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The Goal: Make Digital Learning Go Viral

Relying on outdated solutions for virtual training is more costly than agencies might realize. The use of older or general-purpose solutions makes it difficult both to manage learning programs and to create courses that are effective.

First, they need the ability to rapidly build and deliver repeatable, consistent training across the organization.

Almost all organizations have high-level LMSs in their enterprises, but they tend to be top-down systems implemented by the IT department and delivered whole cloth to units in an organization. People could use it, but couldn’t tailor it to their needs or create content on their own. They were built for HR, not for the instructors or employees. Instructors, forced to make the best of it, paid the price.

“They were more in a consumption mode rather than in a production mode,” said Mike Murtha, a Solutions Consultant for Adobe who specializes in tailored L&D requirements of federal, state and local agencies. “And that’s just not going to cut it today.”

Second, agencies need to drive greater engagement and provide hands-on interaction to keep learners’ attention.

Recent studies have shown that e-learning increases employee engagement by up to 18% and retention by 25% to 50%. Adobe has found that a platform that allows learners to get involved with authoring and managing content accelerates that engagement, with learners producing content and enjoying the experience more. The same holds true for live virtual training, where constant interaction through content design and changing scenarios weaved into the instructor’s delivery (instead of mundane PowerPoints) measurably increase engagement and retention rates.

People’s everyday use of smartphones and laptops has changed their expectations. “The bar has been raised,” said Murtha. “Everything is three clicks or less, and it’s a very positive experience; otherwise, we leave it. I think the same holds true in the e-learning environment.”

The Solution: A Specialized Learning Platform

A platform designed for specialized training can bring agencies’ e-learning programs up to date for a modernized, mobile and remote workforce.

For starters, the material should resonate with employees. Collaborative, hands-on learning in an environment that provides a common visual experience helps them retain information and encourages them to think for themselves.

Technology that can deliver interactive live virtual training, which video conferencing tools barely support, can make a big difference. It allows courses to be built quickly and delivered consistently and repeatably without instructors having to re-work everything for every class.

It can have a multiplying effect, Murtha said, with people using the training more often than they would in a top-down model.

Some key features in a specialized e-learning platform include:

  • Multiple formats: An effective platform can work in a variety of modes, including live sessions with instructors, recorded sessions available on demand and virtual reality settings.
  • Personalization: Incorporating technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) helps a program learn more about users through implicit and explicit traits – and further personalizes content.
  • Hybrid classes: Post-pandemic training programs will likely be a mix of online and classroom settings, so a robust solution will have the flexibility to handle both.
  • Engagement design: Importantly, it should engage users in ways beyond just screenshare, video and chat. Specialized tools, enabling polls, reactions, drawings and interactive course design can induce participation from virtual learners and keep their attention just as effectively — if not more so — than what instructors can achieve in physical classrooms.
  • A secure environment: Security, of course, is always a paramount concern, so any solution should conform with FedRAMP, which sets federal standards for cloud services and is typically followed by state and local governments as well.

This article is an excerpt from GovLoop’s recent report, “No Agency Left Behind: Digital Learning for a Hybrid Future.” Download the full report here.

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