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  January 28, 2020

Your 2020 L&D Checklist: Top eLearning Considerations for the New Year

2020 is here and many organizations are thinking about their learning and development goals for the new year. The past decade has seen an immense amount of change when it comes to eLearning. Now is the ideal time to review the state of eLearning and trends that will define how you approach L&D in 2020. (Or scroll to the bottom for a quick infographic!)

Current State of eLearning

In the last few years the Learning and Development (L&D) field adopted eLearning in a big way. More organizations than ever are using technology to not only enable employee training that’s more accessible and engaging, but also to create a culture of learning that drives team members to reach and exceed professional goals and business objectives. Despite this, there is plenty of room for improvement. Many teams believe that their L&D solutions are outdated, rigid, and ineffective at fulfilling these needs. These are a few statistics that highlight the current state of eLearning: 

  • 86% of HR professionals indicate that their organizations use technology to deliver learning experiences. 
  • 59% of organizations use some form of learning portal to deliver content from a single place. 
  • Only 16% of HR professionals strongly believe their teams have achieved a top-notch learning culture. Another 31% moderately believe this. 
  • Only 22% of HR professionals strongly believe that their learners are engaged in their L&D content. 

In short, the eLearning space has achieved significant expansion as L&D managers actively look for more convenient and captivating ways to provide workplace education and training. Fortunately, new tools and solutions  continue to emerge in the L&D market that allow admins to build flexible and dynamic solutions that will help them meet their learning goals for years to come 

#1: Increased Need for Consulting Services

An important fact to note is that the Learning Management System (LMS) market has essentially reached feature parity, making it difficult to choose from the hundreds of solutions available based on functionality and element requirements alone. (There are now over 800 LMS’s on the market, with 200 or so having emerged within the last few years.) This has resulted in a growing need for consultative services in order to help L&D professionals sort through and pinpoint the best options to meet an organization’s specific needs.  

Additionally, the old approach to the learning ecosystem was for a provider to push its proprietary ecosystem, including the LMS and the additional tools that can connect into it for an extended and enhanced learning experience. However, more and more organizations want platforms that allow for a “best-of-breed” approach. Instead of using a proprietary, closed-source LMS with limited purpose-built functionality and add-on systems, organizations need systems that can integrate cleanly with other existing systems and additional plugins or resources in the marketNot to mention, the learning ecosystem itself is expanding with new tools and strategies like Learning Experience Platforms (LXP), Learning Record Stores (LRS), proctoring toolsvirtual realityaugmented reality, and much more that can be integrated in your solution. 

It’s essential that organizations seek expert consultation in order to navigate through the saturated L&D market to find the tools that will allow them to build a solution that empowers team members and encourages a culture of learning that meets business objectives. Without a comprehensive analysis of your hierarchical goals, business objectives, and other measures, you’ll likely struggle to find the proper components to incorporate into your LMS that will meet your specific needs. 

#2: Engagement Through Interactivity 

Every learning solution is only as good as its content. It’s important to leverage the functionality and design of your learning platform in order to deliver engaging courses and easy-to-access resources that help educate and empower your learners.  

Successful L&D professionals are shifting their training programs to include more modernized approaches to learning in order to encourage engagement through interactivity. They’re beginning to incorporate training content and resources that are accessible through multiple devices (such as mobile application), and are actively transforming existing content and resources into more interactive digital activities. 

L&D professionals are moving beyond the act of simply checking off standard compliance requirements. Instead, they are leveraging leaderboards, badges, and other forms of recognition and friendly competition that encourage a culture of learning in the workplaceAdding a social and cultural component to learning not only gets learners to engage more with course materials but it also allows administrators to track the engagement and progress of each of their learners on their educational journey. 

Further, the traditional face-to-face classroom trainings, although still valuable and used in many organizations, are being used less often or being paired with online training for a hybrid approach. Pairing in-person training with more online content and resources can allow users to learn on the job, on their commute, or virtually anywhere, and also allow learners to return to trainings as needed, creating more accessible and impactful learning opportunities. 

Consideration #3: Building a Culture of eLearning 

Now more than ever, companies are increasingly remote, battling for talent, and seeking ways to personalize workplace learning for their users. In order to retain top talent, employees need to feel supported and part of a larger culture. One of the most effective ways to accomplish this is through L&D.  

Creating a culture of learning within your organization means incorporating day-to-day learning and development, not just during onboarding or initial training. With competition fiercer than ever and most employees struggling to break away from tasks even for a lunch break, workplace learning needs to be encouraged from the highest levels of your organization in order to ensure participation. 

As mentioned previously, some easy steps organizations can take to build a culture of eLearning in the workplace include incorporating mobile learning, leaderboards, interactive forums and collaboration into the learning strategy. Not only does this encourage interactivity among colleagues but it creates a culture that supports its employees with the resources they need to excel in their positions and find further career growth.  

Setting up company-wide initiatives and establishing learning themes brings unity to learning efforts and can contribute directly to supporting a company’s mission and values. With workplace learning valued and utilized at all levels, learners can feel more supported in their career development, motivated to explore specific courses or resources regularly and on the go, and they can continue to acquire new skill sets and advance within their roles while earning achievements and recognition. Click below to read eThink CEO Brian Carlson’s LinkedIn article for more strategies for creating a culture of learning in the workplace. 

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Trend #4: Importance of a Service-Heavy Model

Many organizations report that they are dissatisfied with the support available for their L&D solutions. Part of the problem is the result of more complex learning ecosystems. With several, disparate systems working together, getting support may mean reaching out to multiple customer service teams. Furthermore, many learning solutions providers do not offer sufficiently rapid responses or enough channels for support. In 2020, L&D teams will look for providers who can offer industry-leading support including rapid responses through chat, email and other support channels.  

Open-source learning platforms continue to gain traction as top options for organizingdeploying, and tracking training. They provide unlimited flexibility, scalability, and most importantly multiple hosting and support options. With the right service provider, finding top-rated industry-related course and content, generating reports, integrating with other systems or additional plugins, resolving tickets, and receiving overarching support for all eLearning needs can be done efficiently and cost-effectivelyOne of the biggest advantages of open-source solutions is the fact that, unlike closed-source solutions, organizations have options when it comes to who can support themmeaning that an organization can easily take their platform with them and move to a service provider that provides better support if necessary. With better support, L&D admins can focus less on back-end maintenance and more on creating impactful learning programs that include the right mix of elements to successfully support their teams. 

Employing Strategies That Harness and Address These Trends

As the new decade begins, L&D teams can set themselves up for success by employing the right tools. At eThink, we believe that Moodle and Totara are the best options for teams that want to deploy a forward-thinking learning ecosystem using open-source technology. With a flexible and scalable platform, you can empower your organization and build a culture of learning in order to retain top talent and exceed business goals. 

You can learn more about leveraging these latest eLearning trends in eThink’s on-demand webinarYour 2020 L&D Checklist: Top eLearning Considerations for the New Year.” 

Or, request an individual demonstration to explore the top considerations for building a successful training for your organization today.  

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