eLearning is like the proverbial Prometheus’ Fire. It will deliver great good for your employees, improve engagement and increase knowledge assimilation. As an L&D leader, you should avoid the following mistakes to help maximize its effectiveness.
traditional offline or using existing traditional content: Traditional
content such as long videos, lengthy documents and classroom training
techniques are not symbiotic with eLearning. Content will have to be created
and designed to be engaging, and interactive.
creating mobile friendly courses: While this is a must for on field sales force,
it is important to roll out mlearning for all employees. Employees spend a lot
of time on their mobiles and it is imperative to make learning as informal and
accessible as possible, even outside the work place.
effective assessment tools: Putting out the most engaging and interesting
course, with no way to assess your learners, is a waste of your and the
learners’ time. Put out quizzes and exams for each section, and the entire
course. These tests should be short and fun. Use Images, videos and blurbs as
part of the assessment to improve engagement.
mechanism for the learner: Learning
is a two-way street, the higher the engagement with the learner, the more the
learning. One of the primary reasons for drop-off in engagement is the lack of
an effective feedback mechanism for the learner to express her views on the
course. Listen to what your audience is saying and act on them.
objectives: Why have you set this course up, what do you want your audience
to gather, is this course to increase knowledge, boost productivity or develop objection
handling skills? If you are unclear of the outcome of the course, your learner
will be even more unclear. Lay down objectives at the beginning and design the
course to fulfill these objectives. Gather feedback and conduct assessments at
regular intervals to modify the course.
and complicated UI/UX: So, you deployed the latest and most expensive
Learning Management System (LMS) in town, but the adoption rates are low and
dropping. This might be because its to complicated to navigate. Always approach
eLearning from the learners’ point of view, not the creators. The simpler and more intuitive the UI, the
better the chances of learners engaging with it.
Building a performing sales team is the holy grail that all organizations chase – and it’s definitely not an easy task. But building lasting engagement is a critical ingredient that can separate a good sales training program from a bad one.
Sales is the lifeblood of most organizations, and a
performing sales team is worth its weight in gold.
Building an effective sales training program is the
holy grail that all sales trainers chase – and it’s definitely not an easy
task. More often than not, what seems like an easy problem to solve, can be a
multi-layered challenge within a changing business and technology environment.
It’s clear that there are no easy formulas that sales
trainers can plug in to make their sales training programs effective. But it
all starts with ensuring that sales people at least consume the learning.
Without adoption, it is futile to worry about downstream metrics like
effectiveness, retention and application.
Adoption has many layers, and is very similar to any modern
marketing problem. If you think of learners as consumers or ‘app users’ in the
modern mobile learning context, problems become a little more apparent.
Just like a consumer app faces uninstalls after an
initial period of usage, most learning programs suffer because they focus on
creating short-term engagement. A good onboarding course or a gamified learning
program will create short-term engagement but will leave learners very little
to come back to when they have finished consuming that piece of content.
Therefore, sales trainers typically see good initial
usage of their programs, and very little engagement after that.
In a training context, even if this results in a good
onboarding experience, it rarely results in ongoing consumption of sales
training and communication, Therefore, after the initial onboarding program, when
sales people are on the field and need to be trained on new product releases or
to address problem areas, getting them back to the training app or platform is
as big a problem as when you launch.
It may help to better understand the psyche of the
modern learner to figure out how to create ongoing engagement. In the context
of mobile learning, any training app is competing for mindshare with platforms
such as Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. These are the apps that your users prefer
to spend time on rather than consume learning. What is attractive about these
apps, is that they serve up a constant stream of content for users to consume.
Learners will only flock to something which gives
them equal engagement and freshness of content. Therefore, the chances of
running a successful sales training program improve multi-fold by creating
engagement and keeping up a high velocity of content. On average, putting out
fresh content every day or alternate day is a good way to pique learner’s
interest to see what you will come up next. If the overall quality of learning
content you put out is interesting, you should see a upward trend in ongoing
engagement levels among your users.
