We are a creative agency based in San Francisco.

Evolving online learning

by Audrey Khuner, Design Media

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted learning for more than 1 billion learners across K-12, higher education and professional learning, forcing them to stay at home. Overnight, online learning became the norm, and organizations scrambled to adapt.

CLO, Marina Theodotou, April 14, 2020

What have you learned from this disruption about how to effectively create a virtual learning organization? In talking with our clients, we learned that dull click-through communications and learning will no longer be tolerated, short bursts of learning is what people have time for, and tracking effectiveness is imperative to a continuous process of improvement.

  1. Online learning needs a major reboot.
  2. Virtual learning modules need to grab attention and keep it.
  3. Microlearning should be just enough just-in-time.
  4. Tracking the effectiveness of online learning.

1. Online learning needs a major reboot.

A lot of corporate training was already done through online learning modules before Covid-19 turned things upside down, but many of those virtual modules fell short. Evidence shows that static eLearning, like the equivalent of online slide decks or virtual text presentations, is not engaging enough for sufficient user retention. And when people are taking these virtual learning courses at home, there’s even more opportunity for distraction.

2. Virtual learning modules need to grab attention and keep it.

We all know it’s important to make learning fun. But how exactly is this done? Online learning design needs to keep the user engaged throughout the lesson and (most importantly) must actually convey information in a way that makes it easy to remember. Some methods to achieve this include personalizing education, creating modules that are quick and engaging (microlearning), and tracking how effective each module is by asking for both the learner’s feeling about it as well as testing how much they retained.

3. Microlearning should be just enough just-in-time.

Microlearning is bite-sized information chunks that are engaging, interactive and simple to digest. These quick modules can be made of brief text and images, video shorts, snippets of speeches or songs, little quizzes, or games (like trivia). It's surprisingly effective for skill building and corporate training. It’s also often more cost-effective to produce than longer modules. People generally have short attention spans, so one benefit of microlearning is that it can deliver information quickly.

4. Tracking the effectiveness of online learning.

No matter which form of virtual learning your company chooses, it’s imperative that you monitor the effectiveness and adjust accordingly. It’s not enough to simply track how many employees complete eLearning modules. You must devise a measuring system to assess how much they’ve learned, how much they’ve retained months later, and if they’re truly building skills and competencies. This can be done through tests, surveys, and one-on-one interviews.

Creating effective eLearning is an ongoing lesson, just like anything else in life. It helps to iterate and evolve as the technology, working environment, and the world changes.

We are a creative agency based in San Francisco.