Agile & Digital / Matrix Management / Virtual Teams

eLearning: what works?

In a recent blog we reviewed the research on what delivery methods work best for what situations (blended, f2f or online).  eLearning is an important part of the blended jigsaw – and as we’ve seen is a cost-effective way of offering:

  • Pre-work to engage
  • Key information and links from learning to company strategy
  • Follow up prompts and peer-to-peer/ social learning to extend learning
  • Access whenever suits
  • Leaner-driven pace

For example to support our recent ‘Working in a Matrix’ programme with Global dairy giant Arla, their internal Learning Library hosted relevant pre-work and follow up articles with links to Arla strategy. They used engaging internal marketing to highlight what was on offer – and the ‘Working in a matrix’ section of their library received over 2,000 unique visitors.

But not all eLearning is baked the same way.

In a large-scale review of soft skills training and development research, the authors state that researchers largely agree there is little value in trying to evaluate one learning technology with another, but rather our focus should be on the “features that influence the effectiveness of technology-based training and the conditions under which it is likely to be most effective.”  So what are the features that matter?

An annual review paper entitled ‘Learning in the 21st Century workplace’ found that “e-learning is not inherently more effective than other instructional methods… organizations to develop human capital from e-learning, they must insure that it facilitates learning and transfer of training through the use of:

  • Practice
  • Feedback
  • Meaningful content
  • Engagement of multiple senses
  • Action planning
  • Follow-up
  • Manager and organizational support”

This is playing out in the real world where traditional e-learning with relatively low level of interaction seems to be becoming commoditised. Clients are buying large libraries with thousands of programs of variable quality but seem to be experiencing very low completion rates – often as low as 10 to 15% of people embarking on a programme actually complete it. Participant satisfaction with this means of learning seems relatively low.

We are having good experiences with a more interactive online learning approach based around short videos (2 to 4 minutes) and downloadable tools. Our platform enables peer-to-peer and social learning and we offer live moderation to encourage people to interact, complete and apply the tools. Using this approach we are getting much higher levels of completion, up to 85%.

If you’d like further support in deciding the best way to help your time poor managers and leaders learn please get in touch – and we’ll help you make sure they get the right information, at the right depth, at the right time.

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