This post is from the IER January 2023 magazine.
January is always a good time to launch new training initiatives and many of the companies we’re working with have decided that 2023 is the year they’re taking the plunge into online training.
For us, e-learning is nothing new. Back in 2016 we created a ground-breaking digital learning platform for Retra (the UK’s trade association for electrical retailers) which went on to win that year’s IER Award for Innovative Training and we’ve been pushing the boundaries of e-learning ever since, investing in new technologies that add value to our clients whilst challenging our course authors to explore new ways of keeping learners engaged with their online training.
And because it’s an ever-changing, constantly evolving landscape, it's certainly kept us busy.
In terms of learning technology there’s a lot of sexy, headline-grabbing stuff hitting the airwaves: artificial intelligence, virtual learning, augmented reality: however, for my money the most valuable piece of tech in e-learning might seem more mundane but without it none of the sexy stuff has meaning or value either to your learners or your business.
The critical technology which lies at the heart of all successful online learning solutions is your Learning Management System (or LMS).
It doesn’t sound exciting but a quality LMS is critical. It provides the infrastructure not only for your online courses to be served to your learners (in whatever reality they exist) but also, significantly, an environment in which the data created by interactions with those courses can be recorded and usefully disseminated. We speak to a lot of businesses who have a decent library of material – videos on YouTube for example, instructional PDFs which can be downloaded from their websites, live webinars and so forth – all of which can be served publicly or exclusively to individuals on various platforms. It’s all great but, if this is you, how exactly do you know who has watched your videos or downloaded your documents or acted on information delivered by your webinar? YouTube will tell you how many people watched your video and it might tell you their approximate location (providing your viewers enabled tracking cookies), but it won’t tell you who they are or what they learned, nor will it tell you who actually sat through to the end of each video except possibly in terms of a low resolution percentage. So without scrolling through the comments, you’ve no idea how effective your video truly is. You’ll know who attended your webinars because they all registered for it (presumably) but how do you keep people engaged once the webinar is over?
A quality LMS can be configured to record granular data on all the above, enabling you to generate live reports on any combination of that data you need, so that at any time of the day you can see exactly who has watched your videos, downloaded your documents, acted on an instruction delivered via webinar, answered a question, passed a criteria threshold and anything else you or anyone in your business needs to measure, right down to the exact person in their exact location to the exact second on the time of day.
If your training is compliancy-related – finance, health and safety, legal etc – then this data is super critical, but whatever industry you’re in, whatever your business, there’s huge value to this. Brands and buying groups, for example, can see which of their resellers and members are engaging with their product and processes training, retailers can see which of their employees are passing or failing in which competencies and skills. All of this information enables you to take appropriate action based not on hunches, assumptions or subjective reports, comments and low-resolution percentages, but actual recorded granular physical data.
So if 2023 is the year you take the plunge into online learning for your company, make sure you interrogate the LMS into which you’re investing to gain the most value from it.
Better yet, book a free consultation with us to talk about your e-learning needs and let us show you the benefits of working with a quality learning management system.
MD: Paul Laville
T21 Group | We create cost-effective, engaging e-learning that helps your business save money and gain the best return on training. | Based near Bath, UK.