Some changes to training are unavoidable. New regulations are introduced, rendering compliance training out of date, or a company’s tone of voice changes, requiring a change in the look and feel of a course.
Issues with the technology used to create and deliver your learning content can be harder to spot, but they can have an equally big impact on your learners.
With less time for training and more pressure to deliver results on budget, L&D must look to the latest technologies to make the most of their resources.
This list is a starting point for reviewing the reasons for updating the learning technologies you’re using for your elearning content:
1: Save time
Not having time for training was identified as the number one barrier to workplace learning in Towards Maturity’s latest Learner Voice report. Modern digital training is designed to enable people to fit learning into their busy schedules, but it’s only possible to achieve this with up-to-date technology.
The latest versions of popular authoring tools offer ways to make your courses mobile-friendly. Moving away from a desktop only solution like Flash, towards a cross platform technology like HTML5, instantly gives your learners more flexibility.
Some content might be suitable for a microlearning approach, allowing you to take advantage of platforms that offer features like automated spaced repetition and personalisation. It takes expertise to convert content into the right format for this type of platform, but the rewards can be worth it.
2: More effective learning
New features are introduced with every version of software to support better learning. For older elearning courses it might not have been possible to use the optimum learning design for delivering that knowledge because the required features simply weren’t available.
The underlying information might have remained largely the same, but having more options for conveying it to your learners means updates can bring performance improvements.
As an L&D professional, you are always striving to make learning that your people want to experience. Introducing elements like games and gamification to a programme inspires learners to engage with their training.
Creating game-based learning, or adding gamification, has become easier with tools using modern web standards, like HTML5. Frameworks like Phaser help learning developers build rich game experiences into the course without sacrificing tracking or taking people out of the learning experience.
Coca-Cola saw positive results with their Ambassador programme, built in Adapt and using various gamification elements to encourage participation and teamwork.
Many of the latest authoring tool updates include the ability to collaborate on projects, with many working on the same thing at the same time. Allowing designers and developers to work together on different parts of the same course offers a big advantage when updating or reviewing learning content.
In their most recent update, Articulate have extended the collaboration features across their Articulate 360 suite of apps. The other key players in the authoring tool market are also focusing on making it easier to work together when building content.
The Review tool was introduced with Storyline 360, it allows feedback on a course while it’s being built. We’ve been using Review since it’s release and it’s proved valuable in collaborating both internally and with external stakeholders.
Lectora Online offers a checkout feature based on sections of the course, allowing multiple developers to on different parts of the course simultaneously.
“The collaboration tools are really powerful, there’s a lot of potential for saving time by having learning design, visual design and development working on a project at the same time.” Stephen Hodge Elearning Developer, Sponge
Being able to work together on the content means old content can be brought up-to-date more quickly and new features or learning design techniques can be prototyped and tested more easily.
4: Future proofing
Flash is the most visible example of a learning technology that hasn’t kept pace with the changing demands of learners, but there are less obvious issues with older technology.
If you want to take advantage of the latest improvements to web browser security and performance, you’ll need to provide courses that use modern web standards. Using an approach that meets these standards also allows you to deploy content to mobile devices, TV’s and anything else that runs a modern browser.
Putting your content in a format that’s easier to read and re-use gives you the option of moving it to even more platforms in the future.
Voice-controlled ‘smart assistants’ are already being used to deliver educational experiences, conversational interfaces are appearing to guide people through learning a language, and content is being moved to virtual environments. All of these advances are made easier when the learning content they are based on uses a standard, web-friendly format.
5: Better measurement
SCORM tracking was introduced in 2000, and it’s long been a standard for L&D departments, but new tracking methods have emerged that offer more flexibility.
Tin Can or xAPI is one option for tracking learner events and interactions and storing them independently of a Learning Management System (LMS) in a Learning Record Store (LRS). By breaking down the actions that your learners take and recording each of them to a personal log, xAPI allows managers and L&D professionals to measure progress in new and more granular ways.
Most popular tools allow for use of xAPI and there are custom solutions that offer a similar level of reporting that can be tweaked to fit your needs.
If you’ve ever wanted more visibility into how your workplace learning is being used then updating the tracking features is one way to do it.
Popular authoring tools
New versions of authoring tools are released frequently, with new features available each time it's important to check if you're up to date.
We’ve worked with large organisations who have moved their legacy elearning to bespoke HTML5 courses or the latest generation of authoring tools. There’s no one right choice for creating and updating learning content; just as you need to consider the best learning design choices, you should consider different learning technologies for your needs.