How And When To Use Custom eLearning Solutions For Employee Training

Choosing The Right Custom eLearning Solution Which Fits The Needs Of Your Employees

Every organization strives to improve its performance and efficiency. One of the key elements that contribute to an organization’s growth is its Learning and Development (L&D) vision. Organizations that believe and invest in learning hold an edge over their competitors, who focus solely on productivity. Over the years, eLearning has emerged as an imperative component of learning programs due to greater reach and easier accessibility. eLearning, however, can be a double-edged sword. Often, L&D teams fall into the trap of turning to ready-made, off-the-shelf content to meet their training needs. After all, they are relatively inexpensive and available almost immediately.

eBook Release: Developing Custom eLearning That Results In Efficient Corporate Training Delivery
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Developing Custom eLearning That Results In Efficient Corporate Training Delivery
Understand the whole picture of all the complexities involved in planning and developing effective learning material.

Now, while this works for generic training, it poses a huge knowledge gap when operational aspects are involved. To elaborate, while soft-skills could be a generic topic for employees, process training and skill enhancement training will not be effective with a one-size-fits-all approach. Enter custom eLearning. So, you decide that custom eLearning is the way to go. Now, all your training woes should be over, right? Not quite. Custom eLearning gives you the power to create a learning experience specific to your training needs. For starters, your courses embody the ethos of your organization. You get to teach what you really need to and what you really want to. You get to speak the language of your employees. You get to pick and choose; you get to decide. But, it’s not a cakewalk— it’s easy to get it all wrong!

With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility

Customizing your learning program gives you great power. And, with that great power, comes great responsibility. You have to be sure that you’re teaching your employees what you really need to teach them. You need to be sure that your organizational values lie at the core of everything you say. And, you need to be sure you speak their language. In short, your customization should align with the training needs of your organization. Isn’t it enough to identify the desired learning outcomes and plug in the information that helps achieve that? Are you not, then, aligning your learning program with the training needs of your organization? Well, it’s a part of the process, but just a piece of the whole. Where should you begin?

1. Identify The Training Need

Though it’s true you would identify the training need before opting for an off-the-shelf learning piece, the situation becomes more critical when planning a customized learning module. You need to get to the heart of the matter—why do you need to train your employees on that particular topic? Is it something new to them, and does it come with a steep learning curve? Is it something that they’ve been doing for a while, yet do it wrong? Are you trying to increase efficiency in an established process by introducing some tweaks? Most importantly, how much impact would there be on the outcome to justify the training? Frame the high-level learning objectives and create a blueprint for your training program.

2. Perform A Cost-Benefit Analysis

So, you’ve analyzed your training need—does it justify the cost of training? How much does the company stand to gain by imparting this training? The benefits could be tangible, or intangible— either way, you need to build a case. To perform a fair cost-benefit analysis, you need to consider all factors, not just the visible ones. For example, one could easily forget to factor in the man-hours consumed by the training; an invisible cost that could wreak havoc on your budget. Does that mean you abandon a training program if the costs are higher than the benefits? No, it simply means you need to optimize your training plan to reduce the impact on costs.

3. Study Your Audience

It’s tempting to throw a one-size-fits-all eLearning course at your audience. Is it prudent to do so though? After all, not everyone needs to have the same amount of information about everything; in fact, every individual has unique training needs. Although it might not be possible to cater to individual training needs, it is possible to classify your audience into groups—to the extent of a little stereotyping. Depending on what you need to teach them, your audience can be grouped by their age, academic background, job profiles, experience, etc., and any other criteria you care to think of. The better you know your audience, the better you can customize the learning program for them.

4. Determine The Learning Outcomes

What do you want your learners to achieve after having received the training? Make sure to structure your content in a way that the learning outcomes can be met. Based on the desired learning outcomes, you will need to determine the ideal approach you should adopt. If the desired outcome is to bring about behavioral changes, you can use scenarios to highlight situations. If it’s a process the learners need to know, then the approach can be more activity-oriented. Defining the desired learning outcomes is the key to developing an effective eLearning course.

5. Establish The Rubric For Evaluating The Outcomes

The effectiveness of your eLearning can be determined only if the desired learning outcomes are met; but, what are the parameters that you need to evaluate to judge if the learners have actually benefited from the program? What are the yardsticks against which they should be measured? You need to have a list of points to measure the outcomes and pit them against the desired outcomes.

Think “Learner Experience”

Once you’ve completed your analysis and got your learning program design down pat, take a step back and think about your employees—after all, they play a part too, don’t they? For learning to be most effective, it needs to be learner-centric. Only if the learning is designed in a way that it is “agreeable” to the learner will it stand a chance to achieve its purpose.

1. Avoid Cognitive Overload

There’s information, and there’s information, and, there’s too much information. True, the more your learners learn, the better it is for them. But, don’t go overboard. Segregate your content into “need-to-know” and “good-to-know.” Break your content down into pieces: concepts, ideas, steps, etc. Don’t dump information, introduce a concept, explain it simply, and stop when the going’s good. Keep your learning modules short and sweet, so as not to overwhelm the learners with information.

2. Determine The Ideal Deployment Method

Don’t assume that mobile is the way to go—mobile learning exists, but it’s not always ideal. Think it out carefully, as not all types of learning can be adapted for mobile delivery. If you’re teaching your learners how to use desktop software, squeezing the screen size to fit smaller form factors will only result in poor User Experience. Another important consideration should be whether your learners will appreciate their personal space being invaded by your learning initiative.

3. Beware Of The “Engagement” Quicksand

It’s easy to get carried away with learner engagement. Obviously, you want to keep your learners engaged and there are so many ways to do it. However, learner engagement should never be at the cost of the actual learning journey. For example, if you think the best way to teach your learners is through a game, don’t let the game overshadow your learning content. If you feel that your course should be replete with interactions, ensure that the interactions are meaningful.

Remember, custom eLearning can work wonders if you get the recipe right. Putting learning outcomes at the core of your development initiative will ensure learning effectiveness. All it takes is just a little patience! Download the eBook: "Developing Custom eLearning That Results In Efficient Corporate Training Delivery"  or watch this webinar to understand the whole picture of all the complexities involved in planning and developing effective learning material!