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Kerry Pascall Just in time eLearning – selecting the perfect timing for top results

Lots of eLearning is developed as part of a portfolio of online learning within an organisation.  It is ‘pulled’ by the learner as and when they need to refresh their knowledge, skills or behaviours.

However, some eLearning is developed specifically to support a time critical event or launch, such as:Computer

  1. New system roll out
  2. System upgrade release
  3. A sales/marketing campaign
  4. New or updated legislation or compliance
  5. A new product release

This means the timing of eLearning rollout is essential; if it’s too early, the learner may forget the content; if it’s too late, then the learner will not be prepared.

The rule of thumb is that the eLearning module(s) should be rolled out in a 4 – 6 week window prior to the event or launch it is intended to support. This ensures maximum engagement and transfer of knowledge/skills.

And it isn’t just about the overall timescale of the rollout. The actual eLearning module content complexity, learning objectives and end user duration are also key to the learners’ engagement and knowledge retention.

Let’s take a look at a system upgrade release as an example. The release contains five updates to existing functionality and we need to ensure that our audience is trained via eLearning before the release. Two updates are quite complex and require the user to attain some new knowledge. The remaining three are just cosmetic changes, and should be for information only.  Therefore, we need to make sure that each individual module is released at the optimum time to deliver necessary information to the learners.

This is very important, however, it’s also vital to ensure that your learners are motivated to keep them engaged and guarantee knowledge retention. So what should be considered in the eLearning design to make sure of this?

  • Analyse how the upgrade will impact the learners’ usual processes or procedures
    What steps, actions, screens or functions will be affected by the upgrade?  Determining this will not only help with the design but also in estimating the overall time it will take for the learner to work through the content, allowing you to resource appropriate training times.
  • Analyse the knowledge gap
    What knowledge, skill or behaviour needs to change as a result of the upgrade? This will help you to determine how to present the relevant information (adult learning principal – don’t tell them what they already know) and also assist with writing the learning objectives.
  • Prioritise and ‘chunk’ the content
    It is far less daunting to see 5 sections, each no more than 4 minutes long, than being presented with a 20 minute module.  The most important and complex sections should be at the beginning of the module and should be in short and concise chunks.  This will help the learner to take the changes on board without overloading them.
  • Maximise the use of graphics
    Consider using a simulation of the system. This will instantly imbed the learning as it is reflecting the real workplace. Ensure learners are tested on what they have learnt, encourage them to ‘have a go’ within the system simulation. This way you can be sure of knowledge and skill transfer.

If you are planning an eLearning project to support a time critical event, taking into account the tips above will really help you to help your learners’ stay on track and learn what they need to learn at the right time.

Whether you are developing eLearning in-house or need an eLearning supplier, at Bray Leino Learning we can offer advice and consultancy as well as a full instructional design and eLearning development service.

Contact us to discuss how we can help you create an engaging, motivating and knowledge retaining eLearning solution for your needs.


Kerry Pascall, Head of Digital Learning, Bray Leino Learning

In my series of blogs you can expect some tips on implementing eLearning, what to consider when commissioning eLearning, design tips, software and authoring pro’s and con’s, and general advice on everything eLearning!

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