Since its July 2016 release, augmented reality game Pokémon Go has set sales records around the world and become a social media and pop culture phenomenon. Pokémon Go signals a convergence of mobile technology and real-life interaction that some say blurs the boundaries of online and real life.
The success and popularity of Pokémon Go confirm what eLearners have known for a long time: A digital interface, engaging interactions, gamification, and a focus on action lead to user engagement.
These are also the defining qualities of an effective eLearning strategy that can help organizations dispense knowledge and develop the skills of today’s workforce.
Workforce expectations are changing
Augmented reality games like Pokémon Go raise the stakes for both performance management and eLearning strategies. Ultimately, every business is defined by its workforce. Executives know that developing the workforce is worth the investment, too. According to Bersin by Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends 2016 report, 84 percent of executives surveyed view learning as an important issue (40 percent) or a very important issue (44 percent). And the success of games like Pokémon Go signals that today’s workforce, and Millennials in particular, want—if not need—an immersive, on-demand learning environment.
Here are three ways to help keep your performance and eLearning management strategies in step to help employees grow and develop.
1. Make it mobile friendly
Take a look around. On average, one-third to one-half of everyone you see will be working their smartphones. In a remarkably short time frame, we’ve become inseparable from these devices—which means that all learning content needs to be mobile friendly.
Mobile also includes tablets and laptops. An effective mobile strategy needs to embrace responsive design to ensure your employees can access training materials on any device or browser. They will have their devices, they will travel—and learn, wherever and whenever. If learning content isn’t accessible from a mobile device, fewer employees will see it. Think about how that will impact performance improvement and productivity.
2. Break it up
Some call this “chunking”—the strategy of breaking up information and content into bite-size units. Chances are you’re already doing this with your eLearning, but this is particularly important for mobile users. Chunking helps make it easier and faster to learn content, especially on a small form factor like a smartphone or tablet. Here are some techniques for chunking:
- Use bullets and numbered lists to bring structure to your content.
- Use one screen per topic. Learners will scroll, but don’t make them click to continue with your content.
- Divide your lessons into shorter modules. It’s better to have a number of shorter modules rather than a single long lesson with unbroken content.
3. Go YouTube
While traditional validation of course content is still important, there’s no denying that most experts have both an online and a YouTube presence. They regularly post or publish well-researched and often peer-reviewed special reports and video tutorials with excellent content. That means YouTube and resources like TED Talks have emerged as a legitimate way for your employees to acquire valuable information and knowledge. Incorporating YouTube, TED Talks, and selective specialized sites into your eLearning will garner support and engagement—and it’s free.
Linking eLearning to performance management
Employees need to see a career growth path, regardless of where they are in the org chart. As the world of work continues to spin faster and faster, regular conversations about employee performance and training and development are key factors for engagement. In fact, research from Aon Hewitt shows that career development discussions keep employees motivated and engaged.
eLearning harnesses online-based activities for teaching and learning at the pace today’s workforce wants and needs to learn at. Looked at in this way, eLearning—with or without augmented reality techniques—is clearly a powerful way to support performance management and achieve specific outcomes that are aligned with or that directly support individual and organizational goals.While it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of augmented reality techniques for boosting engagement, it’s also important to remember the real purpose of eLearning is its link to employee performance management and the need for managers and employees to have regular conversations about performance and career growth. While employee engagement is good, employee performance improvement is better.