Posted on Wed, 06/17/2015 - 10:43
How effective is your online corporate training? Is it providing your workforce with the critical job skills they need to be successful? Does it provide the up-to-date learning experience that today’s workers are conditioned to expect? Is it enjoyable or a nightmare to get through? If you believe you have a pretty good idea of the answers to these questions, I’ve got another one for you... how do you know?
One of the most important tools we have in evaluating the effectiveness of our online corporate training programs is one that’s often overlooked. The importance of user feedback in providing meaningful and valuable insight about the online training we offer our workers is crucial. While we, as learning experts, may believe we’ve designed the best eLearning course possible, if the employees we’re targeting don’t agree, then we’re in trouble.
It’s always a good idea to beta test new eLearning materials before they go into full production with your learners. However, most eLearning testing is done either by a select group of knowledgeable workers, or sometimes by training specialists. This type of testing, even if it’s comprehensive, doesn’t tell us the story of how effective a training lesson will be in the real-world. When our goal is to impart job knowledge and teach performance skills, we must be open to learning whether we’ve done our job well.
The best way to fully understand how our training is perceived by the employees it’s designed to benefit, is by collecting feedback from those employees. This type of user feedback, when correctly solicited and obtained, allows us to analyze not just the design of our training, but its effectiveness.
User feedback is important in telling us whether the information we’ve presented is what the learner is actually receiving. It also tells us whether the training is engaging or sleep-inducing, interesting or tedious, fun or frustrating. In short, does it work?
Collecting user feedback can be done in a number of ways, some more useful and effective than others. A survey conducted at the end of a training course can be helpful, but it often does not provide the type of insightful information we need. By the time a user completes a training lesson – especially if it is a long one – they typically just want to be done with it. This may not be the best time to ask for genuine feedback. Even so, that does not mean you won’t get some good feedback using surveys.
Building in user feedback opportunities throughout your eLearning course is a far more effective way to gather feedback you can actually use. Just as knowledge checks are designed into a course along the way, prompts for feedback can also be integrated. One technique for doing this is to ask for feedback in a different style or format than your knowledge checks or quizzes. Make them fun or even funny – and remember to keep the feedback questions short. Examples might be:
User feedback can also be collected by the use of the Experience API. The function of the xAPI is to gather and provide access to the real-time experiences of eLearning users. While the xAPI requires an investment of both development time and infrastructure, the resulting data can provide valuable feedback.
Collecting feedback on your eLearning material is only part of the process of improving your online corporate training. What you do with the information once gathered is the important step. It may be a natural tendency for the designer of a training course to defend their product zealously – but that does a learner no good in the long run.
Instead, look at the feedback with an objective eye and with the understanding that improvements can always be made. Ask yourself if there is a theme or pattern to the feedback results, and see if you can identify any opportunities for improvement. Finally, understand that there are changes happening within the online training and eLearning field constantly, and working to improve your training delivery skills is just a part of the job.
For more information, or to see how incorporating user feedback into your online corporate training can benefit your learning programs, contact the experts at Designing Digitally, Inc. We have tools and techniques that can improve the effectiveness of your training, and get the most from your eLearning investment. Click here to request more information.