If you are planning  custom e-learning for employee onboarding you need to understand how it differs for  white-collar and blue-collar employees.

What are blue-collar worker and white-collar workers?

The term white-collar work used to characterize non-manual workers, but now it refers to employees or professionals whose work is knowledge intensive, non-routine, and unstructured.
A blue-collar worker refers to employees whose job entails (largely or entirely) physical labor, such as in a factory or workshop. The primary responsibilities of a blue-collar worker largely remain on manual labor.

Now, let’s see how is onboarding using e-learning different for these set of employees.

1.Familiarity with e-learning and technology

For blue-collar employees

While a good number or proportion of the blue-collar workers today have basic computer literacy and operational knowledge of modern gadgets like smartphones etc. their exposure to e-learning is limited as compared to the white-collar workers.

How do you onboard blue-collar workers using e-learning?

1. Start with a blended learning approach

As the blue-collar workers are less familiar to e-learning and modern technologies, the organisation should conduct classroom training (a blended learning approach to orient and familiarise the blue-collar workers with e-learning )

2. Initiate microlearning

Organisation can introduce microlearning on specific learning topics to onboard the blue-collar workers. A word of caution here as the organisation must ensure that the micro-nuggets are introduced at spaced intervals (like once in a week and spread over a month) to avoid information overload.

3. Use small e-learning games

Games are fun and the blue-collar workers are sure to enjoy small e-learning games. Games can be used for simple assessments or as reinforcement tools. Organisation can use their Kiosk systems installed on the production floor to enable easy access of the learning content to the blue-collar workers.

4. Non-interactive e-learning

To onboard the blue-collar workers, an organisation can introduce non-interactive e-learning like simple images and graphics, simple video and audio that effectively communicates the learning content and avoids confusions and other complexities.

For white-collar employees

White-collar employees are more familiar with modern technologies and e-learning as they have to be highly computer-literate in order to perform their job roles and responsibilities.
Hence, onboarding the white-collar employees using e-learning is not complex compared to the blue-collar employee and the organisation can start the employee onboarding using e-learning on the very first day itself.

How do you onboard white-collar workers using e-learning?

1. Interactive and engaging e-learning

The organization can choose to include more engaging and interactive e-learning to onboard the white-collar workers as they are already familiar with e-learning. Like the organisation can gamify the e-induction to make it more engaging and interactive for the white-collar workers. It also helps in creating a sense of competition among the white-collar workers

2. Implementing the latest learning technologies

While onboarding the white-collar workers, organisation enjoys the flexibility of implementing the latest e-learning techniques like using VR and AR or using e-learning simulations and scenario-based learning to train the learners during the stages of induction like detailed technical training on the job process, etc.

2.  E-learning Pedagogy

For blue-collar workers

The pedagogy of creating e-learning for blue-collar workers differs from that of white-collar workers. Referring to the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy(revised in 2001 by Anderson) an organisation should not go higher up in the order. As the blue-collar workers are not fine-tuned to e-learning and have just started remembering and understanding of the concepts, I recommend the organisation to remain to the bottom level of ‘Remembering and understanding’

How to onboard the blue-collar workers using e-learning?

1. Here an organisation can choose to include simple employee induction e-module that don’t include in-depth learning or discuses complex learning topics.

2. Non-interactive and explainer videos are ideal mode to be included in the employee onboarding using e-learning.

3. A blended learning approach can enable the organisation to move up the level of Bloom’s taxonomy where a learning approach like on the job training can train the learners in more detail

4. I recommend to include more visuals in the employee e-induction as it will help the blue-collar workers to easily relate to the learning content.
For white-collar employees

To onboard the white-collar workers using e-learning, the pedagogy of developing e-learning differs from the blue-collar workers. The pedagogy approach here will include curating more detailed learning experience through e-learning. As the white-collar workers are more proficient in learning, understanding the concepts and facts, the instructional designer or organisation can go ahead to design e-learning that is on the higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy(revised Bloom’s taxonomy) that includes the application, analysis of the concept, etc

How to onboard the white collar workers using e-learning?

1. An organisation can implement modern e-learning technologies like scenario-based e-learning to provide in-depth training.

