‘So you have no eLearning in place?’ I asked.
‘Not really, our training is firmly stuck in the 1980’s’. The client replied shaking their head and smiling broadly.
I envisioned an 80’s trainer with big hair and a shoulder padded suit presenting on an OHP and pressing play on a VHS. A title fades in to the sort of intro music you used to get as standard on a Casio keyboard.
Of course the reality was far from this, they are a hugely successful multi-million pound company who had simply never ventured into providing much online training; a part from the occasional PowerPoint followed by a quiz. Previously, this was all that had been required, but with thousands of employees nationally, a multitude of partner companies and changes in legislation made things change quickly. In this case, the client had decided to roll out a comprehensive online training program for induction and compliance after years of sitting on the back burner.
Often a move to eLearning is not driven by a central training team or HR department, but an urgent business need such as legal and compliance requirements. The roll out for a new IT system, a need for better product knowledge or customer service training have all been examples of this that I’ve seen first-hand. In essence, the strategy becomes one that is reactive, decentralized and control can end up being taken away from the L&D department.
The client that I mentioned, did in fact have two courses that we had built for them in different areas of the business, but members of the training team were unaware of this until our meeting. Often, small pockets of expertise spring up across the company and people may outsource eLearning on one region or have developed the capability to build content in house in another department, each area of the business working in silos.
The opportunity here for training departments is enormous. Technology is enabling trainers to reach audiences that would have been impossible to train before due to geography, limited resources or availability and scheduling. It can help to reinforce classroom training and administer pre-work. It will enable them to quickly respond to business training requirements across the company globally.
eLearning strategies don’t have to be complicated. There are a lot of resources available to help departments put together a strategy and business. eLearning companies, like Omniplex, will often provide advice and free trials, along with numerous networking events that allow you to speak and share ideas with other industry users.
My advice to companies that are new to eLearning would be to think big but start simple. Create a vision of what online resources, videos and webinars can do to complement your existing offering. How might things look in five years’ time? Are there training needs in particular areas of the business that could benefit from information being delivered online rather than face to face? Where can you use eLearning to show an ROI? Will it be better to create digital content in house or to outsource?
Then get started, a single successful course is often all that is needed to create buy-in. With eLearning the more people you train the cheaper the course is per learner, so courses that are short and simple with a large audience will give you a great ROI for relatively little cost and effort. It can be a great way to show the rest of the business how you can help them and you’ll end up inundated with eLearning requests!