It wasn’t long ago that the world came to a standstill, and we all had to learn to adjust to the new normal. During this time, we developed valuable life skills such as collaboration, empathy, and resilience. We also had to adapt and get creative when it came to delivering onboarding training for new hires.
While technology has been around for some time, its importance transitioned from luxury to necessity during the pandemic. Some businesses had already embraced digital strategies, giving them an advantage, while others quickly migrated their existing content online and learned valuable lessons along the way.
If your goal is to deliver an online onboarding programme, content will need to be adapted accordingly. We realised that the “attention span is very different” when new starters are not physically present. It’s good practice to include a variety of media to foster engagement and maximise the impact of slides, making them visually appealing and meaningful. Including videos from guest speakers from other areas of the organisation is also good practice.
What percentage of your content can be turned into digital modules and how much should be facilitator-led? Research from Owston and York and Lazar et al., suggests that the ratio between face-to-face and online learning in blended learning varies, but the online learning factor should be between 33% and 50%, or even as high as 80%. Striking the right balance caters to different learning preferences and sustains audience interest.
Planning goes a long way here; carefully select which topics would benefit from a discussion/social learning and which ones can be self-led and reflective. Mandatory and compliance training often work well in a digital format, but don’t stop there. Simulations, for instance, offer a safe way to demonstrate practical skills without the associated risks.
Additionally, consider utilising various types of digital media, such as eLearning, micro-modules, explainer videos, and interactive PDFs, to cater to different learning styles and enhance learner engagement.
Updating digital content such as custom videos, simulations or system training, for example, can be more time consuming than replacing some topics on a slide deck, so you might want to keep this in mind if your material is likely to need regular updates.
However, the benefits of utilising digital onboarding materials are that they can be reused and adapted with minimal environmental impact, eliminating the need for printing or booking venues. Moreover, you can break down the onboarding content and create micro modules, meaning knowledge can be revisited at any time (and in short bursts). This usefulness also extends to upskilling other areas of the business, not to mention the ability to act as refreshers or to reskill learners, especially after extended absence periods.
What is the standard in your field of work? Tech can be a great way to induct new hires and remove health and safety risks. Virtual, augmented, mixed or extended reality (VR/AR/MR/XR) can create a secure environment where learners can explore without the associated dangers. Think of airline pilots, soldiers, astronauts, medical personnel, and other professions. Don’t overdo it, keep the amount of tech relevant to the content.
Typically, digital modules are shorter in length and can be shared with multiple users at the same time without the need for a facilitator’s input. Offering a clear digital training path and feedback can allow learners to get a grasp on the job requirements, practice, and become competent in a fraction of the time.
Digital content, accessible through a Learning Management System (LMS), provides learners with the opportunity to revisit any missed information or refresh their knowledge at any time. This accessibility is especially valuable after coaching conversations or for mandatory learning.
Online content can be translated and rolled out globally – and at scale. If you have international teams, don’t forget about localising your content. Even if the business language is English, learning will be much more effective in the local language as proficiency levels will vary from one learner to the next. Automated translation software is not yet sophisticated enough, so working with a partner can yield quick and accurate results.
Learning has come a long way in recent years. You want your team to come away feeling refreshed, invigorated, captivated, and with new skills. Gamifying your content is a great way to do this! A survey by Talent LMS highlighted that 89% of employees say gamification makes them feel more productive, and 88% say they feel happier at work. Quizzes, timed challenges, quests, leaderboards, to name a few options, are excellent ways to improve engagement and reduce staff turnover.
Are you catering for different experience/skill levels? Using AI and algorithms can help customise your training to suit your learner’s ability, creating a tailored experience at the right pace and following the correct path.
Achieving all the aforementioned benefits requires finding the right balance of technology for your onboarding programme and business – a task easier said than done. As such, it is important to capture data and align it with your learning experience platform. Consider how your audience is built and what pathways will be most effective. At DLX, we have gained valuable knowledge and insights from working with global organisations to deliver exceptional and memorable learning experiences. Reach out to me or my colleagues at DLX to explore ways in which we can help you transform your onboarding process and power performance through people.
Reach out to me to discuss ways in which we can help you transform your onboarding, and power performance through.