Something I hear fairly frequently is people telling me they’d love to use eLearning but they encounter resistance from internal stakeholders.
Depending on the organisation the reasons for this can be different. For some people it’s a reaction against using new technology or people’s belief that eLearning can never be as effective as face to face training. Others have been put off by a previous experience and eLearning has gained a bad reputation within the business, sometimes it is just a reluctance to spend money in this area.
Whilst all of these concerns are understandable, they are definitely possible to overcome. So how do you prove eLearning can be a success?
A strategy used by many of my clients to prove the effectiveness of eLearning (often with a minimal budget) is to create a pilot. Typically this would be a single course given to a small group within their company or client base.
Recently, one of my clients needed to quickly roll out compliance training, as well as secure a budget for some eLearning. He decided to use Articulate Storyline and an affordable LMS (he chose Articulate Online). We offer free trials for 30 days so he started a free trial and I provided him with a complementary demo to show him how some of the basic functionality works. In less than 30 days he had built his first course, and I set up an Articulate Online account so he could upload his course and track learner completions. When I spoke to him at the end of the trial he had managed to track almost 80 completions for his first course without spending a penny. Naturally he got the funding.
Steps to rolling out a pilot on a budget:
- Finding the right course is key to making an impact – Is there a piece of legislation you need to prove you are compliant with? Perhaps there is a new product or piece of software that people need to know about quickly? Build a course that ties into an important business need.
- Building the course – If your budget allows, it’s worth getting it built by the professionals, but if this isn’t an option there are lots of great tools out there which you can use to make your own. My favourite (and yes I’m biased) is easy to use Articulate Storyline because it looks like PowerPoint but you can build interactions from scratch. Most companies will give you a free trial and a free demo to help you get started and there are various training options available. You can also access free tutorials online and there are some great .forums where you can chat to other designers.
- Getting your content out there – Some people I speak to just want to make their content available and would put a course on their website. For others it’s an important part of their business case that they can prove how many people have viewed the content or they need to track who has passed a test or completed a survey. Using an LMS is an easy way to achieve this. Again most LMS vendors will provide you with a free trial and you can try it for yourself.
Not everyone will have the time or expertise to be able to roll out a pilot quickly, some clients may need a longer period of a few months; others may want someone to build the first course for them to ensure it’s built to a high standard. One thing I have discovered, regardless of how you do it, is that clients who create pilots tend to be successful in bringing eLearning into their organisation.