This article follows on from a Leaders speech webinar I submitted for Training Industry on May 11, 2023. We’ve come a long way from converting PowerPoint to eLearning courses. New and existing technologies enable us to create more immersive and engaging learning experiences, provide personalized support, work more efficiently, and collect learner metrics that drive performance. Many of these technologies integrate easily with leading learning management systems (LMS). By adding the right tools, you can take your learning department to the next level.
The greatest interest expressed by webinar attendees was the need to make learning more fun and engaging. One approach is to add a game to a SCORM course or launch it directly from an LMS. Some people may be concerned about the risk of games distracting users from educational content. However, the games I’m referring to require the student to know or understand the content in order to score well, thus reinforcing the learning. Another approach is to use a gamified platform like Arcades™, which in addition to games provides student metrics, badges and a company leaderboard.
We also saw that people were very interested in ways to provide employee feedback and coaching or document employee performance. Video coaching tools allow employees to submit videos of their performance for feedback, and some do much more. Video coaching can be integrated into SCORM-based role-playing games or included in a learning path. If you need to scale globally or across a large number of employees, you’ll want to look for one that includes translation and automation features.
- ACTION ITEM: Practice video research and coaching apps like Trial.
Surprisingly, the third most popular technology in our viewer survey was the LMS and LXP category. While all have the same goal of providing user education, these platforms vary greatly in terms of optional features. Choosing one with features like AI translation, social learning, and custom learning paths can eliminate the need to add them later. What many people overlook is the workflow process, which determines the time and cost it takes to manage the platform. To appear competitive, some vendors offer so many features that the workflow becomes very complicated. You need to understand these requirements before deciding.
VIRTUAL REALITY / AI & LI
VR and AI have also generated a lot of interest. Immersing the learner in a real or virtual world may be the best choice for some types of learning where hands-on practice is too expensive or not feasible. What may surprise you is that VR can be a good way to encourage exploratory learning and personalized learning paths. Combine that with detailed tracking of user actions and this can be a valuable addition to your toolset.
AI has many applications and can be found in some of the technologies discussed above. Also, there are many third-party AI apps like text-to-speech, talking heads, and image generators that can save you time and cut costs. If you’re looking to create adaptive courses, check out the Learner Intelligence adaptive design pattern I’ve developed. It requires no artificial intelligence and is free. You can download the templates from my blog listed below.
DATA and METRICS
In many industries big data, analytics and predictive insights are of very high importance. With the right data, we can better understand the needs of our students and where our education can be improved. Some data is provided by learning platforms and some of the technologies we have already mentioned also provide learner metrics. Look for an upcoming blog post where I’ll delve into this topic.
These technologies help you create better learning experiences by adding additional features. What technologies do you need to add to meet the goals set by your learning organization? To help answer this question I have prepared the following action plan.
Goals: Your choice of technologies largely depends on what your goals are. For example, a small learning department might need an LMS that is easy to manage and has a good way to reuse existing resources. A large company may need a video coaching automation and scaling strategy for thousands of users. Be aware of your learning goals before looking into new technologies.
Have: Take a look at what you’re already using. Which tools are in line with your goals and which tools are not? Where are you strong or weak? This will help you in the next step.
Need: You are now ready to do a gap analysis. What is missing from your toolset or talent pool? What prevents you from achieving your goals? Be honest here, even if it seems like a lot more than you’ll be able to deal with.
Find: Now is the time to do your due diligence. There are many good products out there. Ask suppliers about their strengths and weaknesses. Understand how you will work with their product. Is it a product you can grow with? You will need to have a good understanding of the benefits the product brings, both increased revenue and cost savings. Then you can calculate a reasonable ROI.
Instrument: Congratulations when you get to the implementation stage. You are about to step up your game. Call vendor support personnel to help you add new technology and train your staff if needed. You may want to schedule a follow-up meeting with the supplier to make sure your expectations have been met and make any adjustments that may be necessary.
The learning industry, like many others, is rapidly evolving and we all need to keep up. As is evident from this article, there are many proven technologies you can implement today that will help improve employee performance. There are many more to come as well. I hope you find this growth and change as exciting as I do.