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.
SCORM (Shareable Content Object Reference Model) is a standardized technical specification for eLearning content. SCORM is comprised of a collection of interrelated technical specifications for creating interoperable and plug-n-play eLearning content.
SCORM was developed by ADL, an US Government initiative. ADL
(Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative) developed SCORM in the 90s to solve
interoperability issued for Computer Based Training (CBT) across multiple
delivery systems. SCORM can be called the common language that all Learning
Management systems speak.
The Two main phrases you will hear associated with SCORM are
SCO (Shareable Content Object) and Reference Model (RM).
SCO is the most granular piece of content in SCORM. It like
a chapter in a book. The SCO can be
assembled into courses and used across different Learning Management Systems
(LMSs) and Organizations.
Reference Model: is the standard set of rules that all SCORM
compliant LMS understand thus making course interoperable across various
The existing versions of SCORM are
SCORM 1.1 – this was the first version of the SCORM and is
not widely used.
SCORM 1.2 – It is supported by nearly all LMS and majority
of content providers create on this version.
SCORM 2004 – is the latest version. The sequencing and
navigation feature allows creators to define behaviour within and between SCOs,
which was not possible in the previous versions. This helps in greater content
interaction and reusability of SCO.
So, you have deployed a state-of-the-art Learning Management System (LMS) with Machine Learning, AI and every other cutting-edge technology available. But the adoption rates amongst your audience is low, to begin with, and keeps falling as time moves on. Don’t worry, this is a common problem faced by all organizations as they deploy LMS and is easy to address. People love challenges and competing against each other. Gamify your system to include Leaderboards, Badges, and Prizes for the top performers. Healthy competition will drive usage and learning within your audience. Pick LMS which offers the feature of embedding learning modules within casual games. People have enough formal reading via emails, presentations, and documents. To expect them to then log into the LMS and go through PDFs and Videos is asking for a bit too much. Casual games are a very effective way to impart microlearning and deliver it through a medium that employees will love. Content is King. No matter how advanced your LMS is, the quality and interactivity of content will drive adoption. The content must be presented in bite-sized portions through Videos, Animations and other interactive formats. Close to 40% of the workforce is made up of millennials. To reach out to them, ensure the LMS and the content is mobile ready, across multiple OEMs and Operating Systems. Employees learn more and faster from each other, rather than a centralized learning system. Ensure your LMS offers learners to communicate, exchange information and help each other during the course.
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.
E-Learning Industry is projected to grow to close to $300 Billion in the next 4 years. With the increase in internet connectivity and the growing millennial workforce in emerging markets, the business climate is extremely promising for high-quality content creators.
Decide the Companies and functions where your expertise is valuable. Your target segment, should be focused, do not try to cover every type of Company. e.g: If you are an expert in Labor law, you should target Legal and Compliance teams in Manufacturing/Capital Goods companies.
Create an e-course using SaaS LMS: SaaS LMS allows free trial periods. Test the LMS’s and pick the one that best fits your requirement. Consider the following criteria while shortlisting your LMS – a) Easy to create content across multiple formats, b) Price, c) Mobile friendly, d) Game-based compatible. Create a library of content including videos, presentations, documents, learning games and assessments for a few of the courses. You will have to showcase these in all your interactions with prospective customers.
Online Marketing: While you will reach out to your existing contacts, online marketing is a very powerful and affordable tool to increase leads. Upload some of your content on your website, Social media pages, YouTube channel and post it on relevant online forums. Setup ads on Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media websites to generate traffic on your website.
Which Learning Management Systems (LMS) are easiest and most affordable for a small company to utilize?
QuoDeck[ is a game based mobile learning management system. It is designed specifically for corporate learning and priced at a level that makes it particularly suitable for small businesses and startups. We have focused on making it easy for non-instructional designers to get started with team training in 10 minutes flat with your existing content.
That being said, it is powering team trainings in large Fortune 500 companies, so it’s not skimpy on features either.
Do give it a spin and tell us what you think of it…
And if you are looking for a larger alternative, you should look no further than Moodle. Just get a cpanel based hosting solution and you would get a one-click deployment option embedded within. Cost wise this should not exceed $100 a year, but it is a complex to configure and manage the system.
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.
Classroom teaching has been debunked for newer forms of learning and engagement across organizations. Interestingly, startups seem to be the ones driving companies towards such learning. Read about it in detail here.
The Use Of Informal Learning For Startups
Working in any organization involves learning, and at different levels. The most common approach is a presentation and exemplifying, followed by learning and then repetition. However, this technique may not always yield appropriate results. Several startups in today’s business ecosystem have realized that one needs to make a framework in order to get a complete view of a learner’s overall needs.
