In this ever-changing, technology-driven time that we live in, companies are embracing eLearning to move digitalization forward. This includes nearly half the companies on the Fortune 500 list. Take it from a market giant like IBM. They claim to have not only saved $200 million by switching to eLearning, but to have also seen $30 of increased productivity for every dollar they invested in it. (Source: elearningindustry.com) So now that you know why you should be using it, what is IT eLearning?
Introduction to eLearning
First off, eLearning can embrace any form of electronically delivered training or education. At the very least, eLearning can provide instruction through videos to a lecture hall or classroom. At the other extreme, it can deliver highly-structured, highly-interactive training courses that utilize the latest developments in augmented or virtual reality.
So What’s IT eLearning?
For businesses, eLearning could mean an onboarding course to integrate new employees—like my company used to train me—or lessons on a specific system, software, or database. With the technology we have today, we’re not talking about a few forwarded emails with some attached PDFs. You can provide so much more to ensure your company has a competitive advantage.
When it comes to the digital transformation and upskilling of your team, you can (and should!) be utilizing IT eLearning to constantly provide training of the most current technological practices. This material can be completely customized to your users’ specific needs or roles, and since the materials are online, everything is saved to a cloud-based system and can be accessed from anywhere, anytime, from any type of device. This also allows for easy updating or tweaking in the future if software or practices change.
And listen to this. By the end of this year (2020), 98% of US corporations are planning to have implemented online education into their training programs (Source: elearningindustry.com). There’s definitely a trend here—IT eLearning is the future.
Structuring IT eLearning
First and foremost, before you even start thinking of the design of the course or draw up ideas of what you want it to discuss, you need to focus on the most important part: the users.
Different Learning Styles
Your employees’ understanding of your learning materials is vital. The success of any educational resource depends entirely on the learners’ perception of it. That’s why the goal should always be to make it interactive, enjoyable, surprising, and of course, comprehensible.
The main objective of the online experience you make for your team is to motivate them to participate and engage in the course to improve their skills.
So to better understand how to design eLearning materials, we need to take a look at some different learning styles people can have:
- Visual: Visually-dominant learners absorb and retain information best when it is presented in an easily-viewable way, such as in images, diagrams, charts, illustrations, maps and by using different color schemes.
- Auditory: Auditory-dominant learners retain information by listening to what is being presented. These people respond best to voices, like in a group discussion, lecture, or speech. Even hearing their own voice repeat information back can be useful for them. These learners prefer videos or audio recordings.
- Kinesthetic: Kinaesthetic-dominant learners prefer a physical experience. This means that they learn best when material is “hands-on” or tactile. They respond well to being able to touch materials, feel objects or learning props. In the elearning world, this translates to interactive, highly-immersive materials that they can click on, drag and drop, link, draw, match or type, games, or material you can do on a touchscreen device.
Utilizing eLearning Components
After you’ve assessed who your users will be and their educational needs, you can move on to the features you can utilize in your training. The key is to come up with the right blend of eLearning components that correspond with the different learning styles of your users.
- Webinars: Webinars are online meetings or presentations that allow the attendees to discuss, interact and exchange information in real time. They’re like the modern-day conference room meetings. These events are held online and can be used to share videos, surveys, and text. Best of all, they’re free and anyone living anywhere in the world can attend them. Even if different time zones don’t permit a meeting, webinars can be recorded and viewed later on any device.
- Video Tutorials: If a picture is worth a thousand words, you can imagine the value of a video. And the numbers show that people would much rather watch a short clip than read an article. (Hopefully you’re still with me! Don’t worry, we have video tutorials of eLearning courses too!) Video tutorials can provide more concise information, step-by-step instruction, and even the feel of a face-to-face learning experience. Plus they’re free to make and add to platforms like YouTube.
- Assessments: Assessments are another great tool to ensure that the learning continues even after the lesson is completed. The immediate feedback of a quick quiz or test helps the learner gauge their understanding and retention of the material. They’re also great for highlighting the most important points in the information.
- Gaming: Gaming is another beneficial learning tool many companies choose to utilize because of its fun and engaging environment. Some well-known examples are Duolingo’s language application and even McDonald’s internal training game employees use to learn the register.
- Virtual Classrooms: To put it simply, virtual classrooms are online spaces designated for learning. A variety of applications can be used to provide this environment for communicating, interacting, and studying. Apart from just the educational material, this space can allow learners to discuss topics with others on the team.
- Software Simulations: Software simulations are like videos, but taken to a whole new level. Not only do they give the user all the visual-learning and audio-learning benefits but they also allow interaction within the screen so they can click, type, drag and drop, and pause as they’re going through the simulation. Instead of just watching a procedure be done, they’re actually trained how to do it as they work through the process step by step.
- Social: Last but not least, adding social elements will really make your eLearning excel. Whether it’s a forum for engagement, a space for feedback or review of the resources, an assigned coach-mentor relationship, or social media platform groups to continue discussion, these additions guarantee engagement.
In the end, the customization possibilities you have with eLearning courses are endless. Success is only limited by creativity.
Creating a Course to Transform Your Business
To sum it all up, eLearning is the future of education and for your company, it’s the path to increasing productivity and in turn, revenue. So the only thing left to do is to create online educational materials for your team, and you have two ways of doing it.
The first way is by constructing it all yourself. Choose an authoring tool or application, research the topic, create visual and audio materials, write the content, put together the multimedia and resources, then finally host it on a cloud-based system.
If it’s not feasible for your business to do all that on your own, your second option is to outsource the work. That’s where we would come in. eLearning design and development is our bread and butter—we’ve been supporting IT corporate projects for over 10 years. Contact us and set up a consultation today to start your digital transformation!
It’s all up to you. Whatever you decide, we wish you luck in your company’s educational journey. Happy learning!