Earlier this year I wrote an article on three ways to improve instruction delivered via electronic means, or eLearning.
Several people posted replies. “You are definitely on the right track to envision eLearning as more than just content delivery, and more than a replacement of classroom learning. We can use it to support learning at the point of need, make it readily available as needed, and make it flexible enough to aid decision-making,” one commenter said.
Another commenter astutely noted that the success or failure of eLearning depends on management engagement: “Unless the manager is brought in, individuals won’t be given time to do the learning or scope to practice it afterwards. In the organizations I have worked with, the best way to improve learning is to get managers engaged first.”
Studies have shown that eLearning is one of the most effective instructional methods, especially in safety and healthcare compliance. Studies also have demonstrated that eLearning enhances classroom education and other traditional training methods. saves times and is cost-effective to deliver. Three technology trends, in particular, have workplace applications: games, scenarios and informal learning.
Evidence suggests that the immersive and engaging nature of games accelerates learning and improves skill acquisition and retention. For example, companies including Cisco and Samsung reported improved employee performance after implementing game-based learning initiatives. Traci Sitzmann, assistant professor at the University of Colorado at Denver Business School, found in a study that learners’ “post-training self-efficacy was 20 percent higher, declarative knowledge was 11 percent higher, procedural knowledge was 14 percent higher and retention was 9 percent higher for trainees taught with simulation games, relative to a comparison group.
Scenario-based learning presents learners with a situation or simulation and guides them through choices and decisions to navigate the task or problem. Instead of showing learners the best way to complete a task and then having them repeat that activity, learners are allowed to make choices and learn from mistakes. In her 2012 book Scenario-Based E-Learning, Ruth Clark says scenario-based learning accelerates expertise by providing opportunities for learners to gain experience in a controlled and safe environment.
We all routinely experience moment-of-need learning opportunities, but how can we plan for random and unexpected moments of need in the workplace? Informal learning means finding ways to capture personal “Aha!” moments and allowing learning to occur on demand. Mobile technology is being integrated into health and safety products to allow workers to use their mobile device and a QR code to access moment-of-need information, such as a brief tutorial on lockout/tagout. Another way to use informal learning is to allow workers to report incidents or unsafe practices in the workplace. Events can then be turned into enterprise-wide training modules.
As these examples show, when appropriately applied, eLearning enhances rather than dilutes classroom education and other traditional training methods.
See how a leading insurer used UL’s employee safety eLearning modules to save more than $3.6 million in training costs and significantly reduce work-related injuries.