There is no doubt that L&D plays a very important part in developing successful leaders amongst Millennials across organizations. With increase in competition, companies have started pursuing more efficient as well as effective methodologies of social learning.  As per an international survey conducted by McKinsey & Company, 82% respondents declared that they were making use of some form of internal social network. Since informal learning comes to 90% of total work-based learning, this is bound to happen.
Though it is known that internal social networking is highly beneficial to any company, putting together a suitable network is easier said than done. Gartner’s estimate claims that about 90% initiatives for social collaboration fail due to the “provide-and-pray” approach- one which says that any new initiative does not necessarily require massive marketing and internal promotion.
Jacques Bughin at McKinsey states that if internal social networks need to be counted as success stories, at least 30-40% of staff must be utilizing in every day. If that does not happen, then the social learning initiative will gradually fade away and you will not get the expected results.
This is what Sylvia Vorhauser-Smith, Senior Vice President at PageUp, a well-known HR software company, said during her answer to L&D professionals’ questions on informal learning methods: 
“Investment in informal learning is increasing as more and more organizations realize just how ‘sticky’ on-demand micro-content such as online blogs, podcasts, and videos are for engaging employees of all generations.With advancements in mobile learning technology, it’s now much easier for employees to share informal learning content with their peers, sending it viral across the organization. (…) People have always learnt informally, and formal education and training has supplemented that. Enterprises are now just leveraging what is a very natural and intuitive way of increasing their employees’ knowledge and skills.”
3 Steps To Develop An Informal Learning Strategy
1. Engagement Strategy
Informal learning helps in attaining a massive amount of organizational knowledge, through a varied and exciting learning program which enables learners to make advancements in their careers. Only a clear engagement strategy can ensure that learners are motivated enough to participate in the very first instance. Rewards and recognition can be a good method to engage them. Make use of a game-based learning platform to create a meaningful program for them. This should be accessible through all devices, even mobiles.
2. On-The-Job Admin Team
It is natural that an elaborate learning module will require several moving parts. Every member of the L&D team should understand the aims of this initiative. If managers can become gung-ho about the new training initiatives, they will certainly become extensions of your own admin team. The organization’s culture of adapting it is what will help you move forward with the initiative.
3. Open Community
One of the major reasons for the success of any informal learning program is its nature of providing autonomy to the user. Though the user is empowered through the Learning Management System, it is also necessary to link needs of the user with those of the organization. When employees participate in open forum discussions, they get a sense of belonging with the company. At the same time, the LMS leads to better engagement levels for employees.
Informal Learning In The Startup Environment
The changing landscape of business across India has seen the magnificent and unprecedented growth story of startups. And there is no reason why such learning cannot benefit these small organizations as well. In most cases, startups do not have the necessary funds in order to execute a full-fledged L&D program. They also do not possess requisite manpower for the same, which again brings informal training to the fore.
Adaptability And Flexibility
These are two key parameters that employees working at a startup always have to keep in mind. Well, the same goes for the learning program as well, and that’s the beauty of informal training. It has to be constantly adjusted and tweaked as per the needs of the startup. And yes, this is certainly the need of the hour since the startup is constantly evolving. By having a formal structure in place, it will no longer be possible to adjust.
Here is one of the reasons why informal learning programs can be most successful with startups. As mentioned above, learning is most effective when the user becomes autonomous. In other words, self-led learning has the potential for maximum rewards. Try to understand; who is the person who learns the most in the daily working of a startup? Well, you guessed it right – it is the average employee who is possibly engaging with clients on a daily basis. He or she is the person who will be facing the maximum number of doubts, and by being at the seat of the informal training program, he or she will also get the fastest answers. This will naturally lead to greater retention, as the employee will understand how the organization is committed towards his or her welfare.
New Vision For eLearning On A Global Scale
Today technology is advancing at a pace quicker than any one of us could have ever imagined. Eventually, there will come a time when our systems of pedagogy will be unable to handle the impact of global change. For this reason, a new vision needs to be drawn out, and informal learning is certainly a part of the same.
We are currently residing in societies which have the facilities to be able to network, collaborate and coordinate on an international scale. When we look at bringing about innovation to organizations, it becomes increasingly certain that those involved in such endeavours need to come up with a long-term vision on the future of eLearning, according to a universal global standard.
Startups can really help to take the above vision, and here’s why. They are the companies which get into territories that no one else does. They are the ones considered to be the harbingers of change in society. So if they drive forward the new eLearning vision, there is no reason why the world’s organizations will not follow.
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.