Digital Learning: Doing your Digital Homework
October 11, 2015
Nobody likes doing homework do they? Little kids, teenagers, university students… it’s not exactly an exciting experience, even for those of us on the nerdy side. Training at work, in any form, is often perceived as homework. One might not have to execute it at ‘home’ but it’s still the same feeling isn’t it?
So why does training produce the homework feeling? I would argue it’s because most employees aren’t presented with training that feels engaging, exciting or relevant. The context gets lost. It’s hard for them to understand why it is important that, for example, those in Marketing learn about the importance of data recording in financial systems.
"Training is the need; digital learning is the solution"
In the big picture, it’s important so that their management can pull the right reports of sales activities, demonstrating that the efforts of those employees in Marketing have paid off. Fairly straightforward, but is it an engaging enough reason for me, an average Marketing employee, to pull away from my Inbox for 2 hours? Not necessarily.
That’s why when training is the need; digital learning is the solution.
eLearning? Isn’t that a bit 1999?
The big trend in the early days of intranets was eLearning. The benefits of eLearning were and are manifest, meaning that a centralised course can be distributed across regions, markets and audiences, in multiple language versions or tailored to specific regulatory needs. Less paper, less PowerPoint and less effort by the educators.
The conversation is no longer about whether or not eLearning is a good idea (it is), but has shifted to how to ensure that the benefits of eLearning are maximised, and that internal training is a priority, and relevant for the learning audience. That’s why it’s worth it to think big and think digital.
Digital learning is more than eLearning. Digital learning means engaging your learning audience in a variety of ways. It’s not only teaching them through one activity (such as an eLearning programme), it’s the possibility of involving them through a combination of structured digital learning activities such as webinars or face-to-face teaching, facilitated by digital registration, pre-reads and follow up.
It’s creating a whole digital learning platform, to increase the penetration and sustainability of a specific training course or multiple courses. It’s thinking how technology can facilitate training needs, and satisfy the learners from many sides.
Digital learning… so really… PowerPoint online?
Digital learning is not just about making some slide decks available in a central location. Digital learning is about demonstrating the need to learners about why they should engage, facilitating their engagement, and following up to continue the relationship so that value of the training becomes evident to the learner in their everyday activities.
The benefits of digital learning are two-fold:
Firstly, on the user side, the learning audience can be engaged in a number of different ways. Not only can the content be well designed to communicate clearly, it can also be interactive allowing the learning audience to be part of the learning journey, rather than being mere witnesses.
Depending on the type of content that the learners should receive, they can interact with it in a variety of ways. Is it active or passive information? Is it skills oriented? Is it need-to-know or nice-to-know? Digital learning technologies can distinguish between these different types of learning needs, making the homework more interesting for the learner, increasing the likelihood they will hit the magical 100% completion target.
Secondly, on the educator side, feedback from the learning audience can be easily managed. This feedback has many benefits. It means receiving learner feedback, such as evaluations of the content or overall training from the learners through built-in evaluation mechanisms or community forums.
Feedback is also important as a way of reporting effectiveness. Our digital learning technologies can track and report on the progress, completion rates and assessment scores of the learning audience. Internal training is often a key tactical activity undertaken by organisation, representing an investment of resources in the pursuit of employee excellence, and naturally, the ROI is important.
Are you ready for digital learning?
Digital learning is unique in terms of it can be relevant in all sectors of an organisation, from Marketing to Finance, Sales Training to Customer Care. The principles outlined above are relevant whether you are teaching on accounting or conversation guides for sales.
We’ve done our homework on digital learning, passed the assessment test and emerged more than fully qualified. Now it’s your turn to think, is it time to get your employees to do their digital homework?