Especially in the age of Coronavirus, eLearning is one of the most disruptive (and I mean that in a positive sense) influences on how we educate and train people in the last 50 years.
But not all eLearning is created equal.
Just as people in the Middle Ages found out there is no way to change lead into gold, no matter what the Alchemists promise, with eLearning it's important to be aware that while eLearning is an incredibly valuable tool, if created without some fundamental principles in place we are in danger of losing the very essence of its brilliance.
Listed below are some of the pitfalls to be wary of, as well as solutions to consider, if we want to continue this revolution of effective and efficient learning and development.
eLearning Best Practices (and Pitfalls to Avoid):
Don't Sacrifice Quality for Speed: The promise of “fast and easy” courses brings to mind the old proverb – YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. eLearning must be treated as the professional activity it is. It is meant to impart knowledge that can be easily retained and in doing so improve people lives. To think any HR or IT professional with some free time and a good authoring tool can do it does not do the process justice and could lead to courses that ultimately do more harm than good.
Instructional Design is Key: Not giving Instructional Design its proper credit is a serious mistake that many managers make in the name of saving time, money and the belief that it is not a truly essential aspect of an effective and engaging elearning course.
You can have the best graphics, technology and content, but without the skill and experience of an Instructional Designer, you are ignoring the basic principles of what makes eLearning work so effectively.
Instructors Add Value (Blended Learning): While eLearning creates new pathways for retaining information and freeing people from the restraints of the classroom environment for somethings, it’s not a reason to eliminate your instructors.
Almost all learning and training requires at least some face to face or hands-on experience. More and more we see Blended Learning as one of the most effective ways to approach complex instruction. With the help of instructors (also utilized as facilitators), team focused activities, and problem-solving take on a whole new dimension.
Keep Pace with New Technology: Just because it’s new, techy and fun don't assume learners know how to, well, learn, especially with no one readily available - even online - to teach them.
A good instructional designer will make courses intuitive so that all learners will benefit from the experience. Even shiny new toys get boring, so be prepared to add variations such as gamification, awards, AR and VR as the technology emerges. In this way, you keep your learners engaged and involved.
Be Prepared for Bumps in the Road: Everyone hopes that they never experience a tornado, but if you live in an area where they are prevalent it's a good idea to have a tornado shelter.
A project manager will coordinate with the eLearning development team to make sure that alternatives are in place for when the inevitable happens and problems arise. No one escapes without experiencing the Peter Principle, especially in a world that moves as quickly as ours does.
Start with these basic points and add more as your experience with eLearning grows. This is one way to make sure you take advantage of what this wonderful tool can offer today and you will be able to evolve and benefit even more as the theories and technologies progress even further.
If you ignore these simple signs, you may find yourself and your learners wondering what the hype was all about and miss the chance to take advantage of all the benefits now and in the future.
Because - let's face it - we will likely never go back to training and/or classroom learning exactly the way it was before.
How Digital Content Creators Can Help
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Three words sum up the heart and soul of Digital Content Creators: Engage. Enable. Empower. Contact us today to learn more and find out how we can help take your training into the future.