So, how does one do that without having to spent
enormous amounts of money to create content? Here are a few tips.
Most of the real wisdom on sales training comes from
subject matter experts from within the organization. Leverage that by asking
your internal subject matter experts to provide you with content that you can
send out to your learners on a regular basis. A large kitty of content you can
keep cycling through will ensure that your learners get to see something new
every day or week. Use microlearning principles to nugget this content into
bite-sized chunks and you can send out something every day. This will keep
learners coming back for more. Ensure that your mobile app puts out push
notifications so that learners know that fresh content is being populated every
Putting together an assessment is far easier than
creating learning content from scratch. Create question banks that you can
slice and dice into quick assessments. Create weekly contests and let learners
visually see their performance through leader boards. The competitive element
should naturally appeal to sales people. It does not matter if some questions
are repeated from one quiz to the other. In fact, critical aspects or facts
about your product should be repetitive to ensure retention, therefore, repeat
those questions across multiple quizzes. These assessments can also help you
identify gaps in knowledge and understanding.
Take a page out of the book of immensely successful
social media such as Twitter and Facebook, and use social constructs to ensure
content is always moving and fresh. Identify voices of authority among your
sales team – for example, a veteran sales person respected by the team or an
opinion leader. Ask them to put out micro-nuggets of content, such as an
anecdote about their experience while selling. Ask them to post this content on
the social learning section of your learning app. Drive engagement by boosting
that post in the social network. This will encourage others to share more
nuggets and drive repeat visits.
Use games and
The planet spends around 30 billion hours a week
playing games like Candy Crush and Angry Birds – this is natural behaviour.
Play into this natural behaviour by giving them games to explore and play with.
Having a ‘game arcade’ or library of games that they can try out just for ‘fun’
can be a great way to keep them coming back.
This is the most obvious of them all. It is important
to have your actual learning content out there, apart from the social and
crowd-sourced aspects of this. Most learning platforms come with quick
authoring and if yours doesn’t, you should find one. Quick authoring tools will
allow you to create templatized micro-learning nuggets out of existing content.
Ensuring that you have a constant pipeline of content being created will allow
you to recycle over a period of time, once new learners enter the system.
Remember, learners should be treated more as app users, where the objective is to create engagement and pull, rather than use push methods to get them to consume learning. As soon as you see learning as a marketing problem, solutions start to appear more readily.
Having spent a large part of my career in the financial services space driving traditional business growth, using gaming to achieve business goals was not a cause I expected to be championing. Gaming was always a personal interest, but the business parallels only became apparent after we started experimenting with service engagements for enterprises. Given the planet anyway spends 3 billion hours a week playing games, the challenge was really to figure out how learning could fit in that construct.
We formed QuoDeck in 2010 to bring gaming into learning for enterprises. Having started with some elementary game engines and simulations, QuoDeck quickly moved on to make an omnipotent system built with the changing business environment in mind. QuoDeck’s platform today is one of the most powerful and engaging learning platforms in the world, catering to enterprise requirements for mobile learning. And as a leading player in this category, our advice to new entrants is to stay true to course, understand that the market is huge and that innovation is the key.
Mobility is here to stay
Mobile learning was just about appearing on the horizon in India when we entered the market. In fact, it was still at a nascent stage globally as well. While enterprises saw the demographic shift coming, the speed at which the device shift happened took everyone by surprise. Within a period of 3-4 years, millennial users had junked tablets and wouldn’t access their desktops or laptops for anything but sit-down work. They wanted everything on their mobile – on-demand, anytime, anywhere. Being a generation bred on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, they also wanted content and technology that was easy-to-use, visually appealing and in bite-sized pieces. The learning evolution that needed to happen in enterprises was phenomenal and existing products just weren’t prepared for this. Mobility as a trend forced a change in behavior, technology, content creation and consumption patterns across all strata of business.
There is always an element of luck in startup success and we were no different. Perhaps being at the right place at the right time with the right thought process is what its all about. QuoDeck has been at the forefront of this shift, shoulder-to-shoulder with enterprises looking to stay ahead of the curve.
