Despite speculation in industry media and other sources that e-learning is in decline, Next Generation E-Learning: Skills and Strategies—the latest research by the Association for Talent Development (ATD) and the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp)—found the practice thriving in nearly 90 percent of organizations. Further, talent development leaders and practitioners say they anticipate not only continued growth, but also exciting changes for e-learning ahead.
ATD and i4cp examined the use of e-learning in recent years and identified influences on talent development leaders’ choices about the ways they leverage e-learning. Considerations about content, design tools, and the types of training for which talent development professionals recommend e-learning were also explored to help these leaders and their teams make strong, data-driven decisions that are likely to support more effective e-learning use.
Like other business initiatives, e-learning exists within the context of volatile markets and rapidly changing organizational environments, which means that it must be a dynamic learning methodology. Talent development leaders predict that in the coming years the use of e-learning will become more extensive. They also expect e-learning to take on new characteristics, including expanded use of videos.
With the greatest portion of respondents reporting that they prefer to create their own e-learning content, the survey asked about the features talent development professionals are designing into their courses and modules. By far, video emerged as the leading choice, reported by 41 percent. Adaptive elements that track learners’ responses and adjust exposure to content accordingly ranked second in popularity (30 percent). That finding signals rapidly growing interest in the ability to make learning more personalized, engaging, and better able to address specific or unique needs.
Figure 1: Types of E-Learning Content Enhancement
30% Adaptive Elements
26% Audio Without Video
24% Interactive Video
24% Noninteractive Presentation
23% Interactive Practice Capabilities
11% Digital Badges
5% Wearable Technologies
No doubt, technology advancements are driving every aspect of business, and e-learning is no exception. Driven by an always-on, mobile culture, learners today have an instant-gratification mindset and are easily distracted by notifications from emails, text messages, and even fitness trackers. For instructional designers and other e-learning pros, this means every second counts when fighting for attention, focus, and retention. How do you focus attention away from everyday distractions and deliver engaging content? GoAnimate, who sponsored the research study, believes video is the answer.
There’s a mountain of evidence that video is an impressive catalyst for engagement in training and e-learning. Studies have shown that adding video to your content can improve the ability to remember concepts and details, with effects that even increase over time. Plus, your audience prefers video over static content like slide decks or PDFs—it’s simply more interesting.
Concise, animated videos are the perfect way to convey internal organization updates or change and transformation objectives. They’re efficient for employee onboarding, microlearning, or whatever information you believe requires more of a human touch. Video is a great way to enhance information that has to be delivered as text or to explain a series of steps that your learners will need to revisit repeatedly. It’s also far less expensive than in-person delivery, especially for a distributed workforce serviced by a small training team.
So, the next time you’re struggling for ways to connect with the instant-gratification generation, try video. Your audience may be able to resist the distractions just long enough to learn something.