Everybody knows what e-learning is, don't you think? Well, in our experience, they really don't. However , when people discuss 'e-learning', or online learning, they are normally thinking about or visualising the information they see on their screen. But that's no more 'learning' than when they were holding a magazine within their hands, even if they were reading it. So, although obviously important, content alone isn't 'learning'. Real e-learning includes content, without a doubt, but equal focus, or even more, must be provided to the process and support to deliver a true learning experience.
Ways to get it right...
Staff training programmes (from short courses to formal qualifications) where groups of individuals are being trained through event and time-based activities (i.e. inside a classroom on a Tuesday) have to end because the sole means of delivery. They need to be substituted for an approach called 'blended learning'. Blended learning integrates online e-learning content and procedures with face-to-face sessions, tests, assessments, information and group working. This method enhances and extends communication and training processes; it cuts down on the requirement for face-to-face time for you to be allocated to theory and knowledge, ensuring that this valuable time is spent on truly understanding, skill-building and contextualising. In a nutshell, blended learning supplies a flexible training approach which transforms the delivery capacity from the provider.
For general wider staff development, you are able to adopt a joined-up technology approach which concentrates on individual development monitoring and planning, but which is extended by additional e-learning opportunities. Technology thereby permits the transformation of basic administration processes for courses and events, with mandatory and statutory activity pushed and pulled to and by people, all within committed and agreed development plans. This inevitably encourages managers and staff to take more control of the development and turns learning moments into genuine development.
... and just how to not
Time and again we see major e-learning projects in organisations failing. Why is this?
Well, for starters, organisations don't do the above. Instead, they spend too much time, money and effort on creating rich and complicated e-learning content at the expense of the procedure. It's because the mistaken belief that the more elaborate, interactive and rich the information they make (or buy), the greater impact and retention it'll create. It does not.
Instead, always keep your e-learning simple, engaging and visually attractive, sure, but keep staff thinking and relating their new-found knowledge to their day-to-day job.