The field of eLearning is constantly expanding and evolving.
Exciting new technologies, fresh data on how people learn, plus a global pandemic that’s changed everything about how we work. Everything contributes to shaping and pushing eLearning forward. This is exciting — but it also makes it a bit hard to keep track of new trends and best practices.
So we decided to collect all the eLearning FAQs you could possibly have under one roof. From types of training to devices and engagement, below you’ll find all your burning questions about eLearning, answered.
Buckle up — and feel free to bookmark this article for whenever you want to revisit some of the eLearning questions and answers found here.
- What’s best: instructor-led training or self-paced learning?
- Should employee training be mandatory or optional?
- What are the benefits of gamification in eLearning?
- Should employees complete their training at work or after hours?
- Should we ask employees to bring their own devices or take training only on their corporate computers/mobiles?
- How can we tell whether an eLearning program is successful?
- How can we engage learners during online courses?
1. What’s best: instructor-led training or self-paced learning?
One of the most common eLearning FAQs is whether companies should invest in instructor-led training or self-paced learning. The answer really depends on the situation and the audience.
Instructor-led training has the advantage of being immediate and interactive. Employees can ask SMEs questions in real-time and the answer will benefit the whole group, not just the person who asked the question. Classroom training has been a preference among learners for a long time, as this Training Industry article points out — and instructor-led training replicates that.
On the cons side though, instructor-led training can be too rigid and expensive.
Self-paced learning, on the other hand, is much more flexible. Learners will usually watch videos and complete training sessions on their own time. This way, they get to create a learning schedule that works best for them.
Self-paced learning is cost-effective, too. People can rewatch videos as many times as they need at no extra cost, whereas if you’ve booked an SME for a webinar you’ve paid them for that one appearance. Everything else would probably be charged extra. Yet, self-paced learning doesn’t provide structure to learners, making it difficult for people who struggle with self-discipline to hit their training goals.
Wouldn’t it be great to have the structure and interactive aspect of instructor-led training and the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of self-paced training?
With blended learning, you can have the best of both worlds.
Blended learning means that you can still invite SMEs for webinars, and, at the same time, offer training material people can revisit at their own pace. It provides just enough structure, while still allowing for flexibility. Plus, with blended training, you have more chances of keeping learners engaged, as different people learn in different ways.
If you want to learn more, this article explains the benefits of a blended learning approach.
2. Should employee training be mandatory or optional?
This is one of the most debatable questions about eLearning. Some employers opt for optional employee training as they don’t want to put an extra burden on their staff — especially in times where circumstances change from one day to another and uncertainty prevails.
Yet, the TalentLMS remote work statistics survey showed that employees enjoy training and actively seek it out. Those who haven’t received training from their employers said they would like to (78%), whereas those who received it rated themselves at consistently higher rates than those that haven’t. It seems that, when it comes to happiness while working from home and feeling valued by their companies, training makes a difference.
Making employee training mandatory provides a structure in the working day, strengthens company culture, and ensures the knowledge gaps of your team are being addressed. And of course, there are certain types of training, like workplace safety training or compliance training, that need to be mandatory.
On the other hand, mandatory courses could make training look like a chore. Employees who can pick the courses they’re interested in will get the chance to grow the skills they want. This flexibility will boost their wellbeing and engagement. So it would be a good idea to offer both optional and mandatory training to your employees.
Mandatory training could be for specific topics or situations (e.g. when you launch a new product and everyone needs to be up-to-date). And optional training could be for soft skills or other areas of expertise they’d like to explore even if they’re not part of their current job. For example, you can give your employees access to a content library such as TalentLibrary™, where they can pick the subjects they like.
3. What are the benefits of gamification in eLearning?
When researching eLearning or when building your first eLearning courses, gamification will always come up sooner or later.
It’s no coincidence. Adding gamification elements into your eLearning program has many benefits such as:
- Increased productivity (89%) and happiness (88%) at work, according to responses in a TalentLMS gamification survey.
- Healthy competition between learners, by including elements such as scores, leaderboards, and awards.
- A sense of achievement, by winning badges or leveling up.
- Improved information retention, as it’s easier to learn and remember things when you actively engage with the content through games and quizzes.
Check this article out and learn how you can incorporate gamification into training.
4. Should employees complete their training at work or after hours?
Training takes time. It’s understandable if the idea of your employees sacrificing precious working hours on training makes you a bit uncomfortable. Shouldn’t they just spend their time on hitting their quotas and deadlines for the week?
Well, yes — and no.
Considering that training will help employees perform better at their job, isn’t this “sacrifice” worth it? In other words, we shouldn’t view training as something independent of the job — and working hours, consequently.
