Why elearning is not an island - 5 ways to turn module into campaign
No matter how brilliant your elearning course, it will fall short if it’s deployed in isolation.
By taking a campaign approach, elearning can become part of a learning process, delivering better, longer-lasting results. “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main”, John Donne said.
There’s nothing like a dead poet to put things into perspective. John Donne is, of course, reminding us that we’re all connected, part of a bigger picture. It’s a point that is often lost in the world of elearning.
We expect a lot of the humble elearning module if we think it deliver lasting learning in one fell swoop. Using elearning as a one-off event ignores the fact that learning is part of a wider process that often happens over time. Sure, elearning can play an important role, but it will be far more effective, and have a greater impact, if it’s part of a wider learning campaign.
Here are 5 ideas for turning your elearning from an island into a continent, and embracing the idea of a learning campaign:
Get the lie of the land
"Assessment is today's means of modifying tomorrow's instruction," said educator Carol Ann Tomlinson. She’s right, of course. At Sponge, we like to start with a pre-learning assessment. This way, it is much easier to work out what learners already know and where there are gaps in their knowledge. We also like to ask what they liked (or didn’t like) about previous training so we gain a better understanding of what will help keep them engaged and motivated. It’s fair to say that pre-assessment is the first step in the learning process.
A brand can stand for such a lot. It’s a set of associations or perceptions that someone has for a particular organisation, person or product, and through branding it can be harnessed for the benefit of a business. In the case of a learning campaign, branding can help raise awareness among the workforce and help create a ‘buzz’ around the training.
We created an original compliance brand for Tesco called Learning Leap which uses a distinct visual theme to help make it more memorable. The branding can be used in associated literature to help unify the material, make it instantly recognise and tie together the various elements of the learning campaign.
There are more ‘tricks of the trade’ from the world of marketing that can help support your learning campaign. These include promotional favourites such as posters, intranet messages, pre-launch emails, newsletter articles and even mailshots. The idea is to make learners aware that the elearning coming up, what to expect and how it will help they do their job better.
Don’t forget workbooks
Workbooks may sound a bit old-fashioned these days, but they still have a role to play in helping people absorb and use what they’ve learned. As part of a learning campaign, they can reinforce and expand on key points, and provide something learners can return to days or weeks after they’ve completed an elearning module. Providing extra information within modules is also a useful technique as downloadable PDFs or link outs to information micro-sites can bolster the training and support the overall learning campaign.
Putting into Practice
Knowledge checks are really important to assess whether employees are retaining what they have learned, and crucially, they need to take place over time. At Sponge, we call them PIPs (Putting into Practice) which take the form of micro-learning quizzes related to the course topics, linked to web pages containing feedback and job aids. Ideally, these would be sent to learners every two months for a specified time period so the learning campaign extends well beyond the main elearning module.
At Sponge, we think this integrated approach to elearning offers better value and impact for businesses, and a much more satisfying experience for learners.
As the learning landscape changes and adapts, learning campaigns that use a range of techniques, materials and technologies to support ongoing learning, are likely to be more widely embraced, and elearning will be viewed not as an island, but an important part of a wider process.