Create E-Learning content

Develop Engaging E-learning Solutions

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What is E-Learning?

In a nutshell, E-Learning is Electronic-Learning. This can be online or offline learning. Many organisations use e-learning as a module that is run on a computer, laptop, phone or tablet. If you work in a large organisation, you will more than likely be accessing your e-learning via an internal Learning Management System (LMS) which is only accessible to employees. If you’re an individual, you might be accessing e-learning via an independent website. E-learning formats include interactive learning, video, games, and documents. There is no limitation that defines e-learning, as long as its electronic and involves learning.

The Benefits of E-Learning

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Cost effective

Compared to traditional face to face learning, e-learning comes at a fraction of the price, especially for larger organisations. You can create a course once and roll it out to thousands of employees without anyone needing to travel anywhere. This cuts the costs of training dramatically in a number of ways and offers a genuine ROI for the business.

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Greater Accessibility

Employees are able to access the learning whenever and wherever they want, as long as they have access to the course, and an internet connection if required. There is no need to ‘attend’ the course at a specific time or be present physically.

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Better Consistency

Delivering messages using e-learning means that everyone will get to see the same story. It’s normally very difficult to achieve this, even with seasoned trainers giving the same message on a different day, let alone using multiple trainers, or even managers, to convey the message.

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More Control

Closely linked to consistency, e-learning allows organisations to control the message that is being delivered. As a trainer, I have witnessed many workshops go ‘off track’, where the trainer did their own thing. E-learning is closely vetted to ensure quality control is in place before anyone engages with the material.

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Higher Retention of Learning

Learners are able to go at the pace that suits them, repeat key messages, and testing can be built into the design. We all know that traditional face-to-face learning has an extremely poor retention rate and the transfer of learning is even worse.

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Offers a Blended Approach

Blended learning is where traditional face to face workshops are supported and backed up with some form of e-learning. The e-learning might happen as pre-course work or as post-course work. A blended learning approach can help with the transfer of training from the classroom to the real world by allowing delegates to access the learning outside of the workshop.

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Develop Once, Deliver a Million Times

Let’s face it, face-to-face training limits delegate numbers to around 15-25. If you want to train another group, you have to ‘do it all again’: another day, another room, another trainer, another lunch! With e-learning, most of the investment is in the initial design and development of the content; once created though, you can run it over and over again without having to worry about anything.

Improved Employee Engagement

Improved Employee Engagement

Research overwhelmingly shows that development is one of the key elements in employee engagement. The costs associated with traditional learning can limit the development opportunities. E-learning is a great way of offering development to ALL of your employees. This will help with engagement and boost the feel good factor. Engaged employees are more productive, take less sick days and are more likely to stay.

How to Create E-Learning?

At Seven Institute, we like to follow the well-known training and development model ADDIE. ADDIE is a model that systematically steps through the creating of any learning material, and is an ideal model to use when creating e-learning. I like it because it’s uncomplicated and ticks all of the right boxes. Here is a quick look at each step:

Assess

The planning stage is critical; measure twice, cut once. Logically, the first place to start is to assess the organisation’s need. Everything else will be built on the assess stage, so it’s important not to jump ahead too quickly, which is often the temptation. Here are some questions to consider:

  • What are we trying to achieve?
  • What are the key learning outcomes?
  • Is e-learning the best format to achieve our goals?
  • What’s our budget?
  • How long do we want the learning to be?
  • Do we have any specific styles or themes in mind?
  • Who are the key people? Who needs to be involved?
  • How will we measure success?
  • Where will we access our ‘assets’ (images, scripts, talent, equipment, technical)?
  • Who is the subject matter expert we will use?
  • Will we do this in-house, use an external partner, or a bit of both?
  • How many users will access the e-learning?
  • Where will we host the e-learning?
  • How long will it take to create?
  • When do we need to complete by?

Design

Once the assessment has been completed, you will be in a good position to start designing the e-learning. Don’t get too excited, design is not development; in this stage, you will spend a lot of time putting pen to paper, or, in my case, to PowerPoint. Here are some of the things you might do during the design stage:

  • Conceptualise your ideas (It’s essential we engage the people who know the information that is being taught; subject matter experts we call them).
  • Create scripts and plans (I like to use PowerPoint to create an example with step by step notes for the developer)
  • Design images, backgrounds, characters
  • Identify talent and key personnel
  • Obtain any equipment or resource you need

Develop

OK, now you’re ready to develop the e-learning. During this stage, the content is developed so you can start getting excited now. Your e-learning developers will create the product using the assets you have given them. This is where all of your hard work over the first two stages pays dividends. Some key things to do are:

  • Work in an agile way. This means you need to develop some content and then test it. It’s better to discover early on if the reality is not going to be as good as the concept; this allows you to assess what’s not working and to re-boot without going too far in the wrong direction.
  • Have good quality control: Bring in different people for this, we all see things differently. I’m great with conceptualising but rubbish at spelling. Is it your or you’re? Who knows? Actually some people do know! And I like to involve them.
  • Test the product on end users: Give the e-learning to some employees to try out, capture their feedback, and make changes as required.
  • Open communication: Never trust a developer. They have a tendency to do the stuff that they think is good or that they enjoy doing. The project managers need to be constantly connecting with the developers to ensure the project is on track. Agile is a philosophy used to help manage IT projects. I’m not an Agile expert, but I have learned one of their tricks: catch up each morning (or very often) and ask three questions 1) what did you do yesterday? 2) what are you doing today? 3) Is there anything getting in your way?

Implement

Don’t complicate this one too much. Do what it says on the packet. You’re dealing with electronics so, as much as you have tried to get things right up to this stage, you may still find the odd issue pops up. Do the following:

  • Market the course appropriately
  • Offer a forum for feedback, especially early on so you can pick up any bugs
  • Ensure managers are aware of the training and what they need to do to help their employees transfer the learning into their roles
  • Run some training courses for the trainers if the e-learning is part of a blended solution
  • Capture the results. This is going to depend a lot on the technology. If you’re using an LMS, it will probably give you some decent reporting around completion rates, test results etc.… Send out surveys to capture user experiences, talk to managers and customers to identify if the learning is achieving its objectives.

Evaluate

Firstly, don’t wait until the dust has settled. Implementation and evaluation can run side by side. The closer you are to the action, the quicker you will be able to react if something is not 100%. There is not much point in discovering that the learning had issues six months down the line. Analyse the feedback, and then… you guessed it, around we go again, back to assessing what you need to do now.

What does Seven Institute do?

We can help you transfer your current learning into an e-learning format. We are able to support you through one or all of the steps as outlined in the ADDIE model. We can provide your organisation with assistance in the following areas: