Corporate learning has been following the Industrial Model of Education, as Sir Ken Robinson terms it, since ages. This model follows the assembly-line linearity of Packaging and Delivering. You package learning and deliver it to the learners. Once the learners consume the package, label them with suitable qualification. This model is based on qualification criteria and does not care much about the performance of the learner. When online learning technologies arrived, they provided online capabilities to implement the same model. Collectively these learning technologies brought in eLearning.
At its onset, eLearning provided a cost-effective alternative to classroom training using Learning Management Systems and Content Authoring Tools. It allowed organisations to cross the geographical barriers, deliver learning content and track the progress of learners. Eventually, organisations were able to follow the academic notion of ‘qualification’. Thus, like a semester or annual exam in schools or universities, completion of an eLearning course concluding with assessment(s) became the indicator of successful knowledge transfer. The results were stored. Certificates were awarded, deeming the learners to be capable of doing their jobs to optimum.
Over time, the learning technologies evolved. They automatised, digitised, and scaled several manual tasks. However, the evolution path was still leading to the same Industrial Model of Education: Package, Deliver and Measure.
Today, technological disruption has led to unprecedented volatility of the market. Organisations are expected to have business agility wherein business decisions and sometimes even directions could shift overnight. Information is exploding and the Half-Life of knowledge is shrinking. In the case of technical knowledge, the shelf life is reduced to only a couple of years. Continuous Learning has become a tool for survival for employees in this ever-changing world, reshaping their personal and professional learning habits. And certainly, the restrictive nature of traditional formal elearning falls way too short to cope up with these challenges.
To cope up with these challenges, the evolution of learning technologies is not enough, you need to jump the curve to innovate new learning models.
Here are five essential eLearning Strategies that will help you cope up with the challenges of the modern workspace learning.
1.- Follow a Learner-Centric Approach
Focus on your learners while devising a learning strategy. Your learners are consuming content via digital technology and are also constantly assisted by it. They are spoiled with state-of-the-art user experiences, infinite choices, personalised and need-based recommendations, multi-sourced information, etc. It is imperative that the learners will expect similar experiences while consuming learning via your learning platform. Your learners are self-motivated for personal growth and hence focused on skills enhancement, they learn from multiple sources (internet search, peers, etc.) and on demand. They learn when they need to via learning resources. They learn continuously. Choose learning platforms and authoring tools that will help you implement learning centric strategies.
2.- Harness Informal Learning
At Google, 80% of all tracked trainings are run through an employee-to-employee network called “g2g” (Googler-to-Googler). The “g2g” learning program is created to offer first-hand knowledge in different fields, from employees to employees.
Social interactions are engaging and equally enriching. The traditional eLearning restricted the possibility to harness the social way of learning. In my early days as an Instructional Designer, I could not even imagine going beyond the Comprehension and Knowledge levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy while designing asynchronous learning. Verbs like Analyse, Debate, Reconstruct, Compare, Defend, etc. were never a part of learning objectives or assessments.
Just imagine what all you can do with a comment section right below the learning resource. You can ask the learners to debate or analyse or rewrite in their own words. Learners can enrich the content by adding more information from other sources. This kind of interaction keeps enriching the existing content and thus keeps the learning alive.
Giving a contextual social layer to learning content will help you go beyond the static one-way learning mode to a more dynamic and engaging one.
3.- Mentor and Coach
Mentors play an important role in our learning. Every organisation has an immense amount of internal subject matter expertise. The problem is that organisation never actively harness this expertise in eLearning. Organisations should see to it that the team leads and managers are actively participating in their team members’ learning journey.
4.- Measure what matters!
The efficacy of any successful online platform is linked to the Data Evidence of what works fine and what not. If we look at some successful content consumption platforms like Netflix or consumer platforms like Amazon, we find that they are heavily data-driven.
Traditionally, we have been tracking the scores and time spent by learners on a specific course. However, it is high time, learning environments become data driven with a robust recommendation system, actionable reporting, skill management dashboards based on learning analytics. Data evidence can help you design and improve your learning strategies and get more relevant learning for your learners.
With the advent of learning analytics, it is possible to measure things that matter i.e. Knowledge, Behaviour and Impact of a learning initiative.
5.- Performance Aligned Learning
Performance of the learners is the true measure of the efficacy of any learning initiative. It is important to align learning to key performance areas of each learner. Tackling how performance is being impacted with learning over the time is crucial to make iterative improvements in your learning design and strategies. It is important to have a performance evaluation conducted.
So, go ahead and devise your elearning strategy and then choose the right learning technologies that help you implement the same successfully.