Develop Your Own eLearning Strategy – Part 3

Bluegrass Learning Solutions_eLearning Strategy Target

Utilize The Resources You Have

Let’s talk about how you can use resources you may already have in different ways to bolster your training and education strategy.  You don’t always have to go hire someone or secure a lot of funding when you’re just starting out.  Don’t be afraid to use what you have in the pantry! Here are some tips on how to re-purpose the content of you’ve already built.

Where does Your stuff live?

For webinars, annual conference materials, whitepapers – think about where these resources “live”.  Don’t let these collect dust. Make them easily accessible to your learners. Post this content on your YouTube channel or embed into blog posts, podcasts, newsletters, and online courses.

Software to Help you do the job

For longer content, cut it down to 5-15 minute chunks.  There are a lot of cheap options for audio and video editing software.  Camtasia is a great tool for screen casting, and it has a powerful PowerPoint plugin that lets record a presentation as a video.  Audacity is a free, open-source audio editing tool (you may see people refer to this as a DAW – this stands for Digital Audio Workstation) that you can use to polish narration and make podcasts.  I actually use Reaper as my DAW; it’s FANTASTIC and versatile and very affordable.

Other Existing Resources

If you need help developing outlines for self-paced courses, refer to your conference PowerPoints as a guide. Chances are that this information applies to other situations outside those conference and can be easily re-purposed.

Need some expertise on specific topics? Don’t overlook your employees or clientele for Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). Managing SMEs requires a lot of work – but they’re a rich source of information that are readily available to your organization.

Building out Your Learning Portfolio

You may already be at the sapling stage of developing your eLearning strategy. You can help take your organizations eLearning strategy to the next level by offering a diverse set of learning content. Let’s take a look a microlearning, online courses, and micro-credentials.

Microlearning

Microlearning is one of those buzzwords you see a lot in the eLearning world. At its core, microlearning focuses on brief learning content that is less than 10 minutes in length.  Microlearning is a powerful tool for reinforcing ideas.  When paired with an instructor-led training event, you can improve the staying power of the learning content by using microlearning.  Microlearning content can be an online course, video, explainer video, activity, or game.

Besides reinforcing ideas, microlearning may help you capture groups of your learners who wouldn’t otherwise consume eLearning content.  According to a 2010 Forbes study, 59% of executives stated that they would prefer to watch a video instead of reading a paragraph of text.  This idea goes back to the discussion on constraints – you may have learners who don’t have access to a desktop computer, so an explainer video that runs on a mobile device could be a great solution.

Here’s an example of an explainer video that Bluegrass Learning Solutions recently developed:

Self-paced Courses

Self-paced, or asynchronous, courses are an effective way of building engaging learning content. These self-paced courses are typically published in SCORM or AICC format, and they can offer learners an immersive learning experiences through gaming and scenario-based courses.  We will talk about the various SCORM, AICC, cmi5, and xAPI/Tin Can formats in later posts.

If you’re just building your course library, you don’t have to find an LMS to share your courses. Rustici’s SCORM Cloud platform offers a freemium model for distributing courses to learners.  You can test how a course will behave in a LMS and share it up to 10 people per month for free.

There are a couple of things to consider when you are planning for self-paced courses. First, in order to track each learner’s progress, provide certificates of completion, and monitor reports, you will need to host your self-paced courses within a learning management system (LMS) or other hosting platform. Selecting an LMS takes considerable time and effort to select a platform that is the right fit for your organization.

Do you need help navigating the LMS selection process? Contact us to help you cut through the noise and find an LMS solution that’s right for your organization.

Developing a self-paced SCORM course requires experience and programming knowledge.  If your organization chooses to make these courses a priority, consider reach out to external resources for help.  We can partner with you to develop these courses – contact BLS for more information.

Micro-credentials

Using micro-credentials in conjunction with gamified learning is a great way of creating confidence in your learners, as well a providing them a sense of accomplishment. Micro-credentials differ from traditional certificates of completion that a learner receives at the completion of a course.  Micro-credentials, or badges, incentivize learning by giving the learner recognition for completing tasks within a larger training initiative.  When you reward learners along the way for completing subtasks, this actions boosts their confidence.  The learners also see an intrinsic value to the learning content that your organization provides.

Companies are also beginning to use badges as a way of verifying competency and skill sets among potential employees.  Sites like Credly provide digital credential solutions that companies and employees alike can share on LinkedIn and other social media platforms.

Make Your Training Unique

When I am working with organizations to develop their eLearning strategies, I advise them to focus their efforts on making their training content unique to their audience.  In other words, why should someone be EXCITED for this training?  Why SHOULD it matter to them?

Focus on the big picture of your eLearning strategy first, then focus on more detailed aspects.

Make Your Training Easy to Understand

Thinking about the big picture helps you develop content that applies to your entire audience. In his book The Art of Explanation, Lee LeFever discusses the “explanation scale” as it relates to explaining ideas.  If you use highly-technical language and focus on individuals at R and above, you risk losing the entire audience to the left of R on the scale.

Bluegrass Learning Solutions_Art of Explanation_LeFever
Lee LeFever, The Art of Explanation, page 99

Rather than focusing on the few individuals on the right-end of the scale, your learning content should account for everyone along the scale. At the end of the day, besides giving the learner skills and knowledge, your training content should give them confidence.  LeFever writes, “A single word can make your explanation fail because it lowers confidence.” The Art of Explanation, page 27.

Make Your Training Valuable Outside your Organization

Think about the space in which your organization lives.  Whatever industry it is, chances that there is an affiliated accrediting body or certification council.  You could help your learners achieve their required hours by provided accredited training.  Get your training accredited.  Reach out to the respective accreditation bodies early in the process.

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

Don’t re-invent the wheel on certain types of training content if you really don’t have to do so.  There are several content providers that offer training for compliance related topics.  If you’re thinking about developing any of these topics, I would pause and reconsider.  It usually is quicker, cheaper, and more effective to purchase this content from a provider:

  • HR and corporate compliance training
  • IT Skills
  • General Health safety Training
  • Accounting & Financial Skills
  • Anti-Discrimination/Harassment Training
  • Project Management
  • Manufacturing training
  • Communication and Social Skills

Be sure to read the fine print about how this content can be licensed and distributed – they’re may be limitations to the number of times a course can be viewed or how it can be hosted on a public website.

Measure Your Learning Outcomes

Bluegrass Learning Solutions_Measure Your Learning OutcomesMeasuring the outcomes of your organization’s learning content is essential to developing an effective eLearning strategy. If you’re not measuring outcomes, you can’t say with certainty that you’re improving the skills or knowledge of your audience or changing their behaviors.

A great tool for measuring your learning outcomes is using assessments and knowledge checks. Using pre-assessments establishes a baseline of what the learner knows or comprehends prior to completing your training.  Knowledge checks are effective in measuring understanding in the middle of topic or course, and they also help build confidence in the learner as they progress throughout the course.  A post-assessment measures what skills or knowledge that they obtained through the learning content.  Using pre-assessments is vital to understanding the full picture of your learner and what they’re actually getting out of the learning content.

Surveys are another valuable for determining whether or not you’re hitting the mark. Well-built surveys can offer your organization insight into what’s working, what’s not working, and what needs to be adjusted.  If you have a robust LMS, you can use that platform to facilitate pre-assessments, knowledge checks, and post-assessments.  If you don’t have an LMS, you can use proxy measures for your training efficacy.  You can count the number of hours completed or the number of webinar hours watched. You can utilize third-party survey tools like SurveyMonkey to poll your audience for additional feedback.

Want Help with Your eLearning Strategy?

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