How to develop an engaging elearning platform

Posted on Jul 07, 2014

Elearning

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Elearning is a practice being adopted by many businesses as it lets that business communicate and train its staff on platforms that they’re comfortable with. It means that a business can increase knowledge retention, productivity, and decrease traditional person-to-person training costs.

There’s no other way to put it really but elearning is simply a way of teaching and like the old idiom goes, learning doesn’t have to be boring. Developing an engaging elearning platform is the key to making this new approach successful within a business.

However a company can find that the idea of implementing elearning approaches isn’t something that staff members are too excited about. Learning doesn’t have to be dull, in fact it can be a practice that staff not only find beneficial, but also enjoy.

Let’s consider some approaches and tips that could further your training efforts and provide a successful platform for your staff to work from.

Use gamification in your elearning lesson structure

With video games becoming ever more saturated within our culture, and the idea of rewards and competition becoming more prevalent, it’s a good idea to use some of this cache within your elearning approach.

Humans like a sense of competition and the idea of ‘levelling up.’ We seek validation and so it’s of benefit to provide that through elearning lesson plans. Simply put, gamification is the process of adding game-like elements to a non-game practice.

In online learning it can be good to utilise the idea of competition and online rewards. This competition should be both individual and team-based to ensure healthy growth of both your business and its staff.

Explain why it’s beneficial

People like to know why they’ve got to do something. They like to have a reason and an understanding of the benefits of the practice that they’re undertaking. Effectively, a business needs to explain exactly why the staff has to learn something. If that business doesn’t it will find that its employees don’t work as hard and ultimately find the whole approach pointless. A business must provide a real world application of anything that it deigns to teach.

Our knowledge and understanding of the world around us doesn’t exist in a vacuum and it relates to what we see and our general context. So should elearning and it will be highly beneficial to a business to completely define the why behind the lesson being taught.

Experiential learning

Just as the employee needs to know why they’re being taught something, they must also learn experientially. A business will find increased knowledge retention rates if it tests employee’s new knowledge within a real world setting.

The more that these tests are utilised, the better the employee will be at dealing with a specific problem or business practice. In the past lessons lasted for a set amount of time. Now with elearning practices and the idea of experiential learning, these lessons can last and be taught indefinitely – it’s all online, or at least on the company intranet.

Utilise problem-solving

If you provide someone with a challenge and the tools to resolve it, you’ll find a much more creative and thoughtful employee approach to the job at hand. People like to find out answers themselves and they like to feel like they’ve got there on their own. It’s the sense of validation that we mentioned earlier that you really want to foster. People want to feel like they’re worthwhile and if they do they’ll feel much more contented within your workplace.

Elearning ‘democratises’ learning

Due to the internet and its increased connectivity, smartphones and tablets, elearning lessons can now be accessed from anywhere and at any time. This is of huge benefit to a business, as it only needs to provide a lesson once, then the staff can revisit that lesson whenever they want.

This allows employees a greater sense of autonomy and means that they can study at their preferred place, time, and progress at the most comfortable pace for them. You’re providing your employees with a sense of trust and you’re letting them get on with their learning in their own time.

This is a forward-thinking approach, but one that you’ll need to limit at times. It’s advisable to set some deadlines and have some way of monitoring the success of your online lesson structure.

Creating an engaging elearning course is important. You don’t want to bore your employees or alienate them with pointless bureaucracy. Instead you want them to feel challenged, validated, and as though they’re working towards individual and collective goals.

It’s worth remembering though that developing elearning courses is more expensive than preparing classroom materials, in the first instance at least. It can be costly to train the trainers especially if multimedia or highly interactive methods are being considered. However, the delivery costs of elearning are much cheaper than those for classroom facilities, instructor time, participants travel and job time lost to attend classroom settings.

Consider the above tips and hopefully you’ll find it much easier to implement a successful and engaging elearning platform.

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Author: Kate Pasterfield, Creative Director, Sponge

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