When, Where, And How To Use eLearning In Onboarding
Employee onboarding plays a crucial role in adapting and retaining talents within an organization. In 2024, this is obvious, yet it’s worth asking how the impact and results of onboarding can be strengthened with EdTech technologies. eLearning, as an integral part of this process, plays an irreplaceable role, offering personalization, flexibility, and scalability of training. It also allows for a significant reduction in the length of the adaptation process, and as we know, time is money.
In search of information about the effectiveness of the onboarding process, I came across an interesting compilation of statistics in this area. They emphasize the importance of effective onboarding processes in organizations. Good, thoughtful, and flexible onboarding programs can improve employee retention by up to 82% and increase productivity by over 70%. A structured, planned onboarding is associated with a 60% annual improvement in revenue and a 63% increase in customer satisfaction. Moreover, employees who experience good onboarding are 18 times more engaged in their workplace. On the other hand, negative onboarding experiences can double the likelihood of new employees seeking other jobs.
Meanwhile, in many publications, the frequently visited industry portal eLearning Industry indicates that the use of eLearning in the onboarding process is crucial for the efficiency and effectiveness of introducing new employees to the realities and duties of the company. eLearning enables faster and more flexible training, tailored to individual needs and learning styles of employees. It is also a cost-effective solution that allows for scaling the training process and ensures constant access to training materials. Thanks to eLearning technology, companies can prepare new employees for full productivity more quickly and better integrate their actions with the organizational culture.
So, what eLearning mechanisms can have a direct impact on improving the process? There are at least several, and note—I won’t describe all of them here.
6 eLearning Mechanisms For An Improved Onboarding Process
Deloitte’s study reveals that organizations personalizing the onboarding process achieve 32% higher employee satisfaction. eLearning supports this through the customization of training materials to match individual preferences and learning styles. AI and Machine Learning tools allow for data analysis and the creation of personalized development paths (Data-Driven Persona), which are more engaging and effective for new employees than traditional methods. There are already organizations that, based on data sets and AI algorithms, apply advanced approaches in customer analysis and segmentation, utilizing large data sets to create detailed profiles of employees or customers.
eLearning increasingly serves as a mechanism for enhancing loyalty among business partners and customers. DDP uses demographic data, behaviors, preferences, activity history, and other relevant information to understand and predict the needs and behaviors of specific user groups. What mechanisms am I thinking of? Here are a few:
- Adaptive learning paths
eLearning systems can adjust the difficulty and scope of materials based on previous responses and participant progress.
- Data-driven development recommendations
Using data analysis to recommend courses or modules that best suit an employee’s individual needs and goals.
- Interactive scenarios
Allowing users to choose different paths within eLearning courses, which enables a more engaging and tailored learning experience. And, note that this is nothing new, as branch scenarios have been functioning for years.
- Personalized feedback provided by AI systems
Helping employees focus on areas that need improvement or pointing out areas overlooked in the onboarding process.
- Taking into account individual visual and linguistic preferences
The ability to customize the interface and language of courses to user expectations, enhancing the learning comfort.
Microlearning involves short knowledge bursts delivered through focused training modules. Each module focuses on a specific topic or skill, allowing for quick absorption and application of information. These modules typically range from a few minutes to a maximum of 15 minutes, ideal for time-constrained employees. Why integrate microlearning into onboarding processes? Here are several reasons:
- Time efficiency
Employees can quickly absorb knowledge in small portions, which is especially useful in dynamic work environments, like the first days and weeks at a new job.
- Engagement building
Shorter training sessions are less taxing and more engaging, reducing stress and enhancing concentration and faster learning.
- Improved knowledge retention
Short sessions facilitate easier memory and absorption of information, key to effective learning, particularly when immediately applying new knowledge in practice.
People learn at their own pace and schedule, important in remote and hybrid work models.
3. Mobile Learning
Mobile learning allows access to training materials anytime and anywhere via mobile devices, essential for remote workers or those on the move. It’s particularly beneficial for:
- Remote workers
In companies like IT, marketing agencies, or consultancies, mobile learning provides access to training regardless of location or chosen time.
- Sales representatives and customer advisors
In industries like sales, insurance, or consulting, employees frequently traveling to clients require access to training materials at any location and time.
- Field workers
In sectors like energy, construction, or courier services, working across various locations, mobile learning facilitates updates and training on safety procedures or operational guidelines.
- Medical professionals
Doctors and nurses, for example, need to stay up-to-date with procedures and research, where access to current materials is crucial due to the vast complexity and scope of required knowledge.
- Companies with geographically dispersed teams, including in a hybrid model
Mobile learning standardizes training for all employees, regardless of location. Additionally, the hybrid work model heavily relies on eLearning to meet the expectations of effective onboarding.
4. Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality (VR) is particularly useful in industries requiring specialized practical skills, wherever training necessitates simulating realistic work scenarios without the risks and costs associated with live training.
- Medical industry
VR can be used to simulate complex surgical and medical procedures, allowing new employees to acquire practical skills without risking patient safety.
- Safety training in construction or manufacturing
VR can simulate work-related safety scenarios, such as building evacuation, handling dangerous equipment, or emergency procedures.
- Operational training for industries like aviation, logistics, or heavy industry
VR can be used to simulate flying or operating aircraft equipment, TGV trains, or industrial furnace servicing, enabling new employees to safely gain practical experience without the significant costs and risks associated with mistakes.
- Technical simulations in engineering and technology
VR can be used to simulate complex technical processes like machine, equipment, or control system operation. Simulations of advanced production lines or technological laboratories are becoming standard in industrial automation.
- Customer service training for service industries like hospitality or retail
VR can simulate interactions with customers, aiding new employees in developing communication and customer service skills.
- Spatial orientation
VR can be used for virtual tours of facilities, offices, and museums, especially useful in large organizations or spaces where spatial orientation is crucial.
- Crisis situation training for emergency services
VR can be used to simulate crisis scenarios such as fires, natural disasters, or rescue operations, allowing for the development of necessary skills in extreme conditions without unnecessary risk.
Gamification, deeply integrated into eLearning, is effective in onboarding, as using game elements in training enhances employee engagement and motivation. Examples include interactive quizzes and challenges related to the company, sales simulations, mission or scenario creation, organizing team games, and virtual tours with game elements. Here are some examples of gamified eLearning applications in onboarding:
- Quizzes and challenges
Through interactive quizzes related to the company and its activities, employees can earn points and badges, or reach different levels for correct answers, enhancing their engagement in learning about the company.
- Sales simulations in retail or sales positions
Employees learn sales techniques and customer service through interactive sales scenarios.
- Developing missions or scenarios for new employees to solve
Finding solutions to common workplace problems, based on real cases and events in the company.
- Organizing team games
They help build relationships between new employees and the team, which can be online games or tasks in the actual work environment.
- Virtual tours with game elements
Virtual tours of the company with game-like elements like finding hidden objects or solving tasks related to the company’s operations or products.
Gamified eLearning in the onboarding process not only facilitates knowledge acquisition but also makes the entire process more engaging and enjoyable for new employees.
6. Social Learning In Onboarding
Social learning can be a key element in the onboarding process as it relies on interactions between employees. The role of mentors, managers, and buddies (caretakers) who support the employee is significant. Here are a few examples of social learning applications in onboarding:
- Online mentoring and coaching
Assigning experienced employees as mentors to new hires to guide them through their first weeks of work, answer questions, and share experiences.
- Creating discussion groups on eLearning platforms
New employees can ask questions, share impressions, and learn from each other.
- Organizing workshops or Q&A sessions
New employees can actively participate in discussions related to their new roles and responsibilities.
- Including new employees in interdisciplinary team projects
This allows them to practically apply their knowledge and skills in real business tasks, even with people in remote locations.
Social learning in onboarding accelerates the adaptation process of new employees and cultivates a culture of collaboration and knowledge sharing within the organization. This approach strengthens bonds among employees and fosters the creation of stronger, more integrated teams.
In What Contexts Is It Beneficial To Use eLearning In Onboarding?
Below are several thematic areas in onboarding where eLearning proves to be highly effective:
- Company procedures
Quickly and efficiently acquainting new employees with key company procedures, regulations, and operational principles.
- Introduction to organizational culture, principles, values, mission, vision, and norms
Builds a sense of belonging and understanding of the company’s culture among employees.
- Training on products or services of the company
Crucial in industries and professions where product knowledge is key to job performance.
- Training on tools and technologies
Related to specialized software, tools, or technology used in the company, necessary for effective work.
- Training on legal regulations and compliance
Educating employees about applicable legal regulations, internal policies, and compliance rules is especially important in regulated industries.
- Team integration and building
Using games and eLearning activities to build relationships between new employees and the existing team, supporting integration and cooperation.
- Training in soft skills
Communication, time management, problem-solving, and other soft skills are important in every professional role.
In summary, eLearning in onboarding is an effective strategy that utilizes various technologies and teaching methods to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of new employee adaptation. Personalization, microlearning, mobile learning, Virtual Reality, and gamification facilitate the customization of training materials to individual needs and preferences. eLearning is also an effective tool for promoting employee engagement and loyalty, leading to higher productivity and better organizational outcomes. Amidst continual changes in the work world, eLearning in onboarding is a strategic investment in human capital that benefits both employees and the organization as a whole.