eLearning has been a popular term for a while now, and for good reason. But while consumer eLearning (made easy to access by Youtube and Lynda) has become relevant in nearly everyone’s daily lives, corporate eLearning has struggled to keep pace. With the continuous improvements in technology (especially mobile), corporate eLearning is beginning to improve and gain the flexibility of its more casual counterpart.

The end goal is to create an eLearning experience that transfers seamlessly from your work computer to your mobile phone or tablet. Instead of sitting in a windowless room listening to a speaker for six hours, you’re on your phone in the gym, cycling your way through a leadership skills class.

But eLearning uses technology, and technology outdated quickly. Trends come and go, and generations transition within the workplace, bringing a whole host of changes. Now, eLearning needs to do more than merely inform the learner — it needs a crisp design, a straightforward user interface, and relevant content to create an impact.

Good eLearning means your learners learn and retain the information they need to know. Great eLearning means your learners learn, retain, and then implement that learning in the real world. And if great eLearning is your goal, then it’s important to get your learning done right. So, what’s the most crucial step?

Create an eLearning philosophy guide

Well, if your mind read eLearning philosophy guide and took two steps back, we don’t blame you. For clarity, a philosophy guide isn’t the eLearning equivalent of a dry dissertation — it’s simply a fancy way of saying your eLearning roadmap.

Want even better news? You don’t have to create this roadmap on your own.

An eLearning philosophy guide comes after you’ve chosen your eLearning design agency. The design agency will spearhead the creation of this guide — and you’ll be there to answer questions about branding, goals, content, and (most importantly) the learners.

So what is an eLearning philosophy guide?

The philosophy guide is a roadmap. But a roadmap to where? Lewis Carroll said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” And that’s what you need to avoid — especially when creating learning. You want your learners to quickly demonstrate understanding in a way that helps the business grow. And that growth essentially sums up the entire reason behind an eLearning philosophy guide.

The purpose of an eLearning philosophy guide is to ensure intentionalconsistent learning that increases your ROI.

Why does creating an eLearning philosophy guide even matter?

The short answer? Consistency.

The long answer? If you want powerful, intentional learning, then consistency is key. Think about your brand for a moment. Your business probably has brand guidelines to make sure your brand appearance and voice stays consistent across all different mediums. Why? If your brand looks or sounds different on your website than on your business cards or print ads, it confuses your audience. They won’t recognize your brand or understand what products or services you offer.

This same principle applies to eLearning. If one module of learning is professional, text-based, and verbose, and the next module is conversational, visual, and concise, your learners will end up confused. And in the words of the renowned messaging gurus at StoryBrand, “If you confuse, you’ll lose.”

In learning, this means losing the learner’s interest, focus, and retention. It also means losing time, money, and talented employees.

Establish your eLearning philosophy with a seven-point foundation

The eLearning philosophy guide is born during the discovery process, when you and your learning partner sit down together and determine seven different learning points.

If a company wants one ten-minute course, these points might be summarized in a short Google Doc. But if a company wants 30 courses on proper management, 25 courses on customer service, and the possibility of more in the future, then creating a branded eLearning philosophy guide just might save everyone a lot of time, effort, and money.

Whether a branded pdf or a simple document, the eLearning philosophy guide should encompass the core standards that maintain consistency throughout all a business’ eLearning modules. These core standards are true regardless of your content, so you can speed the eLearning process along if you take a look at these internally before discussing them with your eLearning design agency.

1. Visual style

What is the visual style of your learning modules? This is usually the same as the company brand, and the style can be drawn or derived from the style guide.

2. Writing style

How do you want to sound to the learner? Are you a strict, formal college professor? Or perhaps a conversational and easy-going instructor? Once the voice and tone of your eLearning are established, the writers can follow it throughout every single course.

3. Length

What average length is your goal? In order to find this, it’s good to take a look at your employee needs and the time you can dedicate to training.

4. Reason

Is eLearning the best solution for employee training? Even though it might seem like the easiest option, that doesn’t mean it’s the best solution, depending on content, context, and employee needs. It’s good to establish a baseline on when you develop eLearning instead of instructor-led training.

5. Metrics

Do you consider eLearning throw-away or budget content, or do you intentionally align it to specific, measurable business goals and objectives? Do you hold managers and employees accountable for meeting these objectives?

6. Strategy

How does eLearning fit into your overall training and performance improvement strategy?

7. Development

Will you develop eLearning internally, with employees, contractors, vendors, or all three? If all three, how will you ensure consistency? How will you vet vendors and contractors to ensure that they are partners that add value?

Power your eLearning from beginning to end

Setting up an eLearning philosophy guide gives your team and your learning partner the ability to create powerful eLearning that helps your learner and increases your ROI. The consistent structure created by the eLearning philosophy guide helps your learner to focus on learning and implementing the new knowledge. Well-informed employees decrease turnover and increase employee satisfaction.

Especially in the younger generations of workers, learning is critical to job satisfaction. Millennials, for example, are less likely to look for another job if their current workplace encourages learning and growth. In employee talent and retention alone, you’ll probably see a large boost in your ROI. But it doesn’t end there — an eLearning philosophy guide is a foundation that keeps on building.

Well-informed and satisfied employees are simply the first bonus from great eLearning. When employees put their informed abilities to good use, you’ll most likely see an upsurge in satisfied clients as well. And that’s a bonus that everyone appreciates. If your business is looking to update and modernize your learning, there’s no better time to get started.

Interested in seeing powerful eLearning in action?

Check out this eLearning course we built for Facebook!

See the Case Study!