Creating an E learning course which will provide value addition to the learners and at the same time be simple enough for them to grasp and flexible enough to follow, is not easy-peasey. Following the well-acclaimed best practices and imbibing various facets of an effective E-learning program calls for a highly planned and focused approach.
It’s a multi-tiered process, involving layers of reiterations and corrections. You cannot get it perfect in one shot.
Here are some pointers that will help you to set your course of action.
1. Study the target audience: Every communication needs to be moulded according to the receiver; and e-learning is no different. The instructional design will be most effective if we are well aware of the understanding level, prior knowledge and experience of the learners. The target audience can be any of the following categories:
2. Choose the delivery mode: There can be several delivery modes, depending upon the accessibility of learners, their location and time convenience. Since e-learning provides flexibility of learning platform, you can create the courses to suit the distribution platform. Mobile phones, tablets, laptops are the most commonly used delivery devices for e-learning. The features which you integrate in the course and module length will vary according to the device.
3. Framework of the course: The best e-learning courses are built on a framework that is revised several times. Instead of going ahead with the entire research and development at one go, you must first plan the structure of the course, and discuss it with the team that will receive training. It might be possible that there are some more points that need to be imbibed or some topics are redundant. Making these changes at the framework level will help you to finally put up an excellent course module which serves the purpose.
4. Clarify learning objectives: At the outset, the objective of preparing the corporate e-learning course must be clear. There can be following motives of an online module:
5. Make it engaging: Enabling learners to participate in the learning process is a great way to make the course successful. When there are ways in which people can contribute to the course, they will feel more involved and will be likely to complete the course in a disciplined manner. Moreover, you can incorporate forums and discussion boards, on which participants can leave comments, interact with fellow learners, discuss relevant topics and provide feedback. Being present on these forums helps instruction designers to understand the problems and reactions of participants.
6. Include games and rewards: Games that reward learners with bonus points or additional incentive make the course highly interactive. You must plan to incorporate games that are relevant to the module and gives real time simulative experience to learners. The game can be planned with levels, which the learners will have to clear to reach the end of the course.
7. Revision and feedback: Going through the course content in an encapsulated manner is essential. Hence, including summaries, preferably with bullet points, is important. Moreover, you must ask good questions, which prompt learners to think innovatively. Open ended questions, alongside multiple choice questions, enable people to think ‘out of the box’ and find unique solutions. Variation in pattern of questions is also important.
8. Easy navigation: The navigation must be simple and non restrictive. This implies that participants must be free to move back and forth in the course. In case they want to go back to a chapter, or check out the quiz part before completing the module, the navigation must allow them to do so. The buttons and icons used should be clearly visible, throughout the course material as well as in the evaluation part.
9. Use of case studies: Using case studies to explain concepts or develop work skills with the help of characters (avatar) inbuilt in the module is an innovative approach for instructional design. Moreover, with case studies, learners can experience simulation and get involved with the course. Presenting a scenario which is close to real life situation helps learners identify with it and apply the learning practically.
10. Be crisp and clear: Sticking to a timeframe while designing an online course is a must. Lengthy modules tend to get boring and learners cannot concentrate. Keeping each module 10 to 15 minutes long is a good idea. Also, limit your modules to cover only one central idea/ technology/concept. This way, learners will grasp more and know in depth about each topic.
Keeping these ’10 commandments’ of effective e-learning course design is imperative in order to create an unmatched course.
Ongoing, self-motivated and progressive learning is the key to corporate growth. Hence, companies all over the world are taking measures to incorporate employee trainings in their schedule and indulge in newer forms of elearning modules. As per a recent estimate, the national e-learning industry is expected to grow by a significant 25% year-on-year with projections of up to $1.96 billion by 2021.
To make learning most effective and wide-ranging, it is necessary to make optimal use of suitable e-tools being introduced. Most trainings designed to enhance knowledge and skills of geographically dispersed, inter-departmental employees are supported by a diversified set of e-learning tools. These tools are created diligently and in a focused manner to solve specific problems.
With the benefits of customisation, the learning can be channelised, monitored and easily measured. Moreover, companies can plan their budget according to the training needs and cost of E-learning tools.
Latest types of E-learning Tools used in corporate trainings
The list of E-learning tools is quite elaborate and there are educational websites that can guide you to choose the best suited one. Here is a list of tools segregated according to the purpose that they solve and areas where they are used:
1. E-learning Authoring Tools: Bringing together an e-learning course from scratch is like solving a puzzle with text, videos and images. To enable smooth transition of these elements from disjointed parts to a coherent module, authors use tools like Adobe Captivate, Elucidat, Lectora online, Articulate Storyline and iSpring Suite.
2. Designing Tools: To make the task of designers easy, there are several tools that provide ready-to-use templates. They are quite popular for their integrated info-graphics and storylines. For instance, mysimpleshow is a tool used for creating videos and Canva is a popular tool for presentations and graphics. They help to make the modules informative as well as engaging.
3. Delivery Tools: A number of new methods of delivery are creating ripples on the E-learning arena, especially for the corporate sector. Dissemination of modules through Video-based Instructor-led Training, games, podcasts, augmented reality and simulation is becoming increasingly popular in an effort to make trainings interactive. In addition, smartphones are gaining immense popularity as easy platforms for easy adoption of elearning 2017, 67% of US companies offered learning opportunities via smartphones.
