E-learning and marketing. Two fields which upon first glance may seem quite separate, or are they?
In truth, they share the same common principle: neither can be powerful without an understanding of human behaviour. Instead of B2B and B2C, we think of B2P – business to person. What drives and engages humans? We endeavour to understand the human, rational and emotional drivers to create communications, in their widest sense, which generate cut-through; and which ultimately feel more pertinent to the target audience.
In channel marketing we consider this in our ‘gain, train, empower and retain’ model for effective partner engagement. Gain the partner, give them the knowledge and tools they need to understand your business and empower them to activate their potential, ultimately driving revenue. By ensuring effective on-boarding processes are considered, it sets a precedent for the on-going relationship, whilst setting the vendor apart from other channel partners vying for employee attention.
This is where e-learning fits perfectly, applying the principles of B2P to understand how the human brain functions, thus creating bespoke e-learning solutions using instructional design to optimise the learning process.
Optimising learning materials for effective e-learning
Many companies create learning materials by falling back on templated approaches or even re-purposing PowerPoint, but for effective learning the content and structure needs to be more deeply considered, focusing in particular on the physical structure, psychological structure, conceptual difficulty and sequence.
You’ve heard the phrase ‘a picture is worth 1,000 words’, but did you know studies have found pictures help you learn more effectively than text? Or better still, they’re even more valuable when there’s a relevant link to text or audio, which improves learning performance. Research has shown that for effective learning, multimedia should work synchronously, and that multimedia focuses a delegate’s attention. These are just some of the principles we consider when creating a deeper learning experience through instructional design.
Is the user-interface imperative to effective e-learning solutions?
Learning is far more effective when it uses an interactive interface, and especially so when it’s cognitively engaging. Studies concur an interactive user interface has a significant positive effect on learning from multimedia.
Why is this? Well, for one thing, user interaction reduces the load on working memory and stops it becoming overwhelming. When we learn we need to mentally organise incoming material, and by simply including an option where users can work at their own pace, it allows the time to process the relevant information. This works two ways; if the cognitive load is too high (too many pictures, videos etc.) it can become detrimental, therefore, there needs to be a balance in multi-media to enable effective learning and not detraction.
How is better learning better for your whole business?
E-learning also has wider applications beyond being a compelling Partner Relationship Management (PRM) tool; it is being used by HR Directors for compliance training, customer service skills, technical training as well as inducting staff. It instils company values, helping to generate long-term value from employees.
And it can be used as a marketing and prospecting tool. Gamification is said to improve recall by 80% compared to listening (IBM, 2011), therefore, by creating experiences potential customers are more likely to be engaged with, the brand and its products can stand out in comparison with competitor offerings.
Best-in-breed e-learning and communications
At Volume, we have garnered a wealth of experience in marketing communications and technology innovation and, in particular, have applied our instructional design and e-learning capabilities to clients such as Dell, Zebra Technologies and Virgin Media.
To find out more about how e-learning can help your organisation, contact Aidan Murphy on firstname.lastname@example.org, or call him on 07879 652446.