Custom eLearning Development

Compliance or Behavior Change?

You are busy, your business is required to produce results, and you rely heavily on your employees to help produce those results.  Training is probably seen as a necessary evil, or considered an afterthought.  Something that sounds good in theory, but not something that is going to help your business get Results!  What if you took a different approach to training and use it as an opportunity to change behavior and create a company culture.

It all starts with one simple question, “What is the terminal objective of my training?”  Typically there are two answers, but how you answer can dramatically the result you get from the training.  Many times we see the answer to this simple question fall into one of two categories.

  1. Meet Compliance:  Employees should be able to pass a test in order to be in compliance with some sort of regulation
  2. Change Behavior:  Help my employees understand the consequences of the actions on the job and ultimately transfer that knowledge to their job performance.

Your answer will dictate the type of training you develop for your organization and ultimately make the difference in the return you see on your e-learning investment.

A look at the use cases for each will give you a better perspective on the differences in the two answers. Many times training simply to meet compliance results in training with little to no interactivity, media stimulus and is primarily text and graphic based.  The positive is that it will most likely be relevant to the users job function since it is of a regulatory nature and in most cases the employee’s job will be dependent on staying in compliance.   The outcome for this type of training is for the student to be able to recall information for the test and pass.  The return on investment is the employee keeps their job and the company does not incur penalties or fines for lack of compliance.

Changing behavior requires a different approach.  In order to successfully change behavior the employee must successfully transfer knowledge learned to on the job skills.  There are some key points to remember when delivering training for behavior change, deliver in small easily digestible learning chunks, relevant, easy to use interactive content.  Appropriate use of media and you are much more likely to develop engaging and effective e-learning which maximizes ROI.  Returns could be a safer workplace, consistent customer service, a defined sales process and of course compliance, on paper and in practice.

Before you begin your next training project ask yourself, “Is my goal to simply be compliant?” or “Do I want to change behavior?”  You answer could change your business.

What can Twitter Teach us about E-learning?

Twitter is a global force in social media.  Its signature, all posts must be 140 characters or less.  Twitter tapped into the human psyche and found something that resonated with human nature in a big way.  We want information fast, relevant to our interests and delivered, small easy to consume bites.  From this very simple concept Twitter has become something bigger than anyone could have imagined.  From being a news source to a conversation forum, twitter has a place for everyone.  Celebrities and businesses alike are able to tap into this social force and target specific niche audiences with their bite sized messages.

What can the e-learning world learn from Twitter?  Twitter taps into human nature and the message is clear.    Find your niche, understand your audience and deliver information in small easy to digest chunks.  E-learning should be no different.

Every piece of e-learning content developed should be looked at like your business.  What is your niche?  Anyone who is successful on Twitter, by successful I mean has a significant number of followers, has a niche.   The people who choose to follow them do so because that person provides the with a specific type of information.  For example, I follow Adam Schefter of ESPN because I know he is going to post information about player and team deals in the National Football League.  He has carved a niche for himself on Twitter as a news source for NFL information.  How can you apply this to e-learning?  It comes back to an article I wrote, called Go Niche or Go Home, where I discussed that in order to be successful in business you need to find your niche.  In order for your e-learning initiatives to have some teeth with your intended audience you must first understand your niche as a business and apply that philosophy to your e-learning.  If you want your e-learning to be successful it must be in line with the tenets of the niche you are serving.  By fully understanding your niche and applying those principles to your e-learning initiatives whether they are internal or consumer facing you will have set the foundation for success.

Once you have a clear understanding of your niche, you must fully understand that audience and what they expect from you.  I follow Adam Schefter for NFL news, I do not expect or want his views on politics.  I will go elsewhere for that information.  The audience in your niche is unique, which is why you have selected that niche.  You understand who they are, how they think and most importantly what is valuable to them.  Apply these principles to your e-learning and it will become a part of your business culture.  It will be the go to resource for information about your company.  Speak to the desires of that audience, use their language and imagery.  Make it feel like it was built only to serve them.

Finally, keep it short.  Twitter is recognized as the social network that delivers information in 140 characters or less.  I am not saying your e-learning has to be 140 characters, but I am saying that it is human nature to want things quickly and easily consumable.  Keep information in your e-learning practical and tactical, focusing on your business objective.  Don’t stray from the tenets of your niche.  Be clear and concise providing valuable information that helps the user improve in the area they are learning about.

E-learning is a globally recognized tool for delivering training, information and education to a user base.  Twitter is a social network globally recognized by providing information in 140 characters or less.  Both are broad, general and have the ability to be used by anyone, but their success in on the inside.  The ability to create a niche, relate to that audience and deliver information in a quick tactical manner.  Keep the fundamentals of Twitter in mind next time you tackle and e-learning project and see if there is a difference.

Build It and They Will Come!

Build it and they will come!  If it were only that easy.  Resolutions develops e-learning courses for a variety of clients in a number of different industries, one major challenge for all of our clients, regardless of industry, is user compliance.  Our focus as a company is building e-learning content that achieves a business result.  That can be hard if the intended audience is nowhere to be found and the company has spent thousands of dollars to develop the course.  We have come up with a few keys you should keep in mind for any e-learning initiative to help drive users and ultimately ROI.

1.  Identify your Objective – If you want to develop training that gets results, know up front what results you want to achieve.  Be specific, how does a particular employee group learning this material affect the bottom line?  How will it affect your customers?

2.  Focus – Once you have identified your objective focus on it!  Don’t take the, “While we have them here” approach of throwing in random topics you would like them to pick up while they are here.  Keeping your online training focused will help keep users attention.

3.  Tactical – You have set your objectives and are focusing on them, know turn your attention to the user.  What is in it for them?  Present useful information that will help the user be better at their job or possibly advance their career.

4.  Short – Your employees are busy, and honestly how much time do you want them away from their actual work?  If you are laser focused on your business objective you should be able to deliver effective tactical training in 15 minutes or less.  Coffee break anyone?

5.  Engaging –  User engagement can be defined a number of different ways, but in its simplest form make the learning active.  It is proven that passive learning is far less effective than active.  Make use of media where appropriate, discovery learning is always a winner and decision based learning paths will seal the deal.

These are a few short tips we try to pass along to our clients.  Every situation is different, each company and industry segment has a different level of acceptance when it comes to online learning.  The best clients incorporate it into their culture and make it a part of everything they do.  Not everything goes as planned, but if your build your online training content with these the 5 simple tips in mind, then they surely will come!

What rules do you follow in your company training?  What has been the result?