However, training goes even beyond job performance. It strengthens company culture and shows employees you invest in them. As such, it’s better for your company in the long run to find ways to incorporate training during work hours.
That’s not to say people can’t or won’t get training after hours. For example, in the TalentLMS remote work survey, 87% of employees say that they’re willing to take training after hours. And 45% specified that they would do so because they enjoy it, not because they have to.
But this is where the distinction between mandatory and optional training comes into play. It’s perfectly alright to tell employees they can pursue optional training after hours. Mandatory training, however, should be completed during regular work hours as it is part of work.
In any case, you shouldn’t require employees to take training outside their working hours. A well-organized training plan, with regular but short training sessions, will ensure that employees get all the knowledge they need and grow their skills without leaving important tasks behind.
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5. Should we ask employees to bring their own devices or take training only on their corporate computers/mobiles?
Just like most of the other eLearning questions and answers, this is not a “black-and-white” issue. Both options have their pros and cons.
When you ask employees to take training only on their corporate computers or mobiles:
- You rest assured that your training, which may involve sensitive company data, is in a safe environment.
- You don’t have to worry about employees who are less tech-savvy; all necessary software will be pre-installed.
- You already know the system requirements so there are fewer possibilities that your employees’ laptops will crash in the middle of their training and they’ll lose their progress.
However, let’s not ignore the costs associated with this option. Asking employees to take their training exclusively on corporate devices, means that you need to provide those devices. And while this might be obvious when we’re talking about office workers, it’s not always the case with deskless employees or people who work remotely.
A TalentCards survey on deskless workers, though, showed that 74% are comfortable using their personal mobile device for training.
Letting employees complete their training on their personal devices comes with its benefits:
- Employees have the flexibility to take their training on the go through their mobile, for example, during commute, during their lunch break, or in-between meetings.
- They can also keep learning at a time that’s most convenient to them even if they’re not in the office, i.e. before or after their normal working hours.
- Having to take courses only on a corporate device and during working hours could make training feel more like a chore and less like an opportunity for growth and development.
Of course, this option raises some issues, too, including data security risks and reduced participation in case employees don’t have the proper devices at home.
Your role is to ensure all employees have access to training and make the process as smooth as possible. For example, if you’re using an LMS to train employees, pick a platform that comes with a native app for online and offline learning.
6. How can we tell whether an eLearning program is successful?
This is probably one of the toughest eLearning FAQs to answer. The truth is, “success” will look different for every company, as it depends on what your goals were, to begin with.
That being said, the best way to gauge the success of any eLearning program is to track some key metrics through your LMS. These metrics can be:
- Attendance rate, especially for self-paced training
- Completion rate, especially for the mandatory courses of your training, like compliance training
- Average training completion time
- Pass/fail rates of course assessments, to see whether you need to modify or simplify parts of the training
- Average test scores, to identify knowledge and skills gaps
Information retention, through follow-up assessments after a month or so
- Learner engagement and feedback with built-in LMS surveys
Of course, you can also track other metrics that won’t be available within an LMS but will help you get a clearer image based on your specific company goals. These metrics include sales quota pre- and post-training (via your CRM), number of safety incidents, and overall growth rate.
7. How can we engage learners during online courses?
Although there are many benefits to eLearning when compared to face-to-face training, keeping engagement levels consistently up is not easy. Most people nowadays have an average attention span of less than 10 seconds — and we’re all used to getting distracted or multi-tasking when we’re online.
Still, there are several things you can do to motivate learners:
- Add interactive elements. People don’t retain information by passively consuming content; we learn much better by doing.
- Create in-course quizzes. This way, learners can test their knowledge and re-visit the training material if needed, instead of being passive recipients.
- Focus on videos. If the age of TikTok has taught us anything, is that people love to consume video content.
- Keep your content short. It’s more challenging to engage learners for an entire hour, as opposed to sessions that last only a few minutes.
- Provide different content types, so that you can cater to different types of learners.
- Activate chat features during instructor-led sessions, as it will help with communication and collaboration.
- Offer fun prizes and badges. Gamification makes learning a fun process instead of a mandatory task.
- Provide certifications. Learners will have the motivation to complete courses as they’ll get tangible proof of their newly-acquired skills.
Here are more ideas on how to combat the short attention span of learners.
You’re bound to have many questions about eLearning as you design your first program — or as you try to redesign your existing one. We hope this article has answered most of them but there’s always more ground to cover as the eLearning field constantly grows.
At the end of the day, choosing the right LMS will help you build successful online courses. Plus, it also means you can always reach out to your LMS vendor to get some pro tips.