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potential success of your eLearning implementation
E-Learning like most training and knowledge transfer initiatives demands planning and careful implementation. Often, the audience is the last consideration in the process and few if any audience marketing, achievement reward programs, audience feedback or engagement tracking is implemented as part of the plan.
I have been witness to several implementation programs within small and large organizations that have failed miserably. In one case we developed a program that was launched to reach 10,000 employees. There are few statistics (since organizations rarely share such information) and developers are not asked to participate or offer any meaningful input into the distribution process of eLearning within an organization.
Herein lies the problem; organizations form management and administrative bodies across disciplines, departments and regional divisions etc. The penchant for administrative protocol creates a lack of communication so that these bodies focus more attention on process rather than on results.
Since eLearning has been designed to by accessed anywhere, anytime, understanding and catering to personal and professional lives plays an important role in determining how we engage learners. Management and administrative bodies do not consider this and assume (wrongly) that if we create program learners will be forced to participate since they are employees of the company or organization. . What they fail to understand is that learning is not a forced exercise that automatically engages learners and creates retention and the willingness to apply that learning in their work experience. It is often seen as many company initiatives are a well-intentioned exercise that is not really designed for “me”, the very person we are trying to reach.
Creating and incentive and an understanding of what the eLearning program hopes to achieve and how each employee (or better yet “person”), if they play their part can contribute to the success and rewarding that success both personal and organizationally are what can make the difference between success and failure.
Alright…so we have created a case for incentivizing eLearning for employee buy in; so how do we go about doing it? This is a complex topic that demands an understanding of the work environment, the learner’s demographic profile, personal worker preferences and the organization’s ability to commit to a longer term and a consistent implementation process that seeks to respond to learner needs.
Having said this, I can provide a basic bullet point list of issues to consider and steps to take, in no particular order:
- Think about implementation in terms of advertising. Get the word out in a creative and engaging way
- Involve the learners in the process of advertising; coming up with creative ideas for its implementation gives them ownership and they become invested in the process
- Get third party input. This could take the form of the eLearning developer, internal communication resources, advertising agency, etc.
- Repeat the “getting the word out” process throughout the implementation and distribution process. Before, during and after
- Promote the reward process and how and how individuals and the organization have benefited
- Tell personal stories and provide statistical evidence on the program’s success or “lack thereof”
- Track and share engagement statistics.
- Define and beginning and an end to the implementation process. Leaving it open ended suggests that it is not important
- When as organization meets organized resistance, i.e., unions, go back to more communications with employees because you probably have not created enough incentive for them to fully participate or understand its value
- Use learner surveys, feedback meetings, webinars, etc., and follow up opportunities to get feedback on what worked and what didn’t
- Last but not least, act on the feedback provided. You don’t have to act on every suggestion but you do want to let your learners know you are listening and genuinely want this to work