5 questions to ask about your workplace elearning

Posted on May 21, 2015

Elearning

The chances are that you’ll be faced with elearning at some point in your working life but all modules are not created equal.

As part of Learning at Work Week, we’ve come up with five key questions to help you judge whether your elearning is up to scratch.
It really is the age of elearning. More than 90% of organisations are using it as part of their Learning & Development strategy for staff. But with no industry standard or guidelines, quality can vary quite a bit.

So how do you know the elearning you’re being offered at work is fit for purpose and able to deliver what you need?

Here are five questions to ask before sitting down to do your next elearning module:

Why am I doing this?

There’s nothing worse than wading through an elearning module only to get to the end and wonder – how was that relevant to me? Sometimes this can happen because you didn’t need to do the elearning in the first place, but ‘just to be on the safe side’ you’re asked to do it anyway. In fact, more often than not it’s because the elearning is poorly designed and lacks relatable examples or scenarios. If the elearning is cleverly constructed and tailored properly, it will be plain how it affects you and where it ties into your role.  Tom Kulhmann has more tips on how to make elearning courses meaningful.

What’s in it for me?

In a recent survey, the top motivating factor for staff to learn online was the desire to do their job faster and better. Elearning can often help deliver on this, but sometimes the personal benefit to you may be a bit vague. Making it clear what the course is about, and what you should know by the end of it, is a good place to start. The best elearning goes a step further; it outlines your personal motivation or gain in doing the module. For example, a compliance module needs to spell out how it can help protect you personally by keeping you safe, out of court or in a job.

Does it really have to take an hour?

Probably not. Once upon a time, elearning modules tended to be overly long, but attitudes have changed. There has been a bit of a revolution when it comes to module length based on what we know about short-term memory and our ability to absorb and retain information. We recommend around 20 minutes as the average length for an elearning module, and in some cases, even shorter bursts. As well as being more effective, shorter modules are also much easier to fit into busy working lives.

Are you trying to send me to sleep?

It can seem that way sometimes - there’s no excuse for dull and boring elearning! Good elearning should keep you engaged from start to finish. There are a range of techniques to maintain your interest and keep you involved including games, interactive videos, scenarios, animations and illustrated characters – to name a few. Even a very simply constructed module will still keep you engaged if it’s well designed, well written and well targeted.

Can I do this on my mobile?

Good question, and one more and more learners are likely to be asking in future. New research suggests half of people think mobile is an essential or highly useful method for learning. With the use of smartphones increasing in almost every aspect of life, we might look back and wonder why we ever sat down at a desk to do our elearning? If your workplace elearning isn’t available on a mobile phone or tablet, one reason might be the platform it is built on. More and more organisations are turning to multi-device tools such as Adapt which can make a single elearning module fully functional on any size screen.

We think if more employees ask these kinds of questions it will help to drive up standards within elearning – and that’s got to be good for everyone. What’s more, the best L&D teams and learning providers are already asking these questions themselves and genuinely want to hear what people think about workplace elearning.

So, next time you’re faced with an elearning course, use this checklist of five questions and see how well your module measures up.

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