In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, online learning or digital learning is the ideal solution to foster learning in educational institutions and corporate organizations. Apparently, implementing digital learning looks simple. Arrange for some online content, host it on a learning platform, and do the marketing bit. That's it, digital learning is on.
Now, the question is - is it that simple? How can we ensure that it is truly effective and impactful? How do we handle it when the learners do not like spending time on it? The strategy of digital learning is to develop a learning environment that "works", and not just create random online learning programs. In this blog, we will look into such strategies that help us develop the most engaging and persuasive digital learning environments.
What is Learning Strategy
A strategy is a plan of action to achieve a goal. If we consider reaching a specific location, we make a plan for the distance to be covered, mode of conveyance, time required, etc. Based on the plan, the goal can be achieved or failed. For example, for a distant location, if the vehicle chosen is a cycle, it will be a tedious and time-consuming journey. Also, the ability to take up that task is a major factor. Likewise, a learning strategy is a plan to achieve a learning goal based on the learner’s ability.
Digital Learning Strategy
A digital learning strategy depends on various factors such as learning objectives, learner’s profile and behavior, learning methods, learning platforms, etc. To derive an effective digital learning strategy, a detailed research on all such factors will be required. The strategy is the outcome of using the research information being mapped to the actual requirement, i.e. a problem vs. solution approach.
Let’s now look into the factors contributing to the digital learning strategy:
Factor-1: Learning Objectives
The first and foremost factor that makes the framework of digital learning is the learning objectives. For any learning session, the learning objective is the outcome or result i.e. what the learner would be able to do after the session. For example, in the corporate workplace, a learning objective could be "Allocating human resources for project teams". The learning objective is often action-based. To define the objective clearly, we can refer to Bloom's Revised Taxonomy. In this, the learning objectives can be linked to the cognitive levels - Remember, Understand, Apply, Analyze, Evaluate, and Create.
Remember: At this cognitive level, the learner needs to remember concepts and use those when required. For example: List the name of the states in India.
Understand: Here, the learner needs to remember and interpret the concept in a way to reproduce with relevance. For example: Identify the even and odd numbers from the following list.
Apply: This level of learners can apply the knowledge to solve various problems linked to the concept. For example, using a theorem, multiple problems in math can be solved.
Analyze: This level of learning can simplify a complex form of concept into several simpler elements, correlate, find a pattern, or solve situation-based problems. For example, analyze the factors that can influence a consumer to buy a product.
Evaluate: At this level, the learner would be able to provide a judgment based on the knowledge. For example, determine the efficiency of the system based on past data.
Create: Here, the learners are capable of designing a new concept based on the learning elements. For example, design a curriculum for computer basics.
An example of such a learning platform is - www.toppr.com
Factor-2: Know the Learner
While identifying the learning objectives along with the cognitive levels of learning, it is essential to know who the learner is. For example, in a corporate office, for a training program for Team Management, not all the participants are on the same level of learning and experience. A recently promoted manager's learning needs will not be the same as a manager with four years of experience. So, it will be a good practice to know the learners' background and align it with the objectives while coming up with the learning strategy.
Factor-3: Learning Method
The next factor is linking the learning objectives and levels with the learning method.
Types of methods to choose from are:
Text-based reading material
Multiple methods can be combined to develop a learning program. For example, for the field employees who need just-in-time learning for troubleshooting, mobile learning would be the best option. On the other hand, managerial training could be a mix of Live sessions and on-demand videos.
An example of a video-based learning platform is - www.continu.com
Factor-4: Learning Platform
A learning platform is a framework of an online learning environment for learners and educators that includes a set of tools to support education delivery and learning management.
This means that both the learner and the educator will be comfortable using the platform for learning and education delivery.
So, a learning platform must be:
Learner-friendly: the tools are easy-to-use, quick login, easy to navigate, and relevant learning resources in a few clicks
Device-friendly: Opens on any device
Providing personalized and structured learning
Providing effective administration: Progress/ status of learning, learning map etc.
Providing useful reporting and analytics options
Here’s a list of learning platforms types:
Let's explore the uses in order to comprehend the application for each one:
LMS (Learning Management System)
A learning management system (LMS) is an online learning platform that includes functionalities for the delivery, administration, automation, and analytics of various learning programs. It is a structured and organized set of tools that serve an online learning & educational ecosystem. This can be used for:
Organizations for employee training
Educational institutes for their students
A typical LMS includes the functionalities for:
Role-specific learning path options
Learning content provided by the organization/ institute
Tracking of learning activities
Assessments, reports, and analytics
Learn why organizations should deploy an LMS to manage their eLearning.
LXP (Learning Experience Platform)
The LXP, or learning experience platform is designed to allow learners to access the learning materials based on their preferences. Unlike LMS where the content is "pushed" through the platform, LXP uses a "pull" strategy to engage the learners. It follows a personalization and discovery framework like Netflix and Spotify, where the recommendations for the learners are AI (Artificial Intelligence) driven.
Read this article to learn more about the differences between an LMS and an LXP.
Mobile Apps for learning are being offered for students and professionals to provide online learning environments that are easy-to-use, and accessible on smartphones. The unlimited flexibility along with portability are attracting a major group of learners.
Reasons for which the learners choose mobile apps:
Easy access from any device, any place, on-the-go
Effective delivery method (e.g., Automatic unlocking of chapters)
Live streams and interactive sessions
Digital certificates and badges
Top 5 free educational apps for students and kids:
An intranet is a private network developed by an organization to provide a platform for the employees to learn, communicate, store information, and collaborate. Employees can access the intranet by connecting their computers with the organization's local area network (LAN). Browsers like Firefox or Internet Explorer can be used to use the Intranet.
Reasons to use Intranet for learning:
Easy to access learning content
Feedback from peers/ managers
Adopting A Digital Learning Strategy
This is a challenging task which cannot be achieved by one person or team. The ideal way of arriving at such a strategy would be to involve all the stakeholders who would be using the digital learning environment. We can take the following steps to do so.
Conduct a survey for all the stakeholders, asking them about their:
Current skill status
Preferences for learning method
Preferences for learning platform
Reasons for choosing each of these
Compile and analyze the survey responses
Derive the strategy based on the analysis results
Seek approval from authorized personnel
Evaluating the Strategy
After implementing the digital learning strategy, it is necessary to evaluate its effectiveness of the same. Inviting improvement suggestions or feedback from the users could be a way to gauge the performance of the strategy. The most important part is to continuously upgrade and improve the key components of digital learning. The ultimate goal is to ensure that the learners achieve their learning objectives. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how we can collaborate to apply the digital learning strategy that works.