Employee training programs are increasingly housed as warehoused online learning programs which are designed to provide employee onboarding, corporate training, product training and further employee skills development. Advances in learning science and increased numbers in online student learning have driven innovative software development of employee training software. To stay abreast of developments, learning providers must monitor and update their knowledge on what employee software training platforms offer.
In particular, the use of online learning and training platforms which incorporate learning management systems (‘LMS’) have shown to significantly bolster the blended learning model. This allows for high quality, scalable learning. These tools assist both small businesses and learning providers looking to expand their professional learning domain.
Any investment in new or existing employee training software has become invaluable in response to the external influences of the global pandemic and an ever-strengthening surge towards automation and digitization. There is a need for learning program creation to quickly close the gap between a more technologically-reliant society and the training content which came about from a system based largely on face to face interaction.
Demands have already shifted towards a situation where providers are able to present customers and employees with state-of-the-art upskilling solutions that create sustainable learning change, housed on user-friendly platforms.
Employee training software has previously existed to satisfy a niche, either catering for mobile learning or as an on-site supplement to personal instructor-led training. As Suartama et al note, using technology to facilitate learning is much like wielding a “double-edged sword”. Santiago et al observe that user friendliness and ease of use should be considerations held at the forefront of any training software.
To this end, the next wave of training software innovations already resonates from a desire for an impeccable user experience. Moreover, the need for learning and training to accommodate the social needs of the learning experience is becoming more prevalent, and is available as a software feature, as e-Learning grows more popular.
Online course content is no longer the only consideration when evaluating a successful online learning or training experience. Learning providers must confront questions such as “how can I create courses which actually shift mindsets and produce sustainable business results?” Everyone wants metrics to quantify the software spend, the instructional design time and the time invested in learning. Many platforms provide the metrics and the reporting required to show the learning has done its job and to justify the spend.
User experience and individual tailoring
The “user experience” is an all-encompassing term which is used to describe the sum of all the parts which are geared towards creating an intuitive and accessible environment within the realm of the software’s application.
In their observations on the user experience of LMSs, Maslov et al drew attention to the fact that this experience is shared by both learners and facilitators or e-moderators. Furthermore, Maslov et al’s construction of a “user experience” contains objective and subjective elements.
Subjectively, a user experience is influenced by the aesthetic appeal of the user interface. On the objective side, the user experience is reliant on a base level of functionality on the part of the software, along with competence on the part of the learning provider.
Maslov et al further provide that while LMS’s are “powerful software systems” to be used in the learning experience, they are also all quite similar in terms of the features they will be able to provide. Instead of asking “what do the learners need”, the question instead turns to “how do we let learners know what they have available?”
On this point, Lwande et al examined how even basic computer algorithms could interpret LMS data to profile the learning styles and cognitive traits of the LMS users. The model the authors used showed great promise, mentioning the ability to automatically map content to individual learners as suggested in future work on the topic.
Fully automated, AI-based e-Learning may seem, for some, a bit too far down the pipeline for now, and the concept of a “user experience” in training software is a luxury only recently afforded to us by improved information technologies. User experience is a mainstream consideration however AI is being used by online learning platform developers already. “The future is now” as the Washington Redskins Coach said in 1970, and it really is always now.
The question is how to build the user experience of online learning platforms so as to prepare learners and employees for the future move to fuller digitization and much more automation? Meta is unveiling the first iterations of “The Metaverse” and many banks are embracing hyper digitized platform based thinking where shopping will be in an online mall of experiences via your banking app allowing you to shop for everything and even to access competitor banks.
Surely this will fast track “meta” ubiquitous learning?
Ubiquitous learning, present, appearing, or found everywhere, as described by Suartama et al, “enables learning on demand, based on students’ personal needs and their own activities”. This is achieved through a nuanced yet user-friendly integration of “ubiquitous digital resources”, such as mobile devices and social media capabilities. The underlying ethos of ubiquitous learning is providing constant access to digital content which is functional, informative and engaging.
Yahya et al came to a conclusion of five characteristics which define a ubiquitous learning system. These characteristics are: permanency; accessibility; immediacy; interactivity, and; context awareness. Of these five characteristics, the area of “context awareness” is perhaps the most challenging to understand and subsequently implement into the learning or training experience.
Broadly speaking, context awareness in terms of ubiquitous learning refers to a state wherein the learner can appreciate the social nature of the learning or training experience. Knowing that like minded peers are actively pursuing the same objectives, learners and employees are able to gauge their perception of the social good their work or studies generate. This has huge implications for both training software and learning design.
Langley has shown that including aspects of social learning in the blended learning model is an essential tenet of a rich learning experience and context awareness. To this, Langley elaborates that e-Learning as a whole is undermined by the distance and isolationist tendencies it often creates, and must be supplemented by some form of social element.
Online learning management systems
If utilized correctly, Suartama et al believe that sophisticated LMS’s can instantaneously appeal to the learner or employee’s context awareness. Having met the digital ergonomic standards to forge a comfortable user experience, LMS’s can be used to offer a learning or training experience which is both social and, more importantly, ubiquitous.
In order to adequately address these needs, Suartama et al note that LMS’s must “promote various approaches and functions”. Rather than simply offer an abundance of features which the user will likely never learn, learning providers must ensure that their LMS’s become an environment where learners and employees develop a keen appreciation for the social worth of their actions.
Ubiquitous learning is therefore a learning strategy which leverages e-Learning, social learning and blended learning. What’s more, ubiquitous learning advances the outcomes of all these forms of learning and can be achieved using intelligent and adaptable training software.
Robust LMS’s such as myQuest are capable of creating a truly ubiquitous learning experience. As myQuest strives to constantly improve their technology and learning methodology, knowing full well that intentional ubiquitous learning will become a standard of excellence.
myQuest is a learning platform which truly makes use of its wealth of features. In addition to all the capabilities one might expect from an LMS, myQuest offers tools and learning pathways not to be found anywhere else. Unique to the myQuest LMS is the proprietary AFT Learning Model.
This model responds to student or trainee actions using a variety of instantaneous feedback options and automated triggers. These actions, feedbacks and triggers underlie myQuest’s AFT Leaning Model and enable the delivery of a ubiquitous learning experience via an engaging and blended user experience.
Having employee training software that can enable this, will keep you current and on trend for now. myQuest offers a supremely capable blended experience, with a mix of synchronous and asynchronous interactions designed to fulfill the student or trainee’s social learning needs.
Written by Kirsten Garbini