Published on:
March 12, 2021

The Definitive Guide to eLearning

eLearning is short for electronic learning. It is any form of learning that can be accessed via an electronic device such as a computer, smartphone, or tablet. eLearning is also termed as a network-enabled transfer of knowledge and skills. It is a formalized form of learning that utilizes electronic resources.

In today’s digital world, learning online is quite an impactful way of delivering course content. eLearning is an effective means of training that is changing the way learning is conducted. It offers many benefits to both learners and organizations.

eLearning has skyrocketed over the past decade. This is true for both experts and beginners. For employers, it offers an affordable and time-efficient way of training employees. Consequently, employees benefit from convenient training that improves their knowledge and skills.

eLearning is also used in educational institutions to complement instructor-led training. It offers on-the-go students a means of accessing learning material at their convenient times and places. Especially, during the COVID-19 pandemic period, elearning has provided continued education for learners who could not assemble in physical locations due to strict global guidelines.

Organizations also use elearning to train their partners and customers. In turn, this leads to increased products/services’ adoption, retention, and eventually more revenue. In fact, the elearning market shows no signs of slowing down. According to Orbis Research, the industry is expected to surpass $275 billion by 2022.

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What is eLearning?

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What is eLearning?

eLearning is short for electronic learning. It is any form of learning that can be accessed via an electronic device such as a computer, smartphone, or tablet. eLearning is also termed as a network-enabled transfer of knowledge and skills. It is a formalized form of learning that utilizes electronic resources.

The advantage of such a system is that you can access learning anywhere at any time as long as you have an internet connection. In this case, learning is delivered to a large number of learners located in different parts of the globe, either synchronously or asynchronously.

More or asynchronous and synchronous learning in the next section.

Undoubtedly, elearning is a powerful tool for content delivery. Multinational corporations (MNCs) can successfully conduct training sessions with their employees scattered in different parts of the world. 

Similarly, educational institutions can use elearning to extend their services to learners who can’t physically attend classes in their premises either due to hectic work schedules or because of geographical barriers. Such institutions are usually miles ahead of those still using traditional methods of learning.

Despite the powerful nature of elearning, traditional instructor-led methods of teaching should not be overlooked. In fact, a blended learning approach where online and traditional methods of learning are combined helps learners to get the best of both methods.

Scientifically, it has been proven that the human brain can remember what is seen and heard via images and videos. Such visual elements hold the attention of the user leading to greater knowledge retention for longer periods.

Gradually, books are being replaced by electronic materials such as ebooks, digital libraries, optical discs, and pen drives. Importantly, these electronic resources can be shared 24/7 anywhere, at any time via the internet.

A successful elearning roadmap involves a clear goal that must be met using effective strategies. The concept is a very attractive one since it offers an affordable means of training compared to classroom training.

When evaluating the usefulness and effectiveness of elearning, we must keep in mind the goals we are trying to achieve, then develop enhanced learning experiences that ensure the highest return on investment (ROI).

Developing elearning programs requires consulting experienced professionals and recording their methodologies. Maintaining a message’s pertinence over time is important to ensure your programs are relevant.

It is also important to understand the foundation of what makes instructor-led designs to be so effective. This will go a long way in transitioning your training programs to a digital platform. The benefit of using such an approach is that instructors of traditional programs know their demographics so well, what works for them, and what doesn’t.

These insights will help you to develop content that will be convenient for elearning, and even more effective if delivered in the right way.

Asynchronous Learning

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Asynchronous Learning

Asynchronous learning is a learner-centered training method widely used in elearning. The basic premise of this principle is that learning can occur in different spaces and time unique to each learner.

Asynchronous learning uses resources that allow the sharing of information outside the constraints of space and time among a network of users. In most cases, asynchronous learning is based on the constructivist theory, a student-led approach that emphasizes peer-to-peer interactions.

This method of learning combines self-study with asynchronous interactions to promote learning. It can also be used to facilitate traditional instructor-led education, continuing education, and distance education. Such a combined network of learners and the electronic network they use to communicate is referred to as an asynchronous learning network.

The online learning resources that are used to support asynchronous learning include electronic mailing lists, email, threaded conferencing systems, wikis, online discussion boards, and blogs. 

There are also course management systems that have been developed to support online education, allow users to organize discussions, send and receive messages, and upload or download multimedia content.

