The 7 New And Agile Roles Of eLearning Providers

The 7 New And Agile Roles Of eLearning Providers
Summary: How are workplace culture and deeper employee engagement affecting the eLearning market? Providers and vendors are forced to not only acknowledge the technological developments, but also meet social and economical challenges and take a more “agile” role in offering their services.

A Shift On The eLearning Market: The New And Agile Roles Of eLearning Providers

A recent research by Fosway shows that there is a shift on the eLearning market. The separation between technology and content no longer seems to exist. David Perring, director of research at Fosway, testifies:

"Vendors that traditionally provided bespoke eLearning now offering portals, and software providers like the Learning Management System companies are now announcing supporting content ventures."

It shows that buying companies are no longer satisfied with rigid solutions. Instead, they opt for flexible systems where they avoid switching between different providers. Buyers’ wishes also include special demands such as next generation learning. Those developments force eLearning providers into thinking new ways.

Challenges For The Existing Ways Of Learning Management

  • Where usually there was max 1 Learning Management System in a company, now there is a demand to choose a system that fits to singular needs, e.g. in a department or project group.
  • Content used to be created mostly via external authoring tools or agencies. But more and more companies would like to have the flexibility of creating content themselves or as a mixture of externally and internally created material.
  • Measuring results and ROI was traditionally done after a learning project had taken place. Now, the different phases in a learning project seem to be more dynamic. There is often found a running transition between results tracking, evaluation, course improvement and the creation of new content.

7 Agile Roles Of eLearning Providers

As direct result from those challenges, we have gathered 7 demands from companies that reflect the current work and learning cultures. These new and agile roles of eLearning providers are required to be met at least to some extent to stay competitive and relevant to buying companies.

1. Treating Target Groups Less Homogenously

A big change in workplace culture concerns the way “target groups” are treated. Target groups used to be a rather homogenous mass, and as a result, received training that somehow fitted them all. This has changed radically, with more concern for generational and individual differences. It requires more flexible training and individual choices. Mobile learning and microlearning are part of the solution, as they give freedom to the learner in choosing one’s own time and pace in learning. Browser based eLearning solutions with a responsive design also allow the learner to choose his own device.

2. Providing Content Flexibly

Companies are finding more situations asking for flexible learning. Example: Product training for Sales teams abroad. eLearning has proven very effective here, because employees can access training in their own time and place. However, most learning systems are not really made for flexible learning, but treat mobile access as a “second solution”. Requested are Software as a Service solutions that truly work on any device. Without limitations or time lapse. Only this gives remote team members a feeling of belonging and inclusion.

3. Adapting To Faster Product And Process Cycles

It’s true, processes and product cycles run faster than before. As a result, company training has a shorter life span, needs to be adapted and improved constantly. This means that companies have to analyze training quickly and build or revise new training as fast as possible. Most learning management systems have built-in analytics tools. Even easier it gets, when survey tools are included as well, possibly already within a course.

4. Giving Employees A Chance To Create Content Themselves

One important trend for employees is that they are allowed to take more responsibility and initiate more projects on their own. Empowerment has often been used as a term, which also makes sense in learning management. Employees who are empowered to take training into their own hands have the advantage of transmitting knowledge first hand. Also, it often works faster than when HR or learning departments are involved or even left to build and implement the training. However, in order to be able to take the process in to their own hands, employees need intuitive tools to build training with.

5. Letting Participants Track Their Own Learning Progress

As employees take more responsibility, “Employee-Led Learning” has evolved. Workplace Learning Advisor Jane Hart describes this learning style as one where participants are empowered to take decisions about their own learning and progress. Therefore, it is highly important that employees have access to their own learning results and can review their own performance. Certification further helps in acknowledging an individual’s learning progress and qualification.

6. Making Training Interactive And Fun

The demand for Next Generation Learning implies self-determined, engaging, and sometimes interactive parts in learning solutions. Learning Management System providers often integrate special features and functions for this purpose. eLearning agencies on the other hand create content with special focus on didactics and gamification. By including short films animations, motivation and effectiveness get increased. Adaptive learning is part of this role in eLearning as well, making sure that learners access learning modules at their individual level.

7. Receiving Flexible eLearning Solutions

Single departments and project groups work faster and often more autonomously than some years ago. Therefore, they are in need for their own solutions and systems. Plus, they need to implement them on short scale. If a software solution proves to be effective for a single project, it sometimes gets implemented on a larger scale. But to decide on a large scale implementation beforehand – that’s what many departments want to avoid. This is why SaaS plays an important role nowadays. As in the moment of buying (or licensing) a system the ultimate goal or implementation is not yet known, buyers need flexibility in what gets provided. This refers back to what David Perring mentioned in the beginning of this article: that vendors’ core responsibilities are intermixed now. A software provider is expected to be able to deliver content, if the need comes up – and an eLearning agency is expected to provide a fully-fledged Learning Management System as well.

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