Think Outside the Course: Innovative Ideas for Learning Resources

Your organization has spent the time and resources launching an LMS, developing the content, branding, and configuration, and promoting the courses internally to push required training. The employees log in and finish the required training - then what? Do they just log off and go back to work? Your organization has invested the time and resources into developing an LMS, but has the organization planned the employee engagement after the course? Does your organization share resources and connect with employees outside the courses? Connecting with employees on key topics outside of the course is a way to further learning and engagement.

There’s a way to think outside of the course and take that opportunity to connect your employees to the training, the industry, and each other. Professionals and leaders know that we need to offer audiences more than formal training. There’s an understanding of the ‘70:20:10’ among learning professionals. 10% of learning comes from courses, and the other percentages come from on the job training and social interactions.

70/30 rule for elearning
We know that most knowledge doesn’t reside in courses, it’s in the informal, social, and real-life experiences we accumulate.

Tackling these other percentages of learning can be achieved by interacting outside of the courses. Engagement is the key to effective learning. 

Here are the top 4 ways of utilizing other resources outside of your LMS course:

Use Audio Resources
There are over 500,000 Podcast shows to date. Podcasting isn’t relatively new, however, it’s gained more traction and popularity over the past few years. With different topics and shows at our fingertips, consider finding one related to your industry. Encourage a weekly discussion with your employees and what they found interesting about a show you picked for the team to listen to. Outside of industry-specific, pick an episode that may be related to the course your employees are doing. If your employees are doing a course on customer service, find an episode around this topic to tie back into the course. 

Incorporating music or other audio resources can hit the content home for those who may prefer that way of learning. Not all employees prefer to learn the same and many find it boring when content is delivered in the same way over and over. Your employees deserve multifaceted training to conquer those learning barriers.

Using Traditional Reading Assignments
Every day there are new developments, news, research, and case studies that take place outside your organization.
How often are you sharing industry news with your employees? As a leader of your organization, you likely follow a certain website or LinkedIn influencers. Each day you should be looking for relevant industry news to keep not only yourself but your employees informed. Employees appreciate knowing what is changing or staying the same in their industry, and it brings a level of trust between the management and employee. The employee will trust that their management team keeps an eye on important news and findings happening in their industry. 

Along with sharing relevant industry news, there are also e-books, hard-copy books, and white papers that can be of resource to your employees. Find a book or e-book that is related to your department or a course. You don’t even have to assign the whole thing; you could share one chapter to read and discuss with your team. Employees want to continue to learn as to whether it is a formal course or an informal discussion. Your employees will bring more value to the organization when they understand the big picture.

Let’s dive into another example, if you are an organization in the automotive industry, there are changes being implemented like in California to stop selling gas cars by 2035. This would be big information for your employees and allows you to hold open discussions around this. Your employees may wonder how a big change like this will affect them. If you continue to share resources, they won’t feel left in the dark. This is why it’s important to incorporate these types of resources into training, learning, and just on a day-to-day basis. 

Using Video Resources
Studies have shown that adding video to training can improve people’s ability to remember concepts and details, with effects that increase over time. In fact, according to Forrester Research, employees are 75 percent more likely to watch a video than to read. Using videos for training is not a new idea as more companies are investing time and money into them. However, there are other resources you can use like YouTube
YouTube is also a great resource for finding videos related to industries along with speeches or videos that may also help drive the content home. For example, if you are teaching a serious course related to sexual harassment in the workplace, YouTube offers a ton of great scenario videos of how to handle a situation. You can have an open discussion with employees on their thoughts on the video. 

A documentary can’t stand alone as an instructional method. Assigning or asking employees to watch the documentary should only be part of the process. Discussion questions with employees should illustrate the topic more completely. Asking employees to watch a documentary outside of working hours may be tricky, so perhaps schedule a lunch and learn week to get into in-depth training. 

Encourage Self-Reflection
Reflection and acknowledging behavior in the workplace is a crucial piece to the overall learning. Research shows that reflection is critical to helping us deepen and integrate learning and to effectively applying it to our work and our lives. In fact, reflecting on what has been learned can increase performance by a whopping 23%. Self-reflection can be as simple as encouraging employees to write out their successes and areas of opportunity for the week. Reflection is how we acknowledge our strengths and weaknesses and grow from there. 

Creating Authenticity
By using resources outside the course, you’re not only showing authenticity in the workplace but allowing employees to engage and trust the company. Employees will likely have a deeper understanding of courses when other resources are pulled into to create a bigger picture. 

Verasana offers resources for industry professionals and experts. Listen to our Podcast or read our other articles to understand how to motivate employees to complete training.