Corporate training delivered on an eLearning platform has never been more famous. Avoid some of the common mistakes when designing an eLearning program for employees or partner sales training.
Avoid These Common Mistakes In Corporate eLearning
Digital technology is bringing a new concept and a unique style that extends far beyond the boundaries of the classroom and impacts all aspects of life. Recent developments promise that technology will play an even greater role in the coming years. While eLearning is no longer a “new kid on the block” in terms of knowledge sharing, academic classes, or corporate training, its availability and acceptance do not necessarily guarantee that all eLearning is equally successful.
There is no question that people have individualized styles of learning. It is well known that some people respond to the spoken word, while others are visually focused and learn better through sensory experience. Others are realistic and experiential, and still, others need to be reinforced by two or more methods to retain ideas and digest information.
However, whatever the ideal learning style, there is growing evidence that eLearning will take hold to an even greater extent than is currently being used, especially in the corporate world. With that in mind, I have identified several drawbacks that could lead to a less-than-successful virtual training experience.
Here are what I consider to be the top 11 corporate mistakes made in corporate eLearning programs and some suggestions on how to correct them:
1. Misjudging The Audience
Just as you should identify the target audience whether you’re writing a book, creating a new automobile, or designing a cereal box, you will want to know the demographics and mindset of your audience.
Is your audience consist of management personnel? Do they know and understand the technical terms you’re going to use? Are you approaching new corporate recruits eager to learn ropes and get started? Are they going to enjoy a light-hearted approach? Assess your audience well in advance, and tailor your training to their needs.
2. Being Irrelevant
As Times Change, Motivation changes. New ideas are taking root, and also in technical fields, new technologies are altering expectations and ways of doing business. In today’s fast-moving world, change is fast and furious, and sometimes it’s hard to track. It is important to provide timely and instantly actionable training to both the individual and the organization.
If you are a training designer, try to stay ahead of the curve. All involved will receive the benefits.
3. Playing It Safe
The goal of any instructor should be to challenge the learner, which is true in corporate training as it is in primary or graduate school. Quick quizzes are great—especially online learning—but don’t make them too easy.
If your participants are not challenged to think, they won’t be encouraged to pay attention, and they will be less likely to retain the knowledge you give them. If you use quizzes, make them meaningful and challenging.
4. Missing The Point
The basic objectives of all corporate training are to expand knowledge, increase understanding, enhance performance, improve skills, and contribute to the potential success of each participant. If the content does not achieve any or all of these goals, the training could be viewed as unsuccessful.
View any training relevant to the overall corporate plan for skills improvement; revise any training that falls short.
5. Overwhelming The Participant
Be prepared and stick to the key messages, typically no more than five, you listed for your training. Avoid an approach to “everything but the kitchen sink.” If you give a lot of details hoping that each participant will have a different takeaway, chances are you and they will be disappointed.
As with most things, it’s better to keep the participants willing to come back for more than to send them away with “brain ache” and too many suggestions to absorb.
6. Misleading The Message
When creating training content, the Instructional Design should align content with key messaging. The key message should be aligned with the reality of the participant.
Be sure to include any:
- Necessary processes and procedures
- Technical data when it’s important
- Resources that participants can access, download, and print for later reference
- Sources when referring statistics or theoretical concepts
When eLearning is too large or strays from the subject, participants can become confused or disinterested.
7. Putting Too Much “You” In Your Presentation
Although you might be an expert in your field, be aware that your participants are not likely to be involved. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, be mindful of the knowledge level and learning styles of your participants.
Everyone absorbs information differently, and you can avoid developing training modules in your preferred style. Instead, incorporate a blend of media that incorporates learning types. These can include PDFs, articles, videos, and gamification.
8. Forgetting About The Buy-In
While eLearning can be more affordable than on-site or in-person training programs, it also needs help and understanding of higher-level management. That’s one side of the coin, whether it’s part of an in-house educational campaign or aimed at outsiders. The financial contribution is not inconsistent, and everyone involved should expect a return on the investment.
Finally, whether eLearning is mandatory or optional, each participant must make a full commitment to the training.
9. Being Disorganized Or Unprepared
Nothing will inspire more snoozing among your digital learners than carelessly planned training or equipment that doesn’t work properly during live presentations like webinars. Understand that time is important to everyone involved.
Ensure that the quality of the training is on the mark. Follow the schedule: if it is a live presentation, test the equipment in advance, organize your notes, and start with a minimal preamble to the subject. You’re delivering a learning experience, so be prepared and professional.
10. Not Validating The Content
If you are the lone subject matter expert on the topic, it is important to have knowledgeable people review the content and provide feedback. A second opinion is often useful to overcome differences and to reinforce main concepts.
If there is a potential for incorrect interpretation or application, or if a product claim is involved, obtain legal advice or advice from a recognized expert.
11. Assuming That Material Is Correct And Current
It is crucial to deliver materials that are either current or still relevant. Although the content is evergreen, ALL content is generally not evergreen. Before starting a training campaign, review the material to ensure that it is current and appropriate. If the training module has a “best by” date, review the data and information it contains to ensure that no updates are required.
In the case of ongoing programs, it might be wise to develop a policy of review and retention of all training materials. Update and refresh the training materials regularly to keep the presentation fresh and attractive. Always make changes that reflect new findings in your field and recent market trends.
Added Bonus—Add Some Fun
While corporate training is a serious business, make sure to include fun along the way. Doing so is an established way to help learners retain a message. Team events, drawings, badges, and prizes are just a few examples of fun elements that can reinforce your messaging and keep participants engaged.
No eLearning program is immune from mistakes. But when they happen, learn from them and take the necessary steps to prevent them from occurring in the future. Use them to improve your training program. Encourage feedback from your participants and your design team to minimize errors and maximize learning.