Improving E-Learning Results

Martec International Ltd has been developing and delivering e-learning training for over 20 years. Our training authors and consultants are all former retailers with at least 10 years retail experience and have held at least one senior management position in a leading retailer.

Over the years, we have developed approaches to making e-learning more effective which are largely exclusive to Martec.

We focus on delivering high value content on core retail processes, such as those in buying and merchandising, store operations, e-commerce, retail financials and omni-channel retailing, as well as content for technology vendors and consumer goods companies that interact with retailers on a regular basis.

In addition to high value content, we do a number of other things to make e-learning more effective, but there are two that are most important.

 

Ask the Expert

All classes authored by Martec include an Ask the Expert link. As part of their licence fee, a class student can click on the link and send an email question to a subject matter expert free of charge. The questions can be anything related to the subject under study, but most of them are either questions of clarification about the content, queries about mastery test or exercise answers and requests for advice on how to apply the knowledge they have learned in their day job.

Our subject matter experts will answer these questions within 5 business days, but usually much faster. There is no limit on how many questions a student can ask and users of this service are generally very complimentary about the responses they receive.

 

Web-Based Group Tutorial Sessions

 

We often take this a stage further for clients training groups of people. This is a chargeable extra for small groups but can be free for large student populations.

It works as follows:

Students study one lesson a week, say. They complete it one day before the end of the week. At any time that week they can email questions to our help desk. The questions are collated and reviewed by a consultant. The consultant also reviews that week’s test scores to see how the students did. If there were questions that multiple students seemed to struggle with the consultant notes that fact.

On the last day of the week the consultant hosts a live webinar, usually an hour long. Depending on the client it could be a lunch and learn event. The consultant decides whether he or she can answer the questions verbally in the webinar or whether a slide or two is necessary to answer a question properly. If so, they prepare suitable content.


The typical agenda for the webinar is:

• A review of the key learnings from that week’s module
• Revision of any aspect of last week’s content where the test scores indicated a need
• A review of the questions submitted in advance
• Depending on the content of that week’s module, either an individual or a group exercise. If the client has suitable staff to assist, the exercises can get quite sophisticated but then the webinar takes a bit longer, up to 90 minutes.
• Participants can ask ad hoc questions as the webinar progresses
• Finally, the instructor gives a “heads up” for what to look out for next week.

Our experience indicates that learning to a pre-set schedule followed by weekly group webinars greatly increases the attention that students pay and the value from the program increases dramatically.

One or two clients reinforce the impact by having a senior manager participate in occasional webinars. Not knowing whether their ultimate boss might be taking part this week, but knowing that they do sometimes, greatly improves the attention level.

Overall, these two approaches increase the stickiness and therefore effectiveness of e-learning and strike a good blend of the efficiency of e-learning with periodic live instructor and group interaction.


Managerial Control and Oversight

Over the years we have noticed how results go up when students know that their management is watching their progress attentively. For clients accessing our classes on our Learning Management System, we provide a nominated client manager with free access to the same performance monitoring facilities that we use. This allows the client to easily see how many students have started or finished the program, how many modules they have completed and whether they passed the mastery tests. Letting students know that someone important is monitoring this is a valuable thing to do.

When students complete the mastery test at the end of a program, if they complete our end of class survey and provide their address, we will email them a certificate of achievement but we will also mail them a nicely designed certificate printed on a quality card and signed by our Managing Director. It looks rather like a college graduation certificate. Where clients like to do it, we will provide a batch of signed certificates also including the client’s logo and a position for a company executive to also sign them. These can then be presented at a formal company meeting. One of our clients in the Middle East, for example, had 120 students graduate 2 or 3 programs each, we provided the certificates (free of charge) and a company director participated in a formal graduation presentation.

We also provide a copy of the survey analysis to the client.


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