The Evolution of E-learning: Then. Now. Next.

E-learning is booming – and with good reason: companies and employees know that continuously updating knowledge and skills is the way to get ahead, and stay ahead, in today’s economy.

But the quality of e-learning solutions varies widely, with the gold standard being e-learning that changes behaviour and delivers real results in support of a defined strategy.

To understand the potential for e-learning, and how to get there, it’s helpful to consider how far digital learning has come.

Then: the compliance mindset

E-learning was originally seen as a scalable solution to ensure compliance with legal regulations and corporate policies, such as health and safety training. More often than not, it originated from a need for corporations to discharge their liability and reduce their risk exposure.

“How do we make sure people have done it, and how do we track it?”

Learning Management Systems arose to deliver e-learning modules that were typically information dumps followed by a quiz. Ease of administration and record-keeping was the order of the day with compliance as the end goal.

The unfortunate result for users was all-too-often a painful, myopic, infantilizing and worthless e-learning experience.

Now: the value mindset

E-learning is now recognized as having strategic business value that can be leveraged into a competitive advantage.

But in order for that to happen it must connect with and deliver value to users – whether they are employees or customers. EVERYTHING starts with what users need. And this is what most e-learning vendors get wrong. They don’t go deep enough to discover what people really want.

Learning that solves real-world problems right now

Value to an e-learning user is very specific: it is “the new ability to solve a real-world problem right now.”

The ideal learning mix develops skill, mobilizes knowledge, and deepens engagement to produce behaviour-changing results. Simulations and scenario-based learning experiences allow users to practise new skills. Videos and storytelling are ideal for changing “hearts and minds.” Today’s holistic, value-driven e-learning programs also encompass:

  • Reference material (e.g. digital job aids, videos, infographics, whitepapers)
  • Self-directed learning opportunities (e.g. web search, curated links, knowledge databases, wikis)
  • Community engagement (e.g. online forums, social media, peer chat, virtual coaching)
  • Formal learning experiences (e.g. mobile modules, desktop modules)

Next: Highly targeted, media-rich experiences

Dialectic is now pioneering the next wave of e-learning with highly targeted, highly media rich experiences that are tailored to deliver direct business benefits, such as the “edumarketing” campaign we developed for Royal Canin.

E-learning for engaged customers, brand loyalty, market growth

Royal Canin sought to launch a market growth campaign that would not only help the company reclaim its leadership in the veterinary weight management category, but also enhance their customer experience and grow brand loyalty. The e-learning solution was designed for veterinary clinic staff who help pet owners make dietary decisions for their pets every day. In this way it linked Royal Canin’s business goals through to learners in order to grow their existing market share and deepen customer engagement.

In our early research, veterinary professionals told us they wanted something completely different than the e-learning campaign the company had originally envisioned. They didn’t want to learn about the science of nutrition. They wanted to learn about how to communicate the science of nutrition to pet owners.

We fulfilled the demand for this information with an edumarketing campaign that features:

  • A diverse mix of assets
  • Responsive, mobile design
  • Non-linear, Netflix-like learning paths (“Like this? Learn more!”)
  • Meaningful interactivity
  • Feedback and metrics

As a result, e-learning completions by clinicians increased by 830%, successfully driving market growth and increasing brand loyalty among Royal Canin customers. It is an example of how next-generation e-learning can solve a variety of business problems and deliver amazing value and results.

Read more about our work with Royal Canin.

Want to learn more? Download our e-book.

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