The following is a blog post written by our eLearning guru and designer, Deidre Shapiro.

Last year, I was at a networking event, in which we were asked,”what’s your passion?” While most people talked about skiing, cars and scrap-booking, I said “eLearning.” That’s not a joke. I am passionate about eLearning.

I am a nerd when it comes to what I do. As an instructional designer, I enjoy the challenge of laying out a curriculum that helps employees do their jobs better. With eLearning courses, I can be even more creative with the content. My goal is to train employees in a way that lets them apply the skills they’ve learned from my lessons.

For retail training, the concern with learning retention is real. After all, time is money. When an employee is taken off of the retail floor to go to training, the company is essentially investing that the time will pay off in a more productive employee. If an employee only remembers as little as 10 percent of what they learned, that time ends up wasted. My job is to make sure this doesn’t happen.

As eLearning continues to develop as an instructional practice, the list of benefits to companies has grown, including some high-level promises made by those who offer eLearning. I believe that with the right training topic, the right design, and the right delivery method, an eLearning training program can keep those promises.

The first requirement is the right topic. Not all training is best delivered online. For example, CPR can be shown in a video, but until the student practices on a mannequin, they don’t really learn the technique. Watching videos can only do so much.

Software training, however, is prime for online learning. With eLearning, an employee can view a simulated software environment and explore its potential without risking a mistake in a production environment.

With creativity in design, a simulation can be more robust than even the real environment. The book “eLearning and the Science of Instruction” by Clark and Mayer presents research that establishes 7 eLearning design principles. One of these is “The Multimedia Principle,” using audio, graphics and words to promote learning.

In an eLearning software simulation, audio can explain the page features while encouraging interaction. Questions can be added to increase retention and constructive feedback will reinforce key areas. Within a well-designed, safe and no-pressure eLearning lesson, students can make mistakes and correct them without concern or judgement. This motivates learning. Remember: a motivated employee is a productive employee.

The final step: delivery. While different companies have different LMS options to deliver an online course, the core to effective delivery is in course design. Clark and Mayer’s Segmenting Principle presents evidence to the benefits of breaking lessons up into short segments. With this “bite-size” flexibility, L&D can group lessons by employee role, which means that courses can be set up to be tailored to the student’s needs, all while saving time. Moreover, by delivering short lessons students can work at their own pace, reducing the possibility of cognitive overload. Effective delivery leads to efficient learning.

With a focus on elearning design principles, the Nextenture eLearning development team will work with you and your L&D group to build an online learning program that promotes learning and retention. We guarantee that with Discovery eLearning, your employees will be learning new skills, applying them and that your investment will pay off.

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