In some cases, synchronous methods of communication such as text, voice chat, telephone conversations, and video conferencing are used to complement asynchronous learning.

In asynchronous learning, the instructor usually sets up learning paths, which allow learners to engage with learning content at their own convenience.

Synchronous Learning

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This is the type of learning where the instructors and the learners log in at the same time to take part in classroom activities. It includes in-person classes and online meetings of the whole class or smaller groups of a class.

In the case of synchronous learning, students usually go through the learning path together with the help of their instructor who provides support as they complete their tasks and activities.

In elearning, most training happens asynchronously. Synchronous learning will only happen if there is the need for live interaction and discussion, or as a strategy to build a community of learners.

There are many reasons why many educators choose asynchronous over synchronous modes of learning. These are discussed below:

  1. The troubleshooting of video and audio is time-consuming, especially for live sessions. The instructor might have to prepare the class ahead of time and predict any possible technical challenges that may arise to address them in good time. Microphones suddenly go silent, webcams go dark inexplicably, and files you needed to share might disappear mysteriously.

In the case of asynchronous learning, the instructor has all the time to take care of all these. The learning paths can be prepared early in advance and everything will be set up before the class starts.

  1. Online video conferencing takes up a lot of data and requires fast internet connections. Not all learners may have such access. Even in cases where students have access to high-speed internet, all it takes is a small technicality with the streaming function for everything to go wrong.
  2. The collaboration of tasks and activities is easy to conduct via asynchronous learning. There are some cases where hour-long meetings can be handled via email. Still, there will be cases where synchronous check-ins, office hours, and Q&As will be important. However, it is important to keep such live sessions short and should only be used to answer questions that arise out of content accessed asynchronously.
  3. There are many things that must be in place for synchronous learning to take place. For instance, everyone must log in on time and their systems must be in proper working conditions. However, even when such conditions have been met, there may be a parent who can be distracted by a crying baby or a dog owner who suddenly has to attend to his pet. To have near-perfect training conditions synchronously is a tall order. Considering that the same learning objectives can be met asynchronously, there is no need to go through all the hustle.
  4. Even if your learners choose synchronous learning, there is a chance that hour-long sessions will quickly exhaust them. If training is to be done synchronously, ensure that the classes are short to allow interaction and engagement with your learners.

Additionally, in as much as you and your learners might choose live sessions over asynchronous learning, you will still need to supplement your courses with asynchronous techniques such as sending soft copy resources, or recorded sessions of your live classes.

Benefits of eLearning / Online Learning

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Benefits of eLearning / Online Learning

Online learners want relevant, self-paced, mobile, and personalized content. Indeed, eLearning helps them to achieve these needs. Hence, they can learn at their own pace, comfort, and other personal preferences. Below are other advantages of online learning.

1) eLearning Accommodates Everyone’s Needs

eLearning is suited for everyone. Technology has revolutionized how content is accessed, consumed, discussed, and shared. Learning is not just for students. Office goers, housewives, and other learners can take up educational courses at the times that suit them. Depending on their availability and comfort, they can engage in learning after work or during the weekends.

2) Access to Updated Content

The primary benefit of elearning is that you are in synchronization with modern learners. This allows your learners to access updated content whenever they want.

3) Lectures Can Be Taken Repeatedly

Unlike traditional instructor-led learning, elearning content can be accessed a number of times. This is especially important when learners are revising for examinations. In traditional learning, if you miss a class, as a learner, you have to prepare that topic on your own. Evidently, you will have missed out on important issues that the instructor touched on which will affect your whole understanding of the topic.

4) Quick Delivery of Lessons

eLearning provides a quicker way of delivering lessons. In comparison to traditional learning methods, this mode has quicker delivery cycles. In fact, the time required to learn is reduced by 25% to 60% of what is required for traditional learning. Some of the reasons elearning reduces learning time include the following:

  • Lessons are wrapped in single sessions and start quickly which enables training to roll out in just a few weeks or even days.
  • It saves time for learners since they do not have to travel to physical learning locations. Students learn at their own pace and convenience.
  • Learners can also choose their own speed of learning and not follow the speed of the whole group.
  • Learners get to choose which areas of study to focus on instead of going through each and every topic. For instance, they can skip specific areas they do not want to learn.

5) Consistency

eLearning gives educators the ability to get a higher degree of coverage. This allows them to relay messages consistently to their target audiences. Consequently, all learners get the same type of training with this mode of learning.

