Ten years ago we were convinced! Eureka we had it! The Holy Grail of corporate learning had arrived in the form of e-learning. We could plonk our drones at their desks and they would sit quietly, consuming information only to emerge from their chrysalis just reeking with knowledge. That was ten years ago and many mistakes were made. Many costly mistakes.
We know better now. We are aware that e-learning has its role to play and one which, if developed correctly, can add immeasurable value to our teams.
So what did we do wrong? In my opinion we assumed too much. We assumed that people would consume learning, forgetting that the cornerstone of learning is interaction. We assumed that e-learning would suit everyone, forgetting that each individual has their own learning style, and we assumed that if we threw bright colours, flashing lights and other ‘gadgetry’ at the software that people would just be dying to engage.
But, as with most things, age and a level of industry maturity has made us a little wiser. The Avo team most certainly advocates a blended approach for organisations. What this means for the average HR exec is that they will need to develop staff training across multiple channels including classroom, video, software, online and other technology.
While this sounds easy enough there are a number of things to be wary of as you embark on this journey and I have some tips for you gleaned from my years in training development;
- Make sure your learning material is consistent across all channels. Same branding, obviously, but more importantly the same message needs to be communicated and then reinforced across the different channels. Ensure that if you preach that your brand is funky and cool this is represented in your videos, online and offline content.
- Be aware that setting up this kind of strategic, thorough, development programme can be costly initially, but that the return of investment is exponential. This is a much more meaningful use of your budget.
- Your staff are already learning online. Every time they use Twitter, access Wikipedia or look up a clients’ website they are learning. Don’t assume that all online time is wasted. Apart from ensuring you have the bandwidth available, try to encourage staff to spend some time learning on their own, and encourage them to share those learnings at meetings or with their team mates.
Developing staff isn’t easy at any time, but in the current online world we can’t afford to ignore e-learning. Nor however, can we eliminate the human element entirely. We need to remember, that interaction and human communication are an integral part of the learning process. For now anyway.