Covid-19 has completely changed the workplace (and in turn, the corporate learning space) this year. So, many companies are venturing into digital learning for the first time. Though the concept of having no digital learning seems crazy to us advocates, everybody has to start somewhere. If you’re new to eLearning, this blog will help you successful kick-start your digital learning journey. (You’re in for a fun ride!)
First impressions count
With all relationships, how you start out can have a big influence on where you end up. That “first impressions count” saying is as true when introducing digital learning into your organisation.
If you’re completely new to eLearning, the first step you should take is to evaluate the skillset you have in-house. The most successful digital learning initiatives are born from teams who work together, and encourage creativity. Good eLearning is all about pushing the boundaries and thinking outside the box. If you have a hardworking and creative team, who also have the transferable skills to create effective eLearning – then you’re on to a winner. If not, think about out-sourcing development. There’s nothing worse than damaging the reputation of eLearning from the start.
Even if your organisation is new to eLearning, it’s unlikely that your entire executive team are also new to the concept. Unfortunately, eLearning tends to come with a bad reputation. People assume it’s boring, a waste of time and it’s not as effective as classroom courses.
This is wrong, and if you want your digital learning project to be successful: challenge this assumption.
Many L&D professionals have also fallen foul of the assumption that everybody is on the same page. Is your new digital learning project going to be an eLearning course? Or a series of online webinars? Is it for the whole organisation? Or a specific cohort of learners who need extra support away from the classroom? Iron this out upfront, and you’ll ensure smooth development throughout.
Consider your stakeholders
Your digital learning journey will probably start with a kick-off meeting. But have you ever heard of the saying ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’? This stands true with digital learning projects. Although everybody wants to be involved, ensure you keep your core project team to those that need to be involved.
The project kick off meeting is an essential part of starting a project. It’s likely the first time the project team will all meet and works best when all team members are present face-to-face. It’s at this meeting that the key lines of communication will start to develop. Being clear who is in the project team, and who is simply a stakeholder, is paramount for success at this stage.
As you’re at the very start of your eLearning journey, you might need to have a few ‘break out’ project teams, to develop specific content for specific users.
Have a clear agenda
If you’re leading the meeting, it’s essential that you have an agenda that covers the key project information. A well-managed meeting with clear sense of purpose creates confidence in the project team and ensures that nothing gets missed. (Check out these articles from the eLearning Industry for some PM guidance!)
The exact areas to cover may vary from project to project, but we always include: roles and responsibilities, a walk through of the eLearning development process, content scope, target audience, creative treatment, branding, technical requirements, availability and next steps. These core sections ensure the project team have what they need to set off in the right direction.
You may not get all the information you need in the first meeting but you should aim to finish with a clear plan for how you will capture the rest, whether it’s individual conversations with stakeholders or a follow up meeting.
Additionally, let them know what they’ll be reviewing at each point, what input they’re expected to give, how long it will take and most importantly when you need it by.
Creating great eLearning isn’t easy. When you’re new to eLearning, the amount of work needed may seem daunting. But it’ll be worth it. Digital learning has the ability to help you upskill employees, improve efficiencies and create a true learning culture in your organisation.
Editor’s note: This blog was originally published in 2015, but has since been updated with fresh new content.