From Instructional Design to Experience Design – The Corporate Learning Paradigm Shift

Corporate Learning

The evolution of technology in corporate learning has been rapid yet transformative, giving more power to learners at each step. Today, organizations aim at bringing learning to where employees are. It could be on their smartphones, their tablets, laptops, and even on their smart watches. Giving a learner exactly what they want, and where they want, is the only way to win in this disruptive digital landscape. All this calls for solutions that are employee centric. To design such solutions, the focus needs to shift from instructional design to user experience design on a whole.

If you are thinking about what would constitute impactful user experience design, well, for starters, learning and information support systems should be extremely easy and intuitive to use. We are already so accustomed to the Google and YouTube experience in our lives. Say you are seeking a quick tutorial on how to apply an appliqué patch on your denims. Without even wanting to check with the person sitting next to you, you just type in your query on the Google toolbar or the YouTube app on your phone, and there are thousands of results available in a second. There are videos, infographics, articles, and much more. You choose to view based on your reading and watching preference. And if you don’t like what you see, you quickly move to the other results. So quick and easy, Right?

Consider another case, you need a cab, all you need to do is press a search button on your Uber app, and the app shares information on all cabs available nearby, with the estimated wait time as well. Who could have thought of such a technology sorted life, a decade back! Today, all information is available at your fingertips, and the user experience is constantly improving.

We need to design the same experience for corporate learning. But there is a small catch. The corporate learning experience, because of its formal nature, needs to be a lot more controlled; a lot more guided, whilst appearing as independent as it regularly is. Since there is an explosion of video and instructional content over the internet, it is really difficult to filter out the right information for your employees.

Here are some ideas on how to achieve this:

  • Personalize the experience

They key here is to track employees’ digital footprints at the workplace and based on them, guide the employee into an appropriate and personalized learning flow. Every employee’s learning needs and learning style varies from others. Automated systems powered by artificial intelligence can be used to detect what is best suited for an employee. They can be used to act as gatekeepers to filter the right information from the internet to the company intranet.

  • Categorize content

For easy searching, content can be categorized into multiple types   Informative Instructional, Advanced, Compliance Related, etc. These categories may totally depend on the workplace requirement and make it easier for employees to locate the right module or video depending upon their requirement. Uncategorized content will only lead to more confusion and less learning.

  • Specify learning format

Learning formats could be segregated into two types: Macro-learning and Micro-learning.

Micro-learning is just in time, delivered in small, very specific bursts. Two minute videos could be micro-learning. A short game could be micro-learning. Even a small eBook that takes ten minutes to read through could be micro-learning. We, as users, consume this kind of material all day. This could prove handy when an employee wants to learn a quick thing, or read up on a quick policy, Content curated distinctly as micro-learning lets a user know what to expect.

Macro-learning, on the other hand, is something that covers detailed information related to a topic. It comes in handy when an employee wants to learn an entirely new process or function. For instance, it could be all about social media marketing, or automation testing. Macro-learning can be instructor led, or a series of videos and podcasts, or an entire interactive eBook.

  • Enable ratings

When there is abundant information available to be consumed within an organization, it makes sense to learn from other’s experience too. Courses, videos, or other learning objects need to have a provision where employees can rate them. It makes more sense to view a video course with 5 stars on ‘Retargeting’ than a 1 star video. An ‘Effective Sales Strategy’ podcast liked by 50 employees stands a higher chance of being heard than a similar one liked by only 12.

  • Add pre-assessments

Assessments added prior to an important course or module make learning much more controlled and better guided. Such exercises can give a sense of what the employee already knows and what s(he) still needs to learn.

The above steps can ensure that employees can find the information they need wherever they are. Such a design replicates the massive YouTube or Google like learning experience into your corporate learning. The key is to step into the user’s shoes and focus on the user experience design.

Thoughts?

 

Note: This blog has been drafted based on inputs from the following members of Harbinger’s Industrial Advisory Board:

  • Patti Evanosky, Director of Training, Chicken Salad Chick
  • Paul Meek, Director, Solutions Training and Advisory Limited
  • Jayant Kulkarni, Chief of Sales, Harbinger Interactive Learning

eLearning Trends to Watch Out For in 2018

2018

I recently participated in two significant eLearning conferences – Learning 2017 and DevLearn. The key purpose of my participation in these conferences was of course to bring Harbinger’s offerings to the forefront. But apart from that, I wanted to network with like minded professionals and also get some insights into the current and forthcoming eLearning trends. Based on my interactions and experiences, I decided to pen down some interesting trends and technologies that were discussed the most. It will be interesting to look out for them in the year 2018.

1. Course Modernization of Legacy Courses

The Flash sunset has been announced for 2020, and with that, it has become crucial for catalog companies to convert legacy Flash courses to HTML5. This entails a huge volume of work to be handled rapidly while following latest design styles, maintaining quality and learner demands. It is critical for every CLO and content director to strategize the successful enablement of this transition while satisfying the customer too.

Talking about Harbinger’s readiness in this regard, we are fully prepared to work with catalog companies to meet their needs of course modernization – HTML5 support on mobile, micro-learning, latest design styles, accessibility support – and all this, regardless of the availability of legacy content source files.

2. User Experience Design as a Part of the Standard Process

Learners expect the same experience while taking up an eLearning courses as they have with their intuitive day to day applications – engaging, gamified and search friendly. eLearning courses are now expected to be designed considering these parameters, to make the overall experience smoother and relevant. The development teams need to focus not just on the project stake holders; but also on learners.

Harbinger’s ideology and approach has always been learner centric. Our user experience design aims to make the learner’s experience engaging, smoother, and impactful.

3. Long Term Vision while Designing Current Courses

CLOs and content directors are looking for solutions which can not only address their current needs but future requirements as well. Activities like addition of analytics to understand user preferences and usage pattern; are becoming significant. Solutions addressing easy course maintenance, flexible upgrade to new technology are being considered and embraced by one and all.

eLearning partners who can provide such end-to-end solutions and also understand backend technology to generate analytics and relevant reports; are the ones you should look out for.

4. Augmented reality (AR)

With iPhone supporting augmented reality, organizations are moving towards embedding AR based eLearning programs in their curriculum for on-boarding modules, value based training, mechanical training, safety training etc. It would be interesting to see how eLearning companies use this technology, which is now available for masses.

Harbinger has also forayed into the implementation of this technology and our highly innovative learning experiences based on Augmented Reality can give a new dimension to your learning and training.

5. Artificial intelligence (AI)

Using Artificial intelligence for improving the eLearning experience would be something interesting to watch out in 2018. This could involve the usage of chatbots where the system learns and responds based on user actions.

Harbinger has also been working on a solution to make the eLearning development process better and faster using AI. We got a chance to showcase this solution at DemoFest 2017, which garnered lot of interest from various product managers and L&D heads. If not mainstream, I am sure we would see lot of progress on companies trying to play their hands with this technology.

Those were my top 5 picks for 2018. What are yours?