The stakes have never been higher for learning leaders. In today’s post-pandemic workplace, the need to find ways to reach and engage an increasingly distributed workforce is real. Solving this dilemma isn’t easy. It requires selecting the right mix of learning technologies that support your organization’s learning goals and equip learners to succeed. This guide will help you navigate the learning technologies marketplace, which is bustling with options to choose from.
Authoring the Learning Experience
Some learning platforms may have authoring tools, while others are simply distribution channels for your created content. Likely, developing and packaging asynchronous learning content will require additional software and tools.
Some of the more popular content formats include:
- eLearning modules
- Responsive learning modules
- Videos and animations
- Learning games
- Mobile applications
- Virtual reality (VR) simulations
One of the most common learning experiences involves eLearning modules designed to convey information in a straightforward, engaging way. More advanced modules can include gamification and simulations.
Learners interact with eLearning content asynchronously, which means the content is self directed and controlled by the learner at their own pace. There are various benefits to creating eLearning modules: They are cost effective, efficient and able to be delivered just in time. Despite these benefits, there is one significant drawback: The content cannot easily be tailored to the individual learner and one size needs to fit all.
Responsive Learning Modules
Another type of learning experience is responsive learning modules. This type of content is published on platforms that react responsively across desktop, tablet and mobile screen sizes.
Responsive modules can resize, format or adjust the layout based on the displayed screen size. Typically, an authoring and content management system (CMS) that stores assets and a learner’s work in progress is what supports these types of modules.
Due to their responsive nature, they can reach various viewing formats and are easier to develop than other authoring technologies. However, because they are also limited in terms of interaction, they may be helpful only for more informational or supportive content.
Videos and Animations
One of the most effective learning experience approaches is video and animation because it is highly engaging and able to be delivered on demand. High-impact videos and animations are perfect for adding emphasis to crucial learning topics. It is also a familiar format for learners because of websites like YouTube.
With attention spans declining, leveraging the power of video and animation can be highly effective in transforming passive forms of learning into active experiences.
However, the challenge is that developing this type of content carries a higher cost-per-minute than more traditional learning modules.
Inspiring memory-making experiences that delight and stick is never a bad thing. Learning games can provide moments of levity or breaks from more in-depth, rigorous content.
Games come in all shapes and sizes and deliver various learning benefits, for example, using them as capstone experiences to reinforce previous learning. Like video and animations, the cost and complexity can be comparatively high.
Developing a mobile application might be the best solution if learning content needs to accommodate different screen sizes on cellphones, tablets and other mobile devices. While responsive learning can work similarly, there are some key differences.
Native mobile apps are software that runs on mobile devices. Using notifications and device-specific personalization allows for a more integrated and immersive experience. Mobile apps can also securely draw in dynamic data from the internet that can enable the learner to interact with real-time information. Responsive learning modules do not have these capabilities.
The most significant deterrent to choosing this format, though, is cost. Developing native mobile apps can cost much more than web-based content by a considerable margin.
Immersive Virtual Reality (VR)
VR is growing in popularity. VR is a 3D, computer-generated environment created to simulate reality.
Creating virtual experiences allows learners to explore and interact with a learning environment fully. They are immersed within a simulation and can manipulate objects or perform a series of actions and experience outcomes.
The potential for VR is high, but there are some genuine challenges. The cost of development and hardware is a big one. Learners may need specific headset hardware or handsets to navigate the virtual world. VR also has a larger than standard adoption curve and could cause motion sickness in some.
Continuing the Learning Experience
Once a learner completes a learning experience doesn’t mean their journey is over. There are many ways to support ongoing, continuous learning through social and team collaboration platforms, where learners already regularly engage. Support networks (i.e., peer groups, forums or online learning communities) can also support continuous learning.
The rollout of learning experiences and continued opportunities for development directly affect long-term adoption and success.
The latest industry-leading products are not always the best learning technologies for your organization. Learning leaders need to get familiar with different formats, strengths and weaknesses of different learning technologies so they can select the ones that best suit their needs.
An incorrect choice could render a training program a failure, resulting in higher-than-expected costs, delays and rework. On the other hand, selecting the correct technology solutions can unleash performance and help accomplish organizational learning goals.
Well-written content, integrated into learner-centric experiences and delivered in the right format, is a surefire recipe to keep your organization learning at the speed of business.