You know what it’s like: Those times when you just DON’T want to do something, but unfortunately that something is THE thing that has a rapidly looming deadline, and you just have to fight your inertia and get it done.
We all have days like this at work, and we certainly have them when it comes to dealing with our Learning and Development programs. After all, it may sometimes seem that training is an additional task on top of your people’s workload, and therefore it becomes much more possible for them to relegate it as a task in their mind, which leads to that feeling of sluggish reluctance once they actually have to sit down and do it.
Of course, learning and development are a crucial part of the professional personality, so it’s important that everyone’s approach to them remains engaged and vital. But how can you keep eLearning productivity up? What hacks can you use to ensure your staff look with fresh eyes at your training and progression plan?
Here are 5 eLearning productivity tips to help out:
1. When do you learn best?
Our attention wavers during the course of the day and certain tasks are better achieved at different times. For example, many people are more productive and creative in the morning and better at getting their admin done in the afternoon. Online training productivity follows the same rule: You’ll find that your people are better at learning at some times more than others.
However, the time varies according to the person, group or other tasks they have assigned to them, so you’ll have to work out when they are most switched on to learning. For early birds, it’s most likely going to be first thing in the morning. Conversely, night owls will probably fare better at eLearning productivity late at night. You may need to experiment a bit to find the ideal time, but it’ll be worth it.
Pro tip: In both cases, offering mobile eLearning might be a great fit for your program, since it will allow everyone to follow training when they will perform best and actually want to engage.
2. Where do you learn best?
Location is something else to consider when trying to increase online training productivity. Some people can happily study away in a noisy cafe, while others need to be somewhere absolutely silent. One of the keys to learning productivity is the ability to avoid being distracted. The lucky ones in the cafe are very good at avoiding distractors (and they get to have a cappuccino), but most of us really need somewhere quiet and calm.
Comfort is another factor to consider when it comes to eLearning productivity. Ideally, your employees want to be just comfortable enough to allow focus on learning, but too comfortable will mean that it’s likely they’ll find concentrating on the task harder.
It’s not just about the space, however: since an eLearning session can go on anywhere, on any device, you also have to consider what device works best for training. For example, a smartphone is great for learning on the go, but is it likely they’ll get distracted by calls and emails? If so, they might be better off getting training on a different device.
Pro tip: Offering offline content is easy and will unleash your people from the tyranny of the internet (no one calls it that but hey, you know).
3. Don’t multitask!
Once you’ve decided when and where your people will engage best with your training and eLearning productivity will be maximized, set that as their Learning Zone – a space (whether physical or of the mind) that nothing else is allowed to encroach on.
If your trainees are at their desk at work and have logged into the LMS, for example, it may be tempting for them to do some work alongside the training. Before you know it, they won’t concentrate on either! Insist on dedicated time and space to eLearning in order to boost learning productivity.
Pro tip: You can use a forum question to have all members of a group reveal when and where they get the most out of their training and commit to it being their Learning Zone.
4. Get The Timing Right
Some might think that the key to eLearning success is to get onto their Learning Management System and work, work, work for hours on end until the learning objective is achieved. In fact, this is deeply counterproductive. Not only will staffers end up feeling tired out, they’ll actually be more likely to forget what you’ve learned. Remember, the brain is like a muscle: it needs exercise, obviously, but too much effort will tire it out.
It’s better to have shorter, more intense eLearning sessions than one big long one. The period of time for which anyone can concentrate varies from person to person and generation to generation: It’s been suggested, for example, that Millennials’ attention span is much shorter than their elders.
Ideally, your training materials will have been designed to ensure that each eLearning session is not too long – somewhere between fifteen and thirty minutes per learning target is ideal. However long it is, you should aim to engage with your training for no more than 45 minutes.
Pro tip: Even better than the 15-30’ time frame, you can go full microlearning and design courses to be consumed in bite-sized segments of up to 5 minutes. eLearning productivity will soar and objectives will be met, hassle-free!
5. Make Yourself a Coffee…..
….or a cup of tea. Or go for a walk. Or cuddle a kitten. Or, in other words, take a break! One of the simplest ways of increasing the chances of eLearning success and productivity is to switch off for a while. It’s well known that taking a break after a learning session is not just welcome, it’s crucial to the internalization, processing, and acquisition of new knowledge. In fact, it goes hand in hand with tip no. 4 – the break is part of the learning process itself, as it allows all that new knowledge to be absorbed.
Pro tip: Suggest to your learners a system like the Pomodoro Method, which introduces short breaks between crunch time where learners can’t do anything but train! This specific one proposes 25 minutes of work followed by a 5-minute break. And it works!
The key to improving eLearning productivity is to encourage your learners to create their own Learning Zone – a sweet spot of location, time of day, device and length of time devoted to training. Once they get all these factors right, you’ll find that their approach to eLearning will stay invigorated, engaged and ready to take on anything new!