Rapid eLearning: Discover The Benefits
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The Benefits Of Rapid eLearning

I read with interest about how America has changed its approach to combating threats against its world dominance. Since the end of the Cold War, these threats are now not just military, but also political and economic—a much more complex, millennial issue. And it made me think about the relevance to eLearning. Everything changes in time, whether it's the nature of the threat to the established world order or the way people learn.

Learning, Not Educating

Those of us involved in eLearning, be it on the developer or client side, are probably now all aware of the move away from the need to be educated—yuk—to the want to learn. Not that this is a new phenomenon. The need to learn, expand, and progress oneself has always been there, it’s just strange that productive learning in a business context has taken so long to catch on. This is apparent even within industries that are technically complex, have frequent needs to innovate or operate within constantly changing regulatory environments—think Pharma, Fintech or Banking. Which makes you wonder, how much of a trick are they missing by not effectively developing their staff?

The good news is that the tide is changing. And fast. It’s expected that 98% of all U.S. corporations will be using online learning by the end of this year—and you can be assured that where America leads, the rest will follow. This trend is being driven by numerous factors, including the need to simplify the mass of Big Data, the advancement of mobile technology to allow for learning anywhere, and also, more pertinently, the growing trend in effective learning. Which brings me back to the start and why we think that rapid eLearning could just be the new secret weapon in the war against bad education.

What Is Rapid eLearning?

Rapid eLearning is the quick development of eLearning materials, slashing the time of what it normally takes to develop a traditional eLearning course to a fraction. Its benefits include:

  • Faster production
    Fewer stakeholders are involved and template materials are typically used in the production of the courses. This means that any bottlenecks due to design issues, technical development or to-and-from discussions between key parties are reduced.
  • Lower costs
    Shorter production time and fewer agency resources mean reduced costs for the customer.
  • It fits the need
    This is perhaps the key reason why rapid eLearning will be increasingly beneficial to all parties involved, from the agency that assists with the production to the learners themselves.

Rapid eLearning is set to ride a wave of popularity as it fits the psychological as well as practical needs of today’s learners. These are people who seek to make sense of the mountain of data that’s available and also learn quickly in a world that is moving at a faster pace than ever. Rapid eLearning is also the perfect partner and ally for its sister trend, microlearning, which is the way of learning in smaller, bite-sized chunks. Microlearning is similar to the phenomenon of Netflix, using the ability to roll out new, sequential content Just-In-Time. Users are never bored and always come back for more.

How Can You Benefit From This?

In this modern, post-millennial age, rapid eLearning might seem like the perfect weapon for all of your eLearning project needs. However, there are certain things that need to be considered before confirming whether this is the best approach.

What Are The Learners' Needs?

The foundation of all good eLearning courses always was and always will be that they meet the needs of the audience. No matter how punchy, interactive, multi-formatted or shareable the content is, it will still be one click away from obscurity if it doesn’t provide any real learning benefit. Your course will be relegated from useful to a useless distraction. To combat this, always ensure that you begin your eLearning creative process using a Needs Analysis type of approach. This means you ask all of the right questions to all of the right people and ensures that your decision will be for the right reasons.

Does Subject Matter Need Rapid Production?

Rapid eLearning is a powerful approach that fits increasingly with current ways of thinking. However, there may be times when a more measured, detailed approach is required. For example, should the subject matter remain unchanged for a long period of time, then a more traditional eLearning approach may be in scope. This means there will be a need for more stakeholder involvement, including Instructional Designers, Project Managers, more Subject Matter Experts, IT support, etc. However, in business sectors where there is frequent product, industry or regulatory change as well as an overriding need to get information to the learners quickly, rapid eLearning may just be the thing.

Can My Agency Help With This?

Developing eLearning content is unlikely to be a corporation’s core business. A company seeking to use eLearning will need to partner with an agency that has all the tools to ensure that they realize the benefits. And while it’s true that the footprint of this partnership may well change in size according to the outcome of the discussions, the initial expertise of an agency, with the experience to help deliver what's best for the learners themselves, will be key to the success of the project.

If the project requires a fast rollout, with standard creative and technical elements, the partnership may evolve into a more hands-off approach, with the agency acting as core advisor and back-end developer for a range of cloud-based applications that empower the client. Alternatively, there might be a need for a more agency-led approach, with Project Management being directed from there.

But don’t be mistaken. In these days of information overload, shorter attention spans, broader mobile technology adoption, and social learning, there are still many moving parts that need to be considered. Therefore the need for a more traditional eLearning development approach will still be at the fore in many settings. An agency’s experience in rolling out more complex programs will continue to be a valuable commodity and one that should be embraced, especially if that agency has the systems in place to allow for more rapid deployment of learning material that brings down the costs.

Conclusion

In 1987, the then U.S. President Ronald Reagan famously gave the Berlin Wall Speech, with the famous command to "Tear down this wall!" How the world has changed since then: the shift in politics, economics, and how we advance ourselves has meant that our choice of weapons to combat or tools to accommodate for these changes has also changed. Rapid eLearning is one of the most important weapons in our armory because it fits the current needs in a world that is demanding more efficiency, better quality, and an improved outcome of the learning experience. Just make sure you choose your eLearning ally carefully and win the battle for the learners’ hearts and minds.

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