Employee training and onboarding is an extremely critical component of Human Resources. According to a study published by Robert Half & Associates, over 28% of employees quit a new job within the first 90 days.
Lack of adequate onboarding and training is cited to be a primary driver for this.
With employee training, one size does not fit all. Every job function is unique, and the training process must take into account the specific roles and responsibilities of the employee being onboarded and their expectations. In other words, the training process must be devised from the ground-up depending on what your employees seek.
So how do you go about building the perfect corporate training material? For this article, I chose to pick the top five corporate training tools ranked by user-friendliness to see what they are doing right.
Establish Clear Paths
Traditional classroom-based training programs are not customised to individual learner preferences. However, the trouble with a lot of corporate self-learning training programs is that it is easy for an employee to get lost in the clutter. This is especially true for onboarding programs where the employee is new and does not have a clue about where to start.
The first and foremost objective of any corporate training material is to provide the learner with a clearly defined learning path. Take this dashboard for example.
Employees logging into their learning management system may readily view their ‘To Do’ tasks on the left side of the screen. Clicking the ‘To Do’ lists them all their tasks one after the other. It is hard to veer off the track with this framework.
Some learning experts believe that the use of progress indicators serve as a strategy “to reduce the perception of task burden” and thus increase completion rates. Such progress indicators are almost ubiquitous among all the top-ranked learning management tools. In addition to helping learners improve their completion rate, these indicators are also a useful measure for the employer to know what areas a learner needs additional help with.
In the example above, a trainer can see that the learner is progressing well in Statistics and Leadership master class, but has failed the course on Cold Calls. This could allow them to their training to help the particular learner with cold calling related training.
Some trainers consider progress indicators to be one of the many gamification tools available for corporate training. They are right. However, gamification goes beyond this, and it is interesting to see the various options available for trainers to make learners enjoy their training process.
With Looop LMS, for instance, you could offer virtual points and badges to your learners for successfully completing specific courses. From a trainer’s perspective, they do not cost anything. However, it has been proven to increase learner engagement and thus nudge learners towards completion.
Matrix LMS does something very similar. They offer the ability to launch a ‘site-wide game’ where learners gain points for completing various tasks like joining a group, completing a learning path or submitting assessments in various courses. The points gathered are thus consolidated to create leaderboards that are visible to all learners.
The reason such gamification elements are so effective is that learners engage better when they are pitted in a fun and engaging competition against others. Studies conducted by the American Psychological Association show that gameplay improves cognitive skills and also provides learning and social benefits to the learner.
As we have noted more than once earlier, each learner is unique, and course training needs to accommodate the specific requirements of each of their learners. One element that genuinely differentiates a highly user-friendly corporate training program from one that is not, is the trainer’s ability to create new and niche courses to target specific learners.
For instance, if your employee fails their lessons on cold calling, you may deem it necessary to create a custom course that explains the subject in greater detail. For this to be possible, it is essential for your learning management system to come equipped with the tools that make it easy for a trainer to quickly and effortlessly put forth a new course.
Several of the top learning tools I studied for this article came with the ability to create courses from templates. Templating, in this context, is more than just the course framework and allows the trainers to drag and drop specific videos and chapters from their library to the course page.
The user-friendliness of this model is pretty clear – trainers do not have to go about creating every course from scratch. This brings down the time it takes them to develop custom-courses targeting any specific learner.
The features mentioned above have been the driving force behind better usability among corporate training applications. In addition to these, I also looked at the other major learning management systems to understand how they are making their training materials user-friendly. Here are a few favourite features.
- Mobile accessibility: All the top learning management systems have a significant focus on mobile-based learning tools. There are two reasons why this is so important. Firstly, mobile accessibility makes it possible for your employees to be more productive and go through their course materials on their way to work or during non-working hours. Also, if you are training remote employees who do not have a stable internet connection, mobile accessibility makes it possible for them to access their courses from a different location.
- Community discussion: Different training platforms had different strategies to deal with community discussion. Major platforms like Docebo allowed their learners to ask questions instantly and tag them by category which could then be responded to by the specific trainer or by fellow learners. Other platforms had alternatives like live chat, FAQs and message boards for this purpose. Among these, live chats, I noticed, was the most user-friendly since it allowed learners to get their questions answered right away by an online trainer. The challenge, however, is that not all organisations can afford trainers to be online at all times.
- Microlearning: This is one of the emerging corporate learning trends that is placing a high focus on user-friendliness. Microlearning, also known as bite-sized learning, focuses on creating small nuggets of learning assets that do not take more than 3 to 6 minutes to complete. This tool is now being offered by many large learning management system providers, including TalentLMS, Elucidat and others. Studies show that human attention spans are on the wane in recent times. With microlearning, the objective is to produce user-friendly learning assets like videos, infographics and visual-books that are quicker to complete and thus protect the learner from distraction.
One of the key challenges while building a user-friendly corporate training material is your reliance on third-party tools for your project. This is inevitable, given the need to present content in multiple formats and medium. Producing your learning management system could thus be cost-prohibitive for most organisation. The tips provided above will, however, help you identify the features that make corporate training most learner-friendly. This helps improve learning productivity and consequently training ROI.
(Lead image: Depositphotos. All product images were retrieved from their respective websites or are product screenshots taken by the author when using the product.)