Education and training using digital technology. It used to sound like science fiction. But now e-learning is a regular part of our lives, gradually displacing traditional seminars, courses, and conferences. And no wonder — e-learning really is better adapted to modern reality. There are at least five weighty arguments in favor of it.
And it doesn’t have to be expensive either. You can always choose between a budget option and a more advanced solution that will accomplish the same goals. So what are your options, and what are the differences between them? Let’s try to sort it all out.
Let’s start with the most basic tool we can use either on its own or as part of a course. We’re talking about multimedia tests that can be used to determine how much employees know. These tests can be either traditional or narrative-based, and they can include images, audio and video tracks, and gamification elements. As a rule, the questions follow these formats:
Tests help you compile statistics, identify employees’ strengths and weaknesses, and determine how ready they are to do their jobs. As a rule, tests follow training sessions.
Presentations are probably one of the most flexible options in terms of content and cost. This format can be adapted to meet almost any need using audio, video, animation, and 3D modeling. Adding other e-learning elements can significantly expand a presentation’s capabilities.
For example, let’s say you have a presentation for future sales managers. It could start with a video about the company’s goals. This could be followed by a brief instructional section and advice from experienced employees with animation and voiceover. The presentation could then end with a built-in dialog trainer or a test to help trainees absorb what they’ve learned. It could be even more interesting if you add interactive elements, animated characters, or gamification.
An e-learning course can also include informational training videos. The advantage of video is that it’s very accessible and easy to understand. A two-minute video can sometimes be more eloquent than the best specialist — videos work on multiple sensory levels at once, motivate people to engage in creative thinking, and win their audience over with their dynamism. And if we add an original narrative or a fun cartoon, the video will be retained by the viewer’s emotional memory as well, and they’ll find themselves mulling it over on the way home from work.
Training videos can include animation, voiceover, soundtracks, sound effects, subtitles, on-screen text, and much more. They’re perfect for explaining abstract concepts like an organization’s values or specific topics such as how to use a lab microscope. These kinds of videos are often used in comprehensive training courses.
The next stage of evolution is multimedia quests. These are training sessions that take the form of an interactive game. As a rule, they’re based on situations from work. So what do they look like?
Imagine you’ve hired new employees at your shipping company, Frodo Baggins & Co. To help them get their bearing quickly, you give them a quest. Their virtual characters’ mission is to visit every floor and office, meet key employees, and follow along step by step as the Ring of Power is delivered.
As they play the game, they meet the other members of their team and become familiar with the company’s internal policies and division of labor. And you don’t have to spend your own time getting every single new hire up to speed, which is especially crucial for large organizations.
If you want to improve your employees’ social skills, multimedia dialog trainers are the way to go. They imitate complex social situations and teach conflict resolution, which is especially vital for call center operators, customer service professionals, and managers.
Each task takes the form of a dialog with a hypothetical customer, business partner, or coworker. The interlocutor offers a suggestion, question, or complaint. The employee’s goal is to select the right response. They could also say it out loud, which allows the program to evaluate the intonation, expressiveness, and speed of their reply. Various meters such as the interlocutor’s «trust» and «mood» can also play a role. If the interlocutor is annoyed, choosing «say it playfully» could make them angry.
And each response changes how the situation develops. Can your employee sell a product to a particularly tight-fisted customer? Or resolve a dispute with a business partner? Even if they fail, the program will still teach them to master challenging social situations and nudge them in the right direction.
There’s also another kind of trainer called a «drag-and-drop trainer." How does it work?
Let’s say you have a new hire who’s learning how to stock shelves and display merchandise. Once they’re done training, the program takes them to a virtual store. Their goal is to place watches in a display case in a way that will increase sales of a new Casio collection. Using the mouse, they drag the watches to the middle of a virtual display case. «Right!» The trainer increases the challenge after that. The program could ask the employee to match objects, clean up, correct a mistake, etc.
This allows the new hire to independently learn the basics of merchandising in just a couple of hours. And they get hands-on experience while they’re at it.
But if you’re training employees to become managers, you’ll want to consider business simulators. These are advanced story-based games with a plethora of multimedia elements. The game can recreate complex workplace situations with large numbers of variables.
It can take the form of a 3D office work sim or a financial strategy game where the player needs to manage an industrial facility. As a rule, these simulations take even the most granular aspects of the manufacturing process into account. The player oversees sales, shipping, HR, purchasing, and administration. The program analyzes their strategy, pointing out errors and recommending future courses of action. These simulations can also be used to test organizational solutions and predict the consequences of certain approaches long before they lead to real-world difficulties.
Many major companies use simulators to increase their employees’ financial literacy, training them to run the company and work with complex, expensive equipment. Virtual and augmented reality are often used in equipment training. For example, an employee could use VR goggles with pop-up hints to learn to fill a bioreactor. Or they could use VR to train to use an oil loading rack.
The only limit to the potential applications of e-learning is your imagination. You can choose a single appropriate format for an entire course that includes everything all at once. You can integrate files into an application or store them on distance learning platforms. You can even automate the process so the correct materials get distributed at the right time without anyone having to lift a finger.
Everything else, including creating training courses and distance learning platforms, can be handled by our specialists. We’ll develop the perfect script and design, prepare content, and even translate it into other languages if need be.
You’ll always have easy access to your courses. And as long as the pandemic is still changing the way we do business and upending our best-laid plans on a regular basis, you can always take advantage of these gigabytes of knowledge that don’t need to put a mask on just to walk into the office. Just press the «send» button, and you’re good to go.