E-Learning: “Shorter Is Better” Mantra - Not Always What You Think!

Summary: Often when redesigning a training program, the goal is to accelerate a course, i.e., convert one week of classroom training to one day of e-learning. How would you feel about doing the opposite and making a course longer?

Spreading Your E-Learning Out

In 2011, one UK-based organization redesigned its training. Mobile was becoming so widely used among its employees that it decided to change the way it delivered training content. No longer would employees sit in a classroom - training would now be taken in the form of e-learning using Smartphones.Every day, one question was sent to employees’ phones allowing them to measure their knowledge on work-related topics. Rather than one week in a classroom, the training was spread over a period of months, but delivered in short, bite-sized morsels.When the training was continuously “drip-fed”, it became part of the employees’ daily routine. It didn’t even feel like they were receiving training at all.Segmented Training Works BestThe concept of offering short amounts of e-learning over longer periods of time applies to whatever industry you operate in. By delivering training to employees in quick, easy to digest segments, they stay focused on their jobs while they are provided with information they themselves require in order to do their jobs more effectively.The GoalThe goal is to maximize the time that employees actually spend doing their jobs, rather than undergoing training. A doctor spends time seeing patients; a bank area manager needs to visit his different branches; and an IT support guy runs around the office dealing with people’s technical problems. In the modern workplace, time is of great essence in every job regardless of the type of role one has.Does It Have to Be Mobile?Nevertheless, there is no need to equip the employees with the latest modern technology. In fact, one can still deliver training like the aforementioned using the current existing channels. How about an email every morning directing the learner to the LMS in order to answer just one question? By doing this, a new learning habit is formatted and it becomes part of the everyday life. Training is not just something you do to check a box – like cramming the night before your history test and forgetting everything as soon as you put the pen down. Especially where compliance training is concerned, it is imperative that employees understand rules and regulations, so what better way to do this than engage them on a daily basis?This isn’t a debate about mobile learning; in this example mobile is merely the delivery mechanism. The focus should be on being able to train the employees without taking their attention away from what they are being paid to do.Additionally, it instills a more intrinsic approach to learning – over time, employees really understand rather than simply acknowledge.Training should be able to fit into employees’ daily job activities, not the other way around; so reaching the employees where they work is imperative. It doesn’t matter what your role is, or what industry you work in; being able to access training in your normal work environment increases productivity. However, that is not to say that classroom training is any less important than it always has been, but with technology becoming such a big part of daily life, we should be constantly leveraging it to make our jobs more efficient. E-learning or mobile training are a great example of this either on their own or as part of a blend with classroom training.