Amongst the exhibition halls lie silver bullets aplenty. The grand claims made by LMS and e-learning providers turn heads, spark interest, and solve all our problems. If only, our people would engage in online learning.

We’ve stuck everything to the same old tosh. Points, leaderboards, drag and drop ‘interactivity’, reveal boxes… and now we’ve got AR and VR, how could our clients resist?

How could they resist? We’re not asking that question. Not even close. More often than not, we’re asking “how do we get people to engage in our online learning?” And we’ll continue to ask that question until we’re honest with ourselves and ask a more important one:

“What problem is it solving, specifically?”

Let me be straight. It doesn’t matter how smart your AI-powered recommendation engine is, if it doesn’t solve my real problems (supporting and guiding me to do better work that improves my prospects) then it’s more a distraction than a help.

If your answer to:

“What problem is it solving, specifically?”

is:

“We didn’t have it before”

…it’s not likely to be solving any problems that Google hasn’t solved already. Ok, yours might be neatly packaged and more ‘engaging’ but your LMS is not more intuitive than Google or trusted to the extent that people trust their favourite web-browser.

If you are competing with Google for the attention of your clients, then Google has already won.

But Google has not addressed – and to my knowledge has no plans to address – how to help your people understand how to get the right stuff done in your organisation; how to handle transitions in role and across departments; and how others, again in your organisation, have overcome similar challenges and friction.

It doesn’t matter if your e-learning is animated, ‘fun’, interactive, or that you get points for completing it (yawn). If it doesn’t solve a specific problem that your people – or distinct groups of them – are experiencing then it’s extraneous.

The question comes up all the time: how do we get people to engage in our online learning? Wrong question. The question you should be asking instead is:

“How do we use technology to solve the real, specific, problems of our people and scale what works?”

The answer is highly unlikely to be:

“Launch a Learning Management System stuffed full of content.”

Help solve real problems for real people and you won’t be struggling to make your online learning work.

David James is Digital Learning Strategist with Looop and was previously Director of Talent, Learning & OD for The Walt Disney Company’s EMEA region.

Now an authority in contemporary L&D practices, David works with businesses to develop and implement social, agile and digital learning strategies that make learning work, with Looop.

See also:

How Sky Develop Their People At The Point-Of-Need And At The Speed Of Business

What Motivates People To Learn Online At Work?

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