When it comes to making your eLearning initiative work, it is important to consider not only the main factors that will aid you, but also what pitfalls you should avoid. Here we give you a summary of the dos and don’ts to be aware of once you’ve made the decision to adopt eLearning and have the buy-in of the main stakeholders in your organization.
DO treat your eLearning initiative like a business case
As for every business case, when it comes to eLearning you should clearly define its parameters. The two main questions that you should answer are:
- What are the needs of your organization (in terms of learning)?
- How can eLearning address those needs successfully?
Once you’ve defined these plan for the design, development, implementation and evaluation of your eLearning project.
DO take an adequate amount of time and effort to select the right LMS.
It’s important to evaluate all the pros and cons of the LMS (Learning Management System) platform that you’ll use for deploying your online learning content. If you have done your homework and adhered to point one, your business case needs evaluation should help you greatly in determining what the main requirements for your LMS are.
DO have a clear objective in mind when you create individual eLearning courses.
Knowing your audience, the skill sets you’re aiming to develop and the final outcome will help you stay focused and will ensure that the courses you delivered are meaningful and engaging.
DO focus on the content.
It is very important to keep in mind that your audience, the learners who will be the main users of the online content, will only truly embrace the learning experience if they feel that it is engaging, useful and delivered in a timely manner. Amongst the many key factors when it comes to content (which we’ll discuss further in future posts) are:
- Use great instructional design to involve learners actively in the process
- Keep it low on text and high on visual content
- Relate to real work situations and scenarios as much as possible, so learners can see the real value of what they are studying
- Go multimedia - everyone has different styles of learning so don’t be shy to add video, audio and game elements to your courses. This will increase the absorption rate and break the monotony.
Quizzes, tests and any other forms of evaluation not only give managers a good picture of how their employees are progressing. In fact, research shows that tests are also a good learning tool in itself, as they support the process and help us in building our knowledge and remembering key information.
DON’T send contradicting messages.
As with most initiatives within an organization, eLearning also benefits greatly from a consistent approach.
- Ensure that your courses are clearly branded so the learner knows that they’re coming from within the company
- Use fonts, colours, and any other type of visuals to communicate a clear message, so the learner can focus on the experience without having to always find their way around the content
- Be consistent
Being consistent doesn’t mean that your content has to be boring; on the contrary, you can be as creative as needed, just ensure that you channel your creativity in the right way, so your audience doesn’t feel too overwhelmed with images, sounds and information to miss the main goal of each course.
DON’T forget to work as closely as possible with your Subject Matter Experts (SMEs).
They are the ones within your company who are the experienced and skilled professionals to provide the core content which will ultimately be the basis of the course and ensure the outcome for the learner is effective.
DON’T restrict your learners.
Just because you’ve decided to implement eLearning it doesn’t mean that you have to view it in isolation. Developing knowledge and skill sets is a multifaceted endeavour, so make sure you coordinate your online learning activities with traditional training methods.
We’d love to hear your story about what you’ve found to work or not in your organization and company. After all, whether you’ve had years of experience with a successful eLearning program or are just starting there’s always something we can all gain from sharing our practices.