Considering eLearning tools? You’ve probably heard about all the general benefits of incorporating eLearning solutions into your workforce’s learning and development (L&D) program. What you want to know is how suitable eLearning is for the industry that your business operates in; will eLearning be as effective as it appears for your particular workforce? Let me help you answer that one. Below you’ll find a handy checklist for everything you need to consider when making the decision on whether to invest in an eLearning program for your organization.
Location: Where are your workforce situated?
If your workforce is divided across numerous different locations, then arranging an appropriate venue and occasion in which to schedule training can be difficult.
eLearning is mobile. Location - usually a key consideration for most elements of a typical L&D program - has little influence on the suitability of eLearning to your organization’s workforce.
Difficulties can arise with certain aspects of eLearning, such as live video tutorial streaming, when your workforce operates in different time zones. We’ll get on to talking about how eLearning can slot into your organization’s various schedules next.
Schedule: Does your workforce operate on various different schedules?
An example: You work for a manufacturer of steel goods with a workforce of office staff, delivery drivers and rotating shifts of warehouse workers. All of these different staff members will at some point enter the warehouse, and as such require health and safety training. But how do you bring all these staff members together for one staff training session? It’s a near impossible feat, unless you want to surrender the continuous operation of your business of course!
If your workforce operates across separate time zones due to your business operating from multiple locations, or simply working to different schedules due to the nature of their work, then most functions of eLearning will be available to all of your employees, at their convenience.
The only issue you will face is interactivity; employees will progress through training at different rates, and gathering your entire workforce for a live online video training event will result in the same problems described above.
However, used appropriately, employee training software can provide effective training with significantly lower costs, and members of your workforce can always replay the live event if they weren’t available at the time.
In the case of the steel goods manufacturer example, online health and safety courses would be the most suitable option for training a workforce with teams that:
- Work on different schedules
- Are involved in dissimilar types of work
If the same can be said for your business, then perhaps eLearning is worth consideration.
Size of Your Workforce: How large is your workforce?
eLearning is ridiculously scalable. It might be somewhat of a generalization, but it’s fair to say that the larger your workforce, the greater the ROI you will receive when investing in eLearning.
Training a large workforce in one session is impractical, unrealistic and incredibly difficult to arrange in terms of arranging an appropriate time and venue. But with eLearning, your L&D strategy can become free of such limitations.
eLearning is a training tool that is arguably appropriate for any size workforce, but if you are part of a large organization seeking to achieve increased ROI from your L&D program, eLearning absolutely has to be on your radar.
Departmental requirements: How is your organization departmentalized?
Different departments have such diverse requirements from training, and this has to be taken into consideration. Will eLearning be an applicable learning method to all of your departments? Should you invest in eLearning despite it not being suitable for every department? There’s quite a bit of overlap with this point and the next point. I’ll answer the above questions in the next point.
Nature of Your Work: What type of work do your employees do on a day-to-day basis?
This follows on nicely from the previous point, as it’s probably most efficient to break this question down by department, and analyze the work done in each department independently.
Some typical business departments - such as IT, Finance, Admin, HR, Web Development/Design and perhaps Logistics - often include repetitive, analytical and technical work, which is the sort of information that is most suitable to be delivered via eLearning.
In contrast, other areas, for example departments like Sales, Production and even Marketing to a degree, are less suitable for using eLearning to provide training.
Think about how easy it is to teach the type of knowledge inherent to and required of that departments and its individuals. Could this be easily adapted into online content? Some professions - such as those a little more creative, subjective or practical - are simply not suited to delivering training through eLearning, and should remain to be taught conventionally. It truly depends on your business and the type of work you’re doing.
Nature of the Industry: Is the industry in which your business operates changing frequently, or has it reached a state of stability?
This is such an important question when developing your L&D program. If your organization is constantly reacting to trends, legislation updates, emerging crises and so on, then what is the most suitable type of training for your workforce?
Likewise, if it’s really rare that anything changes at all in your industry, then what are your most suitable options?
Here’s my thinking:
If you’re in an industry of stability, then you may as well invest heavily in comprehensive training that provides your workforce with a thorough understanding of everything they need to know. This should be a nice mix of different types of training.
If however you’re working in an industry which changes frequently, you need the ability to react, and thus you need training that you can control - no relying on third parties. With your own LMS that you can utilize as you wish, you will possess this control and reactivity, and as such eLearning is a massively valuable training option for any company operating in such an environment.
Barriers to eLearning
Despite the convenient and intuitive elements of eLearning as a training tool, there are certain barriers to learning that exist in the utilization of eLearning, such as:
The technological awareness, knowledge and competence of your staff.
The availability of appropriate technology/software through which to deliver eLearning.
Essentially, think about how your workforce - the human beings that you know so well - would react to a change in learning methods; would they welcome a switch to online-based learning? Would they have any difficulties or concerns?
This short checklist really is - and I apologize in advance - ‘the tip of the iceberg’ when it comes to what you, as a professional seeking to develop your organization’s L&D program, should consider in this process.
Your workforce’s learning is such an important asset, and it should be handled carefully. Hopefully, this post has been a great starting point, but if you’re not sure where to look next in terms of whether eLearning is suitable for your organization, then don’t hesitate to contact Knowledge Anywhere for some free, helpful and no obligation advice!
Author bio: Jordan Bradley works for High Speed Training (HST), a fully accredited specialist eLearning course provider based in the UK. He enjoys his responsibility of managing HST’s Hub - a blog which posts weekly insightful articles on a range of topics related to their array of online courses. Jordan spends the rest of his time running around the countryside, traveling on weekends to visit friends he wished lived closer, and fighting hard in the battle against laziness, amongst other things.
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