What I Learned from my First Month in eLearning Paula McNamee Published on November 1, 2018 I’ve been writing content for brands for years; brands that span varying sectors and industries. So when I joined LearnUpon in September, I figured I had a good idea of what the world of eLearning involved. It’s basically completing training on your computer, right? Wrong! Having taken mandatory compliance training in my previous jobs, I figured compliance training culminated the extent of what eLearning entails. And honestly, my experience with eLearning before joining LearnUpon involved having to take training that felt “task-like” and often irrelevant to me. One of the most pleasant things I’ve learned over last month is, that if it’s done correctly through a versatile LMS, eLearning can be tailored to organizations and learners needs. It increases motivation, improves job-based skills, and promotes professional development. Similarly, rather than being chained to a desk, eLearning can be user-friendly and fits into today’s active lifestyles. Here, I’m going to go through some of the eLearning knowledge I’ve mastered over the past month. eLearning is a HUGE industry First thing’s first. eLearning is a HUGE industry. It’s vast and multifaceted. Once I began to delve into it, I was astounded by the sheer number of vendors in the sector and the array of services offered. On the other side of the coin, organizations that use eLearning for training are on the rise, and their demand for it shows no sign of fading. The global eLearning market is expected to reach $275 billion by 2022. Rather than being focused on one-dimensional offerings, I’ve learned that the eLearning industry is full of talented, passionate and creative people. With LearnUpon, I’ve witnessed first hand the importance of customer success and customer support in eLearning. Previously, I thought that when it came to training, something cheap and cheerful would suffice to simply get the job done. Now I see that while cutting corners may seem like the easy option, it turns into a nightmare when your learners can’t access their courses and there’s no help on hand. The fact that LearnUpon put customers at heart of everything they do excites me; we aim to help organizations directly achieve their diverse learning objectives and are passionate about what success means to customers. There’s more to training than compliance Compliance was the only type of training I’d had experience of previous to working for LearnUpon, and I may have (ignorantly!) assumed it was the only category of training out there. But my eyes have been opened to the benefits of not only compliance training, but employee, customer and partner training too. Compliance Training - As I’ve said, this was the one form of training I knew about. Training that absolutely has to be completed, like Health and Safety or Dignity in the Workplace. But what I didn’t know, is that although necessary, compliance training doesn’t have to be a burden for organizations. When done through an LMS, it’s easy to achieve, maintain and record company compliance. Employee Training - This training is used for a number of reasons, such as employee onboarding or new product or service training. When provided through an LMS, employee training can be convenient for both employer and employee alike. It’s easy for employers to maintain and keep track of, while helping employees to become more effective in their roles. Company culture is also strengthened. Customer Training - This is training that benefits end users. Customer training is often used by software organizations to help their customers better understand how to use their products or services, resulting in stronger customer relationships. When supplied using an LMS, it informs, empowers customers. Educated customers are successful customers! Partner Training - This type of training benefits and protects your brand. Partner training scales your network of certified partners and resellers, while maximizing product knowledge, retention, and sales. An LMS can help you deliver impactful partner training. SCORM and xAPI aren’t actually so confusing With the vastness of the industry and the different types of eLearning training firmly under my belt, I already considered myself a newfangled eLearning expert. But then, my colleagues threw SCORM and xAPI into the mix. Just like that, I was plunged into a whole world of confusion! But when broken down and demystified, SCORM and xAPI aren’t as bewildering as they first seem, even to an eLearning newbie like me. SCORM - It turns out SCORM is not, as I’d first imagined, a great name for a Finnish death metal band, but instead the de facto standard for eLearning. Simply put, SCORM is a technical specification for eLearning software products that standardizes the way in which eLearning courses are created. xAPI - While SCORM was built to manage communication between courses and the LMS, xAPI can track many other things. Considered the new standard for delivering online training, xAPI delivers a far more reliable, detailed view of learner progress and provides richer data. However contrary to a common misconception, xAPI doesn’t improve the appearance or content of a course. Gamification is not just for games For learners, the prospect of sitting down to complete courses may not seem like a thrilling concept. But as I’ve learned, there are lots of methods that can be used to make course content more interesting and heighten learner engagement. The first, and one of the most important things you can do to improve learner engagement is to make sure you use an LMS that supports mobile learning. Using mobile learning, or mLearning, makes sense for today’s tech-savvy workforce, and offers the convenience of being able to access courses on their commute or from home. Creating course context by using a mix of text, video and images also keeps things interesting and more fun for the learner. And then there’s gamification! Which it turns out, isn’t just for games. It motivates learners, provides a better learning experience, and taps into our appreciation for progression and achievement. Because it makes mundane tasks more interesting, it takes away some of the stress associated with “having to learn” and boosts course engagement rates. Some of the basic elements of gamification in eLearning include: Points Levels Badges Leaderboards By using gamification, you’ll not only motivate and engage learners, but you’ll also create a healthy sense of competition. My first month in eLearning has been informative, surprising and fun. eLearning terminology that once seemed foreign to me has become part of my everyday vocabulary, and I’m excited to discover what else I’ll learn over the coming months. I’m thrilled to always be learning about learning!