Ensuring Your Global Training Program Data Keeps Up with Your e-Learning Partners’ Needs
Not too long ago, e-learning was considered a future trend. Its time has come—e-learning is now a part of just about every successful corporate strategy. Global Industry Analysts, a leading market research firm, projected that e-learning would reach $107 billion in 2015. It did (Forbes). Current projections indicate that by 2025, the e-learning market will grow to $325 billion.
To address this exponential growth, organizations must ensure learning materials are digitized, structured, and easily found.
DCL’s customer, a Fortune 500 technology company, faced challenges regarding the organization and structure of its learning partners’ (LPs) global training program:
- Increased growth in the number of users, as well as the multitude of LPs certified to train for company certifications, meant that maintaining and tracking sustainable education materials became a complex and inefficient process.
- Search and discovery of existing training materials was cumbersome and time consuming.
For example, if an update was needed for a specific topic, it took a long time to implement, as the data was not well organized. In other cases, if a course needed modification for a different audience, or if new topics needed to be added, the processes in place were inefficient.
Understandably, LPs need the ability to customize courses and training materials to fit their clients’ needs, efficiently and accurately. In this case, some required interactivity capabilities to be incorporated in epublications to improve the learning experience and distinguish them from other LPs.
Another challenge lay in derivative work (DW) materials. DW examples include:
- Taking an existing course and teaching it to a different audience with different learning needs—for example, highly technical people vs. a sales force; or people with different learning styles, as when the audience contains visual learners and so some of the topics require an emphasis on that element.
- There is an existing course for a product, but you’d like to develop a course that covers only part of that product’s capabilities and combine it with another product that completes it. An example would be a combined training on a product’s basic capabilities + installation + some preventive steps to maintain the product. The LP will create one course after collecting topics from three different courses:
1. Product capabilities
2. Product installation
3. Preventive maintenance
The company’s process for creating and delivering derivative work (DW) materials to the learning partners was plagued by issues that included:
- The LPs not providing DW content to the company.
- Difficulties in tracking royalties as customers were using the LP’s learning content management system (LCMS).
- The company could not ensure that the DW data was not expired.
DCL addressed these issues by digitizing the data owned by the tech company, so it could be stored on the company’s server. Now, any LP that requires access to any topic must do so under the tech company’s system, so the company can easily track what was changed. This process guarantees that the quality of the new derivative course meets the tech company’s requirements, and that the material in the course is always up to date. Once this process was implemented, the creation of accurate DW content sped up considerably.
The training process was also a problem for the LPs:
- Significant manual work was required to modify and enhance the courses.
- There were lengthy royalty reporting requirements.
- They faced additional costs of printing and distributing courses.
The resolution to these issues lay in data digitization. By digitizing the data into a learning content management system, DCL enabled the LPs to quickly publish the company’s data. Digitization and storage on the company’s server also eliminated the need to print. Currently, the LPs can easily publish a PDF base course or an epub, which, in turn, can be converted to include interactive capabilities. For example, students can follow a link at the end of a task and work on a hands-on activity simulating the learned task, or simply watch a video. Additionally, there is no longer a need for the LPs to report on royalties because the tech company distributes the data and tracks exactly what is produced.
Companies that work with LPs and face similar challenges can benefit from data digitization and content structure. Digitizing data and storing that data in an LCMS that is owned and controlled by the company instead of the LPs provides a robust, safe, and quick data release process. This not only benefits the company but also the LPs, as they receive data in a timely fashion. The LPs are guaranteed that the data is up to date and has the company’s stamp of approval. This combination of accuracy, speed, scalability, and compliance results in increased revenues for both the company and the LPs—a winning situation all around.
Naveh Greenberg is a project manager and the director for U.S. Defense Development at Data Conversion Laboratory (DCL).