When designing and delivering online training programs, we often focus on the tools and the content independently. The management and administration tool of choice is often a Learning Management System (LMS). LMS’s provide us with enhanced capabilities and ease-of-use in creating course catalogs, launching courses, inviting and registering students, tracking progress, and assessments, among other features. Content design is often tackled separately from administration and program management.
“All children, except one, grow up.” J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan (1911)
As a manager, you want your employees to complete a given training course. And learn the material. And apply learning on the job. And contribute to the company’s bottom line. And enjoy the learning process.
I catch myself, sometimes, misusing the term “stakeholder”—or at least using it in an unnecessarily limiting way. I simply apply the term to those people who hold the purse strings for my initiatives. They receive the bulk of my sales, persuasion and negotiation efforts. And I think of these people as my sponsors, or “learning champions”.
Gamification concepts have been employed since the 1960’s, 1970’s or 1980’s, depending on whom you talk to and how you define the term. Others claim that gamification has been in use since 1912, when Cracker Jack® boxes began to include prizes. Whenever the term originated, “gamification” is certainly an important buzzword in business today. Though, perhaps it’s technically incorrect to call gamification a “buzzword” now, as the term made the Oxford English Dictionary’s shortlist of Word of the Year in 2011.
Social learning—or learning with and from others (with or without social media technology)—is a force to be reckoned with. But how do you entice your online training learners to participate to take learning to a higher level, and make it participatory and social?
Not everyone can be a great learning professional. But, you don’t need to be a “professional” learning professional to create or contribute to exceptional learning experiences for others.
Online training is typically made for mass consumption—one reason why it’s so cost effective compared to classroom training. It is typically not meant for private tutoring or coaching. However, if every learner feels that the training is personalized for him or her, you’ve created a meaningful connection and made the learning session feel individualized.
Stores—brick-and-mortar or eCommerce sites—want customers to buy their products or services. And recommend the products to others. Then, return and buy more. Similarly, for online training, you want trainees—whether employees, partners, or customers—to buy (or buy into) your eLearning content. And use and apply it. And rate it positively through recommendations and endorsements. And come back and “buy” more. Effectively, to become loyal customers.