Businesses creating employee education efforts in the era of eLearning have access to tools and strategies that simply weren't present in years past. If they don't take advantage of this fact, they may end up regretting it very soon. Everything in business is competitive, with organizations striving to better their rivals in all ways. This extends to training. What if one organization has adapted its learning strategies to new and more appropriate models and its closest competitor has neglected to? The former company could experience advantages in metrics from employee retention to overall performance, as training is so central to the way professionals act from day to day.
"The reversal of the classic classroom is being enabled by eLearning."
The reverse model
A recent piece by Training Zone contributor John Tomlinson tackled one of the most important trends currently affecting learning. He pointed to work by researchers Nancy Lape, Rachel Levy and Darrel Yong concerned with finally breaking down the model of a class led by a teacher who dumps information on students. He explained that the concept is to take what has gone on in the classroom - that transfer of knowledge - and set it in the home, with pupils learning at their own pace and participating in more engaging and interactive activities when they are around their fellow classmates.
Now, this may not on its surface seem to be an eLearning-driven model at all. However, the reversal of the classic classroom is being enabled by the rise of these systems. A good online class is accessible from anywhere, at the student's own pace. This means that it can deliver the data pupils need to know before they go in and face other learners or instructors. The fact that these in-person meetings are part of the strategy does not mean the approach is beholden to old-fashioned standards - it is simply a hybrid model, acknowledging that face-to-face elements can enhance the strategy but giving primacy to self-teaching.
What form should the all-important eLearning content take in such a model? Tomlinson laid out some requirements. Namely, the materials should be compelling and up to high standards. Media such as videos can make information go across more easily, ensuring there is enough retention to make independent study sessions a worthwhile way for learners to spend their time. He added that the in-person classroom's focus on social collaboration can act as a worthy foil to this kind of model. Corporate learners - or any other type of students - could end up gaining knowledge at improved rates by inverting the classroom style.
Leaders concerned their employees may not follow through with the elements of courses that are self-driven may have good luck with gamification. As Business 2 Community contributor Chris Abraham recently explained, there may be a natural resistance to developing skills unless companies commit to making the experience as enjoyable as possible. Gamified elements are one way to do this. Abraham gave the example of modules that dole out information slowly. This can be hard to handle when it is just dry data, but if there is an element of enjoyment, employees can feel comfortable sticking with it.