When training employees with e-Learning, it can be valuable to explore various models of learning which can make the process more effective and improve the return on your investment.
One such model worth exploring is the ASSURE model, which is a step-by-step way to develop and deliver learning that specifically relates to multimedia and technology-based elements.
ASSURE is an acronym, with the following meaning:
- Analyze Learners: The first step of this multifaceted approach to learning is not just to identify but also analyze your learners. The model emphasizes the importance of learning about employees so that you’re better able to select technology and media that will be most suited to their needs and preferences. The model accounts for the fact that you can’t reasonably consider every single characteristic of each learner, but trying to have a general understanding of the skill and experience level of learners, their age, and their learning styles is valuable. The model states this understanding of trainees will allow you to find the best multimedia elements, materials and supplemental resources that will make learning most effective. The key areas covered in this step include the general demographic-related characteristics of learners, their prior knowledge, and basic competencies before the delivery of learning, and their learning styles. If you have a small pool of learners, you may be able to engage them in personal ways, such as through conversation and observation. If you’re developing employee training for a larger audience, you may use tools such as surveys and group interviews to analyze learners.
- State Objectives: The second step of the ASSURE model encourages the clear and concise stating of targets and standards to be stated at the start of learning delivery. It’s important to highlight not just what will be presented during e-Learning, but also what your employees will do as a result of the information they’re given. In this step of the model, the most important thing to remember is specificity. These standards are going to be what you use when assessing learners’ ability as a result of coursework, so define them in a way that makes them measurable. The most effective objectives are those that outline an audience as well as an expected behavior, all within the framework of what situations will warrant said response. As well as looking at larger, holistic organizational goals, this will also be the time where you tailor specific individual objectives that are a key part of the employee development process.
- Select Methods, Strategy, Media, and Materials: Once learners are analyzed and objectives stated, it becomes time to look at the technicalities of learning. This is where you’ll decide on the particular technology used to deliver training—for example, which e-Learning platform will you use as an employee training tool? Once an LMS is selected, you’ll then look at more specific elements to be used within e-Learning, such as videos, webinars, supplemental materials, etc., all of which contribute to the goal of employees being equipped to achieve the objectives listed in the previous step of the model. This is also where you may storyboard and consider the implementation of animations, graphics and text, as well as how the various multimedia elements will intersect with one another to improve the effectiveness of learning. When selecting technology, ensure you’re choosing it based on its merits and ability to achieve stated objectives, rather than using technology for technology’s sake. If you’re eyeing the inclusion of a bit of technology that doesn’t work to achieve a specific stated goal, it’s probably best to leave it out.
- Utilize Technology and Media: Once an outline for technology and media have been put in place, the next step of the model calls for their implementation. Not only do you need to decide on what will be used, but how it will be used to maximize effectiveness and improve the return on investment for employee training. During this phase of the process it’s also important to thoroughly review all materials and multimedia elements before presenting them to employees, ensure everything when compiled together makes logical sense and works in a good flow, and think about the delivery of training—for example, will you utilize a BYOD method (Bring Your Own Device), or will learners be expected to use company devices? Make sure everything operates smoothly, and there won’t be technical and operational confusion or frustration for trainees in addition to analyzing content.
- Require Learner Participation: During the planning process and before implementing employee training, consider how to drive participation. There is the option to make it required in a workplace setting, but that can discourage engagement and make learning feel more like a chore than an opportunity. This may be the part of the process where you determine how to further foster a culture of learning within your organization that promotes learning as a way to develop oneself personally and professionally, rather than a nagging requirement. What you want above all else in the employee training process isn’t just participation, but is instead a sense of active, engaged learning. One way to achieve this particular goal is by having e-Learning-based training intersect with on-the-job training, which shows employees how information included in training will directly impact their lives and their job.
- Evaluate and Revise: This is one of the most important steps in the ASSURE model but is at the same time one of the most overlooked. Once e-Learning is delivered to your employees as a means of training, you must incorporate their feedback and use this as a way to make improvements to future learning. Consider the metrics you outlined at the start of the model to see whether or not you’ve met goals. Also, look at whether or not your strategy for learning lines up with your business objectives, think about where improvements can be made, and consider how the technology and multimedia you selected factored into the process. Should you have incorporated other forms of media rather than the ones selected? Is there something that would have made learning more engaging? How did your employees feel about the experience? Take an honest look not just at the performance of your employees, but also your own performance as a learning developer.
Is the ASSURE model one you use purposely or inadvertently when developing e-Learning for employee training purposes?
Check out the How to Foster Employee Engagement through E-Learning white paper
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