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10 top tips and essential resources for newcomers to elearning

June 23, 2017

by Tess Robinson, Director, LASmaze

Being immersed in the digital learning world, it’s easy to forget that there are an awful lot of people out there who are just exploring using technology for learning for the first time and boy can it be overwhelming… what author-tool, LMS, LRS, design methodology do I use? Do I need to gamify it, make it responsive, record user data. What about AR, VR and all this newer tech – should I be looking at that and oh what a lot of providers there are, how do I know who to choose? Fear not, here are our top tips and essential resources for newcomers:

  1. Start by investigating what technology your organisation already has. If you can piggyback on something that your learners are already familiar with, there will be less resistance (providing they like the tech of course) and it will also be cheaper.
  2. Take your organisation’s culture into account and also the micro-culture of the audience you’re designing learning for – Note: this can be very different to the stated culture of the organisation.
  3. Consider what is already successful in your organisation. For example, does it have a flourishing community of practice or does that sort of thing generally fall flat?
  4. Look for real problems to solve. Where possible align with your organisation’s strategic goals. This point is important and has the potential to transform your role from a training shop into a strategic partner for the business.
  5. Don’t get distracted by fancy technology. If you want to give people the physical experience of doing something risky in a safe environment, VR might be a good choice but if it’s compliance training you’re after, another form might be better value.
  6. Join professional associations and groups and use their networks to get advice. The elearning industry is a very supportive one and you won’t be short of help.
  7. Be curious and open. If there is a technology or supplier you’re interested in, talk to some of their other customers to get a feel for what they’re like to work with. Ask for recommendations from others. Be prepared to share your experiences too.
  8. Look at best practice in other organisations through awards entries, conferences and workshops. Spot trends through connecting to people and groups on LinkedIn and Twitter. Attend all the webinars and events you can to build your knowledge and network.
  9. Read the blogs of the best in elearning. Our favourites include Elliott Maisie, Clive Shepherd, Jane Hart, Cathy Moore, Craig Weiss, eLearning You can also check out the annual eLearning Movers and Shakers list for more global digital learning thought leaders.
  10. Finally, think about your own strengths. What do you bring to the table and where do you need the support of others? Getting an expert in to help you make key choices could be a wise move if you lack the relevant skills yourself. It’s OK to get help if you need to.

Professional associations, groups and other useful organisations

eLearning Network (UK and Europe) – supportive professional networking through events. Mentoring also available. Small membership fee.

Learning and Skills Group (LSG) – active network, regular webinars and run the largest Learning Technologies conference in Europe

ATD (US and branches in UK and Europe). Professional association. Membership fee.

Towards Maturity – Really useful independent research resource. They publish a number of reports throughout the year including a major annual benchmarking one.

Learning and Performance Institute (LPI) – lists of accredited providers and guides to purchasing learning.


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