Best-in-Class companies are 22% more likely to provide employees access to a learning self-service portal. Many organizations across the globe will implement e-learning programs into their corporate learning ecosystems during 2017, but just how many will be successful?
- The E-Learning market currently stands $51.5B, with an annual growth rate 2012-2016 = 7.9%
- Internet penetration = 50% of the world’s population
- Video = 69% of consumer Internet traffic; YouTube has over 1billion users, with over 50% of views from mobile users
- 77% of American Corporations now use online learning, versus 4% in 1995
- By 2019, 50% of all classes will be taught online
There is a proven demand for paid, self-paced learning products: just-in-time, real-time, consistent, easily renewable, portable, affordable and 100% track able.
However, all too often we hear of industry peers implementing online self-study programs only to then battle with internal buy-in and learner lack of motivation. Purchasing an LMS or an E-Learning Subscription for your enterprise is an investment, and with all investments comes the ultimate requirement for recognizable and measurable returns.
Even with a product that rocks, poor roll out can mean the death knell, turning planned, positive ROI negative very quickly.
The trick is to have a solid roll out plan, with no surprises, and expectations for learners set from the word go.
Here’s our Top 20 Hacks from companies who have made their roll outs rock:
- Management Buy-In:
Having full buy-in and cooperation from key stakeholders from the get-go is top of the list.
Ensure you have their full support by communicating the benefits to the business, specific departments and individuals will aid integration into the company learning culture.
The Leadership teams need to ‘live and breath’ the strategy in a very visible way, and support their teams to make the most out of their self -study time and tools. Why not launch it over a working lunch or staff retreat? Get them to bring their mobile devices and give it a go there and then. This way it is fun and practical. If it remains as some “vague online thingy,” you’re dead in the water.
- Rollout Launch
Having a launch event to showcase the new programs and the functionality will generate hype and excitement. Set clear expectations and communicate this with the wider audience. If your teams are remote or global, organize an online ‘live’ event to introduce it with walk-through of the system.
- Allocate a Champion
Making sure that there is one person or one committee who are responsible for the ROI and usage is key. Market it, promote it, shout about it, and ensure it is included across the board. A committee is a great idea, so you can crowdsource ideas from marketing, HR, sales, IT, etc.
- Orientation Sessions in the Field
Spend some time in the field, on-site, and with teams promoting the functionality and ease of use, directly on a tablet or device. Be remote, and remind them of the benefits of ‘learning anywhere, anytime’ and conduct learning orientation and demonstration in ‘real time’.
- Make it Real for the Individual
Just giving access to an LMS for a year doesn’t cut it. It will always remain as the “vague online thingy” that everyone loves to hate when it is mentioned.
- Make sure everyone knows what courses are available
- Get each line manager to agree with their team member the list of courses they must complete
- Make this part of their performance review / team meetings
- Check they completed them and review how it helped them
- Encourage individuals to share their downloadable certificates and/or completion badges as part of their CPD and for points or even pay increases during their scheduled appraisals and reviews.
Now we are talking!
- Constant and Consistent Communication
Newsletters and company intranets are a great place to promote the learning; include favorite courses and reviews, and create competition. As self-study requires self-motivation, constant reminders promote success. Ensuring that learners are advocates of lifelong learning will support your learning ecosystem and generate a change of mindset.
Do you have a staffroom, café or work gym? What about promoting a ‘course of the week’, or a ‘learner leaderboard’ in the common areas, as a constant reminder of the learning opportunities that are available for staff development? Promote body, mind and soul health.
Does your e-learning subscription or LMS provide analytics or reporting?
If so, this information can provide a great resource to motivate, reward and recognize. Celebrate, and shout out, and don’t forget to provide encouragement to those who are improving.
- Push Courses
Do you have a sales team who are struggling? Is there an internal conference in the near future? Is a team travelling to Beijing? This is the perfect time to ‘push’ courses such as Negotiation or Presentation Skills, or the Chinese language, to teams who may need a skills refresher or as a reminder to take newly implemented courses that are available to them.
- Staff Awards & Graduation Ceremony
Just as you may do for Instructor-led programs, celebrate individual milestones with a Graduation Ceremony. This will ensure that the same ‘weight’ is added to self-study as other internal programs.
- SMART Goals
Ensure that SMART goals are incorporated into your project roll out. This will ensure that you are able to promote the benefits and returns to the business:
Specific: Promote the specific programs that are a requirement for the skill-set of specific departments
Measurable: Ensure that you fully understand the reporting and tracking capabilities of your platform. The analytics will provide you will valuable data to measure success.
Achievable: Set clear tasks and skill development throughout regular intervals during the year and ensure that Line Managers are ACCOUNTABLE for their implementation.
Realistic: Be realistic about the expectations and ensure that you communicate and allocate time for individuals to purse their self-study goals
Time Based: A new learning ecosystem requires time and patience to implement. Ensure that you schedule key stakeholders, and communicate the expectations in advance, to help you achieve your organizational goals.
- Work space / Equipment
As many online courses feature quizzes and assessments, an environment set up for learning helps to ensure successful concentration and retention. Consider providing a quiet learning space set up with PCs, iPads, charging stations etc. where team members can chill out and learn in their down time.
- Incorporate Instructor-led Programs
It ‘s true that there are different learning dynamics within organizations based on generational differences and learning styles. It’s important to keep legacy content and to offer instructor-led classrooms, however, it really helps cost and time wise to use e-learning to complement the formal learning e.g. pre-reading or post retention.
- Pre-Install Learning Apps
Most LMS and Online learning subscriptions have an app version to support 24/7 learning-on-the-go. Pre-install the App on company phones and make it part of the onboarding process. For those that have existing mobile devices, schedule time or a How to video to assist individuals in the field with the upload. IF the solution doesn’t have an app version, don’t consider it. You’ll never get people to use it in the field.
- Social Learning
In addition to prerecorded and preloaded platforms, many companies are now opting to encourage social learning, as people spend so much time this space anyway. Social Learning really helps to make learning part of their ‘every day’. Use social platforms as a way to promote new titles to get teams ‘pumped and engaged’.
- Time Management Hacks
Hacks are a fantastic tool to provide ideas and ways for individuals to manage their time more effectively. Support, remind and encourage them to schedule time each day for self-development. Micro-learning in short bursts is so easy to integrate into their day…on their commute to work, at the gym, during lunch in a quiet space.
Consider adding courses that are a company or industry requirement to your LMS so that individuals have the opportunity to learn or relearn specific skills for their industry. They will also get to know that online learning is here to stay.
- Make it Fun
Add, buy or subscribe to courses that encourage individuals to learn outside of their daily roles and out of the ordinary. Consider foreign languages, relaxation programs, and or cultural development to make sure they love the platform and have a reason to come back.
Add into your onboarding plan the topics that are core competencies for your organization, and have individuals complete these as part of their onboarding process. This will ensure that they are ‘skilled-up’, but also introduced to the e-learning ecosystem from their first day.
- Peer to Peer Collaboration
Encourage team members to prepare ‘train-the-trainer’ sessions to promote their newly discovered knowledge. Assign an online course per person, organize a monthly ‘coffee and chat’ session and assign them a slot to share and demonstrate a skill to their colleagues!
What better way to ensure enthusiasm then to take on board comments from your team? What inspires one team in California may not be important to a team in Shanghai. What did they like about particular courses? What topics are essential and helped them to grow professionally? What tools would help them learn/engage more effectively? Encourage feedback from all areas of the business and fill them with the confidence that you are ‘listening’ and supporting their learning journey and overall professional development.
Join the discussion. Leave a comment with any feedback or tips to get the best out of E-Learning programs.