Hacking the learner experience: tips for configuring user engagement and adoption

NetDimensions’ 2017 North American user conference, NextSteps, took place in NOLA in May. While there, executives and L&D professionals had the opportunity to discuss new trends and best practices, expand their knowledge in technical and industry-focused sessions and gain new perspectives on meeting talent management challenges.

One of the most popular breakout sessions at the conference was titled, ‘Elevate your brand with HTML homepage widgets and skins: explore what is possible in exercising configurability to create a more engaging user experience’. Its presenters, Ali Zaheer and Garfield Bolt, are both Solutions Consultants for NetDimensions Talent Suite.

Should you choose a cloud-based LMS or on-premise LMS?

With today’s learners tending to upskill on the go, a mobile LMS is all the rage in the consumer marketplace. Different kinds of Learning Management Systems offer different features and flexibility, and the pros and cons of in-house and cloud-based systems depend on the unique requirements of your organization, such as its security needs. Picking the best solution is a case of considering a wide range of factors, so here are a few questions to ask.

NetDimensions Talent Suite is a secure, cloud-based LMS

Building Global Virtual Teams and Virtual Learning Capability

A new model of global organization is coming to the fore. Traditional top-down hierarchies have been swept away in favor of agile and responsive ‘networks of teams’. These are virtual teams that are set up and disbanded as needed to create new products and services and meet fresh global challenges from new competitors.

The challenge organizations face is how best to build the skills base of individuals to optimize global virtual team working.

Deloitte has described this trend as ‘the rise of teams’. Many companies have already begun the move away from conventional functional structures – 92% of companies surveyed by Deloitte believe that redesigning the organization is ‘very important’ or ‘important’. Deloitte discovered that only 38% of all companies and 24% of large companies with more than 50,000 employees are organized function by function.

However, key to the success of contemporary, agile ways of working is ensuring that individual employees have the necessary skills for flexible working across borders.

Learning Portals – Transforming the learner’s experience

The term “learning portal” is used liberally in the training industry, but what does it really mean?

By common definition, a portal is described as a gateway, doorway or entrance. Likewise, in computing it generally refers to a website that provides links or gateways to other websites. This idea affords businesses with the opportunity to consolidate relevant learning resources and tools into one location to accomplish a specific business or learning goal.

So, how is a portal different from a Learning Management System (LMS)? It’s a fair question with a fuzzy answer.

LMS’ such as NetDimensions Talent Suite are highly configurable and are capable of providing a portal-like experience using out-of-the-box functionality. However, organizations commonly configure their LMS as a one-size-fits-all solution to provide a superset of content and tools for many people within the organization, and covering many different subject areas.

A custom portal, on the other hand, provides a learning experience that targets a specific business goal, audience or subject area to deliver a focused, holistic learning solution. Today, we see that businesses are developing portals for multiple subject areas, including:

  • New hire onboarding
  • Sales training
  • Service training
  • Manufacturing training
  • Compliance or technical training
  • Extended enterprise and more

 

So what’s the big deal?

Gamification: Putting Play into Learning & Development

Just about every adult has a memory of childhood competition. From the playground to the sports field to the arcade, we enjoyed besting our friends or boasting about our accomplishments.

Now as adults, we are faced with the challenges of our careers, trying to keep pace with an ever changing informational world and completing required training to meet those challenges. We attend seminars, watch webinars, sit in classes, or use online learning portals to take courses. But who says this has to be boring? Why not make the learning process fun?

Introducing gamification to the corporate learning process… just what our inner child needs.

For the uninitiated, gamification is the application of game-design elements to non-game contexts. You’ve probably already seen this all around you. After all, gamification elements work their way into our lives every day, ranging from achieving new levels on your Fitbit to earning Starbucks Stars for free drinks. The goal is to add elements of fun and reward by recognizing achievements and driving engagement and participation.

And that’s where gamification has the potential to make a significant impact on online training – because if we make it fun and offer elements that make learning more interesting, we encourage learners to be more engaged with the course content. And more importantly, the outcome that we can achieve is to meet our organizations’ strategic goals of having a well-trained workforce that meets our compliance requirements.

So, what are some ways that gamification can support your goals? Let’s take a look at a few learning and developing goals and some examples to demonstrate how we can apply gamification elements to them to improve learner engagement:

Goal: Motivate learners to be engaged and complete a curriculum
Gamification Opportunity: Provide rewards, badges or other incentives for completing the curriculum within a specific timeframe.

Goal: Measuring a learner’s understanding of a specific procedure
Gamification Opportunity: Create a mapping activity around the procedure and award points towards completing correctly in a certain timeframe.

Goal: Make content more engaging
Gamification Opportunity: Create gaming elements such as levels or challenges to encourage learners to move through the content to completion.

Goal: Encourage certification and skill qualification
Gamification Opportunity: Tie certifications to rewards, post individual and group results, make the process competitive with leaderboards and visible comparisons.

Goal: Encourage timely course completion
Gamification Opportunity: Award points for completing the course within certain timeline and points for correctly answering timed questions inside the course.

The key is to rethink both the structure and content of your learning and build these elements into your online learning and training programs. Gamification does not have to mean a full overhaul of a course, rather adding gaming elements to existing content to achieve higher levels of engagement. As these examples demonstrate, it can be as simple as adding a time element to a quiz or knowledge check!

And while we may no longer be running around our childhood playgrounds, we will be creating a fun environment that engages learners and helps them achieve their goals.

For more about Gamification and its potential for learning and development, download our white paper “Gamification – Does it have a place in your L&D Content Development.”