So your organisation hasn’t used eLearning before? Or maybe you have made a start but you aren't quite happy with your results?
It is important to have clarity on what eLearning actually is. Some think it is eLearning content - setting up eLearning courses for your staff; others think more about technology - selecting a Learning Management System. There are also people who think eLearning is anything you do online to improve your knowledge and skills.
At Logicearth, we see eLearning as a way of facilitating and supporting organisational learning, talent development and business improvement using modern learning technologies. Technology-enabled learning is a better way to think about it.
If you agree with this definition, then it is clear to see that modern eLearning gives rise to lots of exciting possibilities!
Where do you start if you are new to eLearning?
Start your eLearning journey by asking questions about how you currently train your staff and how they are encouraged to improve their performance. Like most organisations, you’ll probably have a combination of formal classroom training and some more informal training interventions. You might also already use techniques like coaching and mentoring. Most organisations put training resources into the following areas:
• Compliance and regulation
• Professional development & career support
• Personal development
• Technical or productive skills
• Management and leadership
• Performance improvement
Take some time to discuss with your colleagues and senior management which of these could benefit from an initial review and might yield the best results for your business. Think 'quick wins', maximum benefit and minimum disruption first, to keep everyone on-side. There is also the area of training administration. How do you currently keep records of what training employees have completed, for example?
Introducing eLearning to your organisation gives you time and space to reflect on your current training methods and determine if these are working well enough for your business.
One of the immediate benefits that eLearning brings is cost savings. If your staff can access the equivalent content and support that they get from classroom training this can be a win-win for everyone. Staff can have flexible options for when and how they learn and the business can free-up training staff and classrooms for other more complex training needs.
Modern eLearning is about content, technology and support
Once you have reviewed your current training provision, you’ll have a better idea of the good bits and not so good bits of your current training strategy. It also gives you clear areas to discuss with external providers. To introduce eLearning, focus on three areas - content, technology and support.
In our experience, much of the advice organisations are given about eLearning is overwhelming and impractical!
At Logicearth, we simplify it into one term, or two words – content strategy. There are two basic options for eLearning content; develop your own (with or without the help of an eLearning provider), or buy off-the-shelf.
Coming up with a content strategy is about using those options well and making sure your staff can easily access and make use of that content.
Buying off-the-shelf content can be useful for common core skills in the areas of personal development and productivity tools. Many off-the-shelf eLearning providers specialise in these areas, including our partners Skillsoft, VideoArts and Crossknowledge.
A new option however, for off-the-shelf content has evolved recently; content curation. Because eLearning has been around for the best part of a generation, there is much free content available. Curating and selecting, for example, a list of Youtube videos on how to use Microsoft Word, is something we see our most experienced clients do frequently for their staff.
So the bottom line is, think it through. You don’t need to spend lots of money on highly custom eLearning programmes for all of your learning challenges. You can read more about our approach to eLearning content strategy by using SMART eLearning libraries.
Technology should be the foundation of your eLearning strategy, but only if that technology is focussed on the needs of your staff and the types of learning and performance improvements that you want for them. Many organisations want to work towards building their own learning technology ecosystem. But the main technology component you should consider now is a central learning and training management system. (LMS)
The LMS will provide a central location for your staff to access learning content and tools that you set up to support them. There are many options on what to look for in a LMS, and we’ll blog more about this again. For now, we’d advise to keep your requirements simple and look for cloud-based solutions as these will be easier for you to maintain going forward. You won’t need an internal IT department to install it on a separate server – you can expect your eLearning provider to maintain it for you. At a basic level, you want your LMS to:
- Provide an administration layer to record your staff’s training activity and produce reports
- Allow you to easily make different types of content, such as video, images, documents and modern eLearning content available to your staff
- Provide tools that will allow staff to share their ideas and their own content
- Provide a level of agility and future-proofing so that new and modern learning tools can be bolted on as your organisation's learning strategy grows and develops
Finally you say! Who is going to help you with all of this? Not only will you need support when you are working through your eLearning strategy, your staff will need support when using all the rich eLearning resources that you will provide for them.
As we discussed previously in this blog, you start with a training audit and then develop your learning strategy. Then you look at what technology and content will support the gaps and challenges highlighted by your audit. All of this should be based on discussions with your senior management team and agreed business objectives.
But you shouldn’t have to do this alone. Any eLearning provider should be with you on this journey. It sounds a complicated journey, but it really is not. There is a clear path to follow and if you find the right eLearning provider, the journey will be an enjoyable and exciting one for your staff and business. And don’t let anyone tell you any different!
Join the discussion
If you are interested in fast-tracking your eLearning journey, you can get a demo of our new product L&D Evolve - which provides all the technology, content and support that you’ll need. We also have Free eLearning resources available here.
Visit our Enterprise eLearning Content Services page for more information