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The rapid and largely unexpected shift to work from home last year had many organisations scrambling to reorganise their corporate elearning plans. From face to face training, everything suddenly had to be online – and quickly too.

Online learning isn’t a new concept, but it is not well understood and often badly executed. As many organisations discovered last year, it’s trickier to get right than you’d imagine.

Says Michael Gullan, CEO of corporate elearning consultancy G&G Advocacy, “Many companies have a limited understanding of adult learning in the workplace. They upload long courses, with reams of information, in text format, which is difficult to get through. They then expect employees to read this information, digest and understand it without considering how much time any given employee has available.”

An understanding of adult learning is key to developing and delivering effective learning content. Below, Gullan shares his tips on how to create entertaining and engaging elearning programmes.

  1. Leverage gamification – gamification is the science of infusing game play to non-gaming applications to improve the outcomes. Gamification taps into people’s desire to win and be rewarded for their efforts. Using gamification in corporate learning is an effective way to motivate people to engage content, which is presented in an interactive and immersive way, and has proven to deliver better learning results than other learning delivery approaches..

  2. Drive engagement – People have short attention spans and a limited ability to engage with content. Keep them returning to your learning platform by using email, SMS, and other mobile-friendly communications to keep them informed on their progress, new content for them to engage, and to encourage them to pick up something again if they abandon it.

  3. Delivery on demand – For many people the idea of logging into a learning portal and spending more hours behind a screen after a full day behind said screen is a bridge too far. But they will happily fill downtime on the bus, or while waiting to fetch kids from school or other short periods of dead time they have in their days. Make sure your content is mobile-device enabled and available whenever and wherever your learners need it to be. Make this effortless by ensuring the content moves with them across devices – from browser to mobile and back, for example.

  4. Mix it up – Plain old text, especially reams and reams of it, is soul-destroying to read and digest. Make things interesting for learners by using different types of content – interactive elements, graphs, podcasts, audio, video, virtual reality, augmented reality – to keep them engaged and involved.

  5. Bite size chunks – As mentioned, giving learners large chunks of text to try and make sense of isn’t effective. People have limited attention spans, with 7 – 10 minutes being the sweet spot. Build knowledge in small pieces. Give them content that instills a layer of comprehension, then build on top of that, and on top of that. Microlearning has been shown to be 17% more efficient than other learning approaches.

Build this content within a framework that emphasises the outcomes that deliver the best return for your business, says Gullan. Then, ensure you are reporting and tracking your learners’ journeys using comprehensive data that gives the insights you need to measure effectiveness and outcomes.

COVID-19 has been a catalyst for a shift to elearning, and the genie isn’t going to go back into the bottle. “Elearning saves time, and is more cost-effective and measurable,” says Gullan. “Companies that want to succeed in the digital era will need to learn how to excel at it – and quickly.”

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