E-Learning is a practice gaining momentum and businesses are happily implementing it to better reach its employees. The educational benefit in terms of teaching staff members is huge and with the advent of BYOD policies, businesses are embracing a better-connected and better-trained workforce with open arms.
However, it’s important to make sure that the e-learning practices that your business is implementing are of a high quality. There are three criteria to judge your business and its success with e-learning practices:
Any e-learning practice must have a very clear end goal in mind. This is how effective it is as a tool and the instruction must be judged on how well it allows and equips learners to achieve expected goals and outcomes. Efficiency is to do with the energy and time invested in the e-learning practice and the costs are those incurred in the pursuit of the e-learning policies and its design and delivery.
That’s a sort of crash course then in the main business principles to consider, but it’s equally important to hone the details in design and the development of quality instruction. Remember that there’s also the human element when it comes to e-learning and businesses should try and connect there too.
A good learning system will be both economical and user friendly. After all it should be designed with the end user in mind and carefully orchestrated to benefit the user and the business. Let’s consider the main tenets of e-learning, consider them as the golden rules if you like.
It must have an end in mind
Your e-learning system must have a goal in mind before it’s devised. You need something to work towards and something that is measurable. Ask yourself a question before beginning – what do I hope to achieve? Then work towards that answer. Perhaps try rephrasing the question too and really interrogating your e-learning desires. What student learning outcomes will this material serve? You can also consider the real world application of your employees’ new education tools and use this as a benchmark for judging success.
If you start with the end already defined you’ll be able to design instructional material much more effectively. You’ll save time, money and energy and you’ll hopefully alleviate problems like missing educational pieces.
It must be for the end user
The e-learning environment that you foster must be one designed specifically with your employees in mind. It’s all well and good devising a really good teaching system, but if you’re not getting user engagement it’s all for nothing. You want to turn employees into active participants and you want to pull instructors and trainers back a little. Not entirely mind, as they are still needed to facilitate and guide users through the acquisition of new skills and knowledge.
Ask these questions and determine if the instructional material you’re using is fit for purpose.
- How will the students learn?
- What will they learn?
- How can we monitor and gauge what’s being learned?
- What conditions are students learning under?
This way you can design a bespoke learning service that fulfils your business intentions and maximises user engagement.
It should be refined through assessment and improvement
This is a process remember and devising a learning system is never-ending. You’ll constantly find new things that need addressing and elements that you’ve forgotten or neglected will need to be remedied. Once a design is rolled out you’ll still need to monitor and tweak it to make sure that it’s improved and functioning to its best ability.
Remember to assess and monitor how your employees are doing too and make sure that none of them are struggling or falling behind. Put some key assessment outcomes into your e-learning practices and make sure that those outcomes are easily monitored and measureable.
Use a pre-existing system
None of this will happen by chance and if you want your e-learning model to be a success you have to remember that it takes time. This isn’t something that you can do on a whim and instead you need to carefully and systematically design it.
There are a number of different models in the e-learning system and some are more open ended than others. The point is though that if you follow a well-defined system you’re less likely to get lost and bogged down in the details. You’re implementing e-learning practices for a reason – keep them in mind.
Ensure that you have a robust system in place and one that covers analysis, design, development, application or implementation, and assessment.
Remember the bigger picture
A well-considered and crafted instructional design encompasses everything from the minutiae to the larger whole. This is something bigger than the sum of its parts, but those parts have to work individually too. Look for the interconnectedness and you’ll find you have a much better, more rounded and developed e-learning system.