Gamifying the world
Our personal insight of gaming being habit-creating and creating long-term associative memories, was the inspiration behind the approach we took. Countless times, behaviors and constructs learnt in gaming had been translated by us to address real-world problems with excellent results.
We had a learning curve here as well. Having played on consoles such as PlayStation and Xbox, we assumed the world was ready to deal with highly complex games and constructs. However, working closely with business heads, HR teams and the Learning & Development function, we learnt that hyper-casual games create the best impact from a learning perspective. This is because they are somewhat repetitive in nature, with a greater level of participation & addiction to ‘scoring’.
While we initially worked on gamification applications on functions such as marketing, research, and learning, we chose to go with learning as a primary focus. Having started in this category long before games became the buzzword of today, we were fortunate to be able to take a pole position and we hope to actually drive the future of gamification for learning in the enterprise. But there are still a lot of white spaces to go after in enterprise gamification.
For New Players
Gaming as a learning solution is so vast in its scope, that it can’t be characterized or identified with any particular industry or even a clutch of industries. Wherever there is widespread staff or skilling required, gaming solutions can take charge and lead the change. So, when new players come in, they must remember that competition comes in various guises and is very rarely with another player. You will end up competing for mindshare against the likes of video-on-demand platforms or search engines where users can find information and content at their fingertips. Knowing what creates pull is perhaps the only challenge you should worry about.
Look out for learning opportunities
Gamification as an industry has a widespread application with learning being only one of them. A space was created for us because existing products failed to keep pace with what was required – large entrenched players became irrelevant in a matter of months. Overnight, enterprises recognized that resistance against this changing paradigm was futile, and mindsets started changing. Gaming and mobility were no longer bad words.
It would be foolish of us to think that we cannot be on the other side of such a trend. Keeping your offering relevant and at the cutting-edge requires you to have an innovation engine, which stops for no one. This requires tremendous willpower and a staunch refusal to settle into a comfortable spot.
With a growing need to foster effective learning and cater to the training needs of a global workforce, organizations across the world are implementing learning management systems for corporate training.
A learning management system (LMS) is a software application that can deliver course material to learners, administer assignments and tests, track the performance of participants, manage records, and offer continuous support.
When your business’s corporate training requirements start to become more complex, an LMS is likely to be the best solution that can meet your needs. With that in mind, here are five benefits of a learning management system for businesses:
1. All the eLearning content is accessible from one location
With a cloud-based LMS, your organization’s eLearning content is not stored on different offline hard drives or devices. Instead, its securely saved on the cloud which allows your employees to access eLearning courses wherever and whenever they want. This also greatly reduces the risk of losing data, since all the information is saved on a secured remote server.
The easy accessibility of an online LMS makes it the right fit for organizations that have a global or a remote workforce and it also ends up saving time for your employees.
2. Mobile readiness
Over99% of the mobile usersbelieve that mobile learning has enhanced their overall learning experience. That is why, with mobile-ready learning management systems, you are able to offer a great user experience to your employees and in turn get increased overall productivity.
Your employees are no longer required to stay at their desk to access and complete online courses. Instead, they can log into the LMS app on their mobile phones and view eLearning content while they are on the move. This is one of the main reasons why67% of the organizations are already implementing mobile learning in some form or the other.
3. A more engaging learning experience
There was a time when corporate training was all about spending hours listening to an instructor in a conference room. But today, learning is more personalized with LMSes that offer interactive lessons, fun quizzes and games, video conferencing, and forums to discuss the courses.
The new learner-centered approach has not only led to a more engaging experience during the learning process but also helped achieve better results at the end of the course.
Since the LMS is already accessible online, it is possible to integrate social learning into your eLearning strategy. You can create eLearning exercises that are centered around peer collaboration and even add online forums where your workforce can discuss and help each other.
Games augmented reality, and virtual reality can also be leveraged to incorporate interactive simulations and scenarios that can easily explain and highlight complex tasks or processes.
