Online learning programs can be a great way to make professional development a priority for your employees. But how can you be sure the lessons they're learning are sticking with them? Or even that they're making time for their coursework?
Tracking progress and checking on this development is tough but important, especially if the skills are critical to your team's growth. With this in mind, we asked 12 entrepreneurs from YEC to share their best advice for empowering employees to keep up with online skill training.
1. Udemy.com and sharing on Basecamp.
I'm a big fan of Udemy, an online course site that provides great training on a variety of topics. In order to track my team's progress using this app, I encourage them to incorporate an hour or so of work into their daily tasks--and then to recap with screenshots on Basecamp. So far it's been working incredibly well!--Rob Fulton,Exponential Black
2. Asking and empowering.
As part of the review process, have employees explain what they've learned in the last quarter, six months or year. If they don't have anything to share, that may be an indication you need to discuss why not. At a minimum, it will foster discussion about how you can empower them to learn going forward. If they have learned something, ask how they can put that knowledge in action and then support them.--Angela Harless, AcrobatAnt
3. Litmos.com and highly designed learning.
You can track the progress of a learner by setting up and using a learning/content management system. Although there are many options, a stand out one is Litmos. Also, consider using a text-based feedback app or internal social media platform. To make learning stick, it needs to be short, contextual and highly interactive.--Simon Casuto, eLearning Mind
4. Using social media.
A great way is to engage employees through social media--start an online group or campaign around the learning program. You could create a "#learnings" hashtag that employees could use to share what they've learned across the organization, or tips for each other on how they've used the lesson in a practical way.--Erica Dhawan, Cotential
5. Gamifying for fun and improved learning.
Pixel tracking plus gamification: You can see how many times each team member is logging in and offer rewards for task completion. You can give bonus rewards when a person comments with their takeaway or what they learned. You can award even more bonus points if other team members vote up that comment. These other perspectives can help team members who are on the same learning path.--Joshua Lee, StandOut Authority
6. Encouraging participation and self-assessment.
Make the experience as participatory as possible by gamifying, including webinars, or holding contests. If the content comes from third-party vendors and is excessively passive, consider developing your own content. Participation makes your employees more active in the learning process. Also encourage them to self-assess throughout the learning process to be more invested in their own progress.--Dave Nevogt, Hubstaff.com
7. Using training software.
Use training software such as the Training Management Software program by Intelex. It makes managing your training program easier and also reports progress. To make the learning stick, utilize the software's testing feature. This program comes with a free trial.--Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
8. Making them teach others what they've learned.
You haven't truly learned something until you can teach it to others. Have your employees attempt to teach other employees what they've learned. They will either reinforce what they've learned (making it stick) or fail to teach well and realize they need to continuing studying.--Mark Cenicola, BannerView.com
9. Combating learning loss with reminder intervals.
Research has shown that we forget things that lack obvious relevance. Depending on the method of introduction and density of topic, information may be forgotten in less than a day. However, scientists have shown that reminders, highlighting essential information at specific intervals (i.e. 14 days, three months, etc.) can combat this. A simple email system may help it stick!--Emily Holdman, adventur.es
10. Giving away prizes and holding a brainstorming session.
After assigning a learning module, hold a brainstorming meeting to get ideas about how everyone can apply what they just learned to the business. Give away prizes to those with the best ideas and watch how much more everyone pays attention on the next learning assignment. Using a Google doc with everyone's name is a simple way to keep track of everyone's progress.--Robert De Los Santos, Sky High Party Rentals
11. Creating thought leaders.
When an employee attends a conference or takes an online course, we have them give a presentation on their key takeaways. This type of exercise helps people synthesize what they've learned and empowers our team members to become thought leaders on certain topics or skills. Making employees thought leaders holds them more accountable for staying on top of that learning, educating their peers, etc.--Zach Robbins, Leadnomics
12. Reading, reviewing and rehearsing.
Learning how to learn is the most important skill you can develop. You can get an oversized return on your education through review and rehearsal. After I read something, I review it the next day, week, month and then every six months thereafter. This cements crucial information and makes it easily retrievable. The next part of the process is rehearsal, where I practice applying the information to relevant situations. For example: "How can I apply XYZ strategy to my work life?"--Emerson Spartz, Spartz