eLearning In Leadership Training And Development: Out Of The Xbox, Into The Office
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The Role Of eLearning In Leadership Training And Development 

It’s become commonplace, almost clichéd, to say “think outside the box”. So what do we do? We say “think outside the box”, then we do a different version of exactly the same thing that we’ve been doing. And when nothing really changes, we wonder why. Could the uncomfortable truth be that we’re really not doing anything new? To “think outside the box” we first have to define the box that we find ourselves stuck in.

A really good place to start is to realize that “the box” is nothing more or less than our successes and failures of the past. And it’s no different for eLearning in leadership. The arch-enemy to progress and innovation is the mindset: We’ve always/never done it like that. A major component of leadership is the willingness to risk: To take those possibly uncertain, often uncomfortable steps. And to keep searching out the pathways not often taken.

Okay, so eLearning is not a caped, garishly-costumed, rubber-suited superhero that will save the proverbial day. But eLearning is effective. And people have taken notice. Skillfully applied, eLearning can create interest and spark creative thinking where boredom has reigned supreme. And it can do this with a tool that is a champion of the most effective educational programming: entertainment.

A note of caution: Remember that you’re using entertainment as a tool; a means to an end. Entertaining your learners for entertainment’s sake is not going to solve your training and development issues. Like all learning tools, entertainment should be used wisely, in conjunction with other tools to enhance the training and development experience for your learners.

Having said that, let’s move on to the role and contribution of entertainment in learning.

Notice that you remember a lot of the who, what, how, when, and where of a compelling documentary program for months -even years- after watching it. In contrast, notice that you often have to review vital information over and over and over again. So we’re asking the question: What if that vital information was presented in a way that is compelling, or even entertaining?

Think of the last time you played an online game. Maybe you’ve developed the ability to find 3 matching tiles of just about anything. Or the last electronic game you played was Tetris (and you don’t really want to admit it). Whether it was Candy Crush, Farmville, or even Tetris, you did everything you could to get more points, earn an extra star, achieve the next level. In reality, you learned and developed new skills... without even realizing it. And gaming today has reached a whole new level of its own, engaging whole communities of people connected through the internet.

Now apply that concept to leadership training and development. After all, leadership is a series of skills and skill sets. And in eLearning, gamification is a powerful way to engage your learners. Learners are motivated to generate, develop and apply leadership skills and skillsets, rather than simply accumulating knowledge.

A gaming element creates an environment in which learning becomes a part of goal attainment, rather than the goal itself. Think about learning to ride a bicycle. The key to riding a bicycle is balance, but balance is not the end goal. The end goal to riding a bicycle is, well, actually riding: moving from point A to point B while pedaling, steering and braking, without breaking or bruising bones, skin, or dignity. Here’s the catch: you can talk about balance and riding a bicycle; you can theorize and expound endlessly about balance; heck, write essays and haikus about balance ad infinitum. But the only way to “get” balance is to actually experience the risk of getting in the saddle, pushing off, and pedaling.

It’s the same with leadership. Leadership occurs in the experience of actually leading. And here’s one place where gamification adds value to training and development of your leaders. Gamification in eLearning puts your leaders-to-be in the saddle. And because learning happens in simulated environments and scenarios, you’re spared the task of putting proverbial bandaids on skinned knees. Your people stay safe.

In addition, eLearning allows you to customize your content and your training: You create your own sets of incentives and rewards for learning. Psychology abounds with articles on the motivation factor of gaming. When eLearning and gamification are effectively executed, results are measurable, and can serve to motivate your learners. And you’ve thwarted the Boredom gang. Three stars... bonus... level UP!

We hope you’ve enjoyed our series on eLearning and its role in leadership training and development.

eBook Release: KMI LMS: Extended Enterprise
KMI LMS: Extended Enterprise
KMI specializes in Extended Enterprise eLearning, customization and integration. The KMI LMS is simple but powerful. As such it enables management of users & content with ease on all devices and for all types of outward facing initiatives.
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