eLearning. Have you hear about it yet? We'll assume so, but have your really benefited from it yet?
With many years in the Training and Development fields, 327 Solutions has seen a lot of eLearning. Good eLearning, absolutely amazing eLearning and quite frankly, terrible eLearning. With roots going back to the first eLearning programs sold in the market through names reminiscent of the .COM boom such as CBT Systems and Ziff-Davis University, the year over year transitions have been amazing to watch and to be part of. But, why do we love eLearning, and why should you?
In part, it's convenience of learning. On-the-go access to knowledge isn't a new idea, but with today's technologies including cloud-based digital content management, mobile devices, LMS systems and cross-platform development in HTML5, we can finally construct training that fits the needs of many users based on criteria well beyond a completion of passing grade. Not all learning fits all people. Much like marketing has become segmented, so has training, or at least, it should be moving in this direction.
So, why do we love eLearning and why should you?
- Cost Savings: No, we were not surprised either, but with every Fortune 500 firm we work with, it's a core part of a well-designed performance strategy. Not so much a focus on spending less, but making budgets go farther, delivering more and sustaining performance in an innovate learning ecosystem. Everyone has a Return on Investment (ROI) model that differs from one another, but the core remains the same. If we build it, will they come and will they learn? If we build it this way, will they still come and will we find additional value? The answers when implemented correctly are a resounding YES. Deep analysis has been done on the value of implementing eLearning as part of the employee performance strategy. A well architected eLearning strategy blending traditional models with newer technically delivered assets will yield results and stretch the budget, doing more with the same.
- Anywhere, Anytime: It's the new millennium, right? Well, we are 15-years in, but guess what? People are consuming data at astronomical rates. Global mobile traffic increased 69% in 2014 alone touching 2.5 exabytes per month (yes, this is a lot. It has been said that 5 Exabytes would be equal to all of the words ever spoken by mankind "see link"). Video is driving a lot of the gain and for good reasons. Consumers (training, product or service) want an experience that sustains their interest, answers their questions and provide access to the necessary knowledge each person seeks. As firms finally start to model Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies to appease employee demand, portable and mobile has exploded in Corporate America. As we can now build materials that work with Single-Sign-On (SSO), aligning a learning content stack based on who you are, what you should learn and what you should be learning, mobile is taking on a whole new meaning. Self-service learning at the point of need is now possible.
- Blended is Finally Cool: One more blog about blended learning without the tech and we were ready to fall asleep. But, with high bandwidth 4G connections and video streaming resources such as Vimeo, YouTube, Ustream and others, pushing out media rich content is no longer a stumbling block. The "chug" is gone for the most part and guess what? Blended is finally cool! eLearning in a blended environment helps firms accomplish so much. Working in models such as a flipped classroom, we can turn once lengthy onboarding programs into media rich split learning sections. Policy, procedure, harassment, HR? Not the most entertaining stuff when you are getting up to speed at a new employer. Why not flip the classroom? Anything that is low level but more of a requirement, put out prior to Instructor-Led training events. We can track materials in digital readers to ensure completion and also pre-seed learning with eLearning and simulations. Having new employees show up ready to learn on day 1 creates a much better experience. Would turning a 10-day event into a 5-day event help you save money onboarding new employees? It does depend on the use case, but for the most part, yes it will. Use technology to empower each step in the learning process.
- Tracking: The LMS systems, mobile devices, open-source CMS services and programming capabilities of today allow for deep tracking. Tracking as simple as open to completion, or as complex as tracking results and answer pathing in an immersive simulation. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Competency Models have in the past, been a nice thing talked about but kept on paper only to surface during reviews. Today, KPIs and Competency Models can be digitized and turned into intelligent technical assets to track and prove continuous improvement. Likewise, how nice would it be to know that everyone hates "Module 2"? When we can look at deeper data based on consumption across the learning ecosystem, we can then hone messaging, service delivery and continue to improve the value and quality of training in a blended environment.
There are hundreds of reasons to love eLearning. Save money, do more with the same budget, improve learning outcomes, appease the desires of a multi-generational workforce, empower mobile and just-in-time learning, track usage and continue to improve the mission and work of the learning organization and well, just do a better job. eLearning isn't going anywhere soon and in fact, will continue it's evolution into our daily lives at work and at home.
If you are going to do it, do it right. We are always thrilled to have a conversation about your Learning and Development challenges, and how 327 Solutions can help through Placement | Consulting | Training.