Congratulations! We made it to the final installment of our four-part blog series. It has been a bit of a journey, but overall we like to think that for those of you who have stuck with us, the experience has been informative and worthwhile.
Having covered important topics as diverse as technology and budgetary concerns, we now are left staring at the two issues that fall lowest in rank on the list of troublesome topics regarding E-learning. Although the least anxiety-inducing according to the Static8 study, they are perhaps the most critical of the bunch.
“Buy in” is a loose term that gets thrown around in a lot of different scenarios. In formal definition, it is the decision to accept a certain idea or concept. In our parlance, it is the decision by a company to accept the fact that E-learning is indeed a positive and beneficial addition to their training agenda. Buy in occurs in two stages, both vital to the success of an online training program in any organization. They are symbiotically dependant – truly entwined, where one cannot function successfully without the other.
Management Buy In
This is obviously the first all-important step that needs to take place. Without the belief and support of the folks who make decisions and run the show, E-learning is a non-starter. This has been the entire point of this four-part blog series. We want to demonstrate to those individuals in management who doubt the efficacy of online learning – either through past bad experience or inexperience – that their organization stands to do nothing but benefit from digital training.
Management is the energy source that drives the gears of the foundation in the company that is personnel. Being in a position of authority, the decision makers in management are in a unique capacity to determine the most optimal route that their employees can take when it comes to advancing their knowledge base and skill set through corporate training.
Do they want cumbersome and expensive traditional instructor-led classroom style workshops? As has been covered in our previous posts, these gatherings may offer more entertainment value – going out for drinks after a full day of forums is not really an option in E-learning. But at what expense do you trade social interaction for learning credibility?
If obsolete standards for employee training are getting in the way of organizational progress, would it not be expedient to consider viable alternatives? Instructor-led training does indeed have its benefits. It is a more social and personal way of doing things. But when it comes to actual employee knowledge-capture, research shows that it is difficult to beat well designed, interactive E-learning.
One solution that many organizations are turning to is actually a compromise between the two schools of thought. Blended Learning – a combination of online training and live instruction is becoming more popular as we move into the second decade of the new century. Connecting the effectiveness of online training with the social benefits of live mentoring is a potent mix of advantageous tactics that serve to fully immerse the learner in the course material, allowing them to not only gain knowledge, but learn how to apply that information to real life situations.
While blended learning may end up being slightly more expensive than straight-up E-learning, it is still far less costly than hosting large conventions that hold the real drawback of extra expense through travel, dining and lodging. Not to mention that blended learning is infinitely more productive.
Employee Buy In
This factor is of course the most critical when it comes to online training’s effectiveness. If the individuals participating in the actual training do not believe in its ability to further their personal and professional position, then all hope of achieving the company’s training goals are lost.
It is here that management buy in directly intersects employee action. If the decision makers’ have little interest in online training, how can the people that they are supposedly leading be expected to take digital training seriously?
The answer of course, is they cannot. However upon management acceptance and program institution, it becomes incumbent upon employees to do their due diligence in fully participating and completing all of their online training requirements. Just because there is no figure of authority standing at the head of the classroom does not mean that the material is any less pivotal.
It becomes by natural direction, management’s duty to convince staff of such an arrangement. This can be achieved through any number of approaches from company newsletters to a rewards-based system that grants official certificates or even gift-coupons upon successful course completion. Training supervision, instead of manifesting as a live instructor, is transferred to the LMS upon which the E-learning programs are supported.
Employees need to be educated to the fact that the time spent on their digital training, will indeed serve to move them positively forward in their professional career trajectory. Once they understand and believe in the concept of E-learning, people are much more likely to fully engage in the course material and embrace the practice to its fullest extent.
Having painstakingly dissected E-learning’s supposed functional drawbacks over this blog series, we hope that we have been able to clearly illustrate to those individuals with lingering concerns that this custom of corporate training is not only equal, but in some cases, superior to more traditional methods of passing on information. While instructor-led training will always have its place in the corporate lexicon, we hope that former doubters realize that E-learning can occupy a qualified and valid position along its side in the days and years to come.