Are you a learning professional looking to enhance your development process and make better learning? Well, that’s exactly what I’ll assist you to do with this tip series. So, let’s get started.

What are the benefits of e-learning?

You know, over the last decade approximately, more and more organizations have started using e-learning as how to deliver learning content. And while traditional instructor-led training remains very fashionable and widely used, eLearning offers some unique benefits that you simply can’t ignore. For starters, eLearning can be distributed globally. This means you’ll deliver a scalable learning solution, whether it’s to 500 learners across the country or 5,000 learners around the globe. E-learning also offers a uniform learning experience and message for your learners. With e-learning, you don’t have to depend on an instructor to deliver the content. You can trust that every one of your learners will receive an equivalent message. And this is great for compliance training, or any training that is legally regulated. And speaking of your learners, because most e-learning is self-paced, your learners can access your e-learning course when they need it the most.

This is especially useful if you’re creating eLearning that will act as an on-demand performance support resource like an interactive job aid. And finally, because most learning is delivered through some kind of learning management system or LMS, you’ll track and report on the progress of your learners. You know, because learning is often created once and delivered multiple times to multiple learners in multiple locations, it all adds up to you and your organization potentially saving a lot of time and money. So as you think about whether or not an e-learning course is the right solution, confirm you’re taking the time to think about a number of the advantages it offers.

Determine if learning is the answer

How to conduct a learning needs analysis for e-learning?

When you’re starting a replacement e-learning project, it is so important that you simply take a step back and choose whether or not an e-learning course or any learning for that matter will address the problems you’re trying to unravel. And this is where a needs analysis comes into play. So how do you conduct one? Well, a needs analysis is just a matter of answering three basic questions. First, what are people currently doing? You need to answer this question to uncover the current level of performance of your learners. And how you answer this depends on the behaviours or tasks that you’re evaluating. It might require you to spend some time observing your learners on the job or analyzing any available data. Either way, your goal is to make a snapshot of what it’s your learners do immediately. Second, what do you want people to be doing? The reason you need to answer this question is to determine the desired level of performance.

Usually, you’ll answer this question by spending a while together with your stakeholders and material experts as they’re those who are seeking the desired level of performance in the first place. So after you’ve determined what people do and what you would like them to be doing, the third and final question is, well, why aren’t they doing it? You would like to answer this question to work out the explanation for the performance gap if one exists in the least. You do this by evaluating the information you’ve collected and determining whether there’s a lack of knowledge or skill or if there are other issues that might be causing the performance gap. So the next time you’re asked to create some training, take the time to pause and conduct a correct needs analysis. By answering these three basic questions, you will be ready to uncover the explanation for the performance gaps that exist within your organization and determine whether or not learning will help you address them.

When is training the answer?

You know, the truth is, even when you’ve noticed a performance gap within your workplace, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it can be fixed with training. Sometimes employees are fully aware and capable of completing the task at the expected level of performance. There just happens to be other reasons why they aren’t doing it. So, what are some of the reasons that might cause a performance gap that can be fixed with training? Well, of course, your employees might lack the knowledge needed to perform a specific task, and typically, this is something that exists with new employees. On the other hand, your employees might lack the skill needed to perform the task. Maybe employees know how to perform a task, but they lack the expertise to perform it at a certain level. Now, when it comes to knowledge and skill, these are things that can be fixed with training.

But what about those things that can’t be fixed with training? Well, your employees might lack the motivation to perform the task, or there might be an issue within the workplace that’s causing the performance gap. For example, let’s say your employees are responsible for selling different products and helping customers get up and running with those products, but there’s just one product that they just don’t sell a lot of. Well, from your stakeholders’ perspective, it’s easy for them to think that employees just need extra training on how to sell and set up that one product. But if you stop and take the time to look into the issue, you might discover that employees are commissioned less for that specific product, or maybe the systems required to set it up are unusually slow. In either case, no matter how much training you provide, it wouldn’t change the fact that employees are either unmotivated to sell the product because they’re commissioned differently, or they avoid selling the product altogether because the systems are so slow. So, the next time you’re asked to create any type of training, make sure you stop and verify that the problem is something that training can actually fix.

How do design blended learning with e-learning

When you’re asked to create training you might ask yourself, should it be an e-learning course or an instructor-led training? Or maybe a how-to video or a job aid? And while these are important questions to answer, what you really should be asking yourself is why does it have to be one thing or another? You know, the truth is learning is a process of experiences that occurs over a period of time. And because of this, it’s your job to consider how you can create a blended learning experience. So how do you do that? Well, creating blended learning is about matching one or more learning experiences to one or more desired learning outcomes. For example, let’s say you wanted to create a blended learning solution to teach call centre agents how to properly greet a customer on the phone. You could create a short e-learning course to demonstrate the steps and expectations for greeting a customer, and this would be a good solution for transferring that knowledge.

 You could also incorporate some practice into your e-learning course by creating a branching scenario, but you don’t want to stop there. In order for the employees to really master the skill of greeting customers, they need to put their knowledge into practice. So maybe you could create a hands-on workshop where they can put into practice the steps they learned earlier in your e-learning course. From there, the employees can get feedback and coaching by their supervisors as they’re actually applying their new skills on the job. And finally, you could create and distribute a job aid that employees can reference and use for continued performance support. And that’s just one way you can create a blended learning solution. So the next time you’re asked whether something should be an e-learning course or an instructor-led training, try exploring the unbeaten path of blended learning.