How to make your e-learning really effective

When buzzwords come at the expense of understanding

The e-learning market is growing by 1.1 billion euros, according to the E-Learning Monitor from Multiscope. The survey found that 6 percent of those surveyed would like to complete an online course within a year. This makes sense, because online learning is a good way to develop yourself, especially in today's world. But in order to do this, the e-learning must be effective and suit the target group well.

 

An e-learning currently often holds an overload of information. There is a lot of text, you have to wait a lot and they take relatively long. These are enough negative incentives to drop out or at least regularly lose your attention. That is deadly for the purpose of an e-learning; namely to ensure that information or an instruction lingers with the audience.

 

Especially if you as a company are going through a change in which you want to include your employees, an e-learning can give employees insight into what this means for an individual and how they can contribute to the change. In addition, it is essential that your employees can reproduce this information at a later time. After all, the best way to make a message come across is to have ambassadors who inspire others though word of mouth.

 

You won't get away anymore with just one email to the entire company 

to communicate a new policy

 

Nowadays you can no longer get away with just an email to the entire company to communicate that new policy. An increasing percentage of generations Y and Z occupy the labor market. This means that we have to come up with means of communication that surprise and are processed in a short period of time. In other words you have to respond to what your target group wants: be creative, innovative and relevant.

 

In this article we will address the key question: How do you ensure that an e-learning is actually effective? We will discuss aspects that should not be missing from the design. The most important rule of thumb is: shift your focus from just distributing information to responding to what your target group (ie your employee) actually needs.

 

1. The right goal

 

 

The most important question you should ask yourself before developing an e-learning is: Is an e-learning what my employees need? Will this tool help them to be successful? The wrong expectation is often linked to an e-learning, for example the introduction of a change. But an e-learning should be a test: explain the subject in the e-learning and then check through a quiz whether the information has come across. With this you create understanding with your employees and you yourself gain insight into their level of knowledge. By receiving instructions, an employee is further able to apply the information in practice.

 

2. Visual storytelling

Visual storytelling: stories speak volumes. If you make a story visual, you give it an environmental context and that sticks. This way, the brain of your employee links a certain situation to the material. It also increases the chance that the story will be remembered and passed on. Add relevant images to this and you have yourself some visual storytelling. 

 

It might not sound efficient to dwell on this, but stories are better than dry facts. We remember stories in a special way. That's just how our brains are programmed. When something big happens in your life, you store it in the episodic memory. Consider, for example, a special day. You can probably recall this like a story; thanks to that memory. This mechanism also applies to other stories.

 

Visual storytelling saves you time

 

By adding a visual aspect to your story, you can sketch a situation without using a single word for it. You can see at a glance what it is about and what emotional charge the situation has. This way, visual storytelling saves time. Seeing images and stories makes you process the information faster. Especially if no text is required. This gives your target group more room to process more information.

 

And there's something that makes visual storytelling even more efficient. By linking images to certain information, your brain creates a connection. This connection ensures that information is recognised better the next time. This means that your employee is able to reproduce the information and carry out the learned actions in practice.

 

 3. Create relevance

 

As mentioned, the goal of an e-learning is that the information lingers with your audience. This only happens if the subject is made comprehensible. Consider, for example, a software implementation. This is not very easy to "just" explain. A common mistake is to provide too much information at once. That is too complex and will cause employees to drop out.

 

We have a limited working memory

 

This makes sense, because we have a limited working memory. This means you can never store loads of information at the same time. By making a topic relevant, the information is more likely to stick. So forget the jargon and Excel sheets full of data. Step into the shoes of your employee and ask yourself: do they really need this information? Does all of this have to be done right now? Is the outlined situation recognisable for the employee?

 

The elements that make your message relevant are the following:

- Surprise: respond to what employees won't expect, for example by using humor.
- Make it important: information that applies to your employee will be remembered easier, such as a direct impact on their work activities.
- Create recognisability: unfamiliar jargon or high-over information is not remembered, instead go for recognisability.

 

4. The right construction

 

Make clear in advance what the employee can expect from the e-learning and what problem this course will deal with. Respond to what your employee needs to do to solve this problem. In other words: what behavioural change is needed to achieve the ultimate goal of the change process? Do this in steps.

- Know your context: what is the problem and why is it a problem?
- Create understanding: what is the solution and what does that mean?
- Describe behavioural change: what instruction does your employee need and how should they deal with the problem?


Build your e-learning according to Simon Sinek's 'Start with why' theory, with a small twist: why - what - how. Focus on an overarching why question first, so that people understand why the change is important. Then go into what this means for your employee, so zoom in more on their daily activities. Finally: How should the employee behave or do their job to make the change possible?

 

By properly applying the above key takeaways, the success rate of your employee will increase. And not only that, it also means that the information will be better applied in practice. If the research teaches us anything, it is that the e-learning can be improved, making even more people wanting to develop in this way. Right now. An e-learning with a clear structure, full of good examples and matching images, ensures that the information is supported by as many people as possible. And that people behave accordingly.

Het is ‘de’ vraag voor goed changemanagement: hoe kun je het gedrag van een groep mensen beïnvloeden? Onno Rompa trekt een parallel met de recente presidentsverkiezingen.

Curious about how we can shape your e-learning? Please contact one of our account managers.

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