eLearning and Corporate Training: 101

Basics of eLearning and its Implementation in Corporates

Introduction

If you are a first time user of eLearning or contemplating using it for the first time, read on. You may also download the eBooks via the links provided for more information.

Corporate organizations train their employees on knowledge, skills, and attitudes using different methods – in the classroom, on-the-job, eLearning, and so on. The global eLearning market is growing rapidly at about 11% CAGR.

Traditional instructor-led classroom training remains the most popular form of training delivery, accounting for more than 50% of the annual training budgets.

eLearning is the second most popular method and accounts for about 30% of the training budget.

What is eLearning?

Learning that is electronically mediated is called eLearning. It can also be defined as learning content that contains text and multimedia, and uses Internet technologies delivered to audiences on electronic devices, wherever they may be.

eLearning in corporate organizations usually refers to self-paced modules hosted on a Learning Management System (LMS). Corporate organizations find eLearning to be very useful in terms of reducing training cost, as well as improved convenience and effectiveness.

How eLearning is Created

The ADDIE (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation) model is widely used as a frame of reference in making self-paced eLearning modules, although it is equally applicable for any learning or training method.

Analysis
Analysis

The analysis stage involves understanding the performance gaps in the audience, their current level of competence and the environment in which they learn.

An in-depth review of existing content in the form of Instructor-led Training (classroom) material such as PowerPoint decks, facilitator guides and participant handouts is also conducted. Sometimes, Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs), product collaterals and policy documents may also be used as raw material to develop eLearning modules.

Design
Design

The design stage involves Instructional Design, the science and art of presenting the content in a manner that will maximize learning in a self-paced environment – this is the design plan.

It entails setting performance-based learning objectives, formulating an instructional strategy, deciding on the media elements, defining the level of interactivity and so on. It also includes formulating formative and summative assessments.

Development
Development

Development involves converting the design plan into functional eLearning courses using authoring tools such as Storyline 360, Captivate or Lectora. These tools publish the courses to technically compatible formats (SCORM, AICC or Tin Can).

Implementation
Implementation

Implementation is deploying the eLearning course on a Learning Management System (LMS) for delivery to multiple users on various devices. The LMS can help track learner progress and will allow generation of reports for the training manager or other stakeholders.

Evaluation
Evaluation

Evaluation is done at 5 levels:

  • Reaction level where learners provide their feedback about the course
  • Learning level which evaluates the learning that is accrued from the course
  • Application level that measures how much of the learning is applied to the job
  • Business Impact measures the impact of learning on terminal business results
  • ROI level where the return on investment is calculated for the training initiative

Estimating Learning Duration

Being able to estimate the eLearning seat time can help answer important questions on the cost and time to develop the course. One way of doing it is to count the number of slides in your storyboard. The thumb rule is approximately 1-1.5 minutes for each slide. So, a 20-slide/screen course would take about 20-30 minutes of eLearning.
Another method is to count the number of words on the screen or in the audio script or both, if they are different. It takes about 1 minute to understand 150 words, so 4500 words in eLearning would take around 30 minutes.

Develop In-house or Outsource?

Producing your eLearning in-house or outsourcing to an eLearning company is always an important decision. If you are starting eLearning in your company, it is better to outsource the entire project.

If you have an internal team of instructional designers, it makes sense to outsource only production. Sometimes, if the project is huge or you have strict timelines, you may want to outsource.

How do you Select a Good eLearning partner?

eLearning as a business has proliferated and as it doesn’t have stringent entry barriers, you will come across literally hundreds of players. To find a good eLearning partner, look for the following:

  • Does the company specialize in eLearning or is eLearning one of the services the company offers along with web designing, graphics art or software services? Always choose the specialist.
  • Does it have a track record in corporate training?
  • Is the company in business for at least a decade with a good list of customers and testimonials?
  • Is the company willing to submit a proof of concept or has enough samples to show you?
  • Do they have robust Project Management and Design & Development processes in place?

What are the Avatars of eLearning?

There are many forms of eLearning. By “blending” with the other forms, you can achieve great results:

  • Blended Learning is when you blend classroom with any form of eLearning.
  • Microlearning is also self-paced eLearning but the duration is between 5-15 minutes as opposed to conventional eLearning, which is usually 30-45 minutes.
  • Mobile Learning is eLearning or microlearning delivered on mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets.
  • Just-in-Time Learning can include learning assets such as checklists, videos, interactive PDFs and podcasts that help the learner to remember important information at the time of performance.

Rapid eLearning Solutions

CommLab India specializes in Rapid eLearning solutions:

  • Converting existing ILT material into instructionally sound, engaging and effective eLearning curriculums
  • Converting legacy eLearning into HTML5 format that will run on mobile devices
  • Translating and localizing English eLearning into multiple international languages