Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, International Data Corporation estimated that the digital transformation (DX) of business practices, products, and organizations would reach $2.3 trillion in 2023. Of that, investments in corporate e-learning initiatives are expected to reach nearly $100 billion. However, given the breakneck speed at which organizations have had to evolve during this new normal of ours, it is safe to assume that corporate spending on DX initiatives like corporate e-learning will eclipse these estimates significantly.
As you visualize what corporate learning initiatives of the future will look like, it is easy to picture a decentralized workforce, connected to corporate training and learning programs by video conferencing systems, Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms, and high-tech gadgets galore! But what about those workers who don’t use a computer on the job, or that don’t have the Internet – or want it? How will they fit into all of this?
Tech startup Arist, which recently raised $1.9 million in funding for its text-based learning platform, believes it has the answer.
“Not everyone uses a computer at work, or has the Internet,” stated Arist Co-founder and CEO Michael Ioffe. “However, more than 96% of the people in the U.S. have a cell phone of some type. As such, text-based messaging is the one technology almost all of us have in common. Of the vast array of technologies that exist today, text messaging is the most inclusive technology there is.”
It is Arist’s ability to bridge the digital divide that makes it a training tool of choice for more than a dozen Fortune 500 organizations, including DuPont. DuPont utilizes the Arist platform as a supplement to its online learning initiatives and has designed courses for onboarding employees, compliance training, sales skills improvement, health and wellness programs and refresher trainings. The trainings come in bite-sized chunks over a period of days. Arist refers to these text-based quick bites as microlearning.
In its simplest form, microlearning is a delivery format of content where users receive short form content over an extended period of time. And research indicates this form of learning is preferred. When comes to microlearning’s effectiveness, in its research on the topic, the American Institute of Physics found that 90% of respondents welcomed a microlearning approach to learning, compared to 75% for email, 72% for video clips, and 65% for images.
When comparing microlearning to traditional learning, the research also found 82% of users rated microlearning as holistic and user-friendly, compared to less than 25% for traditional learning.
“Not only is text-based microlearning more inclusive, it is proving to be a preferred format for education and training,” added Ioffe.
Although the Arist platform was built with corporate learning in mind, innovative entities like the State of California are finding additional uses for the platform. The Golden State recently partnered with Arist for its Listos Emergency Preparedness Campaign, which marked the first time a state has used a text-messaging platform to train and educate the general public.
Listos California engaged Arist to advance a new culture of preparedness in California with a campaign that encourages people to complete five easy and free steps to prepare for wildfires, earthquakes, and floods.
“To meet the tremendous challenge of engaging communities across our state, we combined technological innovation with essential information that is accessible to a wide range of vulnerable groups,” said Listos California co-chairs Karen Baker and Justin Knighten. “When we began our work to develop a system for helping prepare Californians for natural disasters during the COVID-19 pandemic we knew we had to rely on technology as a tool to educate people and meet them where they are. That’s when we found Arist.”
Californians interested in emergency preparedness training provided by Listos can sign-up by texting “LISTOSCA” to 72345. They will receive one text message per day, sent at the time they choose, over the course of a week. Each text will include a disaster readiness tip and prompt individuals to take a specific action. By the end of 7 days, participants will have learned how to complete five easy, free, or low-cost steps to protect themselves and their families.
The campaign recently launched statewide, with a focus on hard to reach communities. The text message campaign is available in a variety of languages, including English, Spanish, Filipino, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Hmong. The tool also connects Californians to the COVID19.CA.GOV website for all available information on the virus and other resources.
What makes the Arist platform unique is that it doesn’t require any coding experience to deploy, and it integrates easily with other corporate learning management systems. Arist is not only flexible, it is more time-efficient and cost-effective than traditional methods.
When compared to other e-learning methodologies where learners receive information and give short-form responses, Arist found that it takes ninety to two hundred and four hours and $10,000, on average, to produce an hour of e-learning content. In comparison, with Arist’s solution, course creation takes less than a week and can be done with zero production costs.
“When we studied corporate e-learning environments, we found traditional approaches were not only expensive, they garnered low satisfaction and completion rates as well,” stated Ioffe. “That’s when we realized we were onto something because compared to traditional corporate training, text message learning displayed much stronger applicability in training workforces.”
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