Ahmad Fuad -  From lyceum to eLearning, process of knowledge sharing has come a long way. Organisational learning has also been revolutionised in recent years. Class room training is no more the only way of training employees. The 3E (Experience, Exposure and Education) development model has all the potential to significantly improve organisational learning experience. eLearning, mLearning, and learning through gamification are adding value to traditional learning and 3Es.

A dialogue between a CFO and a CEO has become a proverb in corporate sector and the meaningful dialogue is, “CFO: What happens if we train employees and they leave? CEO: What happens if we don’t and they stay?” The dialogue truly makes sense and this is one of the major reasons organisations ensure continuous learning of employees. Structural changes, movements and rotations of employees are also a way of giving them a holistic picture of the business to ensure that they learn quickly and stay beneficial to the organisation. However, the problem is that organizations do not do it frequently as there are some core departments that are not willing to rotate their team members because of their technical competencies and other non-core departments are too complacent to welcome changes. This situation puts a question mark on ensuring employees’ continuous learning. The 3E development model comes to rescue organisations and makes sure that employees stay beneficial to the organisations.

The 3E development model is also known as 70-20-10 Model of Development where 70 percent of learning is through practice and on-the-job experiences; 20 percent is through other people by exposure to coaching, feedback, and networking; and, 10 percent is through formal education-based learning interventions. All of the Es are important however HR and line management should reorder them according to the learning styles of the employees. Moreover, they must remember that digitalisation has made significant changesin training design as wrong order will seriously hurt entire learning process.

There is no substitute to on-the-job experience but onecannot you do it without introducing an employee to the jargons of the company. And same goes for the exposure part. One cannot learn from networking and unstructured feedback if he does not have basic knowledge of the business, his domain, operations, systems and products. And even for advanced learning, one needs to be familiar with the modern trends and that too needs some formal introduction to those modern changes.

There arises the need of training that includes class room training, eLearning (electronic learning, typically through computers/internet) and mLearning (mobile learning). Gamifying the latter two can increase training content retention.Class room training will always stay relevant to educate employees, especially on soft skills.However, organizations are looking ways to minimize class room trainings and replace them with eLearning and mLearning for knowledge and skill related trainings. eLearning and mLearning,by all means are cost effective and can also ensure exceptional learning if the course design is engaging employees.

What makes eLearning and mLearning employee-friendly is, its access that goes beyond time and space. Employees can do their courses on their ease, from remote locals and when they can comfortably spare time and their brain is ready to grasp the knowledge. However, poor eLearning course design can ruin the experience. Employees will neither learn nor get attracted to any such course again.

There are a few very important aspects that an eLearning course designer should keep in mind while designing a course so that the learners thoroughly enjoytheir learning experience. Course flow, placement of information, choice of colors, images, case studies, videos, voice over quality, online activities, and selection of stable software are important but keeping learners’ reading habits in mind can be crucial. Above all, having knowledge of learners’ understanding level and their tech-friendliness can play a vital role. Moreover, eLearning and mLearning course designers must know that reading habits of our region areon the decline and employees from different organisations are not avid readers either. So, the course design should be engaging and reader-friendly. They need something that they can quickly see, read, relate, learn and implement at their workplace. If any part of the course does not satisfy any of their learning needs, they simply move to something more interesting, even if it is not beneficial.

In corporate sector, employees have to attend trainings as part of their KPIs. It is trainer’s responsibility to design an effective course and deliver it in such a way that trainees stay engaged in the training room through relevant fun activities and that the knowledge is also transferred successfully. However, it is comparatively difficult to keep the trainee engaged and interested (in getting knowledge) in a distant learning course. This is exactly where eLearning struggles. The course designer needs to ensure that the employees should get what they need and they should enjoy their learning activity. Bombardment of (even relevant) information would hurt the purpose.

Gamification of the learning content is the best way to help learners learn what they should and in a way that they enjoy their learning experience too. Gamification makes them feel that they are not doing a task that is “mandatory” for them to learn or it is a part of their KPIs and they have to do it by all means but it keeps them engaged as they earn points while moving from one to another levels of the game, compete with others and have a sense of pride when they complete it. Content that is gamified has more chances of hitting bull’s eye than the traditional style of designing courses. Those who have been following the concept of “learning is fun” in their class room trainings, have an edge over others however they will have to ensure that they stick to the content and avoid irrelevant material. Keeping the learners engaged in an eLearning and mLearning courses is a way to challenging than the class room trainings, especially in a culture where employees avoid reading a one-pager even if it is for their own benefit and suggest others to read and let them know what that is all about.

From “learning is fun at workplace” to “gamification”, learning and development has taken some exciting turns and has always been profitable however organisation need to be mindful about the content that is being delivered, it would be an all disaster otherwise.

–The writer is a Corporate Training Specialist