This will be the first installment in our four-part series exploring the synergy between Content Modernization, Intelligence, Mobility and Performance Support as key factors driving the development and innovation of eLearning today.
As more organizations have moved to incorporate online courses into their training regimen, eLearning is becoming more dynamic, engaging and comprehensive.
In fact, almost 60 percent of U.S. and Canadian businesses use web-based instructional resources to cater to modern learners who have become accustomed to consuming content on digital devices, adjusting to these shifts in demands and aligning with learner expectations.
This shift to quick-hit, bite-sized information ushered in with the digital age means employees will retain less information from one-dimensional sessions delivered using dated learning management systems. However, through contextualized, modernized support solutions, employees can enhance performance with unlimited accessibility, anywhere at any time.
It all comes down to designing and deploying programs that implement instructional tracks that focus on four key tenets: content modernization, intelligence, mobility and performance support.
Each tenet acts as a strategic piece of the online training and continuing education puzzle that fit into the bigger picture: safer, more compliant, more educated, more productive and more effective organizations.
Content modernization delivers content how learners want to consume it; mobility delivers the content where learners want to consume it. Intelligence provides organizations the collection and analysis of instructional data, and performance support provides real-time, point-of-need instructional access and help.
Learners have moved away from purely text-based material in recent years, embracing more interactive alternatives en masse. Video currently occupies the top spot on the content hierarchy. In fact, the video format is expected to account for roughly 74 percent of all internet traffic this year.
Organizations updating employee training plans must take variables such as this into account and modernize their resources to match the content consumption preferences of the modern worker. However, employee appeasement is not the only objective. Engaging formats like video do come with demonstrable benefits. For instance, the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, making video and other image-based content ideal for knowledge absorption.
Formatting and delivery represent the other variable in the content modernization equation. In addition to swapping outdated text-based resources for more appealing assets, businesses should reevaluate how they present training content.
In response to the burgeoning demand for more modernized content delivery, a number of new methods present exciting new possibilities.
Microlearning is one such new training delivery method – and perhaps one of the most promising. It involves breaking larger lessons into smaller, bite-sized bits fit for quick consumption via mobile-ready online platforms.
And its success comes down to brain science and learning theory.
Microlearning aligns with the brain science that suggests learning should take place in 20-minute increments. Even if certain skills require intensive focus and depth with learning that could cumulatively take hours, weeks or months, microlearning facilitates the consumption of that information in small chunks that are easily processed and retained, allowing learners to build on the one before it – without the information being shallow or diluted.
The end result is a learner who is able to consume content in a manner that caters both to the brain science behind learning and the time limitations of the modern learner. Microlearning essentially provides small educational building blocks upon which the learner can build at their discretion.
Consider an architect or construction worker who might access training content while on the job. With this level of accessibility in place, workers can refresh skills when necessary and immediately apply renewed insights. Microlearning can also reduce the need for costly office-based training sessions that consume company resources.
Automotive retailer Pep Boys was one of the first major firms to adopt microlearning. In 2009, the firm rolled out an organization-wide microlearning initiative designed to equip workers with the knowledge required to reduce instances of theft. Pep Boys employees began completing instructional exercises in three-minute increments via mobile portals. The results were astounding: The business saw losses related to product theft fall by $20 million in 2010.
While newer training methods like microlearning are being implemented, many organizations continue to use traditional tools such as the LMS. In fact, more than 70 percent deploy these systems.
Businesses continuing on this instructional track, however, should supplement their LMS platforms with third-party and resources to optimize functionality and personalization, transforming the LMS from a content delivery portal into an Intelligent Performance Engine, or IPE. For example, with accident tracking systems, reports can be delivered to the learning system; and if a worker has multiple incidents, proper training will be triggered and delivered to prevent further accidents.
Content modernization is just one facet of the future of effective training programs. As cutting-edge content and technology transform how businesses train employees, modernized content has the potential to improve the learning experience, engagement, and outcomes.
In our next installment, we’ll address the second of the four key tenets, intelligence, and its role in further advancing workplace training programs.