Using E-Learning in Your Professional Development Strategy

Are you considering using e-learning to continue your staff’s education? If so, here are some best practices to improve your content.

Using E-Learning in Your Professional Development Strategy - training magazine

Picture this scenario with us:

Your team is underperforming, struggling to meet sales/marketing/client retention/you-name-it goals. They’re not bad employees. In fact, they’re eager for opportunities to continue their education and help them meet their goals. You need to help them close their gap. However, you don’t have the staff to create a training department, so you turn to e-learning.

You’ve done a bit of research and it looks like a few providers have ready-made courses you can purchase on the spot and share with your team. Is it really that simple to help your team members reach their benchmarks?


You see, e-learning is a powerful tool for continuing education in corporate settings, but only if it’s created effectively and it meets your specific needs. Boring, too complicated, too simple, or just generally inaccessible e-learning isn’t going to help your team achieve more. It will probably just add to their frustration. Generic e-learning also has risks. A course on how to deliver great customer service that’s not rooted in your culture may mean you spend time correcting employee behavior on something they learned in the course.

At Artisan E-Learning, we custom-create courses for nonprofits, for-profits, and associations alike. We’ve seen what makes for applicable, engaging experiences and what is content better left on the shelf.

Let’s walk through three strategies that you can use when building your training library to make sure your team walks away from the course able to do their jobs better.

Make it worth your team’s time.

Let’s face it, there’s a lot competing for our attention. It’s important to make training time valuable to your employees. Use these tips to ensure their time is well spent:

  • Cut the fluff. Focus on what’s actionable for your team. Is it more important for them to understand the full history of your business or how they should adjust their script when speaking with prospects to close more deals? The latter. Cutting the fluff means more time learning skills that matter and less time away from work that matters.
  • Use microlearning to drive behavior change. With microlearning, you can shine a spotlight on the skills most crucial for team members to master. This could mean a quick game where they can practice responding to clients or even a tutorial on a computer system where they don’t just watch a video, but practice completing the task. The key to microlearning is to narrow your focus to one essential skill.
  • Create learning paths. Use your learning management system (LMS) to your advantage. As you build your library, help your team know how to avail themselves of the best training at any given time. Learning paths are a great way to guide your team to get from where they are to where they want to be. Also, consider tagging strategies for those times when an employee is looking for something specific outside of their prescribed plan.

Whether they’re learning from a busy household or tuning in between meetings in the office, these tips ensure your team can fit professional development into their busy lives.

Create an engaging—not just interactive—course.

Interactivity isn’t the same thing as engagement. While navigating through a PowerPoint deck or “Click Here to Learn More” buttons is interactive, that doesn’t make it interesting.

Here are a few tips for creating engaging courses that your team will want to complete:

  • Add a spark to your e-learning courses. Sometimes simply being creative with the tools available in authoring tools increases engagement. With elements such as drag-and-drop, sorting and labeling, and audio review, learners aren’t just “clicking” on elements, but engaging in a variety of ways. Imagine a course on effective interviewing: would you rather click to reveal the protected classes or would you be more engaged by a course that gives you three audio clips of interviews and asks you to find the acceptable language when dealing with protected classes?
  • Include a mindset-changing “wow” moment. Why should your team take time out of their day to complete the course? This is the moment that explains why. For example, let’s say you want your team to spend less time in meetings. Start your course with a breakdown of how much time your team spends in meetings, including the totals for each week/month/year. How many hours are being tied up yearly? When they see a number in the thousands, that builds value in the course. Now the goal is to reduce that number rather than just get tips for better meetings.
  • Create authentic assessments. Multiple-choice questions test memorization, and if that’s imperative to someone’s job, great. More often than not, we don’t really care about memorization—we care about behavior change. Take time to create realistic assessments that relate to the work your team does every day. For example, rather than asking questions about an important form, have the learner fill out a practice form and get the feedback they can directly incorporate into their daily work.

Not only will these tips make your course more interesting, but they will also be more valuable for your team.

Make the course relatable.

E-learning is supposed to help your team get better at their jobs. It makes sense to have the courses they take relate to their jobs.

To create e-learning that’s relatable for your team, use:

  • Scenery and visuals that match your business and office space. If your company is going to be fully working from home going forward, don’t show characters chatting around a water cooler.
  • Examples and scenarios that reflect what your team will actually encounter. If your offices are located in a fully land-locked state, it’s much more realistic to walk your team through evacuation tips for a run-of-the-mill fire drill than a hurricane.
  • Characters that look and sound like people your team will encounter. It’s important to replicate the diversity of your team and customers, whether through age, race, gender, or otherwise. For example, Gen Z is entering the workforce. If all of your training videos show older individuals, it might alienate your team.

Whether making your course relatable, engaging, or accessible within busy schedules, you can work with a content development partner to create the right fit for your business. These tips will set your continuing education courses up for success. Good luck!

Amy Morrisey
Amy Morrisey is the President of Artisan E-Learning and serves as Sales & Marketing Manager. Amy started with Artisan as a contract writer/instructional designer. She was our Production Manager for four years and helped the team to double its capacity. As President, she stays focused on maintaining the high standards our clients have grown to expect. She believes that staying close to our clients, our people, and our work is a smart way to do that. One of her favorite things to do in the e-learning world is jump in with a client to write a storyboard that is creative and application-based. Before working with Artisan, Amy spent 17 years in corporate training and development predominantly teaching leadership development and coaching teams and executives. She currently serves on the board of ATD Detroit.