Training meant dedicating a couple of days to attend a full-day workshop at an offsite location and it would take place as a once-in-a-year event. However, corporate training has changed a lot in the last few years. Employees had to be trained more frequently and elaborate offsite arrangements were not feasible. Hence, e-learning was adopted. Organizations invested huge amounts to set up the learning management system and host e-learning courses. While this worked well for some time, in recent times, we have noticed that most of the courses that have been developed with huge costs have no takers. Let’s explore why this happens.
Huge investments on training but very low completion rates
You have developed good e-learning courses and hosted them on popular commercial learning management systems to train your employees – especially sales teams or external distributors. Definitely training sales team and distributors on products will help you increase sales and it has proved to you that it works. However, things don’t appear to be the same any more. Despite your huge investments in developing interactive and engaging e-learning courses and hosting them on the LMS, the learning reports tell a different story. You may find that completion rates are very low. There could be many reasons for the low completion rates such as,
- Lack of time to take the 1-hour course because of frequent travels
- Insufficient or limited access to the Internet
- Incompatibility with the installed Internet browser
- Error in course training status as course completion didn’t get tracked
Except for technical error such as the last one, the rest of the reasons could be easily overcome if
- Learning modules were in small chunks
- Learning was made accessible through mobile devices
- Learning content adjusted itself based on the device from which it was accessed
Let me explain in detail…
Learning through mobile devices
You probably know that nowadays learning happens more on mobile devices rather than on traditional desktops or laptops. Learning on desktops or laptops provides options to learners to learn online and at any time but may not cater to the need to access learning anywhere. You can take the laptops wherever you go, but you need to overcome challenges such as battery backup limitations or insufficient space to accommodate it. People learn new things quickly on mobile devices, for example, through social media we learn something new on-the-go because it gives bite-size learning content, which can be viewed on any mobile device like iPads, tablets, or smartphones. Thus, e-learning courses have to be designed to be responsive to the devices from where it is being accessed. Your existing courses can be re-designed and made compatible to mobile devices. This is what is being increasingly referred to as responsive learning.
Enhance your existing courses and make it mobile compatible to reach maximum audience.
If you want to increase training completion rates, one of the strategies is to upgrade your training to make it compatible to all desktop or mobile devices and fix all the technical issues that prevent learners from completing the course. Obviously, it’s an additional investment but it may give you error-free courses, which work on all desktop and mobile browsers. You can update some of the outdated content with the latest, you can enhance the look and feel of the course, and add more modern learning strategies like gamification. This could be one more time investment and your e-learning will be compatible with latest devices and technologies.
Best tool for converting or developing course for mobile devices
The best authoring tool that may help you to develop mobile-compatible courses is Articulate Storyline. Other tools like Adobe Captivate, Lectora, iSpring, and so on. The first thing you need to make sure is that you have the source files for the existing courses. Existing source files will help you to reduce the development effort and cost. You may use existing resources like audios and videos, which will cost more if you are going to re-record it. The best way to convert the courses is to outsource it to any e-learning vendor who has good experience in developing e-learning for mobile devices, so that they develop and test it thoroughly on various mobile devices.
A scenario of converting a legacy course into a mobile-compatible course
A legacy course developed using Lectora has many flash-based interactivities integrated into the course. As it was a highly engaging course with complex and restricted navigation, learners may face many technical issues. They may not be able to move forward even after completing the interactivities. It was developed in-house a long time back and so most of the graphics are clipart images. Learners may also face a lot of browser compatibility issues. Even though the course was developed in Lectora and published to HTML, it will not work on iPad because of flash interactivities.
Course conversion strategy as the above scenario:
- Enhance the courses with modern instructional strategies without effecting learning outcome.
- Enhance the look and feel with new images and animations.
- Make the course compatible with all the mobile devices and desktop browsers, mostly for iPad users.
- Use the exiting course material like audio, videos, and other appropriate images.
Implementation of the strategies:
We recommend Articulate Storyline for the enhancement of courses. Extract all the course content from the source files. Extracting content from HTML-based courses is much easier than extracting them from Flash-based courses because we can easily select the text and copy from the HTML course. For flash-based courses, we must copy it from the Flash source file. Extract all the text and re-create the storyboard if it is not available and then implement the modern instructional design strategies without affecting the audio.
Use the following techniques to enhance the course and develop a highly interactive and modern look.
- Chunk some of the pages into two, where the content is heavy.
- Include new interactivities for some text-image type of pages.
- Correct the spellings and grammar mistakes, if any.
- Re-create all the flash-based interactivities into Articulate Storyline.
- Reuse existing audios and videos.
- Create new animations using Videoscribe.
- Create a new modern look GUI (Graphical User Interface) with simple navigation buttons.
- Publish as HTML5, which works on all the latest browsers and mobile devices.
- Create a prototype of all templates and test it on all the browsers and devices and then scale up the development.
Just developing mobile-compatible courses does not help mobile learners to access the course. Some LMSs like SumTotal and On Point will provide mobile apps, which help learners to download the course when there is Internet and view it offline. The learning process will get synchronized when connected to the Internet. When you develop courses that are compatible to all browsers and mobile devices, then learners will be able to take the courses whenever and wherever they want. This freedom may increase the training completion rates and give you best returns on your investments.