More often than not, the answer comes back that e-learning doesn’t perform up to expectations or that it’s a total failure. Then there’s the good news: It doesn’t have to stay that way. In fact, there are at least four common reasons e-learning programs often fail, each of which can be overcome with a more informed and coordinated learning communications strategy.
1. Does training come with a mandate from the top?
Undertrained employees can cause serious damage to brand reputation. Unfortunately, many companies and executive decision-makers don’t have a plan in place at all, and if they do, they continue to rely on traditional training approaches (e.g., canned slide presentations, one-dimensional classrooms, etc.). Not only do these approaches not resonate with employees, but they are not effective at achieving lasting behavioral change.
A few years ago, I was speaking with an executive at a major financial services firm about training programs. He told me that training day always sees a spike in employee absences. As you might guess, I told him that employees avoiding training programs can become a major issue —a disaster waiting to happen because of poorly trained staff. Often, executives mandate training programs only after something bad has happened, usually too little too late.
Learning needs to become a proactive and strategic imperative for C-suite stakeholders. By prioritizing e-learning and the use of innovative training delivery models, executives can develop a coherent strategy that makes learning more useful, more effective, and more appealing to employees.
2. Have you chosen the right time and place for learning?
Yes, training works best when it has immediate relevance to the people who need it. When learning isn’t delivered in a way that is timely or contextual, important insights are either forgotten or ignored, which decreases the value of the time and resources you have invested in training initiatives.
Just-in-time training, or training that is immediately available to employees in the context of their everyday work routines, is critical. If employees take a course online, consider implementing a mobile-based training aid that reinforces key learnings with salient points, how-tos, and other information, enabling employees to instantly access and use training content during the course of their regular work activities.
3. Are you delivering 1-D learning in a 3-D world?
A high level of employee engagement is a must for all training investments. If your people aren’t engaged with the delivery method and content of learning initiatives, it’s unlikely that they will retain key insights and use them to improve your brand’s relationships with customers. More than ever, employees crave interactive learning experiences that touch the senses.
To educate employees of an industrial water service and solutions company on a new product, my team developed a learning program featuring two characters named Flo and Oz. These characters, which were played by hired actors, walked employees through a potentially boring chemical process in a way that was humorous, engaging, and easy to understand. Employees retained the information and were able to able to explain the process to customers in a simplified manner.
Storytelling, analogies, and similar communication vehicles are highly effective at evoking emotion, engaging audiences, and transferring knowledge that has lasting value—simply by leveraging a learning methodology that is interesting and memorable.
4. Who’s training who, when, and where?
The best e-learning initiatives include social and collaborative dimensions, equipping participants with the ability to engage with online communities for additional learning opportunities.
For example, Interakt worked with a major apparel brand to develop an online social training tool, a Facebook-like application with training modules that enabled employees to post their success stories and learn through the posts of others. Interactive training modules were deployed over time to increase the value and relevance of the material, and to provide a catalyst for continued social conversations.
Most brands invest significant time and resources in training their employees and expect to receive a reasonable return on their investments. Similar to the executive at the bank, many companies are pumping dollars into training programs that are ineffective or after the fact. By taking the initiative and developing a relevant, engaging, and interactive e-learning strategy that tells a story and touches the senses, you can improve ROI and, ultimately, increase the quality of your brand’s customer experience.
Sourced from Training Magazine