Technology-based eLearning programs are incredibly efficient. Not only do companies save time and money by eliminating the time and cost of on-site instruction, eLearning training solutions have also been proven to be much more successful at improving participation and retention of material.
The benefits of eLearning are obvious. That’s why 77% of American companies rely on online eLearning programs. Now that eLearning is established as a best practice, the focus throughout 2016 will be on improving available eLearning methodology to maximize its effectiveness and convenience for employers and employees.
1. Gamified techniques increase participation.
Gamification, or the use of game mechanics to encourage participation, is an emerging instructional design trend that is expected to become mainstream in 2016. In fact, the Deloitte University Press predicts that gamification will become a $2.8 billion business this year.Cisco Systems, an early adopter of gamified systems, has seen tremendous success with their revolutionary Social Media Training Program for the company’s employees and contractors. This eLearning system guides trainees through more than 46 courses that teach a variety of social media skills, including improving security and driving user engagement. To lead users through the courses in a logical progression, Cisco instituted three tiers of certification that require users to take certain courses and demonstrate their learning through specific tasks, such as writing blog posts or creating case studies. Additional information and certifications that are specifically designed for HR, Sales, Executives and Partner Teams are also available.To combat the sometimes isolating effective of online learning, Cisco has also instituted team challenges to bring trainees together in groups to utilize their new skills. These challenges also result in badges showcasing the teams’ accomplishments.
Cisco reported a dramatic increase in registration and participation following the debut of their gamified instruction system. Over 650 people have certified in the program and have collectively completed over 13,000 courses.
2. Going mobile makes eLearning convenient and effective for users
Mobile devices are a staple of daily life for most employees. The mobile eLearning market is growing rapidly to reach those users who find handheld learning most convenient.Statistics show that 74% of companies currently use some form of eLearning system. However, according to Worcester Polytechnic Institute only 18% of companies are currently using mobile learning systems. This number is expected to grow exponentially in 2016 and beyond.A recent Department of Defense study invited participants to compare two methods for standard, mandatory employee education: the standard, desktop eLearning version and the new, mobile-friendly mLearning version. Although participants were ambivalent about their preferences at the beginning of the study, over 85% of the participants stated that the courses should be available on mobile and nearly one in five participants felt that the mobile version was more effective than the desktop version. The participants identified many beneficial features of mobile learning, including convenience, scheduling flexibility, concise presentation, and distraction-free learning. The portability and touch screen interactivity were also identified as benefits.
Unlike traditional eLearning methods, mLearning can provide access to recorded information, assessments, images, chat features, audio files, videos and more during an employee’s spare time. This allows the employee to save time while the company also saves time and money. It’s no mystery why mobile learning is a 2016 instructional design trend!
3. Adaptive and competency-based programs will improve time efficiency.
Adaptive and competency-based models allow experienced employees to ‘test out’ of familiar or unnecessary material. This keeps these skilled employees engaged and prevents them from wasting time reviewing material they already know. By focusing their energy learning new material, they can master the content faster and move on to more productive tasks.
This mindset has already been wildly successful at online colleges like Western Governors University. As more and more companies turn to eLearning for their employee education programs, expect competency-driven eLearning models to blossom.
4. Automation streamlines the eLearning developmental process.
Automated technologies can curate assessment questions, exercises, tests, and games based on the course material. Implementing these technologies can save significant savings in cost and design time. This allows companies to focus on improving the content and media used instead of laboring over extensive program details.
Obviously, 2016 is going to be an innovative and exciting year for training and development trends. This year’s emphasis on mobile-friendly, automated, competency-based game style of teaching will revolutionize employee education by keeping employees more engaged and more active throughout the learning process.
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