6) Scalability

eLearning can be adjusted to accommodate higher numbers of learners and can handle a variety of courses as they get rolled out. It helps in creating and communicating new training, concepts, policies, and ideas.

7) Effective

eLearning has a direct impact on an organization’s profitability. This is because online content is easy to grasp and digest. Some of the reasons it is effective include:

  • There are higher numbers of learners who achieve ‘pass’ or ‘mastery’ levels.
  • Learners achieve better scores on tests, certifications, and other types of assessments.
  • There is an enhanced ability to learn and implement new knowledge and skills at the workplace.
  • eLearning leads to knowledge retention.

8) Reduced Costs

Compared to traditional methods of training, elearning is cost-friendly. The reason prices are reduced is because learning through this method is quick and easy. For instance, there are no expenses for instructor travel, accommodation, and costs associated with course materials.

Such a reduction in costs translates into an organization’s profitability. To add, when a learner is accessing content on their own, travel, accommodation, and other expenses are eliminated.

9) Environmentally-Friendly

The reduction of carbon emissions is the responsibility of all organizations regardless of the industries they operate in. If your organization intends to use strategies that are friendly to the environment, elearning is one of the tools to consider.

Indeed, elearning promotes a paperless workplace that is less-crowded and comfortable to work in.

10) Enhances Performance and Productivity

eLearning allows learners to easily and quickly complete their training. This results in greater performance and productivity. Since they can participate in training at their own convenience, learners appreciate elearning. In turn, their performance and productivity are improved.

eLearning versus Classroom Training

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eLearning versus Classroom Training

Since eLearning is an effective alternative to traditional instructor-led classroom training, it is quickly becoming a preferred option for many organizations. It presents many differences in terms of availability, flexibility, reporting, and monitoring.

Besides these, there are other specific differences as discussed below:

1) Cost difference

It is reported that organizations save about 50% to 70% on training when they choose elearning over classroom training. The reduction in these costs can be explained by the elimination of instructor travel and accommodation fees, among other expenses.

To add, elearning can be deployed several times without incurring any extra costs.

2) Learning context

Classroom training allows learners to actively interact. They can also interact with their instructors and get timely feedback. In the case of elearning, students mostly work in isolation and are required to be self-driven. Virtual classrooms and video training are only introduced to bring out the human element into learning.

3) Availability and flexibility

eLearning is accessible to learners 24/7 anywhere as long as there is internet connectivity. Learners from different parts of the globe can take courses at their own times and convenience. This is not possible for classroom training.

4) Content and delivery consistency

In elearning, there is a consistency in the course content and delivery method. In classroom training, each instructor has their own style of teaching which affects the consistency in content types and the delivery methods employed.

5) Reporting and monitoring

eLearning courses are primarily delivered through a Learning Management System (LMS) which features advanced tracking and reporting mechanisms. These functionalities monitor a learner’s progress, usage, and other metrics in an efficient manner.

Zone of Proximal Development

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Zone of Proximal Development

The zone of proximal development refers to the difference between what a learner can do and achieve without help and what they can do and achieve with the guidance and encouragement of a knowledgeable partner. In this case, ‘proximal’ refers to skills that a learner is close to mastering.

This concept was developed by Soviet psychologist and social constructivist Lev Vygotsky. He defined it as, “the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem-solving under adult guidance, or in collaboration with more capable peers.”

Vygotsky argued against the use of academic assessments to gauge a student’s intelligence. He came up with ZPD to further develop Jean Piaget’s theory of children being autonomous and lone learners. 

He spent a lot of time studying the impact of school instruction on children. He noted that language concepts were grasped quite easily. However, complex subjects such as mathematics did not come quite as naturally. He thus concluded that because these concepts were evaluated using unnecessary assessments, they became even more difficult for students.

He went on to argue that there is a clear distinction between teaching and development. He said that development is a spontaneous action that stems from a child’s efforts. Hence, natural spontaneous development is important, even if not all-important. In fact, he adds that children would not learn so much if they were left to do everything on their own.

He proposed that it is important for children to interact with more knowledgeable others. Therefore, cultural experiences equipped children with knowledge and tools handed down from previous generations.

Instead of giving students examinations that were ineffective, Vygotsky advocated for activities that examine a child’s ability to solve problems independently and the ability to solve other problems with the help of an adult.

