Why rapid elearning fails to improve employee compliance in the real world 

Blog posts | 15.06.2021

Dan Potter

Head of Kineo Courses at Kineo AU

The increasing availability and bold claims of rapid elearning tools makes it seem like anyone can build online training. At least, this is what the providers of these tools would like us to believe. But what really happens when you jump into the world of rapid elearning development? The barriers to success are many and include: 

1. You’ll have to meet technical requirements 

You're going to need to buy software. A lot of software. Buying a rapid eLearning tool is often just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to assembling the suite of applications you'll need to develop effective online learning. You'll also need to consider photo manipulation software, video editing software and possibly even illustration software. 

Some products come bundled with their own versions of these tools, but it's usually better to stick with popular stand-alone versions. They're often better supported and benefit from a range of tutorials and large online communities. Once you've assembled your preferred suite of products, you're also going to have to keep it up to date. 

To make the most of new and improved features and bug repairs, you'll have to regularly upgrade and renew your software. Someone will have to learn how to use the software. Most rapid elearning tools claim to be easy to use, and many are. However, there is always an investment of time required to wrap your head around how it all works. Many organisations looking to internalise their digital learning development will identify someone who is keen to get involved and get them to learn the software. Unfortunately, once that person is reasonably confident and knows how everything works, they usually end up getting reassigned, promoted or leaving, often to apply their newfound skills at an elearning development company. 

2. You'll need to learn how to teach online  

While the principles of learning are relatively stable regardless of the context, there are a few things to consider if you're making the transition from the classroom to online delivery. The main issue you need to address is that you're not there to help the learner who might be struggling to understand. 

One of the key benefits of online learning is that the learner can choose when to undertake a lesson. However, this means that if they get stuck, they're stuck until they can figure out what to do or until they can get help, which could be hours, days or weeks away. 

Your training will also need to be able to cater to a range of learning styles. Some learners will prefer to read, others will need the support of visual aids. Some will want to listen, while others will need to 'do' to understand. Most learners will benefit from a combination of approaches. 

Accommodating these requirements is a challenge 

3. You'll have to find ways to keep your learners engaged but not confused 

You've probably experienced 'death by PowerPoint', and the online equivalent isn't much more fun. Most rapid elearning tools provide a range of widgets and activities that can help to enhance learner engagement. However, it can be tempting to cram a lot of bling into your online training that doesn't serve your desired learning outcomes. Some types of interactivity can get in the way of the learning, requiring the learner to spend more time figuring out how to progress than they spend considering the information they're trying to learn. While a groovy activity will often impress the casual observer, such as a colleague or boss, it might not always help the person undertaking the learning. A good narrative structure that flows and uses interaction to emphasise key points can go a long way to helping a learner not only understand what you're trying to teach them, but also to enjoy the experience. 

4. You'll want to track your learner's progress  

For most training topics, you're going to want to know whether your learners have learnt anything. This usually means that you'll need to develop a robust and meaningful assessment instrument. It's important to make sure that your assessment questions align with your required learning objectives, which can be challenging within the limitations of the question types available in a rapid elearning tool. 

You'll also want to be able to demonstrate if your learners successfully completed the training. For example, if you are teaching a compliance topic, you'll need to be able to demonstrate to an auditor that your learners understand the training. So, as well as all the software you've bought, you're going to need to invest in a learning management system (LMS). As with development tools, there are a range of LMS options, and some rapid elearning tools are packaged with an LMS. When choosing an LMS, make sure that you'll be able to get the information you need out of it to demonstrate that your learners have received and understood all their required training. 

5. You'll need to figure out what to do when you press go and your training doesn't go 

Working out what to do when it all goes wrong can be one of the most frustrating and time consuming complications in the development of online learning. Even experienced media developers can get caught out by tiny bugs that bring the whole production grinding to a halt. So, as well as learning how to use the software, you'll often have to learn how to fix it, too. Forums, help text and training videos can often come to the rescue, but every now and then there's that one thing you didn't realise you had to do, and no matter how long you spend trying to figure it out, you remain stuck. Getting someone else to develop the training for you and then using the rapid elearning tool for minor maintenance can help to get around this. However, someone within your organisation will still have to learn how to use the software, even if it's only at a basic level. 

How to overcome these barriers 

So, why go through any of this? While there are many obstacles, using a rapid elearning tool to build your own courseware can reduce costs, particularly if you are planning to develop a lot of custom training and are happy to go with the standard of work you can produce. For some topics and training budgets, this might be unavoidable. However, when the time, cost and frustration of going your own way is too much, it might be worth it to just make it all someone else's problem. 

Working with an experienced digital learning provider can remove the burden from your shoulders and ensure your learners have access to up-to-date, accurate courses that offer practical information that learners can apply in the real world, immediately. This can help improve the learner experience while reducing costs and improving learning outcomes, especially when it comes to compliance.    

Dan Potter

Head of Kineo Courses at Kineo AU

Dan heads up Kineo Courses globally and has been involved with elearning and platform development since early 2000s. He is passionate to demonstrate real and measurable impact through learning and technology and inspired to deliver elegant solutions that need minimal explanation.

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