What Makes eLearning Click?
eLearning is the retail industry’s golden ticket to effectively training its workforce. With its low cost and 24/7 access, eLearning helps retailers deliver consistent training to geographically dispersed employees.
Training has always presented challenges for the retail industry, which is often plagued by a virtual revolving door of employees. But the advantages of a quality eLearning system has turned training on its head, proving to retailers that they CAN provide employees with a solid, consistent learning experience at a reasonable cost … and they can do so around the clock!
What exactly is it that makes eLearning click for the retail industry where traditional training methods could not? The answer lies in the complex science of how adults learn. The best eLearning systems incorporate these principles into their content and delivery strategies. Let’s dig in and examine some of the hallmarks of an effective eLearning system:
The content of a quality eLearning system will mirror the context of the job for which the employee is being trained. It will address the all-important question of “what’s in it for me?” The tools, customer interactions and obstacles depicted will reflect the reality of the work environment so that the training participant can really relate to it. The best eLearning programs will also incorporate the thinking of industry experts to bolster its credibility.
Today’s learners have grown up in an age of flashy graphics and animation, so to grab their attention, eLearning programs use color and design to their advantage. But great eLearning programs understand the difference between flash and distraction, and they find the right balance for visual appeal that works. Effective eLearning programs also present key information in bullet format rather than in endless lines of text.
Learning won’t occur unless you successfully grab your employee’s attention and keep him or her engaged in the process. That’s why the best eLearning programs are fresh and fun. They use true-to-life examples to demonstrate what to do and humor to demonstrate what NOT to do. And they break down long learning sessions into shorter, digestible chunks that can be scheduled 24/7 to suit the participants’ needs.
Sound learning principles
Training is a science, and understanding the various ways adults learn is a critical pre-requisite to designing an eLearning system. Some people learn by seeing, some by hearing, some by reading/writing and some by doing. The most effective eLearning occurs when all of these concepts are used, presenting content in a broad combination of workbooks, videos, role-playing, and other approaches.
It’s imperative that learners stay involved with the course content from beginning to end. One way that great eLearning programs achieve this is through interactive sessions. Written activities, role-playing exercises, occasional quizzes or other interactive methods help participants retain their new knowledge.
A retail manager needs to stay on top of the training progress of his or her workforce, and that’s especially difficult when employees are located in various stores spread over a geographical area. That’s why the best eLearning systems provide managers with a dashboard that allows them to view the progress and results of all training participants.
Store managers want to know that they’ve got someone to turn to when they launch an eLearning initiative. A great eLearning system will include materials for managers to help coach participants, follow-up with them and reinforce their learning. And if managers need assistance, it’s important that their eLearning system provides access to live experts on the other end of the phone to answer questions.
Training is an investment that can pay off for the retail industry over and over again… in higher sales, more customers, reduced employee turnover, and enhanced store reputation. And a quality eLearning system that incorporates the components described above will deliver effective learning to the workforce and great value to the retailer at the same time.