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Seven Reasons Your E-learning Will Fail in 2015

by Ian Huckabee on December 11, 2014

Why Your E-learning Could FailAt the beginning of the year we took a look at how and why e-learning was changing, and we published a report in which we identified key trends and their underlying technologies and how these are significantly changing the landscape of learning. We began to see e-learning in the context of increased mobility, an evolving economy, and even the cultural impact of generational change. Many of the changes that we anticipated would begin to transform our industry throughout the year did so, and as 2015 approaches, these changes have come to represent the dawning of new norms within our industry. As you plan your learning initiatives for 2015, make sure you can answer “False!” to the true/false statements below.

1. Your e-learning is long and flat.

Media providers compete for our attention across increasing numbers of devices and media channels by offering content that is more visual, more interactive, shorter in length, and that delivers a quicker payoff to the viewer. We’ve seen that this has had an influence on e-learning, and in almost every case it’s has been a positive one.

In 2014, the average seat time of individual e-learning modules we created fell below 30 minutes for the first time. E-learning courses that are “chunked up” and that are sticky with a high degree of interactivity and motivational surprise can maintain greater attention from the learner over shorter periods of time. A two-hour compliance course, for instance, can have better results when it’s broken up into four 30-minute modules.

2. Your e-learning is restricted to the LMS.

The e-learning neighborhood has grown. For years, the only house on the street was the LMS. Now, the e-learning ecosystem includes practically any environment or device that provides utility to the worker. Learning initiatives that once began and ended with the formal module now include the integration of collaborative and experiential environments where discovery and creative problem solving can happen seamlessly in real time by accessing a mobile device.

With the advent of the Experience API, worker activities and behaviors are tracked in environments other than the LMS – for instance, intranets, online social environments, on the job, and other experiential environments – enabling learning departments and organizations to measure and understand initiative-wide effectiveness based on specific moments and points of learning.

3. Your e-learning is immobile.

Today’s workforce has become more collaborative as technologies allow workers to perform tasks from multiple locations, and a lot of the e-learning we see today reflects this collaborative work style. Mobile workers will find easy ways – whether company-sanctioned or not – to access information in order to bolster creativity, enhance performance and solve problems.

This year was a year of big improvements in device-specific design for mobile learning. These improvements addressed issues like touch gestures, course navigation, and off-line availability and provided more convenient and intuitive user access to e-learning courses, just-in-time content, performance support tools, job aids, videos, and checklists.

4. Your e-learning takes too long to create.

One of the greatest competitive advantages for your organization is having skilled workers. Once a training need has been identified, the clock is ticking: workers need training quickly on compliance, new products, systems, or culture – not in three to six months when that training could already be out of date.

Design and development timelines are shrinking as more organizations take approaches to custom e-learning that are lean and agile. A minimal viable product in weeks can have a greater impact on the bottom line than a fully built solution months later. Services like Qwick Custom, which shorten the development lifecycle while offering the desired degree of interactivity and customization, address the need for quick turnaround.

5. Your learners don’t receive proper credentials from your e-learning.

There are three demand drivers for learning credentials, or certificate-based learning: mobility, the skills gap and Millennials.

Increased mobility and the resulting increased transience of the workforce have created a new demand for continuous training that builds specialized skills and provides certified proof of those skills. Shifts in our economy toward middle- and high-skill jobs have led many companies to act out of self-interest for improved specificity within their training for positions that fall in the skills gap. Millennials will have five careers (not five jobs) in the course of their adult work life. Certificate-based continuing education and training and the ability to prove proficiencies throughout their careers will in part determine the companies they choose to work for.

We’re seeing certificates appear on LinkedIn earned by completing massive online open courses (MOOCs). The demand for these certificates is growing, as they bolster resumes and LinkedIn profiles, building a new credentialing currency for a workforce that is increasingly mobile. The Experience API provides a learning record for each learner and supports certificate-based learning as each learner’s record follows the learner along his or her path of learning and stores information about certifications, skill sets, and other accomplishments through learning.

6. Your e-learning doesn’t foster collaboration.

As learning ecosystems have expanded, broader learning initiatives now include learning strategies that encourage collaboration. The term “social learning” has gained more clarity in its distinction from informal learning and now fundamentally represents the notion of a learning architect’s intentional strategies of using collaborative media for learning.

The demands for connectivity and a collaborative work style brought on by greater mobility has resulted in learning solutions that are more collaborative in nature. These solutions provide easily discoverable content within online communities and the opportunity for individuals and groups to share, co-create, and discuss content. E-learning has taken on more characteristics indicative of the collaboration and networking skills Millennials use to solve problems.

7. Your e-learning continues to be created for outdated technology.

Microsoft will soon stop supporting all but the most recent versions of Internet Explorer. Which, for most organizations, means browsers that do not support HTML5 (the latest version of the language used to present content through a web browser on computers, tablets and smartphones) will go away, and learners will experience media-rich e-learning on all devices.

The browser has become a mainstream enterprise development environment, and it’s the most used delivery platform for e-learning. HTML5 provides rich web experiences that can’t occur on older browsers, and increasingly, as browser-based services like Office 365 and SharePoint continue to evolve to these new standards and as e-learning spreads out of the LMS and into these other environments, interoperability between web applications is important.

True or false?

Were you able to answer “False!” to these seven statements? What challenges do you face in structuring your learning initiatives away from these fail factors? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below, or please contact us directly. You can download our report here.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Kelly Iblings December 11, 2014 at 5:48 pm

Excellent article! We will be carefully looking at your analysis. Thanks!


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