He proposed that if two children perform the same on a test, their levels of development are not necessarily the same. Unfortunately, Vygotsky died before he could complete his work on ZPD. Nonetheless, the concepts he introduced are still being used today by educators.

Any activity within the zone of proximal development matures within a particular context that includes the activity’s actual level and how susceptible the child is to types of help. It also includes the sequence of the types of help offered, the child’s willingness to collaborate, and the flexibility or rigidity of previously-formed stereotypes.

According to Vygotsky, when a learner is in the zone of proximal development for a certain task, any guidance and assistance accorded give the student enough ‘boost’ to perform the task. To assist a learner move through the zone of proximal development, three important components that aid the learning process are recommended by educators:

  1. The presence of a peer with more knowledge and skills than those of the learner (a knowledgeable other).
  2. Social interaction with a skillful instructor to allow the learner to observe and practice their skills.
  3. Scaffolding, or supportive activities provided by the educator, or knowledgeable other, to support the learner as he or she is led through the zone of proximal development.

More Knowledgeable Other

The more knowledgeable other (MKO), as the title suggests, is someone who has a better understanding or higher ability than the learner. This is with respect to a certain task, activity, process, or concept.

In most cases, it is assumed that the MKO must necessarily be a teacher or older adult. However, this is always not the case. In some instances, fellow learners or an adult’s children may play the role of an MKO.

Social Interaction

Vygotsky argued that much of the learning considered important for a child happens through social interaction with a skillful tutor. The tutor may present model behaviors or provide verbal instructions to the child. He termed this relationship as cooperative or collaborative dialogue.

The child attempts to understand the instructions and actions of the adult (parent or teacher) and then internalizes the information, using it to guide or modify their own performance.

Vygotsky further stated that we can’t just examine what a child is doing on their own. We also have to look at what they can do in a social setting. Mostly, students are able to complete tasks faster when placed in groups as opposed to when they are on their own.

The teacher’s job is only to move the child’s mind forward step-by-step. At the same time, not all children can be taught the same concepts simultaneously. The teachers have to determine those who are ready for certain tasks. Using such knowledge, the teachers will know how to assist different students depending on their abilities.

Lastly, Vygotsky argued that standardized tests only measure what learners can do on their own. Group settings are needed since they help a learner to be pushed by the minds of other students, to achieve more than they can on their own.

The Theory of Scaffolding

Scaffolding is a common term that goes hand-in-hand with ZPD. However, Vygotsky never introduced this term. Instead, it was coined by David Wood, Jerome Bruner, and Gail Ross while applying Vygotsky’s ZPD to various learning contexts.

They stated that giving students the hardest tasks they can attempt with scaffolding leads to the greatest gains. Scaffolding is defined as a set of activities provided by an educator or more competent peer, to support the student and they are led through the zone of proximal development.

Such support is then later withdrawn, similar to how scaffoldings on a building are removed after the construction of a building. This means that the student will be left to complete such subsequent tasks on their own.

Scaffolding is also seen as the process that enables a child to achieve a goal or solve a task that would be beyond their unassisted efforts. Thus, scaffolding requires the controlling of those elements that are initially beyond a child’s ability, therefore allowing them to focus on completing those elements that are within their range of competence.

Scaffolding is the way that an adult guides a child’s learning through focussed questions and positive interactions. For it to be effective, the adult must start at the child’s level of understanding and build on top of that.

An example of ZPD is when children are learning to speak. As a child develops speech, so does their way of thinking. In turn, this influences the child’s manner of speech. This process opens up opportunities for a child to expand their vocabulary.

When the child learns to convey their thoughts in more effective ways, they get more reinforcing and positive feedback, which enhances their speaking skills and increases their vocabulary. The same happens with dancing. One starts by imitating what others are doing and applies only what they can. Later they add their personality to their dance moves to refine them.

In mathematics, proximal development uses mathematical examples where students have seen or worked on one or a few of such examples. In high school, minimal scaffolding is provided as students learn how to do tasks more on their own. 

Later, in tertiary institutions, a student must seek the help of a tutor or find library resources when presented with challenges beyond their capabilities.

Another example of scaffolding is presented when one is learning to drive. Initially, a lot of instructions are provided to the learner. Eventually, as the learner performs more of these activities, support is gradually withdrawn until they are able to drive comfortably on their own.

