6 tips to introduce eLearning to your business
El eLearning enriquece nuestro mundo laboral en la era digital, ¡sin duda! Pero, ¿cómo se las arregla para convencer a las personas más escépticas y establecer el aprendizaje digital como parte integral de la cultura corporativa?
Hasta un 77% de las empresas americanas ya usaban servicios de eLearning en 2017. Esto significa que lograron un 218% más de ingresos por empleado y un 24% más de márgenes de beneficio, según una encuesta de la Sociedad Americana de Capacitación y Desarrollo.
Ante todo, los cursos en línea simplifican el acceso a los programas de formación continua y permiten seguir formándose en un entorno profesional repleto, por nombrar sólo dos de las muchas ventajas para los empleados.
Además de la creación del programa de eLearning real, la introducción de la transferencia de conocimiento digital en su empresa representa otro gran desafío y éste no debe ser subestimado de ninguna manera. En última instancia, su enfoque determinará cuán bien su oferta de eLearning es aceptada por la fuerza de trabajo.
Volvamos al tema. Sin embargo, antes de comunicar el cambio a la fuerza de trabajo y querer avanzar activamente con el establecimiento del programa de e-Learning, debe empezar por ti mismo/a. Esto significa: aclarar las condiciones marco y fijar el rumbo.
The change to eLearning is not a tactical operation. You will need time and a strategy because you will soon realize that not everyone perceives change as a positive thing. Being realistic, you will face some difficulties that you will be able to minimize with a suitable preparation. You must note that:
- Planned effort reduces costs
- Training and learning outcomes are scalable without the need of a large investment
- The new learning way can be easily integrated into the old learning culture
Below, you will find 6 tips to make it easier to introduce eLearning to your company:
#1 Carry out a needs assessment
In this first step, the reasons for introducing an eLearning program are checked, and the current state and target state are compared. The following questions will help you with this tasks. Once you have answered them, remember to organize the resources accordingly.
List of recommended questions:
- What are your goals for the eLearning program?
- What additional staff and technical costs will you face?
- What role does each one play in the training process?
- What content or knowledge must be transmitted?
- What groups of employees should be trained and on what topics?
- Does training material already exist or should it be designed? In the latter case, would it be designed in-house or with the help of external suppliers?
#2 Interview employees
As always in marketing, the approach to product development and to customer experience is on the target group. Employees must allow you to participate in the process of developing their eLearning program.
- Interview employees from different positions and departments: What are their criticisms and fears? How do they picture an optimal eLearning experience? What are their requirements?
- Talk to instructors and Training Managers. Their opinion will help you get a completely different perspective.
- Carry out a first pilot project with a small training group. Identify obstacles and optimize the experience.
#3 Define the implementation strategy
The objectives set out in #1 provide a benchmark whose main goal is to make eLearning known and, at best, popular, in your company. This requires a uniform communication strategy and the support of all responsible people as well as Management.
- Create a communication strategy and a communication guideline
- Plan specific measures for internal communication
- Create information and promotion material
- Organize informative events such as webinars on the topic "What is eLearning?", discussion panels "What are the benefits of eLearning?", etc
- Use all internal marketing channels such as the company intranet, social media, newsletter, etc
#4 Eliminate doubt
Fake news spreads like wildfire. Face it as soon as possible! For example, if information or assumptions that are not entirely accurate are going round, the solution is none other than transparent communication that will generate trust.
People consider their personal data as sacred and want to know what happens to it. Be understanding and inform your employees about everything:
- Is personal data collected? If so, what kind of data?
- For what purpose is the data processed or viewed?
- Is the training progress monitored? Are samples of the assignments or exams sent to supervisors and/or to the Personnel Department?
Some employees may ask, "Why should I take online courses now? How do they benefit me?". At this point, just communicating the benefits of eLearning will not be enough; you will need to create incentives and inform about the content of the training program in a practical way.
For example, you can motivate your employees by introducing a reward system: Everyone who has completed a course will receive a certificate. You can distribute prizes and bonus points to people who get the best results or who complete a particularly high number of courses. Be creative! There are no limits!
You can also give your employees more freedom when deciding what they want to learn. In addition to fixed courses, you can allow them, for example, decide what other subjects they want to be trained in. Self-management is a valuable and effective motivator.
In this context, the provided learning or training material does not always have to be determined by you or by third parties. Employees can be allowed to create their own learning material, videos in their field of expertise, etc. and share them with their colleagues. All this material could be made available to staff by means of an online library, a kind of knowledge center.
#6 Create acceptance
Different factors can affect the level of acceptance created by eLearning when it is introduced in a company.
For many people, the biggest advantage of eLearning is that they are independent in time and place. However, this point implies a disadvantage: The lack of contact with people and teachers with related ideas.
Examples of measures:
- Establish eLearning groups in which participants can be exchanged and support each other
- Encourage teachers to participate in the conversation and be available for questions
- Allow real-time communication through chats, forums and video conferences
Some employees provide more previous knowledge than others, either because of their training or their work; this will make it easier for them to catch up. Millennials, as digital natives, for example, will be able to manage the new system much faster.
Some measures can be taken to ensure that less experienced employees catch up smoothly, such as an intuitive design of the learning platform and the supply of high quality content. Attention should be focused on ease of use, which can be optimized through the following points.
Examples of measures:
- Offer intensive courses on how to use the software before the training begins
- Prepare test courses
- Provide a starter kit: Manual, headset and other tips
Skepticism, or rejection of certain things is mostly based on ignorance. This means that when people oppose something or someone, it is often because they do not understand the issue or situation. In this case, it is advisable to educate people, starting with a transparent communication, as discussed in the previous section called "Eliminate Doubt".
If senior executives don’t like to see eLearning being used during work hours or are skeptical about it, employees will keep their hands away from it in order to avoid an unpleasant conflict. The only solution in this case is to create space and acceptance towards online courses in day-to-day work time.
In addition, many students often complain about a too theoretical approach of the lessons. After all, newly learned subjects can only be really consolidated if what has been learned can be put into practice.
Examples of measures:
- Encourage employees to put their new knowledge into practice, for example, by sharing examples of best practices from their colleagues and supporting the trial and error mindset.
- Working time is learning time: Create specific times for learning or block individual times in the calendar. Employees can mark the calendar with a note like “Please, do not disturb” or “I’m studying”. An email template or a table sign can also be provided for this purpose.
- Prepare break rooms with suitable equipment for concentrated work.
- Appoint experienced mentors. For example, employees in senior positions who can provide advice and support to younger employees on content issues
Only when employees use their eLearning offer in their daily work to clarify issues and questions, it will be accepted as an important part of the corporate culture. Then, and only then, will the desired success be achieved.
However, to ensure that eLearning is seen as a large-scale improvement, you should perform a continuous training check, which means that you will constantly be questioning processes, evaluating measures, requesting feedback, and putting into practice suggestions for progress. You will never stop learning!
For this reason, you should not consider learning itself as an isolated event, but as a process that aims to improve every day. The most important thing is that you take the first step. You can use this article as a starting point. Get started now!
Author: Roy Franke