Engaging learners in online training – Questions to ask
14th April 2020
With the growing need for online learning in recent weeks, it got us thinking, how can you maximise the effectiveness of your e-learning? Here’s a few considerations to ensure your learners are getting the most out of your learning solution.
Have you considered different learning styles?
Courses can be packed full of relevant and applicable information, but still not engage users and enable them to learn from the content. As commonly known, all individuals learn in different ways. Most often individuals may have a visual, auditory or tactile learning style and online learning can be tailored to meet a certain learning style. Consequently, this can cause complications when designing your e-learning and making difficult decisions in terms of format or content to include, so it is important to understand how your users learn.
Have you asked your user base?
A simple method – ask your users. A brief questionnaire to better understand how to engage your employees in the learning or to analyse how they learn can be beneficial. This questionnaire is not only useful for creating online learning but is also useful on a wider scale e.g. when planning delegation of work, structuring team meetings or providing briefing notes/updates.
Are your courses accessible?
It’s important to take note of accessibility. If some users cannot access all of the e-learning course, then these individuals will miss out, which has a direct impact on the outputs you are striving to achieve from the course. A quick starting point, but a crucial checklist for your courses can be:
Is the text readable?
Do the videos contain subtitles?
Do you have transcripts for any videos or voiced content?
Could you invest in BSL Interpretation?
In terms of accessibility, you also need to consider the language used throughout your modules. For example, if the learning is aimed at a younger age group, can they read and understand the information? Whilst the use of jargon may expand users’ vocabulary knowledge, it can lead to important information being misunderstood by the individual and can cause users to ‘switch off’ or breeze over the information.
When you are offered something engaging, what does this mean exactly? It is important you engage your employees in the way you want to. Some users may engage in content that portrays itself in a light-hearted format – consider humorous examples that users may relate to or surprising facts that will be engrained in their memory. There is no correct answer for what makes content engaging, but the important thing here is to consider it in line with your institution’s beliefs or culture so that it is tailored to ensure learning objectives are achieved.
Furthermore, what is the reason for the online training? It’s important that you have set out goals for the training which are clear to the management team, but also to all employees enrolled in the training.
Once you have implemented your online modules, it’s important not to stop there. Useful methods which you can use to evaluate the effectiveness of your training:
User uptake – did all employees expected to take the training do so? If not, you may need to raise awareness of how to access the training and what the user can gain from completing it i.e the purpose of it. If there is no clear purpose of the training, why are you doing it?
Have you seen the outcome you were looking for? If your e-learning module was to raise awareness about reporting incidents and how to report them, you should check if there has been a rise in reporting.
Ask for questionnaires to be completed directly after, but also again a month after. This also provides a great opportunity to design small follow-up tests or learning, from which you can gauge whether you have really engaged your learners or whether your training was merely a tick-the-box course.
Most importantly, make changes. Once you have narrowed down the issues, fix them and learn from them. With each online learning course you develop, you will learn from mistakes and be able to look at what works for your institution, to help you create a consistent theme in your learning that fits in with the company culture. It may be as simple as using more graphical examples to display information or maybe something new such as moving more towards gamification. As the e-learning industry continues to grow, the way in which you educate online provides many opportunities to train and engage users.
This blog was written by Cameron Rifai – Cameron helps Marshall clients get the most from their e-learning, focusing on content that’s relevant to them.
I have worked with Marshalls for many years and they’re always great to collaborate with. I most recently worked closely with Cameron Rifai on a collaborative project with other Welsh Universities to get a bilingual Unconscious Bias training module set up and running. Cameron always offered a fast and efficient service and was always happy to help. Cameron stayed in regular contact throughout the process and was always very approachable. To summarise, Marshalls want you to have an e-learning course that fits your needs. I would recommend them to any other organisation looking for online training modules – Ruth Fowler, Aberystwyth University