Every industry is susceptible to bad habits; in our busy, overwhelming days there are areas where people regularly cut corners in order to get through our never-ending task list. We all do it. But there are some corners that shouldn’t be cut – they can have a bigger effect than you realize, undercutting the rest of your efforts. Here are five areas that we regularly see get pushed to the side in the elearning industry that should get more attention than they do.
1. Using Microlearning to Replace Substantial Content
Microlearning is great! It can be quick to make, and it’s easy to update. Learners eat it up since it’s much easier to watch a three-minute video between meetings or on their lunch break. It’s accessible for just-in-time learning, such as when someone needs a quick refresher on certain topics. It’s a fast (and even fun) way to obtain knowledge.
Unfortunately, it’s also not a complete way to learn. There are some topics that have a lot of complexity, and microlearning doesn’t always successfully cover their nuances. Microlearning also isn’t actually learning if there are no learning mechanisms attached; a short, educational video is still just a video. Microlearning also needs quizzes and other knowledge-checks to make it a complete and substantial bite of information for those consuming it.
It’s easy to fall into a habit of churning out awesome clips of information without many knowledge-checks or other mechanisms for learning. It’s also easy to slip into relying on microlearning for the most significant chunk of the learning process.
Make sure you’re creating microlearning modules that hit on all the features that they really need to be an effective piece of content for your audience.
2. Not Planning Learning Measurement First
One of the biggest mistakes that elearning professionals make in regards to metrics is not thinking about them during the planning phases of a new course.
We know elearning professionals are true educators at heart and focusing on areas other than creating the best course content for learners feels wrong sometimes. But metrics are becoming more and more important. This is partly because in elearning, educators have less direct access to students so it’s hard to see how they are growing without data.
You also have to factor in that stakeholders have come to expect hard numbers to support and justify the spending on online courses. This is especially true if you want to be capable of investing in gamification, custom courses, and other expensive types of content.
The truth is, attempting to tack on a metrics strategy after a course is already created will not be effective. The numbers you attempt to come up with might not correlate with the actual course metrics you have to pull from. Metrics should be one of the first things you think about when creating a course, and you should choose objectives that align with the behaviors and business impact you wish to affect with the course.
3. Using the Wrong Kirkpatrick Levels
Just because there are four Kirkpatrick Levels doesn’t mean they all have to be used at once. Sometimes L&D professionals feel the need to spend time and money touching every single level when it isn’t even necessary for that course.
Another common mistake is focusing only on learner reaction, because that’s the easiest level to measure. But let’s be honest – learner reaction has little importance in courses like sexual harassment compliance since it’s more often than not a mandatory course. What’s most important in a course like that is learner behavior after the course is completed.
When evaluating how to create a measurement strategy for a new course, it’s important to take a step back and look at where it would be best to place your energy, resources, and efforts in regards to measurement. After all, measurement isn’t free and you want to prioritize the most important metrics in order to create a sustainable strategy.
4. Making Implementation a Second Thought
Software implementation and a solid rollout strategy can really dictate whether a new system is as effective as you had hoped it to be. For example, if you don’t smoothly transition learners to a new LMS, they will be less likely to adopt it and use it effectively.
A smooth implementation process should leave admins confident in their ability to effectively use all the features in the LMS. It should leave the LMS software well-integrated into the other HR systems and have successfully migrated data and courses from the old LMS, if there is one.
It’s important to look at the implementation package(s) that an LMS provider offers and understand how much training you may need in order to successfully understand and make good use of the system. Sometimes, if the implementation package offers too little training, then the admins may become frustrated and unable to use the LMS to its full potential once left to their own devices.
Many L&D professionals will choose an implementation package based on its cheap price, but with most implementations, you get what you pay for. Don’t overlook the importance of implementation when choosing an LMS.
5. Choosing the Wrong LMS Software
Similarly, when buying your LMS software in general, what you pay for is what you get. Many of our clients come to us when the low-cost LMS they purchased is lacking the features or (more often than not) the technical support they really need. Sometimes, low-cost software later charges you extra for more features and the level of support you’d like.
These low-cost LMS systems have their place – they’re great if a company has simple needs. But many companies find their needs are more complex than they realized and quickly outgrow the LMS.
When hunting for the best LMS, hunt carefully and don’t rule out expanding your budget to pick the best choice. More importantly, pick a provider who aligns with your organization’s culture and conducts business in much the same way you do. That way, you won’t find yourself researching new LMS software again once your contract’s up for renewal in another three years.
Never be hard on yourself; sometimes corners just need to be cut. But if you find yourself engaging in any of these bad habits in your everyday professional life, consider how they are undercutting your efforts to get your learners well-trained.