4. Reduced time and costs
With an LMS, you no longer have to worry about instructor costs, printing course material, or setting up a conference room for training sessions. Your employees can carry out all the training online and your business is able to save a sizable sum on your learning and development budget.
Since LMS gives online learners only the information that they need in a more direct and organized manner, you are also able to reduce training time. Instead of sitting through a 3-hour seminar, your employees can just access the online modules on the LMS that they need to learn. With the flexibility that LMS provides, your employees are able to take these courses according to their own time, which doesn’t disrupt their important everyday work as well.
5. Driving compliances is easier
Compliance rules and regulations get regularly modified, but updating your traditional offline course to reflect these changes can be a rather time-consuming task.
With an LMS, it becomes possible to update your learning content according to the new compliance standards in just a matter of a few minutes. This is in stark contrast to the traditional courses where you would have to send the updated courses to every employee separately and different versions of the same course could create even more confusion.
LMS can ensure that all of your employees are on the same page about the company policies and the compliances are always followed.
A learning management system clearly has numerous benefits. You are able to create a more skilled, productive, and engaging workforce in your organization while saving time and costs. It’s also possible to track the training progress of all of your employees and generate reports in real-time.
That is why it is no surprise that more and more organizations are implementing LMSes for their workforce. When are you incorporating an LMS in your organization?
So why is Discomfort so essential for entrepreneurial success and how to embrace it?
Entrepreneurship has always been about seeking out the new, in uncharted waters. Across ages, be it explorers or individuals, who have made a mark in their chosen fields or Entrepreneurs who have sought to change the world, have stepped out of their comfort zones. In an age when comfort is the buzzword for consumers, Discomfort is the mantra with which Entrepreneurs need to live by. Discomfort is not about putting oneself in a tough spot. It is stepping out from what you know, to the unknown. Exploring new opportunities, new areas of interest and nurturing a vision. An Entrepreneur seeks of problems and makes solutions for those problems while tackling the new-world questions which arise with these solutions. And that is where discomfort stems from. From seeking the unknown, from seeing problems in a new lens and attempting new paths. So why is Discomfort so essential for entrepreneurial success and how to embrace it?
Arijit Lahiri and Kamalika Bhattacharya, who spent over a decade in organisations like ABN Amro Bank and Intellecap, saw learning department heads begging, bullying and even bribing their learners to stick to their learning agenda.
So they put on their marketing hats to understand what would catch learners’ attention. “Game-based learning pretty much screamed itself up,” says Bhattacharya. Games allow for more engaging learning experiences while also making the learner behaviour more measurable and analysable. Today, their company, QuoDeck (earlier Ptotem), uses board games, murder mysteries and treasure hunts as learning methods, and these have been used by organisations like PepsiCo, Unilever, Aditya Birla Group and Tata Group.
According toIDC, the estimated market opportunity of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) solutions by 2020 will be $143 billion. Companies of all sizes are increasingly using AR and VR for corporate training and to acclimatize their new employees to the work environment.
In fact, according toSTRIVR, learning retention rates with AR/VR can be as high as 75 percent as compared to just 10 percent retention rate through reading or lecture. Whether its management, customer services, or seasonal situations, businesses are successfully using AR and VR for numerous purposes.
For your company, that means if you are still not incorporating AR and VR in corporate training, then you are missing out on a lot. Here are some of the ways you can take advantage of AR and VR for training your employees.
1- VR workplace tours for new employees
With a virtual tour of the workplace, your new employees can familiarise with their new work environment, even before actually coming to the office. For you, it means your employees will be ready to get started with their work right from the first day since their learning curve will reduce greatly.
They would already know the breakrooms, bulletin boards, their team leader’s office, and their own cubicle when they arrive. You could also design the entire onboarding training module for new employees as a VR tour to make it more engaging and interactive.
2- Emergency drills
Emergency drills are a necessity for every company, and they have to make sure those drills are being conducted from time to time. But just getting a safety expert to explain the different scenarios to your employees is not enough. Most people find emergency drills boring as it interrupts their work, and they often don’t even pay attention to it.
