The Crux Of Corporate eLearning: How Engagement And Education Go Hand-In-Hand
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Get To The Crux Of Corporate eLearning: 5 Tips To Enhance Employee Engagement

Almost 40 years ago, young employees received an average of around 2.5 weeks of training before getting into their new roles. By the mid-1990s, that number fell to only around 11 hours and though hard data is difficult to pinpoint today, industry experts reveal it’s much less. In fact, some cite in the past five years, only one-fifth of employees have received on-the-job training of any sort.

Though there are a host of reasons for this decline, cost tends to rise to the top of the list. Yet, while it can be expensive to invest in high-quality educational resources for employees, the ongoing conversation within the corporate training sphere is that it is more costly to neglect this important step. Well-prepared team members perform better, are more confident in their roles, and ultimately drive more money to an organization.

As such, when they’re not receiving the support they need at an office job, today’s workforce is starting to move elsewhere. And, they aren’t just moving to the brick-and-mortar location down the street. Rather, they’re going out on their own, pursuing solo freelancing opportunities through which they can access the on-the-job training they require. Recent research reveals that this shift isn’t just a flash-in-the-pan trend but rather a steadily inclining movement. By 2027, it’s estimated that more than 50% of the nation’s workforce will be working in a freelance capacity, driven there primarily by an impetus to learn more, create more, and grow more than a traditional employer environment will allow.

However, a new crop of training opportunities is becoming a more viable and valuable option in response to this culture shift. Now, companies that want to invest in employee training but lack the resources and capital to bring in an instructor to lead a weeks-long seminar have other options. Enter eLearning.

From the construction industry to food service, there are myriad sectors that can benefit from the ease and accessibility afforded by online training courses. In addition to being a more cost-effective alternative to in-person training, they also allow employees to complete modules and take courses on their own time, from anywhere in the world. That alone provides a greater opportunity for remote and field employees to gain access to the same educational materials as their in-house counterparts, a challenge still unresolved within the traditional training sphere.

Still, developing and implementing an effective eLearning solution for your workforce requires strategy. Unless the rollout is intentional and engaging, even the most dynamic interface or robust software could be rendered ineffective by an unenthusiastic employee response. To that end, here are five tips to help team engagement and optimize your next eLearning rollout.

1. Break Up The Topics

While it can be tempting to show employees the entirety of the eLearning course at once, it can also be overwhelming to an already stressed and overworked workforce. Instead, breaking up the sections into digestible and manageable modules can help motivate employees to tackle the courses a little at a time.

This is where an uncluttered design comes into play, as well. Ensuring that each section is simple to access and easy to navigate can help make the corporate eLearning journey as seamless as possible. From clean font design to minimal use of graphs and distracting graphics, there are myriad ways to take the clutter out and get the message across as clearly as possible.

2. Consider The Individual Employee

In their quest to make eLearning accessible to all employees, some managers apply a domino effect, rolling out the same instruction across departments and hoping that someone, on some team, will glean the value from it. Yet, while this might benefit that handful of employees to whom it applies, the reality is that most departments will require their own specific type of training. What is meaningful to an HR executive might not mean much to someone in the warehouse, and vice versa.

During this customization, it’s also important to take into consideration each employee’s level of computer skills. While an IT guru might have no problem at all zipping through a lengthy and complicated eLearning course, someone else might struggle with the basic functionality of it. In this case, an organization may also need to offer an introductory course to explain to this group how to access the features and functions of the training.

3. Incorporate Gamification

Even your best workers likely love to play games. That’s why incorporating gamification techniques into corporate eLearning programs works so well. Take a recent case study at Ford Motor Company in Canada, for example. In an effort to supplement its existing online learning portal, the brand added gamification elements that made the process of learning new car models, financing specifics and technologies as enjoyable as possible. As a result, the learning portal wasn’t just used more frequently – it was used 417 times more by engaged and interested employees.

4. Set Aside Work Time For Participation

Chances are, your team members are already worked to the hilt. As such, expecting them to squeeze in on-the-job eLearning training will likely mean they’ll end up taking the courses on their lunch breaks or during any free minute they can spare throughout the day. Not only does this limit productivity, it also means their full attention isn’t on the modules. If they’re trying to eat a salad while taking an online exam or clicking through slides while on a conference call, their mind is going in a million different directions at once.

To improve focus and promote course completion, set aside a few hours each day for employees to devote solely to the training. This might mean setting aside a conference room or two for employees to plug in and concentrate away from the distractions of their office. Or, it may mean canceling a few meetings or pushing back some deadlines to ensure this takes top priority.

5. Check In Frequently

Especially if the subject matter is dense or the interface is a little more complicated, it’s important to check in frequently with employees to ensure they understand how to access, use and get the most from their eLearning course. Unless this dialogue is initiated, an employee could spend countless hours trying to navigate basic execution, leading to frustration and lack of motivation, not to mention a decreased likelihood of completing the course on time.

Develop an open-door policy that allows anyone to come to you with questions around the training, or schedule set times to check in individually with each employee. This can also be a valuable time to gain feedback on the course, and find ways in which you can improve its use and function in the future.

A Successful eLearning Office Implementation: Putting Engagement First

Though today’s workforce is more tech-savvy and enterprising than arguably ever before, forward-thinking managers must tap into this potential while they can. If training initiatives are left on the back burner, it’s only a matter of time before qualified and valuable employees find a company that caters to their ongoing learning needs – or go off on their own to pursue such resources themselves.

Especially if traditional, in-person courses aren’t a feasible option, eLearning programs can help business leaders create a company culture that celebrates and facilitates employee education. The key to making sure these programs have a successful ROI is investing just as much in employee engagement and motivation as the online learning platform itself. Only then will workers feel the drive to hop online, log in and soak up all the knowledge they can.