Barista making a latte

There are people who argue that some subjects or topics can’t be taught via eLearning. In the past, I’ve wondered the same thing. But then I witnessed the value of eLearning content, and it made me re-think what’s possible. Regardless of the topic, if you’re looking for a consistent way to teach employees, eLearning provides a powerful way to do just that.

Consider the example of using an eLearning module to teach someone how to make coffee. People who frequent coffee shops will understand there are very specific ways to make the perfect coffee beverage – Quad Grande, Non Fat, Extra Hot Caramel Macchiato Upside Down, anyone?

It’s impossible to learn every potential variation of a drink, but even for the standard drinks there are a lot of ingredients, portions, and temperatures. It can be difficult for a barista to learn everything, especially on their first day. And don’t forget, there’s the added challenge of learning how to use powerful espresso machines without breaking them or burning yourself. On top of it all, baristas are customer-facing employees – they need to not only craft and deliver a delicious coffee beverage, they also need to be able to engage in friendly conversation while they do so.

When it comes to providing employees with consistent instruction, eLearning offers a powerful and effective way to transfer knowledge. In the case of teaching employees how to make coffee beverages via an eLearning module, you might provide:

  • Foundational information about the beverage menu
  • Recipes for the most common beverages
  • Illustrations about key parts of the espresso machine

You might be saying, “Well, you can deliver that training via a manual.”

And you’re right. You can deliver that information in a manual.

But when it comes to the ability to demonstrate and engage learners with interactive content, custom-made eLearningprovides more options. In addition to the information, recipes, and illustrations, with an eLearning course you’re able to provide:

  • Video clips demonstrating how the machine is used to make beverages
  • Activities that reinforce key concepts
  • Quizzes that test employees’ knowledge before they begin making beverages

While people may think the only way to teach a barista how to make coffee is to demonstrate how to make them in person, that’s simply not the case. Baristas can also learn and practice the key concepts regarding how to make coffee beverages by completing an eLearning course. After that, they’re ready to build on those skills so they can make that Quad Grande, Non Fat, Extra Hot Caramel Macchiato Upside Down order when it comes in.

The foundation that an eLearning course provides allows learners to gain the skills and confidence the need so that they’re prepared to hit the ground running. Furthermore, with the understanding they gain from an eLearning course, learners can quickly improve their skills when they’re away from the screen. As needed, their manager or coach is available to offer help and insight around specific knowledge gaps to ensure the learner’s skills continue to improve.

Rather than limiting yourself to how something has been taught in the past, look at ways you can tap into the power of eLearning to enhance the experience for your learners.

[article written by Liz Sheffield]