Top 10 Tips for Planning Your eLearning Program in 2018
While an eLearning strategy is an integral part of any organization’s success, even the most well-planned and thoughtfully implemented eLearning programs can fall short of expectations if not evaluated and assessed periodically.
And knowing what to review during an assessment is critical for determining the strengths and weaknesses of your overall eLearning strategy.
Below, we’ve provided 10 tips for reviewing and evaluating your organization’s corporate eLearning strategy:
1. Know Your Audience
The content of an eLearning course can vary from a compliance certification that employees need as part of their job, to a hobbyist’s eLearning course pursued in their spare time, to an accredited diploma or degree that helps an employee advance in their career. Therefore, the structure and style of your eLearning course should consider who your online learners will be, and leverage this information to lay the groundwork for your eLearning course design.
2. Define Your Learning Objectives
Once you’ve defined your audience, you’ll need to determine their objectives. Are they learning a rudimentary skill or are they trying to become experts? By deciding the end-goal of the eLearning course, you’ll be able to determine the length of the eLearning course as well as its depth and complexity. The learning objectives will also influence the eLearning assessment methods that will need to be incorporated into the course.
For example, if your main objective is to enhance customer service, then you’ll want to evaluate your strategy according to overall customer satisfaction to determine whether the necessary employee skill sets will be developed through your content.
3. Decide What Content Needs To Be Included – And What Doesn’t
Once you know who you’re teaching and what you’d like them to learn, you can begin to more narrowly tailor your focus to the content of the eLearning course. For example, a beginners’ course may include real-world scenarios to build practical skills whereas a more advanced eLearning course needs to be more targeted and include interactive content.
Also, remember that often, students may be looking for specific information – and may not necessarily want or need to complete your entire course in order to get it. Think of how you can better present the information in order to allow students to jump to sections that interest or apply to them.
4. Research Best Practices
Review similar eLearning courses to see how other people are doing it, what works – and what doesn’t. For example, online compliance training courses generally require learners to memorize new codes of conduct so multiple-choice scenarios or yes/no prompts will help increase retention. Conversely, eLearning courses that require analytical thinking can use interactive video games, role-play scenarios, and brainstorming sessions.
5. Assess Your eLearning Team
Review and re-evaluate the roles of your eLearning team members. For example, if your eLearning course has audio-visual content, you will need someone with video production skills. Gamified eLearning courses may require a mobile app developer or a video game designer. For audio and video sections, you may need voice actors and more technical content will require an experienced Subject Matter Expert to make sure the information is accurate.
6. Chunk Out Your Content
Long courses have a tendency to be less effective when compared to short courses—those 15 minutes or shorter—in large part due to reduced attention spans. Consider identifying the strongest points or topics in your course and break them up into smaller, microlearning courses delivered over spaced modules to make your content bite-sized for better retention and recall.
7. Provide Clear Instructions
Interactivity and gamification have grown considerably in popularity for their ability to keep users engaged. But often, it’s easy to forget that users may not understand gaming strategy as clearly as the author. Providing clear instructions, like adding an instruction slide after the title screen that is also available at all times from the course menu, can save your users the frustration of trying to navigate the course blindly.
8. Allow Enough Time For Testing
As the author of your courses, you have the distinct advantage of being intimately familiar with its information and lessons – but are, therefore, at a disadvantage when it’s time to view your content objectively. Consider enlisting the help of an uninvolved third party to work through the course to better determine how much time is needed for each section and any accompanying tests.
9. Test And Survey Your Employees
Have your employees go through the online training to help you evaluate their level of knowledge acquisition and retention. This gives you the opportunity to not only find out what they learned, but also what areas may need work. Then, leverage one of the most invaluable tools you have at your disposal—employee feedback—through anonymous surveys, polls, or direct communication to help you determine which aspects of your strategy may need a bit of fine-tuning and which areas are serving their intended purpose.
10. Examine How Well Information Translates To On-The-Job Application
Evaluate how—or if—the newly learned skill sets or knowledge is being used on-the-job. Review the employee’s current job performance to determine if the courses have improved their overall understanding or skills. Figuring out how well the information translates to real-world results is essential for determining if any aspects need to be revised.
Evaluating your eLearning programs and planning should be an ongoing process, not a one-time event. If you treat your eLearning strategy as a living, breathing collective and not a static collection of data and information, you can be confident that your courseware will be as adaptive and responsive as the clients and industries it serves.
As an ongoing process that consistently strives to pinpoint your training weaknesses and solidify its strengths, you should also encourage constant evaluation and feedback from your employees and peers. Let them know that their feedback about the company’s online training and conducted assessments is always welcomed, allowing you to proactively and consistently review the efficacy of your content to ensure the success of your learners.
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