2. Modern technologies like e-learning simulations, VR and AR can help the organisation to further strengthen the in-depth learning process in employee onboarding like technical and process training, etc.

3. Localisation of employee e-induction/onboarding

For blue-collar workers

To onboard the blue collar workers using e-learning, an organization should ideally localize the learning content as it helps the learners to better learn in a language familiar to them and increases retention of the learning content.

How do you onboard blue-collar workers using e-learning?

1.Localize and translate the e-induction into the vernacular or regional language

I recommend the organization to localize and translate the e-induction to vernacular or regional languages than using globally spoken language like English. By localizing or translating the e-learning, it helps the blue-collar workers to easily understand and relate to the learning content.

2. Include e-learning videos 

The organisation can include non-interactive videos(animated and non-animated)in local and vernacular language. Like to introduce the organisational culture, values, etc during the employee onboarding the organisation can include e-learning videos that are translated to the vernacular language for better understanding of the learning content

For white-collar employees 

White-collar employees are more proficient in English as they are more educated and qualified than blue-collar workers. Hence, an organisation is not required to translate the e-induction or employee onboarding to local/vernacular language

How do you onboard white-collar workers using e-learning?

It’s not necessary to localise or translate the e-induction into vernacular languages. Hence, the organization can introduce the employee e-induction in one single language(most preferred is English).

4. E-learning content

For blue-collar employees

While onboarding the blue-collar employees, an organisation must be very careful with the selection and inclusion of learning content in the employee onboarding e-module.

How do you onboard blue-collar workers using e-learning?

1. Include only relevant learning content

Including technical jargons, non-relevant content and complex topics in e-learning are not recommended as it can confuse the blue-collar workers. The organisation must ensure that the learning process is not complex and don’t have a steep learning curve.

2. Include more visual elements

For onboarding the blue collar employees, the organization can include more visual elements like graphics in e-learning as it can help the blue-collar workers to easily understand and relate to learning topics than reading through the texts and concepts.

For the white-collar employees

After completing the usual topics in employee e-induction like organisation history, culture, values etc. The onboarding of white-collar employees then moves to more advanced and relevant learning topics that are mostly related to his/her area of duties and responsibilities.

How do you onboard white-collar workers using e-learning?

1. Choose advanced learning strategies

The organisation can choose interactive e-learning approach like e-learning scenarios and simulations, etc to train the white-collar employees for more in-depth learning.

2. Include interactive e-learning assessments

To onboard the white-collar employees it is important to include interactive e-learning assessments like using e-learning games, case studies and scenarios to test the knowledge of the learners.

3. Detailed and personalized e-learning

To onboard the white-collar employees, an organisation must include more detailed and personalised e-learning.

5. Duration of the on-boarding program

For blue-collar employees

The duration of an employee onboarding for blue-collar employees using e-learning might stretch beyond a month

How do you onboard blue-collar workers using e-learning?

1. Spread the employee onboarding using e-learning for a longer period

Plan a mix of blended learning approach spread over a month or two to onboard the blue-collar workers who might require time to get tuned to e-learning system which they are not very familiar with

2. Implement microlearning

As discussed earlier in the blog, organisation can implement microlearning to deliver relevant learning topics to the blue-collar workers helping in easy reinforcement and reducing the duration of onboarding.

For white-collar employees

Compared to the blue-collar employees, the duration of onboarding for the white-collar employees is less. An effective employee e-induction or onboarding using e-learning gets completed under a month or even in a maximum of 2 weeks etc.

How do you onboard white-collar workers using e-learning?

1. Implement a complete employee induction e-module

The organization can implement a full-length employee induction e-module to onboard the employees than using a blended learning approach which is more time consuming

2. Ensure that courses are easily accessible on multiple devices.

While onboarding the white-collar employees, ensure that courses are easily accessible on multiple devices like smartphones, tablets, desktop etc

3. Induce competition

The organization can induce competition among the white-collar workers by implementing game mechanics and game elements like leaderboards and points. Competition helps to cut short the duration of the onboarding process as the learners compete to finish the course 

Thus e-induction or employee onboarding using e-learning is not one size fits for all approach for onboarding the blue collar and white collar workers. Feel free to share your suggestions using the comment box below