Do Your Learning Strategies Need New Life?
Learning never happens in a vacuum. The act of transferring information and skills is rather complex. There are environmental factors that define the space where learning content is presented, as well the individual influences applied when learning content is consumed.
The paradigm shift from the “all-knowing” lecturer who presents information to passive students now require learners to be active, responsible for their own learning. Lecturers, usually the subject matter experts (SMEs), have become “facilitators” to nudge, direct, and manage student progress.
But few SMEs have transitioned well. Many have become managers of content, rather than facilitators of people, evident when reviewing courses that have transferred from the classroom to the browser window. The material is presented the same way without consideration or adaptation to the online environment.
The goal of training isn’t to consume massive blocks of data. Rather, it is to acquire new information that improves the employee’s overall skills and performance. Any learning program that doesn’t include the objective of producing top performers is making a grave mistake.
There are key learning principles that need to be considered, whether the materials are presented in a classroom setting or as a self-paced online learning course:
- Learners have limits to the volume of information they can process. More information doesn’t translate into more learning.
- Learners want to learn but often fear they will fail. Training must provide ways of encouraging and supporting the learner throughout the process.
- Learners are individuals and do not learn the same way.
- Learners retain information and acquired skills when they are actively involved in the process.
2019 is already proving to be a pivotal year for learning development, with the promise of greater technology breakthroughs that will change the digital landscape forever. Take advantage of the time NOW to review and redo your learning program (see “Take Time to Redo Your Learning” blog for additional information).
Reviewing and updating your learning program is more than providing a superficial “facelift.” It’s about reviewing your mission, updating your strategies, and then providing the best possible learning environment. Take time to scrutinize your content, user engagement, and delivery.
Consider Your Content
There is a considerable cost in developing 1-hour of materials for Instructor-led Training (ILT) and eLearning content. Here are a few statistics provided by Chapman Alliance.
- Instructor-led Training takes an average of 43* hours of prep work for every hour of training. More complex training takes an average of 82* hours.
- The average developmental costs for an hour of ILT is $5,924. That translates to $47,392 for every 8-hours of training or $142,176 for a three-day course.
There are several categories of eLearning content that generates different costs, such as Level 1 – basic pages like PowerPoint slides with an assessment; Level 2 – interactive with media files (video and audio), animations, and “try it” scenarios; and Level 3 – simulations that include virtual reality, games, and use of avatars.
- For the purpose of this blog, we’ll focus on Level 1 eLearning development.
- It takes an average of 79 hours of development for every hour of online training. This comes to a cost of $10,054. If the online course is 5-hours in length, then that cost is $50,270.
How Ability Platform Reduces Your Content Costs
The costs cited above are only for developing new courses. There are additional activities that generate expenses, beyond creating content, such as:
- The added cost of ownership that includes maintaining and updating existing content.
- The forgotten cost of delivering Instructor-led Training. While classroom training development is less than online courses, classroom events take employees out of production, no longer contributing to the company bottom line.
- The additional cost of paying employees to learn. A classroom event of ten people earning $15/hour costs the company $150/hour, or $1,200/day.
The cost of producing and maintaining online learning courses is just the beginning. There are additional considerations that must be accounted for when reviewing the content of the eLearning courseware. Christopher Pappas, the founder of the eLearning Industry site, when considering online content, identified 6 mistakes that drive learners crazy.
Here are just a few:
- Thinking all learners have the same needs, goals, and preferences — Content must be designed to make the learner feel like it was created for them.
- Overwhelming them with too much information — Employees want vital information and then move on to the next task. Too often, tidbits of data needed for their job is embedded deep inside the course.
- It lacks any form of entertainment or excitement — Corporate training is known to be boring, repetitive, and unmotivating.
- Showing the finish line but not including any road signs — Content needs to include clear objectives and targets for the learner to understand what they must accomplish if they are to successfully complete the training.
The Ability Platform content is the best “edutainment” in the industry, says all the awards and accolades that have been received. Lessons are comprised of short, 10-minutes or less videos, with an introductory music track, eye-catching movement every 8-seconds, professional actors, and a downloadable PDF for those who prefer reading.
As a solution, Ability Platform provides 2,500+ micro-learning lessons that are 10-minutes or less in length. These can be used to complement or supplement any current training strategy.
- With one fixed annual subscription fee, employees can engage in award-winning content that is updated continuously, with 15-20 lessons released or updated every month.
- Lessons are concise, with no fluff, to ensure salient points are presented, skills are learned, and training can fit into any busy schedule.
- Learning developers can build hybrid Learning Paths (collection of courses) that include their custom training, along with the Ability Platform library lessons. This strategy enables course designers to have more time to focus on content specific to their organization.
- Bottom-line: Subscribers have all the benefits of accessing the best micro-learning libraries, with none of the costs for producing new, and updating existing videos.
Consider User Engagement
Having stellar content is only the beginning. How a learner accesses and engages in the training is as important as the materials they are consuming. The learning environment must be inviting, intuitive, and informational, providing up-to-the-minute status of their learning progress.
A positive and engaging learning environment contributes significantly to the success of your learning program, whether consuming online content or attending a classroom (real or virtual) event. Take a few minutes and listen to Shawn Achor speak about the power of a fostering positive environment in this TEDTalk presentation.
