With just about every recent conversation I’ve had with cross-industry clients and partners, the most common thread was business continuity. Training professionals and providers are scrambling to respond to operational priorities with urgency, agility, and efficiency but often with ambiguous expectations. In many cases, it’s about rolling up their sleeves just a little bit higher and perhaps reaching outside their comfort zone to deliver imperfect solutions. And that’s perfectly… fine. Sometimes good is good enough, and the core objective can be more about experimentation and speed-to-market while figuring out ways to level up in parallel. When facing unforgiving scenarios, the strategic ideal may need to be shelved for the moment, and tactics are prioritized to simply get things done.
Making Quick Decisions for Digital Learning Delivery
I have particular empathy for the HR/training teams comprised of one or a few, and those who now find their responsibilities have exponentially increased given the circumstances. Many have been displaced from the comforts of the physical classroom and are navigating the learning curve of an ever-evolving digital landscape with open minds and resilience. EVERYONE is embracing the virtual classroom with little choice, but a one-size-fits-all approach can reach a point of risking learner fatigue. I’ve talked a lot of shop these last few days with many who don’t have the people, time, or budget to perform a comprehensive needs analysis and go all in on evolving their digital learning roadmap. But choices need to be made in swift fashion, and sometimes the hardest part is figuring out where to begin. What learning platforms and/or tools should I consider? What can get me up and running quickly? What’s the easiest design model that I can deliver myself?
A Few Tools to Jump-start the Journey
Below is a quick list of available learning solution providers and platforms that have surfaced in recent customer discussions that focus on reasonable cost (some with extended trial periods), have varied point-of-entry options, and manageable learning curves. Without question, the following examples are just scratching the surface of the myriad of options and approaches that exist to enable digital learning capability and delivery. You need to start somewhere, right?
- I need to create micro-learning, podcasts, and performance support tools. Today there is a myriad of options for developing rapid e-learning content. If you don’t have the appetite for leading players like Adobe Captivate, Articulate Storyline, or Trivantis Lectora, TechSmith’s Snagit and Camtasia offer powerful features at the right price point. And don’t rule out Microsoft PowerPoint as your all-in-one tool, which has its own capabilities for audio narration, screen capture, and video publishing. Another reasonable alternative might be to use the recording and publishing capabilities of your current web conferencing tool of choice (WebEx, Zoom, GotoMeeting). Finally eLearning Brothers is a complimentary service that can provide a useful set of templates and imagery for all your digital learning design needs.
- I need to create quizzes, tests, and games. ExamBuilder can be implemented quickly and has flexible plans for varied audience sizes. I’ve only used it sparingly as a participant, but I’ve gotten great feedback on Kahoot! for easy-to-create games and online competitions. Poll Everywhere isn’t just for in-person training and can drive alternative approaches to engagement.
- I need a learning system or portal to delivery my learning content. If your organization hasn’t implemented a Learning Management System (and I’m not at all suggesting you do right now), many low-cost, easy to set-up and manage solutions exist. Moodle has intuitive service offerings for organizations of all shapes and sizes, and upstart players like RomyLMS are offering free licensing for a limited time. If you’re a WordPress fan, don’t rule out the LearnDash component which offers robust LMS features. If you really don’t need the full tracking features of an LMS solution but you’re feeling embattled with SharePoint complexity, a product like Plexie can have you building your own portal-like learning experience in a matter of days. Just want a simple video channel but YouTube is too risky for your content? Panopto has a complementary set of video delivery options that can support both small and large audiences.
- I need to find quality content and accelerate skill development. The Learning Experience Platform (LXP) segment is exploding with options to help you pilot and deliver a consumer-grade digital experience for your learners while effectively curating high-quality content. Degreed, EdCast, LinkedIn Learning, and SkillSoft are just a few of the emerging platforms that small and large organizations are adopting as part of their overall learning & development infrastructure strategy.