In an earlier blog titled E-learning to Cater to Varying Digital Literacy Levels of Employees – Why?, I talked about why employees need to be divided based on their digital literacy and assign online courses accordingly. I had borrowed the suggestion from Ray Wang, founder and chairman of Constellation Research. In this blog, I will attempt to explore various eLearning design options that best cater to the needs of employees with varying digital literacy levels.E-learning courses involve engagement with the course interface, but the degree of engagement varies based on the way the course is designed. For a digitally savvy employees, complex interactivities and game elements may be incorporated. However, for digital novices, minimal interactivities and easy navigation elements are required.
Let me explore them in greater detail based on the categorization of R Wang.
Multi-device compatible, multiple learning paths and multiple formats for digital natives: These are employees who grew up surrounded by internet technology and have seen a multitude of gadgets within the short span of their lifetime. They adapt to new technologies very quickly and spend at least some part of their time in playing video games, online games and so on.
They use multiple devices and switch between devices easily to perform their activities. So, how should eLearning courses be designed for them?
Online courses can be designed such that employees can access them from anywhere through any device such as laptops, iPads, smartphones etc. Complex gamification strategies, scenarios and assessments involving a lot of interactivities can be used in the course modules. E-learning curriculum spanning multiple modules can be planned covering subject matter in depth.
Flexible learning options for digital immigrants and digital voyeurs: These are employees who are aware of the changes in technology. They would have sent their first e-mail well after their teens and have seen the rapid changes in technology being employed for communication at the workplace. Some have learnt to adapt to new technologies as demanded by the situation and work environment. Others may be reluctant to experiment beyond what is absolutely essential.
E-learning needs to be less intimidating and more inviting. You can adopt the same strategy as done for digital natives but with relatively simpler interactivities, case-studies and scenarios. Multi-device access is still useful but the interface needs to be less cluttered with simple icons and instructions so that employees are not put off with an interface that is not user-friendly.
Videos and bite-sized modules for digital holdouts and digital disengaged: Digital holdouts and digital disengaged are those employees who are not comfortable with technology and do not use it for their day-to-day activities. They, at best, use mobile phones, DVD players and watch television. They may be forced to interact with computers to a certain extent at work but computers do not constitute an essential part of their job profile.
For such employees, learning can be in the form of ‘push learning’ to their mobile devices. This can be in the form of short, bite-sized videos or apps with user-friendly features and interactions. Short videos could also be developed and shown at workplace. For example, videos can be very useful to educate employees about workplace safety and best practices on the shop floor. These videos can be aired where there are display monitors or TVs.
If you would like to read the blog that talks about why you need to consider digital literacy of employees when designing online training solutions, read my earlier blog titled, E-learning to Cater to Varying Digital Literacy Levels of Employees – Why? To learn more about Ray Wang and his views on categorizing individuals based on digital literacy, click here.
Training need not necessarily be based on the age groups of individuals when we are working across multiple generations of workforce. When training is provided digitally, it makes a lot of sense to tweak instructional strategy based on the digital literacy of employees. Don’t you agree?
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2015 and has appeared in Learning Technology category whereas now it is updated in Learning Design category.