One of my clients told me I helped him take his elearning to the ‘next level’. I like that, naturally (it’s certainly my aim), but I started thinking what that means, practically. More importantly, at many levels there are easy steps to the ‘next level’. So where do people go wrong and what are the associated opportunities?
One of the mistakes I see is ‘cookie cutter’ instructional design. I’ve rarely found an elearning course that wasn’t flawed, and there has typically been a reliable pattern in execution that can be remedied fairly systematically with a straightforward approach. I wrote the whole ‘broken ID‘ blog series around it, but that was at the very specific design level. At the organizational level, what’s a firm to do? It’s about updating the design team understanding (workshop) and reviewing the design process (templates). It may also take a stronger attitude with stakeholders about meaningful outcomes (strategy update).
Another mistake I see is a limited technology repertoire. Many organizations are ignoring the opportunities afforded by the proliferation of mobile devices. Folks have them, but organizations aren’t capitalizing, and for the wrong reasons. Sure, the different platforms have different standards, but this is more a barrier at the top end, not the entry level (and those problems are going away as certain areas are getting easier). There are some low-hanging fruit at the ‘making existing material available’ and at the ‘easy development of custom application’ levels. Taking the time to develop a mobile strategy is a small investment with a potentially large payoff.
A further mistake is not recognizing the need for organizations to go beyond formal training and deliberately start supporting informal learning. With training budgets shrinking, it just amazes me how many units are still taking the ‘we do courses’ approach and missing out on the bigger picture. With my TogetherLearn colleagues, we’ve been on about this, and again, the development of a social media infrastructure is relatively low-cost, and while it takes some time again the payoff for the organization can be huge. Figuring out an approach that suits your current situation and infrastructure is another big opportunity.
Beyond these steps, there are organizations still developing content without consideration of the underlying content model and the opportunities. Not developing content in a delivery-independent framework is a missed opportunity both for now and the future. The development redundancies in most organizations is a real potential opportunity for savings in efficiency, and the possibility in relatively advanced organizations to start using business rules to do personalization and mass-customization is hard to fathom.
The list goes on. I’m not saying you need to do all of them today, but taking the right next step for your organization, and realizing that wherever you are, there are low-cost, high-return possibilities available, should be something you are thinking about. Whether you take one on, tactically, or step back and make a plan whereby you figure out what your next steps are going to be, in order, you should be thinking ahead. Status quo is definitely threatened, I think, and therefore I encourage you to be considering how you’re going to be in a continual improvement loop. Time’s a wasting!