Take Your eLearning Back to Basics – Simple, Fast, Inexpensive WINS!


What is Back to Basics?

Getting back to basics could mean many things. I first heard the phrase while working at Intel in the ’90s. It’s something executives like to announce when they feel the business has moved too far outside of it’s core value proposition for customers. And it’s also an internal initiative to get employees to remember the simple rules of running effective meetings, communicating, getting into the office on time, etc. It’s about just getting back to the simple habits that originally make a company, or individual, great. Business, as in life, can get complicated and out of control easily and quickly. But you first need to understand what the basics are. Then re-focus your energy on those things.

We Need a Back to Basics Movement in eLearning

Personally, I’ve felt a need for a “Back to Basics” movement in our industry for many years now. But, as you can imagine, it’s not an easy story to sell. Having a CEO announce an initiative to his company is powerful, but just one random colleague in an industry of thousands announcing it is much less impactful. However, after a few years of seeing this wave build, I’m confident in saying that we absolutely need to get back to basics.  And honestly, the technology is moving back to basics with, our without, us.

But it’s not what you might think. I’m definitely not advocating for going back to basic instructional design…whatever that might be. My idea of “Back to Basics” simply comes from seeing the failures of formalized instructional design, complicated LMSs, and our industry’s lack of flexibility to deviate from the traditional design processes of eLearning development. And then with that in mind, to witness how current technologies are being used in everyday life. What the eLearning industry creates, and what the world consumes seem so far apart. The world consumes video on YouTube while the eLearning industry traps video inside SCORM packages. My version of back to basics is simple. Set your content free!

My Journey Back to Basics

Much of the evidence supporting my Back to Basics theory has come in the last 5 years. 5 years ago I was still the Program Director for DevLearn with an amazing view of the industry. I saw the need from that vantage point. I then built a training department from the ground up for a rapidly growing business before joining the Litmos team. 3 very different perspectives/experiences across a relatively short timeframe.

While at Litmos it’s been a common theme amongst the growing customer base. They are tired of complex, error-prone, frustrating Learning Management Systems, and seek out something simple and effective that everyone can use and enjoy. My favorite part of demoing Litmos is seeing smiles grow as those new to Litmos click through the system for the first time. The recent study is a perfect example. Here is what Kyle Ketelsen, Enterprise Business Development Manager at Gigya, had to say about their recent switch to the Litmos LMS:

“Litmos was easy to deploy and has benefited our employees greatly for ongoing sales training.”

“The cost, usability and step-by-step navigation made Litmos a no-brainer for us. It is easy for admins to use, whether they are adding or removing people from the system, or creating courses and tasks for their teams to complete.”

Gigya ultimately needed a training solution that would motivate managers to create courses and encourage employees to complete them. And doesn’t everyone? It really can and should be that simple. The idea that large creative teams are required to create training content is outdated. I’m not saying that a high level of course development is no longer necessary at all. But I am saying that fewer and fewer projects truly require it. The basic idea of sharing knowledge should not be so complicated. And it isn’t. New technologies like mobile video streaming are proving that every day.

In recent presentations I’ve emphasized adding business value far more strongly than anything else. The corporate training industry needs to refocus on the basic idea of providing value to the business. And part of adding business value is letting go of old ideas about what the training department produces. Short, simple, modular course designs will win the day over large eLearning SCORM packages. Everyone in your organization can be part of the creative process. And you don’t need to master an authoring tool to create business value. However, you do need a simple, cost effective, user-friendly system to help manage your content, organize teams, and report on progress.

How do you and your team add business value? This blog post is only an introduction to these ideas. Please reach out to me @Litmos and let’s continue the conversation.

I’d like to know your thoughts on Back to Basics and Adding Business Value