6 core principles of effective eLearning content in the workplace
eLearning content isn’t just for students anymore; the principles of eLearning now guide many corporate training programs. Rather than relying on standalone training videos, companies are using learning management systems, learning experience platforms and similar tech to bring new employees up to speed and help existing employees to develop their skills. But the results of these programs can sometimes be mixed.
The problem isn’t that digital learning is unreliable—it’s that some employers aren’t using the principles of eLearning content effectively. There are a few essential factors for eLearning effectiveness that every employer should keep in mind when implementing a digital learning solution.
1. The technology should be easy to access
This should go without saying, but it’s not enough to simply have the tech in place. A user must be able to get to it. Even if you have great content that you’ve spent months developing, it won’t matter if employees can’t access it effectively.
Accessible content should be compatible with the devices your employees use. Smartphone compatibility is essential to allow for mobile learning, though the content may also be compatible with any other commonly used devices like point-of-sale systems. If you make the content difficult or inconvenient to access, your participation rate will reflect that.
In addition, the system should accommodate users with various disabilities and specialized needs. At Axonify, for instance, our learning experience is designed with WCAG 2.1 Level AA standards, and we are in the process of improving our accessibility standards so that they’re consistent across our entire platform.
2. The technology should be easy to use
Once the content is accessed, it should be easy to navigate and use. The layout should be easy to understand for both tech-savvy and non-tech-savvy users. It shouldn’t be too bandwidth-intensive, and the tech should run smoothly even in environments with slow connectivity. It should also include support tools that the user can access later if needed. Work with usability experts to ensure that learners don’t have to struggle to use your platform.
Usability is critical not just for the navigation experience but for the content itself. Your content should align with learning science principles to ensure maximum learning acquisition and retention. For example, you don’t want to firehose learners with an overwhelming amount of information. In addition, your platform should have the ability to reinforce information so that it’s not a one-and-done experience since people retain information through repetition.
Translation is another element of usability. Translation can be difficult and costly to implement, but it can provide a much better user experience for large, diverse teams. Axonify offers a range of options for translating content, including automated translations powered by Google as well as professional translation services.
3. The results should be measurable
Your digital learning program needs to focus on specific, measurable outcomes with an actionable goal. Determine your primary learning objective, tailor your content accordingly and then measure the outcomes.
When choosing a new learning management system, you want to make sure it’s equipped with tools to help you measure metrics like participation, scores and areas of mastery, but the real value comes from seeing how these skills translate on the job. You want to solicit employee feedback, observe on-the-job application and determine whether your training is resulting in the desired outcome. As long as your goals for the training are clearly defined, these outcomes should be easy to measure.
4. The training content should be relevant to the job
The user must understand how the training is relevant to their job. If you throw too many concepts at them or fail to focus on need-to-know information, many users are going to tune out—and forget most of what they do learn.
You need to focus on specific concepts that are hyper-relevant to an individual at that time. Even if the user’s job role will ultimately require a wider body of knowledge, the user won’t be able to contextualize the learning if you overwhelm them before they absolutely need it. This is one reason why microlearning for company training is so effective. A training platform that supports microlearning will deliver short, targeted training lessons that are highly impactful so long as you focus on delivering the most relevant information with each session.
5. The content should be engaging
Engaging content is a must, but it’s not simply a matter of making the material interactive—the user should actually enjoy the experience. They should understand the reason for the experience, find it challenging in the best possible way and actually see value in the lesson. In other words, don’t just make users click or answer questions for no reason.
There are plenty of ways to build engaging content, though the exact details of what makes content “fun” can vary from one team to the next. Relevance is an important factor, as is keeping the lessons short (don’t burn out your employees with learning overload). Game mechanics like leaderboards can also add an element of excitement and motivation for some users. You can also mix things up with different types of eLearning content including video tutorials, games and informative articles. Get to know your audience, and then design content that resonates.
6. The content should be manageable
This last tip is more for instructional designers, but it’s nevertheless important for any eLearning course. Your content should be designed in a way that’s easy to update on the fly. You’ll need to make periodic updates as your needs change and your workplace evolves, and you don’t want to waste your already-overstretched time and resources on overhauling large eLearning courses with a lot of overlapping concepts.
This is another benefit of microlearning courses. Managing small topics is fundamentally easier than managing large interactive eLearning courses, and microlearning allows you to focus on targeted assets.
Prioritize eLearning effectiveness
When done right, digital learning can be a powerful solution for training in the workplace by reducing the number of training hours required and promoting a more confident and knowledgeable workforce. But in order to achieve these eLearning benefits with your own digital or online courses, you have to secure effective eLearning content and a user-friendly platform to support it.
If your current online training solutions aren’t delivering the desired results, take a closer look. What isn’t resonating? How can the content be improved? Once you know the answers, you can make the changes necessary to take your learning solution to the next level.