Selection and adoption of an e-learning environment – design template for online learning
Digitalization of training is changing the operating culture
With the help of e-learning, training is becoming more flexible, with no need to find a time and place that suits everyone. Training processes are becoming more uniform and the related operating culture is changing. Launching a learning platform is always more about changing practices than using technology.
This blog will discuss the issues you should consider when planning online learning, to help you choose the most suitable technology and launch your courses.
Development of online learning starts with goal-setting
The transformation of training begins with goal-setting. The clearer and more concrete your training-transition goals are, the easier it will be to find good solutions for their implementation.
The commonest online learning goals are:
- Well-timed and uniform learning content
- Up-to-date information always available in one location
- Less travel, and savings in premises costs
- Uniform and up-to-date log of any courses taken
Once the goals are known, it is easier to identify which features are important for the learning platform. If, for example, logging course participation is important, special attention should be paid to learning analytics and competence-measurement features. Since the idea is to enable the most flexible study possible, easy use of mobile-friendly solutions should be a priority.
Planning, too, becomes easier when you can define which training to post online and which courses should come first. The actual training content is often the best indication of the key platform features needed from the viewpoint of content and study methods.
The first courses to be digitalized are usually:
- data security training
- safety training
- ethical guidelines
- training related to services and products
Knowing which courses will go live first will help you to list the course content’s features. For example, if you are planning plenty of video content, the related functionality will be highlighted in preference to others.
Designate persons-in-charge to clarify the process
Many things work better when you know who’s in charge. When launching a learning environment, creation of online learning content tends to be the most laborious task, so start by asking who will create it and what they want from the system. Content provision is the most common bottleneck in online learning, so it’s worth paying particular attention to it.
Designated administrators for the online learning environment are useful as you gain experience and learn more about the production of online learning. Everyone then knows who to contact for training assistance and the big picture is easier to control.
Taking account of the digital operating environment and data security
When launching a new system, you should consider the other features of the organization’s digital operating environment and how to make use of it.
In order to make the login as effortless as possible, many e-learning platforms enable the usage of the organization’s existing credentials – for example, the ones used for accessing the company's email account. This makes password management easier for participants, who don’t have to remember yet another set of credentials.
Transferring user data to the learning platform is another common way of benefiting from existing systems. Such data often consists of the user’s workplace location or job title, retrieved onto the platform from AD groups or another system. This data can be used to retrieve course completion data from these groups, or to automate the addition of the right courses for users.
As personal data accumulates on the platform, it is important to discuss data security and GDPR compliance with service providers.
Ask the following data security questions:
- where is data from the learning platform stored?
- who can log into the platform/view user data?
- will platform traffic be over a secure connection (SSL certificate)?
- how is data backed up?
- are the service provider’s operations GDPR-compliant?
When working with digital environments, ensure that they are fully compatible with the devices and browsers used, and that the service is properly updated and backed up.
From theory to practice
It is often most convenient to start the use of the learning platform with a pilot course, to find out what kind of course structure and content works in your own organization. The best way to start online learning is to select a simple, easily completed course, such as onboarding or data security training. This will help users to become familiar with online learning and the learning environment.
The following will make it easier to get started:
- Clear communication about what users are supposed to do in the course environment
- Instructions on when and how much time to spend on learning
- An easily available link to the learning platform
- A designated person to contact for help.
Users become more active and self-oriented learners as they gather experience of online learning. The threshold for reviewing lessons or checking instructions is lower if the learning environment is already familiar.
You should also remember that people tend to do things if time has been booked and they have been encouraged to do them. If people are supposed to study courses of their own choice at their own pace, you should explain when they can use working hours for this.
Collecting feedback for continuous development
Use active feedback collection to support the launch of new practices. Feedback should be gathered on the first courses, both from course creators and participants.
One of the best aspects of online learning is the speed and ease of updating courses based on feedback. That’s why you don’t have to be too worried about having to fine-tune courses. The key thing is to get started and the content can be developed over time.
Downloadable design template
You can download a customizable design template for the selecting and adopting an online learning environment – a template makes it easier to structure course plans.