Organizations increasingly recognize the importance of training, especially online training, for their employees and customers. This recognition, along with advances in technology, have made it easier to get training and education – be it product training, soft skills, compliance, or any other subject – into the hands of the people who need it. And yet organizations still struggle to see a clear return on their training investment.
There are a variety of reasons for this, including an alignment between goals and activities or clear metrics for success and means for tracking progress But another reason that training professionals are starting to pay closer attention to is the quality of the Learning Experience (LX).
What is Learning Experience?
Learning Experience, often referred to as User Experience, is how a learner feels about the course and the entire learning process. The goal of learning experience is to make sure that – more than just consuming the information given to them – users are engaged in and enjoying the process. Learners that enjoy their experience in a course are more likely to complete the course, retain more information, and recommend the course to others.
LX is often confused with how a course looks and while aesthetics are a consideration, it has very little effect on the experience of the course in and of itself. Think of it this way, it might be a porsche on the outside but if it’s powered like the Flintstone car, no one is going to drive it. If your learners are bored, irritated, or frustrated, they are most likely not learning what is presented no matter how beautiful the site looks.
As you think about the Learning Experience in your own site, here are a few questions to consider:
- How do my learners typically react when they’re assigned new courses?
- Do my learners focus on the minimum requirements for completion or do they display a desire to learn more?
- Are my learners able to readily apply what they’ve learned?
How Learning Experience Impacts Outcomes
The ripple effects of a site’s Learning Experience – positive or negative – go well beyond a user’s score in a gradebook. Let’s look at a couple of examples of how LX might impact a business.
Account Manager training on new products
Your company has invested a lot of time and money into a new product and your Account Managers need to be able to sell it to customers. Training is provided about the features but your Account Managers are bored by the course presentation and are distracted by more issues that feel more pressing. They pass the course but the in-depth knowledge they will need to answer a prospect’s questions never sticks.
Result: Account Managers don’t push the new product or are unable to expertly discuss the product with clients. Either company profits suffer or expenses increase due to the additional support Account Managers need to fill in the gaps.
Employee Safety Training
New safety regulations are required for all your employees. Most of the new regulations only apply to specific departments or positions. Unfortunately, all employees have to go through all the new laws. It takes four hours to complete the course. By the end of the course, they are frustrated and overwhelmed by all the information. Most participants barely pass.
Result: Not only have all employees lost four hours of productivity but they are still unfamiliar with the regulations, risking legal complications for the company.
Your company provides consumer-oriented training on a specialized field and a new suite of courses has just been released. A few people purchase your courses but very few finish. Feedback from your consumers show that the course is not meeting the learners standards and they were unlikely to recommend the course to others.
Result: Not only has the company not made a full return on their initial investment but the feedback suggests that customers are not likely to purchase other courses, resulting in a loss of repeat business from many new customers.
How can I improve my company’s LX?
There’s no “Magic Pill” for improving your site’s Learning Experience. It requires a combination of instructional design strategies, sound technology implementation, ongoing user feedback, and other variables to achieve. One place to start would be to familiarize yourself with Persuasive Design Strategies. At Remote-Learner, we use PDS as our guideline principle for implementing a strong Learning Experience strategy. We hope this blog has piqued your interest in Learning Experience and has encouraged you to explore the subject further. If it is of interest, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org – we’d love to connect.