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Does your online learning need an MOT?

This post was written by Luciano Ferreira and first appeared on the Epic blog on 1st November 2013.

training coursesAs a learning designer for bespoke online training courses, one of the perks is attending face-to-face client meetings. I enjoy travelling and meeting our Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). Whatever their related field of expertise may be, our aim is to help them structure what will eventually become the information that’s truly relevant to their intended audience.

Sometimes the information we’re provided is a mish-mash of facts and figures. One of my recent challenges has been working on a suite of mandatory e-learning for a client. Every employee needs to complete a prescribed set of online learning packages because they must prove that they (and all their employees) are abiding to the rules within the legally and financially-regulated sectors they operate in.

The information we’re provided sometimes reads like it’s been taken directly from a legal document or policy – which is not far from the truth. From ‘Anti-Bribery’ to ‘Whistleblowing’, every employee is required to complete the full suite of training. And it needs to be done every year! The amount of learning that a learner needs to complete sounds very similar to a car having to pass its MOT – but slightly more painful!

During these client meetings, I heard from SMEs about the shocking lengths some of their colleagues (albeit very few!) would do to try to cheat the system; some of them made crib notes and used them to re-take the same test they did the year before. Other learners even held telecom meetings and completed the e-learning together!

This type of behaviour made our client aware that the new e-learning needed to become more interesting as well as address the general lack of interest in their mandatory training. We helped the client to realise that some people found it difficult to do their jobs and find the time to complete their annual training.

So when we proposed our innovative approach they fully embraced it. We reduced what had previously amassed to hours of content by introducing role-filters that ensured learners will only see the content relevant to their area of work and responsibility. We also changed the tone of voice and look to make it a little less stuffy and jargon-like.

Another learner-centric revamp that we introduced to their new training was to allow employees the option to take a diagnostic test upfront – saving them even more time. Here, they can prove that they understand the key principles for whatever course they need to complete. If the learner achieves 100 per cent in the assessment then they do not need to go through content they already know. If the learner fails the test, they are directed to that specific topic that they’re not that familiar with instead of taking the entire e-learning.

Our client will be rolling out the new courses later this year and I am proud to have contributed to saving people’s time. Learning should always be engaging, memorable and nowhere near as painful as an MOT car inspection.