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The Relevance Problem with Traditional e-Learning


The Relevance Problem with Traditional eLearning

My wife is a 1st grade teacher and, as part of a new security initiative from the school district, she was instructed to take an online course about email-based cyberattacks. As luck would have it, I make my living writing and speaking on the topic of cybersecurity. So, I took interest in the eLearning opportunity to see how teachers are being prepared for cyberattack.

The online course followed the basic principles of eLearning we’ve all become used to – the really long multi-module, over-glorified PowerPoint presentations, each followed by a quiz. My wife did as instructed: she sat through the course, and passed the quiz.

Now I, like most IT pros, would probably try to figure out a way to hurry up the content, take screenshots, and then refer back to them when taking the quiz – all in the name of getting the eLearning over with. I would guess most employees, if savvy enough, might do the same.

But why?

Why is it that when presented with an opportunity to learn something new online, the first instinct is how can I get away with not watching?

In a word – relevance.

The biggest issue today is corporate users being given online training on topics they don’t see as being relevant to their job. Let’s use three aspects of the scenario my wife faced to demonstrate how traditional eLearning can have a complete lack of relevance:

1. The material just jumps right in – There was no explanation of why topics like ransomware and phishing are applicable to a school teacher. My wife actually asked me why she was being told to participate in the eLearning. Corporate users being asked to take training first need to better understand why specific material is important for them to learn. The more emotional buy-in you have from an employee, the more likely they’ll actually pay attention.

2. It was too broad – The material presented truly wasn’t long (I think it ran about 10 minutes), but the specific details provided seemed more like an endless barrage of stats than it did explaining the problem (phishing-based attacks, in this case) and educating the user on why their actions are the solution.

3. It needed a quiz – Why is there a quiz? Dig deep here: why does an employer feel the need to tack on a quiz? The simple answer is to make certain the employee took the training and the understood the material. Sounds a bit forced to me. But, the real reason is that corporate feels it’s important, and a quiz provides some kind of feedback loop around training being delivered – not that employees now care about corporate security or email phishing; just that the employee received the training.

So, how do you make eLearning relevant?

• Provide training they want – Take the case of a user looking for online training of how to perform a specific task in Microsoft Teams. The emotional buy-in is there (the user wants to know the answer) and, if the training module is entitled “How to do that specific thing you just asked how to do”, you’ve got their attention. No need to force the training, no need to quiz users. Believe me, they’ll watch that training video.

• Get that emotional buy-in first – If the material is something less about a topic the user is looking for, and more a topic the corporate wants everyone to learn about, you need to educate the user on why it’s important. I’m thinking more than just an email from the head of training giving reasons why the training is necessary; the content should use examples that will create an emotional response. In my wife’s case, how about giving a scenario where she clicks an attachment from a “parent” of one of her kids, and her entire laptop is unavailable for a week while IT fixes it? Open with that and, once again, you have her attention.

• Make it immediately applicable – Don’t make eLearning content that is little more than “do this, but don’t do that”. Instead, make sure the content includes real-world, task-based answers to “How-To” questions. They can leverage that information for immediately use.

The answer may be to forego traditional eLearning methods and look for new methods – such as Just-in-Time Learning (JITL) – to create more perceived and experienced relevance by shortening learning cycles, focusing the material on specifics useful to the user, and by more quickly engaging the user.

To read more on the topic of modern eLearning and how to best positively impact corporate users, checkout our latest white paper, Engaging and Educating the Modern Worker: An MVP’s Perspective on Online Learning Methods.

Today CoreView is the only unified management solution for Office 365 that provides this type of JITL model.

Here are some highlights about the CoreView training solution and some useful download links that provide more details:

    • Includes over 2,200 training videos for Office 365 and Office ProPlus.
    • These are task-based, or “How To”, videos ranging from 60 seconds to 2 minutes.
    • Video library is fully-indexed for fast searches to find the training you need, right when you need it.
    • The on-line video library uses your Office 365 login credentials to provide single sign-on for users.
    • Customers can also integrate the training videos inside of Microsoft Teams and SharePoint.
  1. Solution Datasheet –> Training and Adoption Capabilities in CoreView
  2. Comparison Datasheet –> Why JITL is More Effective than E-Learning
  3. White Paper –> Benefits of JITL for Office 365 Training and Adoption
  4. MVP White Paper –> Engaging and Training the Modern Worker

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