Developing a Learning Culture

Show and Tell: When e-Learning Doesn’t Work

Even an eLearning company has to draw the line somewhere: Sometimes, eLearning isn’t the most effective way to train. After all, eLearning can look a lot like a puzzle sometimes, which some pieces that fit right in and others that are more challenging. It’s not just about utilizing eLearning, but utilizing eLearning in the right way and at the right times. And sometimes, it’s about not using eLearning at all. Putting the right methods in the right places ultimately creates the most effective training possible, regardless of the topic.

Let’s Get Physical

Here’s where the line is usually drawn for eLearning applications: When the training veers into physical territory, it’s best to scrap e-courses in favor of a live demonstration and learner hands-on practice. Training learners how to use a fire extinguisher, for example, is great on a screen – until a user actually has to pick up that fire extinguisher without experience during an emergency.

When a learner really needs hands-on examples and experience to totally grasp a topic, it might be unwise to rely completely on eLearning. Instead, some one-on-one time and actually being able to touch, feel and practice could make the most impact on training.

Public Speaking, Writing and More

Hands-on training isn’t the only topic that might be a misstep with eLearning. When training employees to become better business communicators or public speakers, it’s more about show and less about tell. You can tell learners how to stay calm and clearly relay a point during a conference speech, but unless they’re able to practice putting those concepts to work on their own, they might not fully grasp the technique.

Make sure that, when a corporate training concept is performance-based, learners have ample opportunity to put their newfound knowledge to practice. Only then can you identify understanding and correct some learners’ misunderstanding, too.

A Blended Approach

Of course, just because eLearning isn’t the ideal primary method of delivery doesn’t mean you should scrap it altogether. For physical or practice-based applications, eLearning can become part of a successful blended curriculum for even more efficiency.

Supplement your hands-on coursework with practice, quizzes and other eLearning components that give your learners a chance to brush up on what they’ve learned. Or, try a follow-up course that helps job their memories before a big event. When you blend together both eLearning and hands-on training, it becomes a highly integrative experience, which we all know results in better knowledge retention and ultimately, results.

It might seem counterintuitive for an eLearning company to point out all the ways in which eLearning might not be the most effective method, but being experts in the medium means knowing how to use it properly. When hands-on training is the name of the game, eLearning can become a supporting playing in the ultimate game of show and tell.