E-Learning Trends Today and Beyond

Pubblicato su Collaborate mercoledì 14 maggio 2003

New developments are occurring in e-learning training at a breakneck pace. What trends are hottest, and which will impact your business most? Find out what three leading experts have to say as they turn on their high beams and look into the future 18 to 24 months out.

Business drives trends

Any discussion of trends needs to begin with a general understanding of the business issues behind the trends. From a delivery standpoint, more and more businesses will continue to recognize e-learning’s ability to quickly and effectively build knowledge and develop certain skills while dramatically reducing training-related costs. This is true not only for internal training purposes but for training customers as well–a trend our experts see as rapidly growing in force as more and more consumers go online to learn how to best use a company’s products and services.

Businesses will begin to focus more than ever on the practical aspect of e-learning–its effective implementation. The infatuation with the technology in and of itself will continue to fade away as businesses search for best practices that improve the overall effectiveness of e-learning and its ROI. Future growth and continued expansion of e-learning will occur as more and more organizations learn how to successfully implement e-learning that generates desired business results.

Further emergence of simulation

Another business driver that will ultimately perpetuate an important trend in e-learning, specifically the greater use of simulation-based e-learning, is the migration of more and more services to automated or “self-service” applications. With the greater use of self-service applications, the types of training organizations provide their employees will change.

For example, just about every company today is looking for ways to automate routine customer service options that are typically handled by live representatives. They are also looking for more effective ways to train consumers on products and services online. It’s important to note that the push towards self-service is not only driven by a desire to increase operational efficiency and effectiveness, it’s equally driven by clients who prefer to use self-service options. From a learning standpoint, this changes the nature of many companies’ training programs. With routine transactions being handled through automated systems or online, customer service and sales representatives need to be better equipped to handle the more complex transactions requiring a higher level of knowledge and interaction skills.

According to Gloria Gery of Gery Associates, good simulation-based e-learning has already proven itself as an effective solution for helping organizations develop more advanced skills such as decision-making and business communication skills. Simulation-based e-learning is also particularly useful in standardizing practices throughout the organization. “All good simulations are built on models of how business works,” says Mike Flanagan, vice president of research and consulting for Lguide. “The goal is to raise the consistency of representatives’ skills throughout the organization.”

There is a continued trend to use simulations for screening. Even before hiring, simulation models are now emerging for use in the screening of prospective employees. Paul Stockford, chief analyst for Saddletree Research, notes, “Simulation is becoming much more prevalent in pre-qualifying applicants. Simulations can now help you determine pretty quickly if someone has the patience and aptitude to deal effectively with the issues and types of customers who patronize a given business.”

However, the experts also warned against using simulation-training programs for pre-employment purposes if the program was not originally designed for screening. This is because the objectives and content for screening differ greatly (and in very important ways) than the objectives and content for training.

One key difference is that training simulations are designed to measure a person’s acquisition of job-related skills and knowledge–such as the proper way to work with customers, procedures, or product information–after they have been exposed to it. There is a real cost to providing this learning experience and most organizations only want to make that investment in people who are capable of taking advantage of it.

Effective pre-employment screens should measure the core competencies that a person is expected to have before training and the ones the company is not willing to train for such as personality traits and problem-solving ability. (These may be too difficult or expensive to warrant training). If a candidate has adequate levels of these core competencies, chances are the individual will usually turn out to be a good hiring decision. There is a sufficient degree of confidence that the individual can acquire knowledge and develop other job-related skills, including those that many simulation-based e-learning programs help develop such as customer service, sales and coaching skills.

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Pubblicato su mercoledì 14 maggio 2003

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