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Guest Posts
author Darya Tarliuk
author 05 Dec 2017
author Hits: 562

eLearning offers enormous benefits to businesses regardless of their size:

  • 46% of those who apply it are more likely to be the leader in their industry
  • 42% attribute their increase in revenue to online learning
  • 58% feel prepared to meet future demands thanks to eLearning
  • 72% believe that eLearning provides a competitive advantage
  • etc.

    Isn’t it inspiring?

    But we all know that these wonderful results don’t just come to anyone who decides to put up an eLearning website. The biggest benefits can be achieved only by companies who invest in thorough planning and follow best practices.

    In this article, we’ll walk through the key steps that determine the success of an eLearning project:

  • Defining success first
  • Knowing your learner
  • Engagement
  • Reinforcement.
  • Let’s take a closer look at each of them.

    Define success first

    “The end is the beginning” - the first of the Kirkpatrick’s foundational principles (‘Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Training Evaluation’. book by Wendy and Jim Kirpatricks)

    This means that if you want to build a successful training program the first thing that you should do is - define how success should look like. Your next steps will be to develop a program that will help you arrive at that destination.

    This entails the following:

  • Agreeing on the desired outcomes for business with your stakeholders
  • Deciding how employees should change their behavior to achieve these outcomes
  • Finding the right way to present this knowledge to them.
  • Know your learner

    When you will have defined the goals and objectives of your eLearning program, it will be time to get to the design and development.

    At this point, the main concern is to develop a program that your learners will actually like. To achieve this, use the principles of the Learner-Centered Design and place them at the center of your design and development work.

    There is a great tool that will help you do that, it is called Learner Personas. These personas are the archetypes of different learner groups that are based on research and analysis. L&D professionals use personas to make the best choices regarding the design and development of their programs.

    Here are a few examples of decisions that you can make with a help of personas:

  • What media formats will be most convenient?
  • How to plan curriculum?
  • How to engage?
  • How to evaluate?
  • etc.

    Engage

    It pays to keep in mind that for your learners, eLearning will be just another extra thing on top of their work and personal commitments. So the priority will be medium-to-low and there will be a lot of distractions. That’s why you are going to need an engagement strategy to hook them in.

    Here are a few good ways to engage eLearners:

  • Make your content interactive
  • Personalize
  • Keep it short
  • Provide great user experience
  • Use gamification.
  • So don’t make your learners just go through hundreds of slides. Ask them questions to check comprehension and give them feedback.

    Also, avoid ‘one-fits-all’ programs and personalize study curriculums. For that you can use pre-tests that determine individual knowledge gaps and reorganize curriculum to fill those gaps (instead of going over material they already know). And remember that your learners are super busy so divide your material into short bite-size chunks that can be studied on the go.

    In addition to that, your eLearning formats and UX should be consistent with the context in which it will be consumed. Not everyone will have the time to sit through your courses behind the desk, so think through all possible use-case scenarios and design accordingly.

    And last, but not least, you can also leverage gamification to engage your learners. You can use educational games or/and game elements like scores, badges, and leaderboards to inspire friendly competition.

    Reinforce

    It has been proved that learners can forget up to 90% of material days after a training event (the Forgetting Curve). This can easily turn all your work to waste and result in a negative project ROI.

    The best way to fight it is with reinforcement strategies like: Regular post-assessments Spaced repetitions Micro-learning.

    Thus, to fight the forgetting curve you need to repeat and revise in regular time intervals (spaced repetitions). But it is better to do it in parallel with knowledge assessments, so your learners would spend more time on things they find most challenging and less time on material they already know well.

    How to Apply This to Your Business

    So if you want to reap all of the benefits eLearning has to offer, consider following the best practices:

  • To achieve success, know what it should look like and then work from there
  • Know your learners and make your program about them
  • Develop engagement strategies, so your learners would want to come back for more
  • Reinforce to help them remember what they’ve learned.
  • This is by far not a complete list, but we think it contains the most essential elements of a successful eLearning project. What would you add, if any?

    Kateryna Reshetilo

    Author: Kateryna Reshetilo Head of Marketing and Business Development at Greenice, web development agency. I explore business opportunities, develop and execute marketing strategies. I also write articles about ways businesses can leverage technology, including eLearning


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