Online, on-demand learning holds great promise for organizations. It promotes greater effectiveness by providing in-the-moment access to what people need right at the point of need. In our one-size-can-never-fit-all world online, on-demand learning offers unbeatable flexibly and the ultimate custom development experience. It's a cost-effective option that allows learning and development (L&D) departments to scale broadly, deploying information and skill building across departments, shifts and geographic boundaries.
Many organizations are investing heavily in platforms and content - and aren't realizing the returns they anticipated. Are you in that boat? Are you struggling to create a powerful experience for your learners? And, are you (like so many) scratching your head and wondering why your magnificent system is being woefully underutilized?
The Six Best Practices of Online, On-Demand Learning
Lessons gleaned from organizations that have cracked the code around online, on-demand learning boil down to six best practices for optimizing quality, usage, learning and results.
Build a Strategy for Curating Your E-Learning Content
Curation - the careful selection, identification and organization of the resources people need - is the foundation of any online, on-demand effort. The good news (and the bad news) is that there are so many sources of content to curate. Success rests upon ensuring you've chosen the right message, source, media and sequence.
Add Context to Make Your Content More Compelling
While content is king, context is the power behind the throne; and together, they ensure on-demand learning experiences produce results. This requires a focus not just on the "what" but also on the "why" - helping learners connect the dots in a compelling way. This can happen in a variety of ways within, and outside of, the platform.
Create Organization-Specific Content
Sometimes, as learning assets are curated and context is established, it becomes clear that something is missing. Despite the exponential growth of online information, not everything can be curated. As a result, content creation must supplement most content curation efforts. This involves focusing on what's distinctive about how your organization conducts business, identifying critical messages to be delivered by your leaders, selecting the models and stories that reflect your culture, and packaging them as additional learning elements to complement curated material.
Encourage Active Contemplation Over Passive Consumption
It's easy for online, on-demand learning to become a passive learning. People sitting alone, reading or watching learning assets between other priorities they're juggling... or worse, concurrent with the other priorities they're juggling. If we want to ensure that more lessons translate into behavior change, we have to turn passive learning assets like articles and videos into dynamic opportunities to allow people to consider what they mean and how they apply to one's role. People shouldn't just consume content. Specific strategies for ensuring contemplation are required to make the learning pay off.
Encourage Connecting With Colleagues to Enhance Learning
Connection is an important and missing element from much online, on-demand learning. Learning is social and understanding is enriched by sharing what is learned. The retention and application of new knowledge expand through interactions with others. Informal learning efforts that generate the best results tend to be the ones that integrate the human connection. Organizations that are succeeding at this are leveraging people's existing behaviors and approaches to social media to drive connections that focus and enhance learning.
Cultivate a Coaching Culture
Formal or informal - low-tech or online - certain truths remain inviolate. And one such truth is that coaching dramatically improves learning results. Many organizations report that managers are reluctant to actively coach their employees who are involved in learning, and online platforms tend to increase the likelihood that managers will relegate this responsibility to "the system" and offer even less support just when it's needed more. Yet, it's possible to engage managers with simple, focused ‘asks' and targeted tools that allow them to fit coaching into their already full agendas.
Want to learn more about how exemplary organizations are implementing these 6 Cs and achieving results from their online, on-demand efforts?
Want to Hear More About On-Demand Learning
For a deeper dive on maximizing the impact of on-demand learning, join us at Saba Insight, Saba Software's annual customer conference. I'll be there delivering a session on this topic, taking your questions and helping your organizations take the next step in your talent development journey!