However, you can create emergency drills using AR/VR technologies to check if the employees can handle stress and identify the correct security protocols through simulations. The biggest advantage of this is that employees can take these courses according to their own time.
3- Task walkthroughs
To help your employees get a better understanding of the tasks that they need to perform on a daily basis, you can create online training simulations which would allow them to learn in a virtual environment.
With these simulations, they can determine the skills and steps they need to follow to complete a task, and it would also give them the opportunity to learn from their mistakes without any consequences.
Bear in mind, it’s important to make sure that the simulations are as realistic as possible to provide your employees with a fully immersive experience that they can implement in the real world.
4- Compliance training
For companies, compliance training is one of the most important and mandatory processes, and they have to make sure their employees are well accustomed to it. But handing out a large document to every employee and hoping that they would read every line of it is not enough and it may not even help your organisation in the long run.
Instead, you can use AR/VR to create virtual workplace environments where employees can get a better idea about the compliances they need to adhere to through online simulations. You can also create game-based lessons where employees are given different situations to see how they would respond to it, whether its accepting gifts from a client or a workplace injury.
5 – Virtual case studies
There is no better way to understand the business and skills, than by going through previous case studies which had successful results. But most case studies are text-based and they aren’t as engaging. With AR/VR technology, your employees can understand these case studies in a more interactive way, as they will be able to see those examples in action.
By adding simulations, activities, and fun quizzes, the otherwise boring case studies become more life-like and allow your employees to retain more knowledge.
Getting the most out of AR/VR training
By implementing VR and AR technologies, you are also able to measure the performance of your employees accurately. Heat maps make it possible to see exactly where users look during their 360-degree experience and the instructors can monitor trainees in real-time. You can create VR/AR applications that can be easily integrated with your Learning Management Systems (LMS) as well.
Augmented and virtual reality training provides an innovative and new way to increase employee engagement, improve productivity, and save costs while offering a cutting-edge learning experience. With the latest advancements that have happened in the AR and VR technologies, the barriers are quickly fading away making it a viable option for immersive training for any industry.
The HR function drives the organization, its culture, future growth possibilities and is also the first point of contact for prospective employees for the organization’s brand value.
It is interesting that HR teams witness an average 22 percent cost savings when they move to automated and digital solutions for process-jobs. There are other numbers which prove that an app backed HR function is much smoother, with transparent employee interactions.
Learning management systems come in all flavors and mostly you will consider selecting between Moodle, Blackboard, SkillSoft, etc. based on the features you want to implement. All of them can provide the feature set you are looking for, and the choice really comes down to the quality of implementation partner you find for each.
I will propose an alternative to these, with the caveat that our company has developed a product which fits this and this might be construed as a bit of shameless self-promotion.
For large organizations, we believe a single large LMS does not work. Each team in the company wants customized content structures, workflows and analytics. We propose using a MicroLMS system which distributes the learning processes across the firm and makes it more effective.
The implementation should allow for each team in the organization to own and operate their own MicroLMS. These teams could be based on actual team structures or pseudo structures like leadership groups, induction groups, etc. Each MicroLMS has a business owner who can configure the LMS features and settings to the specific requirements of their team. This keeps the administration and user experience light and on a all-that-is-required and only-what-is-required basis.
Each MicroLMS ideally should have an inbuilt authoring tool which allows for easy content creation by business owners using presentations that they already would likely have. Put another way, you should not require to go hunting for Captivate and Articulate experts to create SCORM packages.
The apex learning team should get a centralized control panel which allows them to view and analyze aggregated data and focus on analytics and efficiency rather than learning logistics. Of course, the central team needs to have God powers on all constituent MicroLMS, but then the expectation is these should not need to get used.
The basic thought process behind this is that in large organizations, learning needs to be owned by business owners like any other business process. In our implementations across a fair number of Fortune 500 companies, we have found the business owners prefer it this way anyways.
That’s the alternative which we propound, and my advice would be that irrespective of whether it is our product or not, consider using a MicroLMS approach for such a large audience size.