The growing proportion of employees—and therefore learners—who are digital natives is transforming the face of eLearning. In February, Skillsoft will release new business-skills content for customers worldwide that embraces these changes.
according to Apratim Purakayastha,it’s not only younger learners who expect a different approach to eLearning, executive vice president and chief technology officer at Skillsoft. “We do believe that there’s a new class of users coming into the workplace. Users that are coming into the workplace—and also existing users conditioned by consumer user experiences—want much more short, video-based content,” Purakayastha said.
Gone are the days of multi-day in-person seminars; that shift began a decade ago. Now the early waves of eLearning—six-hour courses, 30-minute videos—are getting their pink slips as well. They are making way for snappy, interactive, engaging eLearning.
Skillsoft’s new business skills content—242 courses in all—is launching in February on its Skillport platform, and will include a wealth of videos that run anywhere from two minutes to about seven minutes. “You can actually do bite-size microlearning,” Purakayastha said. The launch, just the first step on a road map that will ultimately lead to updating all Skillsoft content (leadership training and IT skills are up next), reflects the goal of “right-sizing the content for the modern learner,” he said.
Repackaging content in shorter “bites” is just one aspect of the update. “The second aspect is actually refreshing the content from an aesthetics perspective,” Purakayastha said. Rather than old-school videos of a talking head on screen, the content includes animations, scenario-based learning activities, and access to a continually updated library of books and resources in mobile-friendly formats. A preview of the content included branching scenarios where learners got instant feedback on their choices and the opportunity to try out several approaches to solving a problem. Presentations ranged from one person or a panel of experts delivering short talks—some noticeably more comfortable in front of the camera than others—to simple animations. A “course” consists of several videos, books, and activities that can be consumed in short “bites” but that add up to a coherent package.
Accessibility is front and center; it’s mentioned in the demo, on the website—and, naturally, built into the content. “We have focused tremendously on accessibility over the last year or so,” Purakayastha said. Each of the thousands of videos in the business-skills library includes accessibility features, such as audio descriptions and transcripts, for example.