One of the easiest solutions to having an effective course is to purchase a pre-made course from a vendor. This post by guest blogger Joe Becic discuses some things to consider when purchasing pre-made courses.
eLearning can be incredibly time and cost-effective to assign employees interactive training they can do on their own time. Additionally, the ability to purchase off-the-shelf online training courses means your company does not need to have an internal content creation to take part in the benefits elearning offers. However, if the elearning content you’re buying for employees isn’t relevant to their needs and doesn’t specifically engage their competencies, you may be wasting time and money.
eLearning can be incredibly time and cost-effective to assign employees interactive training they can do on their own time. However, if the elearning content you’re buying for employees isn’t relevant to their needs and doesn’t specifically engage their competencies, you may be wasting time and money.
Poorly selected elearning content acts much like an old speedbump no one slows down for. Employees are conditioned to think: “let me get through this and on with my day as soon as possible.” In the process, no real, enriching training takes place, and while employees may think they save time speeding through the course, time is actually wasted because nothing productive and transferable comes out of the training.
Here are three things you should look for to identify if the content you’re buying is worthwhile or missing the mark:
Relevancy and depth should be key factors to determining how you select the courses you buy. Don’t shop for content by title alone, such as assuming a course with “customer service” in the title will automatically provide your employees with world-class customer service expertise. Information on a course topic might be overly simplified or illogically presented so the employee gains little or no new applicable knowledge. Even worse, the course may cover the topic in a completely different context than what is applicable to your industry and job description.
Good elearning courses have clear objectives referenced throughout the course. Robust course content has specific examples, exercises, simulations, and comprehensive information on a topic. Here are some ways you can gauge the quality of the content you are considering buying:
- Watch previews, as well as read reviews, course descriptions and objectives.
- Familiarize yourself with quality content providers and what genres of courses they specialize in.
- Consult elearning and industry professionals for insight.
Usability and Interactivity:
It’s 2013 and people expect rich, detailed, and interactive UI in their online content. eLearning courses are no exception. Cryptic text, flat buttons, and bland interfaces significantly detract from how seriously an employee will receive a course. Users need to see and feel as if the course is responding to their clicks and actions and is not merely a screen of regurgitated information. Interaction and engaging stimulation in a course interface can work wonders in tandem with hammering the content of a course home and immersing the learner. People learn through interaction. Here are some UI elements to look for in a course:
- Elements light up and respond to cursor movement and clicks.
- Consistent and effective transitions between content areas.
- Exploration: “what happens when I click this box in the corner”.
- Feedback: Highlighting the section an employee is in, how much they have completed, and right or wrong answers with explanations during assessments or simulations.
Assessment and Feedback:
Tests and quizzes assess learning and retention and should be a part of every elearning course. Without assessments, employees can fly through material without stopping once to reflect or think about what they’ve learned. Assessments go a long way in enriching a course and making it worthwhile to spend time on. Inline quizzes (quizzes between modules or learning objectives), case study scenario simulations, and final test assessments are all great ways for employees to apply the information they’ve learned in the course to use.
Buying elearning content can be a great investment for your training program, so long as you’re buying quality content. By understanding what to look for and the common shortcomings of poor elearning courses you can make sound buying decisions for your employees and company.