
    The point of any educational program or product is to increase learning, and the point of any new educational platform is to improve learning outcomes. Measuring learning outcomes is thus one of the most essential aspects of any educational platform; without the ability to measure learning outcome improvements, it’s nearly impossible to evaluate learners, let alone learning platforms. eLearning platforms need well-defined frameworks to measure learning outcomes, including data collection processes, concrete and meaningful benchmarks, and appropriate data analysis tools. Measurements in learning outcome improvements should ultimately be translated into action, such as adjustments to the learning pace or to the platform itself.
  2. How do you measure learner engagement?
    Professionals are busy people, and while ongoing education is important to them it is rarely their primary focus. An eLearning platform that doesn’t foster high engagement is doomed to fail, especially with professionals. According to a HarvardX study, only 22% of learners who set out to earn a certificate actually completed the necessary coursework. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have an overall completion rate of just 7%. Mobile access, bonus and penalty systems, and social media interactivity are all potential engagement boosters for eLearning platforms; make sure any educational tool you consider has a clear strategy for putting them to use and getting your members to stay engaged in their learning.
  3. Do you deliver personalized, competency based learning pathways?
    Every learner has unique learning styles, goals, and motivators, and brings different skill and knowledge backgrounds to the learning experience. Learning communities made of professionals are especially diverse in this regard, and one-size-fits-all learning methods have long been proven to be far less effective and efficient than personalized learning. Competency based learning, on the other hand, has shown to produce a great deal more value both in traditional education and ongoing learning, allowing for a personalized education pathway and pace. Program design might include certification preparation, continuing education, recertification credits, practice exams, and other means of evaluating and noting achievement. A robust platform with personalized learning capabilities will better serve the learner's and company's needs.
  4. What is your mobile strategy?
    Mobile devices have already overtaken desktops when it comes to internet traffic, and many people use their mobile devices preferentially over non-mobile computers for almost every task. Many workplaces are already capitalizing on this trend, with support for mobile workers growing from 15% to 29% of the US and European workforce between 2011 and 2012 - a percentage that has no doubt increased in the intervening years. By 2017, an estimated 905 million tablets will be in use in homes and workplaces around the world. Long story short, mobile is where people are, and it’s growing fast. Taking advantage of mobile platforms allows for boosted engagement and improvements to data collection and analysis, so make sure any eLearning options you consider are mobile-ready.
  5. How does your platform support badges & micro-credentials?
    Lifelong learning is important to professionals for the value it creates for them, both in their current position and for the new opportunities it can create in the job market. Increasing mobility and flexibility among employees and in the job market has changed the focus of many professionals’ ongoing education efforts from degree or long term certificate acquisition to the collection of “badges” or “nanodegrees”: Data Analyst, Android Developer, and so on. Mozilla’s Open Badge initiative is adding to the trend, and education heavy weight Pearson launched their own badge program, Acclaim, in 2014. According to Extreme Networks, two-thirds of 1900 organizations surveyed believe that badges have a positive impact and that digital badging will grow in coming years. Give your learners the incentive they’re looking for in their education: not just the knowledge, but the proof of knowledge, in a convenient digital form that carries weight in the marketplace.
  6. Does your technology support data and identity integrations?
    Though infrastructure features aren’t glamorous and are rarely highlighted by eLearning vendors, problems here can derail all of your efforts. Companies looking to deploy eLearning already have to juggle an accounting system, CRM, marketing system, and more; their eLearning system should integrate nicely, not cost them even more time. Learners might not notice how seamless the integration is, but they’re bound to notice any interruptions, so make sure there won’t be any with a platform that works.
  7. What is your core competency?
    This may be in the last position, but it’s the most important. “eLearning” is a broad term, and refers to course delivery systems, content management systems, assessment engines, webinar platforms, learning management systems, learning content management systems, learning data management systems, and more. Make sure you define what it is that you do best.

If you have not already answered these questions, its time to get your management team together and spend some time brainstorming around this. Answers to these 7 questions should define every eLearning company’s product roadmap for the coming year.