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4621 N Ravenswood Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640
United States



NogginLabs was founded on the notion that custom e-learning design and development is the ultimate horizontal industry. Time and again, each new project, client, and industry proves it. The biggest advantage of the e-learning horizontal is cross-pollinating ideas from two wildly different domains. A restaurant service simulation for iPad may influence a high-fashion online retail challenge. E-learning for financial advisors in a bank could inspire a mobile outreach program for cancer survivors. This variety also keeps the creative folks at NogginLabs fresh. Fresh learning ideas and designs come from a set of constantly changing constraints.

When e-learning doesn't work


When e-learning doesn't work

Katie Markovich

Shopping for a training vendor can be difficult. As a person who builds online training, I can vouch for the nuances, intricacies, and customizations of some of our courses. I mean, these things can get pretty crazy. So, it totally makes sense to me that some might find the task of choosing the perfect e-learning product a little daunting. 

To make matters a little more complicated, we also understand that you might have your own reservations about the efficacy of courses you've experienced. You may have read Josh Bersin's recent article, highlighting findings from a report by CMI and Oxford Strategic Consulting in the UK. Bersin questions the success rate of soft skill-based e-learning for reasons that are very, well, reasonable:

Despite years of effort to build great online content, the research clearly shows that for management and leadership development the instructor really matters. 95% of respondents said that the quality of the instructor was a very important or important part of their experience and 72% said it was critical.  So the finding is pretty clear: soft skills topics and leadership in general is very dependent on finding a great instructor.

I can see where Bersin is coming from. I also think teachers are great, and great teachers are better. But in the same article, Bersin zeroed in on these pieces of data, which are perhaps most relevant to developers and consumers:

73% of managers want their digital experiences to be more adaptive (i.e. customized), 60% want the experience to be more social and collaborative, and 55% want more experiential learning included (activities, projects).

These statistics jumped out at me. I feel like NogginLabs is already catering to the managers who are finding the courage and creativity to reach beyond their comfort zones. But what about the managers who don’t know that customization and engagement should be a priority? The managers who simply aren’t aware of contemporary e-learning capabilities? I have a feeling these are the people responding negatively.


If you’re selecting off-the-shelf products that are merely formulaic, of course you won’t be pleased with the results. We need to get to know you as both a client and a culture in order to create training that changes behavior.

Bersin’s findings reveal one thing to be absolutely true, though: e-learning does not make use of an in-person instructor. And while we can’t possibly send an instructor to your place of business to accompany your course, we do try to replicate the in-person experience as closely as possible. We do this by creating simulations and interactions that closely resemble the situations in which your learners might need to practice their soft skills. We get people practicing. We get people making decisions based upon the content to which they were just introduced. But in our setting, they’re allowed to fail, which ultimately leads to future success. Sure, this kind of practice is done via a screen, but some skills simply can’t be faked.

In the new year, we think it's important to set goals and push boundaries. We think this as developers, but also want the same for our clients. It's simple: Don't become a statistic. Instead, make this the year that your online training amazes, engages, and challenges, instead of merely getting the job done.