Indeed, the concept of scaffolding is evident in everyday life. One does not begin by knowing everything. At first, we only learn the basics and then build on top of prior knowledge to the levels of mastery for different concepts.

Blended Learning

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Blended learning is an approach to education where traditional classroom methods of teaching are combined with high-tech elearning. It combines the best of these two modes of training resulting in an enriched learning experience.

Blended learning requires the physical presence of both the instructors and the learners, with the students controlling some elements of time, place, learning path, or pace. Learners usually attend ‘brick-and-mortar’ schools with a teacher present. To add, face-to-face classroom training is combined with computer-mediated activities to aid with content delivery.

This model of training engages all types of learners; those who perform better with instructor-led training, and those who excel with semi-autonomous elearning methods. It is also used in professional development and other training settings.

A universal conception of blended learning is difficult since it is highly context-dependent. In fact, it is difficult to research the effectiveness of the concept since there is a lack of consensus on a concrete definition. Some studies have stated that the addition of online elements to face-to-face interactions only replaces instructor-led training, and does not supplement it the way it is intended.

Nonetheless, blended learning has its place in today’s training programs. Classroom training offers opportunities for role-playing with immediate face-to-face feedback. On the other hand, elearning offers personalized, self-paced learning that includes tutorials, quizzes, games, skill-building, and social media.

eLearning is mostly accessible via a learning management system (LMS) and is accessible to learners via a computer, smartphone, or tablet.

Benefits of Blended Learning

In the last few years, teachers have incorporated blended learning as a meaningful tool in and out of the classroom. Similarly, the corporate world is catching up with this model of training and using it in their online training programs.

The reason these organizations are adopting blended learning is because of the benefits it offers. These are discussed below.

1) Lower Costs

Instructor-led training seems like a cheaper option compared to elearning. However, face-to-face classroom sessions have higher costs such as transport and accommodation both for the instructors and learners.

A blended learning approach saves costs and can be used again and again, which also saves the instructor’s time.

2) Accounts for Everyone

Blended learning accommodates every type of learner. These include those who prefer instructor-led classroom sessions, those who prefer purely online classes, and those who prefer a mix of the two approaches.

This method eliminates the limitations of an all-classroom or all-online training approach by utilizing a number of methods so that content can be customized and optimized for the learner. However, not all classroom-based sessions can be converted into digital courses but it is possible to re-engineer content for online delivery so that it complements existing training.

3) Fun and Engagement

A blended learning approach is interactive which leads to higher levels of learner engagement. Learners supplement what they have learned offline with online content media, each tailored to suit a particular learning style.

The learners get to choose what content to interact with, practice what they’ve been taught, and communicate with their instructors in a timely fashion. Also, the community experience introduced by this approach keeps learners engaged and informs their instructors about their progress and areas that need to be addressed.

4) Learning Trends and Feedback

Blended learning utilizes both online and offline technologies which allow instructors to adapt to the latest modality and learning trends into the curriculum. Instructors also use in-built reporting and analytics features of LMSs to get rich data that can help them modify or improve their training courses.

For the learners, this approach introduces an opportunity to discuss, practice, and model their learned skills in a safe space. This way, they are not just watching or hearing. Instead, they can apply their new knowledge and skills after they have left the physical and virtual classrooms.

5) Reach and Personalization

Organizations have the challenge of making learning universal. Issues such as language barriers and travel can both be addressed by blended learning which brings together all learners regardless of their demographic differences.

Learners in different geographical locations, and who speak different languages can’t all be taught using a similar training program. Blended learning introduces a buffet-like training approach that allows learners to choose how and when to interact with learning content.

Learning Objectives

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Learning objectives are statements of what learners should be able to do after they complete their elearning courses. Such statements are narrow and precise and are usually written before lessons or instructions are designed.

Models for Learning Objectives

For most instructors, the SMART template is used to define learning objectives. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

1) Specific

Learning objectives, lesson plan objectives, and training objectives should be focused and not general. They should refer to precise points.

2) Measurable

A learning objective should use measurements that evaluate how much learners have accomplished. Such measurable objectives show proof of learning.

3) Attainable

Learning objectives should be based on reality, and not just points written down on paper. Unrealistic learning objectives are doomed to fail from the onset.

4) Relevant

These objectives should relate to your learners based on obvious and logical ways. In turn, your learners will benefit directly from accomplishing them.

