Why the Transition to E-Learning is a Good Thing
In previous years, training employees meant corralling them into a classroom and using a slide show presentation while the instructor monotonously regurgitated the information on the screen. This method of training hasn’t been completely abolished by all companies, but most employees don’t find it engaging enough to give it their full attention and instructors are bored of conveying the same material again and again.
Another issue of the traditional way of training employees is they’re often learning uniform topics, on a set schedule by L&D, that might not actually apply to their role now. Humans learn best when they need to learn, so if they’re digesting information that isn’t relevant at the time, their learning will suffer. If you assign your employees a training that they don’t need, you’re unlikely to get an enthusiastic response. And if they truly don’t need to apply the information soon, they’ll probably forget it. German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus founded “The Forgetting Curve” in the late 19th century when he discovered information not applied within six days of learning will result in 75% of it being forgotten.
So, what is the next natural progression? Digital learning has many benefits for employers, depending on how they implement this style of education. Here are a few highlights:
- Cost-effective. This one is a no-brainer as it amounts to a one-time investment for the digital training course. You can add training for your entire workforce and ensure you’re supplying consistent information across your team.
- Personalization. Not everyone has the same learning style or even the same content needs. With the technology we have today, you can adapt lessons to employee performance, modify content to everyone’s needs, learning style, and even delivery method.
- Keep it short. No one wants to sit through a 3-hour lecture — and if you’re not an auditory learner, this won’t be effective anyway. Offering smaller, bite-sized courses for learning, like an hour-long session that directly correlates to the employee’s immediate challenges or opportunities, will feel much more approachable to them.
As simple as the transition to e-learning sounds, there will be some bumps in the road to deal with. One thing to keep top of mind is not to see your employees as lazy, unmotivated, or uninterested in their development, they’re simply experiencing burnout. Transitioning back to the office after almost two years of remote work is a task in itself — they’re already having to reintegrate with teams, settle into a new kind of office, and readjust their previously very flexible work schedule. Asking them to learn new skills in addition to this can feel overwhelming but there are some ways you can help ease this transition.
- Gradual integration. To build sustainable new habits it’s best to introduce new ways of thinking and working slowly. Taking a day-to-day integration approach will better help you to achieve this.
- Don’t force-feed. This method of learning is rarely effective. Instead, set a high standard and give your team autonomy but remember to reinforce with accountability to generate engagement. Bonus: this also encourages on-the-job learning which is valuable because employees can apply what they’re learning in real-time. This will help ensure the habits they’re working to build stick.
- Get creative. When crafting your L&D courses, don’t get bogged down in the old ways of learning. Stretch yourself and build something new but rein yourself in if it’s getting too lengthy. We’re in a day and age where shorter courses that build on each other are more on target than ever.
As we continue into this new era of work life, the choice of how to provide training for current and future employees will become an important one with respect to retention. The great part about the transition to e-learning is giving the opportunity of a self-paced environment that will be highly useful for those who want to blast through courses and at the same time not be overwhelming for those who need to take it slower. Either approach will give your employees the ability to learn in their own styles in their own time.
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Written by Rachel Strysik