One of the most exciting elements of eLearning solutions is their potential to change the way information is delivered. Rather than just standing in for traditional lessons, digital modules can convey the same knowledge in ways that may appeal more to modern learners. Anything that helps with retention and information intake is likely worth exploring, and in the months and years ahead, companies will have plenty of opportunities to shake up their employee training methods with an infusion of technology.
"Is it now possible to get closer to employees' preferred learning styles?"
The first step in identifying which components will be most helpful may be determining how workers want to consume educational content - participants who are enjoying themselves might stick with corporate knowledge programs where less enthusiastic pupils tune out. Is it now possible, with technology making the classroom model obsolete, to get closer to these employees' preferred learning styles?
The push for microlearning
How much information is in each lesson module? This very basic question opens up whole new areas of inquiry for eLearning developers. A recent eLearning Industry post by contributor Ayesha Habeeb Omer pointed out the potential for extremely small infusions of data to become a valuable new standard in training. Perhaps these "bite-sized" pieces of content could add up over time to an overall superior learning experience.
Omer specified that factors such as limited budgets and time, as well as easy access to smartphones and tablets, are some of the forces acting on the learning field at the moment. Considering which training tactics work under such conditions, leaders are landing on lessons that are delivered in a drip feed, with each module covering a specific element of a course.
"Young workers are especially likely to enjoy modules that each take little time to complete."
According to Omer, developers have found that students are overwhelmingly receptive to getting small doses of content rather than normal lessons, which can take more than half an hour to complete. The author indicated that today's workforce contains a great many professionals from Generation Y, and these young workers are especially likely to enjoy modules that each take little time to complete. These individuals are natural multi-taskers who are happy to complete their responsibilities in limited sections.
Whereas engaging employees by playing to their preferences is a clear advantage of eLearning's move toward bite-sized content, it is not the only edge companies can gain. Omer pointed to the fact that when a worker needs specific information about a given situation, he or she will be able to internalize that data quickly if there is a learning module on that exact topic, with no extra time wasted.
A recent Training Zone blog post by contributor David James explained that workers today have become very self-directed in how they find and consume learning materials. Rather than suggesting that training departments give up in the face of this trend and hope that external content teaches the team, he suggested using employee preferences as a guide to how the company crafts its internal learning curriculum. Small lessons delivered via mobile devices made up one of the categories James described, meaning that some organizations' professionals will lean toward these methods naturally, making them a great avenue for concerted development.