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experience. Tis isn’t a surprise when there’s such a gulf between different online learning experiences – today, the average completion rate is still only 22%, whereas the best courses will see 90% of learners go through to the end.1 Te fact that there


is still so much room for improvement means there’s never been a more exciting time in online learning – and technology is acceler- ating this. While AI is still a few years away from being the norm, the best online learning is already delivering learning that is as good as, or better than, face-to-face training.


Streaming a PowerPoint presentation is not online learning


Historically, the majority of online learning has fallen down by relying on technology to replace teaching and pedagogy. Yet any good course


should start with understanding how people learn, followed by how using technol-


ogy can enhance their experience. Tat’s where elements like Virtual


Campus come in. Tis platform helps lead a learner through an online course and manages their cognitive load. Tis means making sure they’re only focusing on one thing at a time. A good campus will clearly signpost content so learn- ers know how long each section will take them, what they will learn and what they’ll be ex-


www.trainingjournal.com


pected to do. Te layout of the content should also be easy to view on different devices, enabling people to learn wherever and whenever they want to. Another feature is the ability


to be part of an online community. Building online group work and community collaboration into training is creating a much more engaging experience, an element online learning has always lacked, until now. By learning in groups, people


stay much more engaged. Tis could be working on an assignment in a small team giving learners the peer support that pushes them to complete the course, or an online class with over 100 people collaborating and discussing a particular topic or theme. For courses that span several weeks


or months, group work replicates the mechanisms of support that you get in a face-to-face environment, which could be within the learning software or even just a WhatsApp, Google Hangout or Facebook group. We find that when people learn


on their own, this support element is lacking and it’s hard to motivate yourself. Yet in a group situation, learners feel like they’ve got to keep up with their peers and push themselves harder to compete, or make sure they’re not letting down their fellow group members. Group learning works because it builds interactivity into a course, which should be the core ingredient to any engaging content. Making content interactive doesn’t


just mean forcing learners to click a button at the end of a page of text, but should cause them to stop, think and reflect on what they’ve been taught. Te best


online learning incorporates a variety of different content types to avoid long, static pages of text or basic and repetitive click-and-watch video. Tis could be short videos, podcasts, scripted videos playing


out scenarios, comic strips or infographics – the more varied, the


better. Tis doesn’t mean there’s no place for text but if it is included, it should be bite-sized and include the chance for learners to reflect at the end. Short quizzes are an effective way to test and reinforce learning at the end of a section, encouraging learners to think about what they’ve absorbed. Finally, online learning is opening


up new ways to measure and track the ROI of training. Te huge volumes of data created by digital has changed every business department, including the L&D department. Yet we also know that, to date,





L&D professionals have struggled to deliver effective learning outcomes that are measurable. Our own research reveals that a fifth of L&D professionals say that digital training undertaken to date hasn’t delivered


Any good course should start with understanding how people learn, followed by how using technology can enhance their experience


tangible and measurable ROI. Tat’s why it is so important to


give employees a dedicated learning pathway, including benchmarking their progress in performance reviews. Tis gives people a great incentive to engage with the programme, while also enabling managers to track progress of the company’s wider transformation initiative. Being able to measure the workforce’s skills not only shows the ROI training is bringing to the com- pany, but also enhances an employee’s own personal development, ensuring only relevant training is delivered.


From PDF uploads to AI-guided content


While the best providers are already making online learning unrecognisable from the e-learning of the past, the next 10 years will see more change. Bite-sized content will give learners


the ability to learn whenever and wherever is most convenient. With online classes recorded and available at any time, technology has already


 | AUGUST 2017 | 21


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