Traditional eLearning has a bad name. Boring, ineffective and impersonal, it conjures up images of dressed-up Powerpoints, scrolling and too much clicking 'Next.'
Even more troubling though, so much of eLearning fails to deliver on its fundamental promise - too frequently, it doesn't improve skills or provide real workplace change. Learners engage in courses, but they lack the support and tools they need to apply that learning to their daily life or at work, rendering the digital learning ineffective.
But there's a catch 22. As the world went remote in 2020 and everything went online, digital learning demand was higher than ever before. With increased need but a bad reputation and poor results, the digital learning industry needs to find a way to innovate and create engaging and meaningful learning.
To us, this innovation needs to create what we call better learning.
Better learning is:
Better learning helps organisations to:
Adaptive learning is the delivery of a custom and personalised learning experience. It considers each individual's unique situation and uses feedback, logical rules, and even artificial intelligence to deliver an experience that meets their personal needs.
Adaptive learning helps organisations create more engaging and effective learning, rather than relying on a standard one size fits all approach. Most importantly, it allows organisations to achieve better learning without ever impacting their ability to scale content creation and delivery.
As a general rule, adaptive learning leads to improved learning outcomes, both for organisations and individuals.
For the learner, adaptive learning creates learning that is tailored and relevant to them, both through the content of learning itself and by allowing them to complete modules at their own pace. This personalisation leads to increased engagement and even a greater sense of accomplishment. It also minimises frustration caused by irrelevant or repetitive content.
This improved learner engagement benefits organisations, saving them both time and money on training while also improving outcomes.
Organisations can use adaptive learning in any digital or blended courses. While many people hold traditional classroom learning as the highest standard, adaptive learning allows organisations to utilise the best elements, no matter where their learners are located.
With several types of adaptive learning available, organisations can choose the style that best suits their needs at the time.
Action learning is an experiential learning style that asks learners to engage with real-world issues and challenges them to use their learning to solve these problems. With both practical exercises and reflection opportunities, action learning works to combine the theoretical and practical to improve outcomes.
It is broadly accepted that people learn better when given opportunities to practice their skills, so action learning offers those chances to learners. In the workplace, it will often also rely on small groups and coaching to further help knowledge transfer and ensure learning achieves real change.
The primary benefit of action learning is simply that it helps to retain and transfer learning into everyday practice. Focusing on work integration empowers employees to take their learning and guides them on how they can use this in their daily job. This can grow their confidence and improve the learner's skills and performance, while also offering real-life solutions to problems. For organisations, this leads to improved ROI from learning and helps them to achieve their goals.
Action learning also helps to create bonds between individual employees and enhance overall team performance. For organisations, it can create a learning culture that promotes agility and deepens bonds between individual employees and teams. It can even help future proof your staffing with a focus on critical skills like problem-solving and leadership.
Action learning is ideal for situations where there are multiple right answers, as it helps individuals work through problems to come up with a solution that suits them. This process will aid innovation and creativity in organisations, as teams involved will learn the skills they need to question and challenge the status quo.
For organisations looking to improve their collaboration skills and promote an agile and flexible culture, action learning may also be worth considering.
Agile learning borrows from the world of software development and is defined by learning development where the focus is speed, collaboration and flexibility. This gives organisations the ability to rapidly develop and implement a large amount of learning more quickly than before.
Traditionally, learning has been developed with an ADDIE mindset. Often a longer process, ADDIE has five unique stages to support a linear way of creating digital learning. In contrast, agile learning aims to speed up content development with a more cyclical design style. It also emphasises the importance of feedback, with the circular development process helping to achieve ongoing revisions for constant improvements.
Without a doubt, the most significant benefit of agile learning is the speed in which you can create learning modules. Fundamental to agile learning development is breaking your learning into smaller pieces. This allows for a shorter development cycle, without the risk that the planning and revisions of larger amounts of work will delay your implementation. Learners also benefit from the fact they can engage with shorter pieces of learning, improving its effectiveness and organisations can prioritise the learning they need.
Agile learning also has a benefit of encouraging individuals to collaborate. Built into its foundations, the agile methodology enables all organisation areas to work together to meet their goals. Similarly, by cutting your learning development into smaller chunks, you receive more time for feedback so stakeholders will offer thoughts on each section. This not only just increases your options to improve your course as you build it, but actively encourages teamwork and collaboration from across your organisation.
If you're an organisation utilising agile methodology in other areas of your business, embracing it into your learning design makes sense. Similarly, if you're generally an innovative and flexible organisation, this will help to bring your learning design into line with the rest of your values.
Agile learning design is also perfect where speed is paramount, or a lot of content needs to be repurposed.
The role of learning in organisations is ever-changing, but one thing remains constant - effective learning needs to be created as quickly as possible.
The definition of data-driven learning is precisely what it implies. It revolves around establishing learning data points, ideally during the scoping process, to evaluate your eLearning performance and effectiveness.
These metrics can then be used to optimise your courses in the future, identify any learning gaps en masse, and guide future digital learning development.
Traditionally, the data kept around digital learning has been limited and has done little to improve learning or even measure what is happening in organisations.
Instead of merely relying on vanity metrics like completion rate, data-driven learning helps organisations understand what is working and measure learners capability after completion. It gives them opportunities to measure learner confidence, real work performance, and satisfaction with their experience to understand their impact more effectively.
It can also be used to identify problems in your digital learning experiences. Whether it is grouping specific questions to examine capability areas, or looking for answer trends, taking the time to analyse your data can help optimise and even guide future development.
Just like adaptive learning, data-driven learning is a trend that we believe all organisations should embrace in the full suite of their learning.
Many learning platforms use SCORM, which limits data collection to completion and score. However, more modern eLearning standards such as xAPI allow for the collection of much richer data. Investing in an LMS or other option that supports this is invaluable for maintaining high levels of engagement and establishing ROI on your digital learning.
As organisations worldwide continue to rely on data to improve processes and deepen their understanding, anyone responsible for developing digital learning should take the time to plan what kind of data they need to optimise their course.
Blended learning is a hybrid of traditional in-person and digital learning. While it can take on a few different forms, most blended courses will deliver self-paced online learning alongside instructor-led sessions.
Blended learning offers the best of both worlds. It combines the benefits of in-person and digital learning to create a unique learning experience that is more engaging, accessible and personalised.
With self-paced eLearning, learners have the flexibility to study in a way and time that suits them. They can also control the kind of learning they undertake, focusing more on areas of interest or knowledge gaps. Offering this freedom and personalisation heightens engagement and leads to better learning outcomes.
However, by also having instructor-led sessions, learners benefit from engaging instructors and receiving feedback on their work. This personal relationship may also impact motivation and further heighten engagement.
Blended learning is ideal for courses where collaboration and problem solving is an essential element. By design, it allows learners to complete learning in their own time and sets up time to discuss and provide support for them to implement the new skills.
It can also be used by organisations who are seeking to reach a broad audience with their courses. Instead of only running webinars and traditional eLearning, adopting a blended learning approach will heighten engagement while remaining cost-effective.
The increased focus on digital learning effectiveness has meant that blended learning has become an interest for many organisations.
Across organisations, better digital learning means different things and not all of these approaches are suitable for every business in every circumstance.
What is important is that we develop our learning in a more thoughtful, planned way with a focus on providing support for learners to implement the skills they have learnt. Without this, digital learning will always struggle to achieve its fundamental goal.
To bring learning and performance together, organisations should: