Recently, I attended Learning@Work 2015 in Sydney, Australia. One of the keynote speakers was Laura Overton from Towards Maturity who presented an interesting diagram illustrating the skill gaps in L&D departments. Some of the skills where L&D departments fall short included data analytics, live online learning delivery, digital content development and instructional design (ID). It occurred to me then that outsourcing to a trusted e-learning partner could fill many of these skill gaps as well as provide L&D employees an opportunity to learn from experts in the field.
In 2015, there has been a huge emphasis on data analytics. How to capture it upon learner completion of online courses in a meaningful way in order to a draw line between the learning and business outcomes is a vital skill in L&D. An e-learning partner knows that data has been around for a long time. An organization’s LMS may be already equipped to capture data but the function has never been used due to lack of expertise. An e-learning partner can advise on how to make the most of your LMS for data analytics and also design courses that report certain data to the LMS upon the learner’s completion depending on the outcomes that require tracking. A corporate organization may be interested in how well the learner performs in the mastery quizzes in order to map it to key performance indicators. A registered training organization may also be interested in the learner’s performance on a particular question, how many attempts were required to get the correct answer, or how long a learner spent on a particular module in order to measure the effectiveness of their course design. An e-learning partner regularly customizes data reporting for their clients; so they can let you know how others are designing courses to maximize useful data.
Keeping up with the rapid changes and different choices available in learning technology can be a challenge for L&D professionals. An e-learning partner’s job is to do exactly this and invests money in developing their own employees to ensure they are ahead of the changes in technology. An e-learning partner can help cut through the technology jargon and provide advice on the best technology to achieve a particular learning objective. For instance, an Australian organization recently approached us to discuss ways they could deliver work, health and safety (WHS) online training to their job-seeking clients. Having developed many custom WHS courses for other clients around the world, we were able to share what we have done successfully for other clients and propose a similar solution for the organization.
A good e-learning partner not only employs technology experts, they also house teams of ID professionals that can help design digital content using sound adult learning principles. I think Australia is ahead in this area with many talented ID professionals, but having an e-learning partner is an opportunity to learn and see what other people are doing around the world. Australian organizations often approach us to view samples of courses that we have developed and discuss the best practices we are seeing in other organizations.
Companies that provide professional development to their L&D staff are twice as likely to see improvements in learning in the workplace (Towards Maturity, 2015). A trusted e-learning partner not only helps to fill skill gaps in L&D departments but can also help develop L&D employees through the wealth of expert knowledge they freely share with clients as well as online through discussion groups, social media and online blogs.
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