According to eLearning Magazine, engagement is “often define as a complex construct that consists of behavioral, cognitive, and emotional components…” Sustained student engagement leads to “meaningful outcomes, prevents students from dropping out, and prevents boredom.”
However, there are differences in understanding what should be done to engage, especially with eLearning. Unfortunately, many have turned to gamification and other similar ideas to enhance their learning experience, surrendering to pressures that this is the cure-all to online content that is technical, tedious, and boring.
Earning badges, playing games, and making learning “social” all have a place in developing a positive learning environment, but it requires significant effort to get it right. And most get it wrong. Let’s not forget the general mission of learning – to increase knowledge in a way as to facilitate and inspire the transfer of that knowledge to someone else.
When these tools mentioned above are not integrated as a vital component for delivering content and reinforcing learned skills, they become distractions, as positioned by Justin Ferriman (LearnDash) and Dan Zapp (EverFi):
- Badges, games and social links can become additional “white noise” learners must work through to complete their training.
- These engagement tools may not be necessary if the learning content offers alluring and enjoyable experiences while delivering quality information.
- Additional engagement activities, when done incorrectly, send the wrong signal, rewarding the learner with some “fun” activity if they can survive the materials.
How Ability Platform Engages Learners
Ability Platform view all learning experiences through a single lens — does this activity contribute to the overall mission of producing top performers? If so, it stays. Otherwise, it is removed.
From the perspective of the student, Ability Platform offers:
- Micro-learning content presented as 10-minute or less video lessons. This allows employees to schedule training whenever there are 10-minute gaps in their busy day.
- Every 8 seconds, some movement catches the student’s eyes, with colors that are pleasing and intro/exit music.
- Professional actors presenting the materials with the right amount of information focused on learning productive skills.
- A clean, modern interface, starting with tiles that present the learner’s training summaries and status.
- A corresponding Course Home Page to launch the training, or access all assigned learning activities, including prerequisites, assessments, and surveys.
- A NEXT LESSON button to encourage “binge learning,” when possible.
The final area to review when determining if learning strategies need to be realigned is the delivery system, as this defines the learning administrative space. Learning systems, often referred to as an LMS (Learning Management System), have steadily trudged on these last ten years, despite pressures from pundits calling for a merger with content and talent management systems.
Learning systems is all about capturing history — when training was assigned and completed. It also enforces due dates and notifies learners when they exceed the associated deadlines. These functions are supported by most systems, nothing new.
How Ability Platform Delivers
The challenge now is to track more than just online assignments, while providing various levels of managers and stakeholders tools to interact with the data, as well as extract it, when necessary.
Ability Platform offers user experiences based on the three standard roles of the Learner, Manager, and Administrator, which is also referred to as “security profiles.” When a learner logs into Ability Platform, their associated profile determines which tiles, tools, and functions to load.
Need other designated groups? No problem. Build as many security profiles required so the infrastructure reflects your organization hierarchy. here are a few categories of features/benefits with the Ability Platform delivery system:
- Tile User Interface – Learners know their current status as they are displayed in each tile, enabling them to make smart training decisions.
- Keyword Search –Find individual lessons or learning paths using the keyword search. Lessons are presented in a Netflix like experience, engaging the adult learner with images and course details. Learning Paths include the number of lessons or courses assigned. This allows the Learner to plan their time better.
- On-demand Certificates – Custom certificates are available once the associated lesson or learning path has been completed. Learner history is preserved and available, whether online or exported as a spreadsheet. Now it’s easy to update CVs.
- Smart Path Technology – Control the order lessons are consumed inside Learning Paths, as well as assign prerequisites, and add supplemental documents to encourage skill retention. Use Flexi-Groups to automatically assign training to job titles, or groups like Onboarding, and committees.
- Enterprise Features – Ability Platform offers Single Sign-On (SSO), HR Systems integration, and multi-tenant portals for sections, departments, and divisions in the organization. This allows every group to have their private entrance, tiles, and branding while people, courses, and history are maintained in a single database.
- Email Notifications – Send reminders, expired training notices, and follow-up surveys with Communication Manager to nudge learners along the training process.
- Intelligent Dashboards – Dynamic dashboard, driven by security profiles, only displays one-click wizards appropriate for their role. Family of tools is presented in their own tile, easy to find and easy to use, without leaving the dashboard page.
- Master Schedule – Schedule and manage classroom training, whether instructor-led or virtual. Assign documents, surveys, and assessments to ensure knowledge transfer is successful.
- Active Attendance App – Use an easy mobile app to take attendance, even with a limited Internet connection. Keep attendance records updated, even when the class is in session.
Call to Action – Contact MaxIT and Ability Platform
The time to review your learning program is now, as the upcoming 5-G connection speeds will change all the rules. There are always limitations with time, budget, and personnel, but that is never an excuse to look the other way.
- Contact the MaxIT team with questions, suggestions, and ideas. They are the learning solutions company behind the Ability Platform, always ready to innovate.
- Want to review Ability Platform and access to the 2,500+ lessons? Then register for a Free 7-Day Trial.
Remember, the mission is for you and your company to become top performers in your industry. The legendary hockey player, Wayne Gretzky, once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” So, take the shot!