Sunday, August 21, 2011

Best Practices in the Next Generation of eLearning

By Dean Hawkinson

I recently listened in on a webinar presented by David Mallon, with Bersin & Associates, called 10 Best Practices in the Next Generation of eLearning. He began by challenging us to think about what makes our learning organizations relevant in today’s environment, and he stated five types of learning that organizations typically use. He polled the audience to see which ones organizations typically use to deliver training, and the percentages were as follows:

  • Self-Paced (70%)
  • Virtual Classrooms (52%)
  • Video Based (43%)
  • Sims/Games (17%)
  • Digital Content Libraries (30%)

I found this breakdown very interesting, but it did not surprise me that the majority use Self-Paced and Virtual Classrooms, with the lowest percentage using Sims/Games. He referenced these statistics to preface the discussion on the top 10 best practices. I am going to expand on three of my favorites.

Think Big Picture - Shift your mindset from thinking of a single training “event” to a learning environment that is much bigger than a single event. For example, using a portal to bring employees together online to share learnings and experiences before, during and after the course is a great idea to take the learning to another level. You can read more about this approach in this article about Social Learning. This also might encompass some ongoing tools such as social games or other collaboration tools that take the focus of the learning solely from the course itself and shifts it to more of a collaboration approach among students and even current experienced employees who can share their knowledge with new hires. It is important for our learning organizations to be involved before, during and after the “event” that we have created.

Create small nuggets of content – Ever clicked through a long eLearning course, page by page, wondering if you would ever reach the end? How did that impact your learning? What if we use small nuggets of content, such as 5-7 minute videos, to help with learning? Some companies use video sites in true YouTube fashion to do this. In a lot of cases, these are videos shot by employees themselves to help each other out. Consider a retail store environment spread across the country with a library of these videos for employees to use for on-boarding and ongoing support. Need to learn how to repair something, for example? Watch a video created by your peers at other locations. This also lends itself to mLearning and using mobile devices.

Be There - Take the learning to the learner. Building on the mLearning concept, it is important that the learning go to the learners via whatever tools they have at their disposal (e.g., smart phone, tablet, laptop, etc.). In the diverse workforce of today, this is going to become more and more critical to the success of our learners and our organizations.

What is your organization doing to keep up with these best practices and move into the next generation of eLearning?

1 comment:

  1. You are so right on mLearning. We are just realizing the massive potential and are making rapid progress. Thanks for sharing.
    Cheers, - Ravi.


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