5) Time-Bound

Learning objectives should be attained in a finite but reasonable time frame. The timelines involved should include teaching, practice, and measuring.

Other Models for Learning Objectives

Learning objectives can also follow the ABCD template. This stands for Audience, Behavior, Condition, and Degree.

1) Audience

The instructor should define who the objectives are being designed for. Who are the learners?

2) Behavior

What should the learners be able to do after training? This relates to the observable and measurable outcomes.

3) Condition

This refers to the conditions or constraints under which the learners should demonstrate their learning. Factors such as time, location, and materials/aids should be considered.

4) Degree

Under what criteria should performance be based? This relates to how learning demonstration should be performed. Speed, accuracy, and quality are some of the factors to consider.

Kirkpatrick Model

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Any time you deliver training, it is essential to know how successful it was. Are your learners putting their knowledge and skills into practice? You should also establish if your training programs are impacting your learners and organization as a whole.

Kirkpatrick’s Four-Level Training Evaluation Model helps to answer these conditions. It is used to objectively analyze the impact of your training programs, to work out how well your learners learned, and to improve your future training programs.

The Four Levels of Kirkpatrick’s Model

This model was published by Donald Kirkpatrick, a former Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin, in 1959. He later updated it in 1975 and later in 1993, when he published his famous work ‘Evaluating Training Programs.’

Every successive level of this model represents a more precise effectiveness measure of training programs. The model was later developed by Donald and his son, James; then by James and his wife, Wendy Kayser Kirkpatrick.

In 2016, James and Wendy modified the original theory, and introduced the ‘New World Kirkpatrick Model’ in their publication, ‘Four Levels of Training Evaluation.’ A notable addition to this book is the importance of making training relevant to people’s everyday activities.

These four levels are Reaction, Learning, Behavior, and Results. We shall discuss each of these levels below.

Level 1: Reaction

As an instructor, you want your learners to feel that your training is valuable. By measuring how engaged they were, how active they were, and how they reacted to the training, you will understand how well they received it.

Such information also helps you to make improvements for future training programs by identifying gaps in your courses. Some of the questions you can ask your learners include:

  • Was the training worth your time?
  • Do you think it was successful?
  • What were the strengths and weaknesses of the training?
  • Do you like the venue and the presentation style?
  • Did the training accommodate your personal learning styles?
  • Was the training engaging?
  • What are the most important things you learned?
  • What do you plan to apply in your job from this training?
  • What support do you need to apply what you learned?

Establish how you want to measure your learners’ reactions. You can ask for verbal feedback, watch your learners’ body language, or use satisfaction surveys. Next, analyze the feedback and consider what modifications to make.

Level 2: Learning

This level focuses on measuring what your trainees have learned. In the New World version, this level also measures what they will be able to do differently as a result, how confident they are that they can do it, and how motivated they are to make any changes.

It demonstrates how they have developed knowledge, skills, and attitudes as a result of training, as well as their commitment and confidence. To measure these parameters, start by identifying what you want to evaluate.

Learning can be measured in different ways, depending on the objectives. However, it is helpful to evaluate these areas before and after training.

At the beginning of training, test your learners’ to establish their knowledge, skills, and attitudes. After the training is completed, assess what they have learned, or measure their levels of knowledge, skills, and attitudes using verbal assessments or interviews.

Level 3: Behavior

This level helps to understand how well your trainees are applying their training. It also reveals any gaps in training that need to be addressed. However, behavior can only change when the conditions are favorable.

For instance, imagine you are assessing your learners after a training session. You can see little change so you conclude that they learned very little and that the training was ineffective. However, it is possible that they learned a lot and change could only be hindered by the organizational or team cultural obstructs.

It could mean that the existing processes leave very little scope to apply new thinking. Consequently, your trainees will not feel confident to apply their new skills and knowledge or see very few opportunities to do so. Additionally, they may have had very little time to do so.

When developing your training programs, come up with processes that encourage, reinforce, and reward positive changes in behavior. In the New World Kirkpatrick Model, these processes are called ‘required drivers.’ Hence, if a team member uses a new skill effectively, they should be praised and rewarded for that.

The effective measuring of behavior should be a long-term process that takes place over weeks or months after training has started. Some of the questions to ask include:

  1. Did your learners put their training to use?
  2. Are they able to teach other people these new knowledge, skills, and attitudes?
  3. Are your learners aware that their behaviors have changed?

