Making the most of the learner journey

Justine Swain | 07/05/2018

We invest a considerable amount of time on the design of our digital learning materials. But how much time and consideration do we take on designing our learner journey? Have you considered who your learners are? And have you really thought through the learner experience within your organisation?

Our learners are on a lifelong learning journey, and we are basically a stop or station on that journey.

If your learner is fresh out of the education system, then your ‘stop’ (your LMS and digital materials) are potentially the learners first experience of learning in a corporate environment. For learners who have been in a work environment for some time, they may have experienced learning at other organisations, so are potentially familiar with a range of LMS environments.

When using an LMS to host your digital learning materials, you need to think of your LMS as an opportunity to build your brand and culture. Your learners are there, live, and you need to make the most of this face time, whether these learners are employees, partners or vendors.

There are several things to consider:

  1. Access

    How do your learners access your LMS? Is it simple and clear? Or are there multiple steps involved just to access the LMS? We must think about the whole learning experience, and not just the eLearning course design.

    We start affecting our learner’s perceptions of our learning from that very first click to go to the LMS. Too many clicks, or unclear navigation, and our learning is judged before the learner has even opened our eLearning course. A short and intuitive route to the LMS will keep the learners on track and engaged.

    Take the opportunity to fully investigate and analyse the learner access process; is there anything you can do to improve and simplify this access?
  1. Visual style

    What should your learners feel when they take a course? How should they feel when they log in to the LMS and navigate to open and launch a course?

    The visual style of your LMS will tell the learner a lot about the organisation, and the quality of the learning on offer. First impressions count, and we need to capitalise on this at every stage of the learner process. Your LMS may have restrictions or limitations on how you can affect the visual style, but you can work within these limitations to give you a visual style that works for your organisation. Do you need a clean, simple, stylised user experience, or something more sterile and complex? Fully consider what you need, and then see how your LMS can give you this.
  1. Expectations

    Focus on building a comfortable experience so your learners are confident and know they are in the right place doing the right thing. Make sure it looks well thought-out, something your organisation takes seriously AND is dedicated to. Manage their expectations about what is available to them through your learning system, and how the learning can work for them.
  1. Style of audience

    Know and understand your learner base. It is one thing when you are training your own employees, but perhaps you are a retailer and depend on independent sales reps or partners. In this case, your branding efforts and look & feel might be even more critical because you are inviting them to take your training.
  1. Mobile ready

    How do your learners access your learning? Do you need to build and enable your courses for a range of mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones?

    If so, then you need to consider your imagery and layout for optimal performance on a range of devices. And let’s be honest, in today’s environment audience expectations and demands are high. Long gone are the days when learners were happy to just watch and click the next button; now they demand eLearning to be easy to use and engaging or otherwise they literally shut down, and you lose credibility. Access to your learning should be seamless on any device. Have you tested access to the LMS and learning on mobile devices? 
  1. 'Brandability'

    Are you keeping on top of your branding? As an organisation, your brand will evolve over time, and you probably make sure that all of your communication mediums are on brand. But do you pay the same attention to your LMS and digital learning materials? Small changes to keep the LMS on brand ensures that your learning system always looks like it is up to date and current.

    Depending on your business, you may need to regularly review and adapt your LMS branding. Many of our retail clients, for example, require quarterly brand reviews and redesigns in keeping with their seasonal fashion line updates. How much control do you need? And how self-sufficient do you need to be make ad-hoc brand changes?
  1. Embracing social media

    With the growing trends in micro learning, and the use of social media as a learning experience, more and more LMS companies are expanding their systems to include social media aspects.

    Does your LMS include social elements?  If so are they clear and engaging? Are they routinely monitored to provide timely responses to questions, or to keep subjects on topic? More importantly, does everyone in your organisation know about the functionality your LMS offers?

From first click to launch the LMS, through to completion of the eLearning course, we want your learners experience to be positive and enjoyable. By taking the time to look at the whole process, you may be able to make small changes which have a big impact for your learner.

Justine Swain

Instructional Designer at Omniplex

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