4. Assessment Tools: There are a number of tools used for assessing the knowledge of employees after training. These include online quizzes, worksheets, case studies, memory games, etc. Quizlet, a quiz designing tool, is much in vogue for its value added features.
5. Learning Tools: Learners are also adopting a wide range of tools to access the material in the most convenient manner. A pre-training assessment, done with the help of a chatbot, enables learners to know their learning needs. Then there are forums and discussion boards through which participants share ideas and feedback. App based learning and ebooks are other trending resources.
By creating interactive content and engaging websites, Top E-Learning Companies in India are providing a strong foundation to the corporate world, based on which companies can expand with ease. The tools have proved to be highly effective for learning new software, streamlining processes, creating new product ideas, improving communication skills, etc. This is reflected by a 72% reporting by top companies in favor of e-learning practices for corporate learning and its subsequent competitive edge.
However, it is not to be forgotten that elearning tools are still on the brink of transforming from an incandescent stage to a developing phase. This essentially means that there is still a long way to go for most technology entrants.
Limitations of corporate E-learning tools:
Although elearning has transformed by leaps and bounds ever since its inception in 2000 (‘elearning’ was coined in 1998) in terms of formats, layout, embedded features, outreach, etc., it is still to attain a 100% adoption rate across different industries.
1. Lack of personal touch: Learning from a machine is not the same as learning from a human being face to face. Despite the interactive material and live video conferencing classes, the one to one learning and feedback system is often missing.
2. Not 100% adaptable: The course modules are created according to the thought process of content developers and designers. So, it is tough to adapt the module according to the needs of individual learners. Some people may need extra explanation, examples or practice quizzes. Though some leading E-learning content providers are now taking initiative to create content after taking thorough inputs from learners as well, yet there is much scope for enhancing the flexibility of the online courses.
3. Less time discipline: Since the courses can be completed as per the convenience of learners, there is a lower level of commitment. Learners can easily stop the course in between, which often breaks the flow of knowledge and reduces the effectiveness of course. E-learning modules can become a formality for official obligation, instead of being taken as a genuine learning source if not well-guided or time-tracked.
4. Cost and Time investment: For small companies, trying various E-learning modules, conducting seminars and workshops can amount to a considerable investment of time as well as money. If the courses are attended by the entire team, instead of only the targeted people, then many man hours are lost in vain. So, it is important to first judge the suitability of a particular course before plunging to purchase it.
5. Technology dependent: Some courses may be highly beneficial for an organisation but its results can depend on ownership of complicated or expensive technology. If the team learns certain skills, but does not have the resources to apply these skills, then conducting the course will become pointless.
Looking at the above points, it is recommended that courses be made more flexible, so that they can blend feedback from learners, as well as get updated with the latest advances in the specified knowledge field. Making people practically do the tasks that they learn about is a great way to strengthen the training process.
No doubt e-learning segment is today the fastest growing industry, but constant innovation is highly desirable in most e-learning modules. The new age technologies like LMS (learning management systems) and ‘blended learning’ that combines interactive learning with technological support have managed to overcome several challenges. Indeed, there are a number of LMS software for SMEs that can boost business growth without burning a hole in their pockets. According to a recent company report, IBM saved $200 million (approx.) by switching to latest modules of e-learning.
E-learning tools can definitely be a boon for any company’s bottom line if utilised judiciously and in a planned way.
E-learning’ has graduated from simply implying ‘electronic’ learning; it has widened its avenues w.r.t learning systems, technologies, content and knowledge infusion. Its significance is better understood with the 5 ‘E’s that it essentially entails. In a corporate set up, these features are highly valuable and ‘must-haves’ for achieving growth targets.
Without an iota of doubt, e-learning is deemed to be the most sought-after asset creation tool for corporate players. Corporate training stands a great chance of success with added elements of elearning or etraining.
A glance over Corporate E-learning
On-the-job elearning is more of a necessity today than a choice for organisations given the current fluctuating employment scenario. E-learning for corporate enterprises is related to training and skill enhancement. Thereby, elearning content has to be carefully curated, data-backed and well-researched to include the most relevant aspects of a subject.
Value-addition offered by E-learning for corporates
The importance of corporate e-learning cannot be overemphasized in times when skill enhancement is the key to retain one’s job through consistent performance. The advantages of digital learning, delivered through a well planned LMS, can be surmised as below:
Top 5 domains where E-learning is making a loud roar
While benefits of E-learning are reaching almost every segment of the corporate sector, there are some professional fields that are leveraging its power to the fullest. The impact of e-learning on the growth of these sectors is commendable:
Case study of a corporate before and after e-learning introduced
Antara Ltd., a company providing education support to schools, wanted to start a new service in the digital segment. They needed a team that could approach schools with the proper framework of smart classes, give presentations and acquire deals.
CASE PRESENTED TO US
Our task was to train the existing team in all facets of smart education, starting from designing of digital content to use of smart boards for teaching and assessment tools for internal tests. They had to be prepared to explain all these in detail to the prospective clients.
Our challenge was that none of the team members had any prior experience of instructional designing as they were only subject matter experts and marketing professionals. We had to combine several aspects and train them in a limited time period, well before the launch of digital services by the company.
HOW WE HELPED
The solution provided by our team was as multifaceted as our problem. Here is what we did:
Mike Cornell and Emma Jones are behind the success of Elearning Blog, a blog solely focused on providing free resources and tips for e-learning.