As organizations are shifting more toward digital learning as a solution for their dynamic workforces, custom eLearning solutions have begun to dominate training modalities. Research by Brandon Hall found that 85% of organizations have reduced the use of Instructor-Led Training (ILT) while the use of digital learning modalities like virtual ILT (VILT) has increased by 60%. In order to ensure the success of your employee training program and drive organizational excellence, an innovative Instructional Design strategy is critical. So, here are 5 common training challenges and the design solutions to overcome them.
Dull Training Content
Learners don’t often have the luxury of choosing their training topics, despite efforts to personalize the learning experience. Particularly when the subject matter is serious or technical (e.g., compliance training programs, medical equipment procedures, or manufacturing processes, etc.,) increasing engagement and interest in the content can be a challenge. You can, however, increase the appeal of the training content by making it more interactive.
Perhaps the easiest way to make custom eLearning solutions more engaging and interactive is to incorporate gamification into the activities or course as a whole. Granted, that does not mean turning a learning activity into a game. Gamification can be as simple as assigning a point system to learner responses. For example, create a training simulation or scenario that challenges learners to select from a range of options. Each option can have its own associated value and contribute to an increase or decrease in the final performance measurement.
Hands-on skills can be difficult to recreate in digital training environments, but there are a few training technologies that help. Interactive videos, 3D models, and Augmented/Virtual Reality have all been used effectively to teach complex processes. In many cases, text-based training for hands-on skills fails to captivate the reader or simply fails to shape behaviors. Bring learning to life and make it more meaningful by helping employees to learn by doing.
Even the most visually stimulating custom eLearning solution will be ineffective if learners aren’t motivated to consume the training content. Making training mandatory is one potential solution. However, learning outcomes are greatly improved when learners are engaged and committed to learning. Understanding the factors that contribute to your employees’ motivation to learn generally requires some initial analysis (i.e., focus groups, interviews, surveys, etc.,) because each audience is unique. However, there are a few motivational theories that give us insight:
- McClelland’s theory of needs
This theory teaches that we are driven by one of three needs: the need to achieve and accomplish; the need for affiliation, belonging, and social acceptance; and the need for power and the ability to control other people. Find which need drives your audience and present the training in the context of that need.
- Vroom’s theory of expectancy
People will be motivated when they believe that their efforts will lead to success and they believe they will be rewarded. Always make sure that the training you create is linked to some kind of valuable benefit or reward.
- Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
This theory teaches that we are most motivated by our highest needs: the need for belonging and love, the need for respect and recognition, and the need for personal development. Connect the training to the learners’ higher needs and you have got them hooked.
The easiest way to lose learners’ attention and turn them off from a learning experience is to give them information they don’t need. Throwing mountains of material at them in the form of facilitator guides, participant guides, presentations, written activities, and FAQs may seem like a thorough approach, but can be a mistake. Take the time to curate your content. Decide what’s most important for learners to know. Then, eliminate the rest. Design the learning paths of your custom eLearning solution so that there is a logical flow from one subject to the next. Moreover, create a user interface that organizes training materials intuitively. If your learners have trouble accessing the training content, then they won’t be likely to seek it out when they need it.
How To Make Training Content More Relevant
If learners sense that the training content has little connection to their role or doesn’t enhance their own personal development, they will quickly lose interest. So align the custom eLearning solution first to concrete business goals and performance objectives. Then, emphasize the importance of the training for improving individual performance or making their jobs easier. Obtain input from managers and individual contributors who understand the day-to-day performance requirements of the job. Feedback from many sources will help you understand how your current training program compares to what the business and its employees need. Once you have a vision of the most important kinds of training, you can identify the gaps in your current program and design accordingly.
How do you know if your custom eLearning solutions are making a difference? Measure the program’s effectiveness by using a learning platform that evaluates your learners’ progress. This can be as simple as giving learners a pre-test to gauge their level of knowledge before training begins, then comparing it to a test given after training ends. Monitoring learners’ post-training performance can also reveal how well their knowledge and behaviors are maintained after completing the training. If an employee’s quality of work increases in the area in which they were trained, the training has been effective.
Creating effective custom eLearning solutions generally requires an innovative Instructional Design strategy and user interface experience. However, targeting the motivational factors of your employees can be a challenge. Through careful analysis, you can ensure the content is engaging and relevant. This will accomplish much of the work in motivation, but it’s still important to know your audience. Maximize the impact your training has by focusing on the design factors you can control and the human factors you can influence.