The industry of e-learning and workplace training is growing at a staggering rate; according to Markets and Markets, it is being set to reach a whooping USD 11.34 billion by 2020! In today’s knowledge-based economy, companies realize that attracting and retaining the best talent is no longer sufficient. Unless they support continuous learning and development for their employees, they’ll fall behind.
New improvements and innovations are constantly introduced in training programs, but it’s impossible to keep up with all of them. In fact, just trying that can be counter-productive. L&D professionals need to find the best solutions that will respond perfectly to their organization’s’ specific learning needs.
That being told, let’s dive into four current trends that shape up the business learning environment and workplace training. Following them can help businesses achieve great results.
Modern employees are sophisticated people who want more and more control over their jobs. Besides taking action to achieve a healthier work-life balance, they are great at identifying their professional weaknesses. That’s why they are very tuned in with learning solutions that will help them solve business problems and move forward in their careers.
A learner-centered approach to training gives learners the control they crave for. Learners decide what is the best process of knowledge acquisition for them and therefore choose their own learning paths. They can set the pace of instruction, favor types of learning materials — for example, text over audio files, or video over text — and dive as deep as necessary into each learning module.
Technology and big data play an important role in delivering these personalized learning experiences, so no wonder instructional designers prefer to work with a learning management system (LMS). LMSs can be used not only for the delivery of formal courses, but also for collecting relevant data for continuous improvement. Each learner’s progress is continuously assessed, starting from the placement test and going through all lessons of the training program. The analytics and reporting tools of an LMS help instructional designers understand the strengths and weaknesses of each learner and therefore make the necessary adjustments in order to meet all their needs.
A learner-centered approach promotes the success of each learner by delivering a personalized learning experience tailored to the needs, interests and personal goals of learners. It comes with better participation, higher engagement rates, higher retention rates and eventually improved productivity.
People are getting used to accessing all the information they need in a matter of seconds. Mobile devices are now used for shopping, banking, advertising, gaming, entertaining and also learning. With growing figures for the ownership of mobile devices in the workplace, businesses need to adapt to the mobile reality we live in today and seriously consider responsive design for all online materials.
More and more employees state that they don’t really need an office space in order to be productive; work and learning can happen while they commute, in a cafe, or in any place with an internet connection. This increased mobility of employees makes the walls fall, not only in the workplace, but also in workplace learning.
When facing unexpected problems, employees turn to their smartphones and tablets to find immediate answers. Searching online or accessing an internal resource center through their mobile devices is not only convenient, but also efficient, as they are able to get new knowledge at the point of need.
By experiencing the same user interface on all their devices, learners can focus more on their learning materials and less on any technical inconveniences. Responsive design makes online courses render well on all devices, no matter the screen sizes or resolutions. This means learners can access the same course any time, anywhere. When they find the right solution in a timely manner, their productivity improves.
Gamification — the use of gaming techniques and mechanics in non-gaming contexts — has gained some serious traction in the last few years and it is on the fast track to becoming an industry standard for workplace learning.
If at first managers were skeptical of including gamification in their learning strategies — How could a colorful badge or a shiny trophy have any power over busy grown-ups? Why should I encourage my employees to play games while at work? — things turned out in favor of this tactic once positive results started to get noticed. The fun and entertaining nature of games can blend really well with the serious attitude of business.
By correctly using avatars, leaderboards, scaffolding levels, rewards, certificates and other popular gaming techniques, course designers can improve learners’ attitude towards learning and keep them motivated. Gamification helps with achieving mastery and getting social recognition. The trick is to connect rewards with real performance. There’s no use in collecting hundreds of thousands of virtual points if those points don’t mirror knowledge retention and real world improvement of skills.
The most important aspect of including gamification in training courses is that it creates a safe learning environment for employees. This means that they can test any business hypothesis without having to worry about making mistakes and the consequences that come along. Being able to immediately see the result of an action and, more to that, being able to go back and modify said action and see another result, makes learners better remember the content. By the time a real business situation demands the application of learning, trained employees will know the best course of action.
YouTube is the second largest search engine, with hundreds of millions of hours of videos. We can find a YouTube tutorial or how-to video on anything we want or need to learn. This familiarity, availability and experience of accessing YouTube should not be ignored by instructional designers looking to engage staff in online training.
Including videos in training materials is no longer something only the big players can do. With a decent camera – even that of a phone – and an editing software, anyone can shoot some scenes, edit the shots and upload the video in the company learning platform.
Learners are usually more receptive of the new knowledge in a video because they experience the learning situation in an authentic way. Seeing similar people or recognizing familiar working activities in a video are emotional triggers that contribute to their better retention of the new information. Also, being able to watch the right video more than once can help with developing skill mastery.
Videos usually get higher engagement rates than any other method of delivering training information (except for a one-to-one session, maybe). Whether we’re talking about new employee training, how to work with a new CRM, fire safety at the workplace, benefits or compensation programs, videos will stick to the trainees’ brains and will make them better remember and apply all the new things they learn.
It may seem difficult to find a training solution that can address all these workplace training trends, while adding other company-specific requirements to the mix. But things are not necessarily that complicated. What you most need is a simple, yet powerful LMS.
MATRIX LMS offers a complete solution for workplace training, responding to the above current trends, and more. It has an incredibly beautiful user interface that renders perfectly on all devices. The system is intuitive, making all users — learners, instructors, administrators, and managers — simply love it.
MATRIX LMS comes with a comprehensive set of features that is always improved and updated. Besides the gamification, collaboration, and analytics tools, the system comes with an impressive number of customizable features that contribute to the delivery of the best learning experience.
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