Observations and interviews are some of the best ways to measure behavior. Another strategy is to integrate the use of these knowledge, skills, and attitudes into tasks that you prepare for your trainees. This way, your learners will have the chance to demonstrate what they have learned.

Level 4: Results

At this stage, you analyze the final results of your training program. They may include outcomes that you and your organization have decided to be good for your team members and business as a whole.

The results should also be a good indicator of return on investment (ROI). This level is the most time-consuming since the biggest challenge is identifying the outcomes, benefits, and the final results linked to the training. Another setback is coming up with an effective way to measure these outcomes in the long term.

Surprisingly, most educators use the Kirkpatrick model backward. They first start by stating the results that they want to see and then develop training programs that will most likely achieve these results. Indeed, this approach helps to prioritize the goals of the training to make it more effective.

Agile Learning

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Agile learning or agile instructional design is an approach to training that focuses on speed, flexibility, and collaboration. As the speed of a business increases, so do other business functions to help them pivot quickly with market changes.

Learning and development (L&D) leaders discovered that the process of developing modern learning experiences could benefit from the agile methodology. Hence, Agile Learning was born.

Also, L&D leaders have been tasked with the role of developing training that is highly complex. They are also expected to rapidly develop and deliver large volumes of learning content. 

Importantly, as they seek to respond quickly to these organizational training needs, Agile Learning should enhance speed, flexibility, and collaboration without compromising on the quality.

Agile learning is the adoption of agile methodology in employee training. Within an agility framework, we have concepts such as work sprints, daily scrums, and Kanban boards. These are all project management methods and tools within this framework.

The agility framework initially existed in the tech world where development teams had to work in constant iterations while doing constant testing and collecting nonstop feedback. This was effective but also closed-circuit and was reserved for specific teams and projects.

As far as other departments in the company were concerned, the agility framework had no much importance. Indeed, the use of these tools and methods only for specific projects and teams was a problem in itself.

Such a game-changing tool can’t really be a gamechanger if only a small number of people benefit from it. They should be available for the whole company to use and gain from. Specifically, it is about making these methods open for employee training.

Agile learning is all about driving innovation by enabling an environment of continuous learning. Within such an environment, your employees can work in teams to test, adapt, and evolve along with their training efforts.

Benefits of Agile Learning

Agile learning makes sure that employees are fast enough to catch up with today’s world’s fast-changing workplace dynamics. It not only helps them to develop new skills and capabilities but also teaches them to take risks and stay open-minded.

They also learn from their mistakes as well as their successes. Other benefits are discussed below:

1) Cross-team cooperation

Nowadays, organizational departments do not work in isolation. They share ideas and processes for the greater good of an organization. Agile learning promotes knowledge sharing and cross-team cooperation. Indeed, this eliminates the chances of important information ever falling through the cracks.

2) Increased customer focus

The goal of agile learning is to create teams that base business processes on what customers value the most. Through the use of interactive media and virtual training, agile learning keeps employees on their toes for every customer scenario. In turn, increased customer focus has a positive impact on the performance of a business.

3) Improved overall efficiency

Employee training that focuses on agile learning makes an organization more successful. This is because it teaches employees that trying out new ideas and making mistakes is okay. It creates a company policy that encourages experimentation as opposed to sticking to the same old way of doing things.

Conclusion

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eLearning is a modern way of approaching training especially with the help of technology. True, instructor-led training has its place in learning, however, elearning only serves to enhance it. With technology changing at such a fast rate in today’s modern world, elearning is surely here to stay.

Many concepts borrowed from ILT such as the Kirkpatrick model, the zone of proximal development, and recently agile learning, have successfully been incorporated into elearning for an enhanced online learning experience.

The rapid development of elearning today is largely credited to the introduction of learning management systems (LMSs). If your organization is looking for an LMS, Tovuti LMS is ranked the #1 Learning Management System for all your elearning needs.

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Author:
Kevin Kimani

Kevin Kimani is a technical writer for Tovuti. He is skilled in technical research and is always updating himself with the latest in information technology. He is also skilled in web content management and strategy. Kevin is passionate about space exploration and hopes to spot a UFO one day! He also likes to track the ISS and other man-made satellites. He also likes to spend time with his two lovely daughters and teach them tech stuff!

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