When it comes to professional education, many corporations look to a traditional learning management system (LMS) to facilitate online learning.  These software applications are excellent tools for tracking, recording, and general administration of learning initiatives.  But what about achieving a deeper learning that only comes from genuinely internalizing the material?  This is the type of learning that can exceptionally impact an organization’s abilities and accomplishments, and it’s best achieved through a more continuous learning environment.

So with that, here are five ways to extend the corporate learning experience:

1.    Go to outside sources

Sure, the materials and instructor have a lot to offer, but it doesn’t hurt to have other experts and authors share even more.  Offering a web destination where you can share links to related information can help individuals explore the material beyond the classroom.  Just make sure you use trusted sources!

2.    Get out of the classroom and into the work context

No matter what kind of work you do, it likely doesn’t take place in a classroom.  Help make the most of the material by having learners do hands-on exercises in their usual work environment.  Then, they can share their personal experiences with the instructor and class through their virtual learning environment. 

3.    Engage Learners

The process of one-to-many only goes so far and many of our Blackboard community advocate against “death by Powerpoint.”  Give learners opportunities to engage with each other so that they diversify their experience, share information and understandings, and ultimately get a deeper understanding of the material.

4.    Facilitate Collaboration

Whether you call them chat rooms, Internet forums, or message boards, the key is to have a common web destination for instructors and learners to share questions, answers, and generally provide value to each other outside of the classroom.  These also can help instructors identify what topics are challenging participants most. 

5.    Always Be On
Some people are morning birds and some are night owls.  The key is to have material readily available whenever (and wherever – mobile!) people prefer to do their outside-of-classroom learning.  This is also known as asynchronous learning and adult learners with busy schedules often prefer it.  Possible materials include videos or podcasts of lectures, outside links per #1, and other recommended reading. 
You can continue your learning experience beyond this blog posting by checking out some of the links below!

•    Why an LMS Alone May Miss the Learning Curve
•    5 Tips to Improve Learning (webinar)
•    Informal Learning White Paper

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