Posted by Ann Fuerst, Ph.D., TCC Chief Learning Strategist
This the next post in a multi-part blog series on the business benefits of training an external audience.
Create Competitive Advantage
Training development is a competitive field and unless your online training offerings stand out and differentiate themselves from your competitors’, you won’t have an edge in the market. Consider the following techniques to give your training a competitive advantage:
Interactivity and Immersion Content plays a pivotal role in shaping customer interactions. eLearning courses, instructor-led trainings, virtual classrooms, performance support solutions, microlearning interventions, and many more solutions are delivered in blended models to aid performance improvement. Learning Management Systems coupled with HRMS applications are used to deliver, measure, and fine-tune employee performance.
With a sea of change in how people engage digitally, the entire training ecosystem comprising of the infrastructure, the content architecture, delivery channels, and the state of training solutions can be intelligently assembled. Farewell to those days when music was on albums and cassettes. Today music can be searched by tracks, artists, or genre. In the same way, training should be omnichannel, multistate, and multipurpose. Training content should be designed to serve the following goals.
- Modularity– A highly modular content architecture allows content to be reused and shared across multiple training objectives and states of intervention.
- Discoverability– Adding metatags to training content can make them searchable. This can allow training teams within an organization share, search, and use training content seamlessly and collaboratively.
- Multi-state, Omnichannel– The state of training content should be immensely fluidic. This means a particular content object should be easily designed as an audio byte to be delivered across audio pods. The same content object should again be convertible as an explainer video to serve across YouTube channels. The more adaptive is the state of the content, the more the omnichannel it will be.
Training can be made highly interactive and engaging by using various techniques such as gamification. Training that includes gamified activities is engaging and encourages users to learn in the most compelling way. Gamification helps ensure learners get effective training as it fosters a high-level of intrinsic motivation for people to persist and strive to do better in gamified learning activities which leads to better knowledge gain. Winning leads to a sense of achievement as they overcome a number of obstacles to reach an end goal, which can be associated with a badge, points, or status. Gamification leverages this psychological effect to encourage learners to gain mastery over a topic.
Immersive eLearning can turn even dull content into an exciting online experience. With the help of immersive stories, activities and design elements, you can make engaging eLearning. Simulations are one example of immersion in eLearning. Simulations offer an opportunity for the leaners to test their skills and expand their knowledge without any risk. Immersive eLearning activities involve realistic problems and challenges that the learners will face in life. By learning through immersive virtual situations, the leaners increase their task proficiency. Immersive eLearning provides timely feedback and constructive criticism and helps the learners gain the knowledge and skills required on job. It also helps reduce risk of mistakes on job.
Look and Feel
While the most important aspect of the training is the content, the appearance of the training makes all the difference between appeal and disenchantment. Professional looking training with an aesthetic appeal has better learner retention. You can also win more customers with professionally designed training. Some of the aspects of the visual design of the training that you should focus on for page layout are:
- Contrast: To make screen elements stand out and draw the learner’s attention, you should use contrast such as color and white space.
- Repetition: Mix and match colors, fonts, graphic treatments, and metaphors in similar fashion for similar elements across the training to ensure consistency, familiarity and a pleasant visual identity.
- Alignment: Alignment is an important aspect of screen layout. Plan on-screen elements placement well-ahead of course creation to ensure vertical or horizontal alignment with a purpose.
- Proximity: Group similar elements and place them together to emphasize relationships.
Adding branching scenarios to the online training to that take learners through complex branching paths make courses and content interesting and gives you an edge over competitors. However, you can make the navigation intuitive and ensure these paths are easy to navigate. For example, consider the following methods to create intuitive branching:
- Pose a question that has no absolute correct answers, rather, only options that lead to other screens as a next step
- Have a partial story that provides various paths to the next part of the story that may teach a specific topic
- Provide problem scenario that invites yes/no answers which when clicked lead to a further step or answer
Device-Friendly Responsive Learning
Create training that is device-friendly or compatible with various devices such as desktop, laptop, smartphone etc. This helps deliver learning to many screen sizes allowing the learner to learn anywhere and anytime. This also helps gain a larger market share.
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