E-Learning: Hype or Fad?

Many times clients and potential clients ask me if eLearning is just a fad. This is an excellent question that deserves some discussion. My experience with eLearning and more especially developing custom eLearning content has been extremely positive.
one. Unfortunately, some companies are discarding the concept of eLearning because they have had a negative experience with it. I recently came across a discussion on the Support Insight discussion board that described eLearning as an advertised solution to training.

I have had the opportunity to talk to many people about their experience with eLearning and
most skeptics and naysayers have one thing in common. They predominantly have all
had a negative experience with the development of training materials. The common theme that I
I have seen is that most of the development work was done without completing a comprehensive needs analysis
analysis. Additionally, many companies are guilty of selecting an eLearning provider without making
the necessary research on what the industry offers and what criteria they should use when
select an eLearning provider. Product offerings in the eLearning industry are extremely
as diverse as the skills and experience that eLearning providers possess.

It is important to determine what your needs are as a customer and what role your selection of vendors will play in your ultimate success or failure. I would recommend that you read my short white paper entitled
‘Selecting an eLearning Provider: A Guide to Making an Informed Decision’, which describes most
Important considerations to keep in mind when selecting an eLearning provider.
I cannot stress enough how important needs analysis is to developing successful eLearning materials like
such as personalized interactive eLearning courses, multimedia reference materials or analysis
technical toolboxes. Unfortunately, many clients don’t take the time to think about what their
needs and goals are. Furthermore, they often select eLearning developers who overlook this
step or do a cursory, high-level needs analysis focused primarily on selling bells and whistles to
the customer, rather than focusing on the customer’s business needs and constraints. Yes it is
It is important to note that eLearning has limitations, primarily driven by the fact that not all
customers are equal when it comes to technology. This limitation is an important consideration.
when considering eLearning as a training method.

The initial needs assessment should identify the objectives of the program, course,
materials and who will use them. How will they access the materials? what technology will they have
be using? Does it make sense to include bandwidth-intensive interactive elements, such as video
and sound? Unfortunately, some eLearning content developers overlook these considerations.
and as a result develop a solution that disappoints the customer. This then results in the failure
is placed at the door of eLearning, rather than at the door of the actual eLearning provider and the

The development of an eLearning project has to be done by building a relationship with an eLearning
supplier who has extensive experience in the industry. eLearning is not a panacea that can
Solve all your training needs. In many cases, eLearning cannot eliminate the need for face-to-face
face training. In these cases, eLearning can complement on-site training as part of a combination
learning approach

In most companies there will be people who will resist any computer-based instruction. In fact, everyone
companies have people who resist any change as a general rule. You must recognize this threat to the development of any eLearning material before beginning any project and realize that
you need to identify a champion, project sponsor, and department leaders who can help you in
mitigate and mediate any resistance to new training initiatives.

An easy way to mitigate any initial resistance in your corporation to new eLearning initiatives is
focus on quick wins. This is a great way to demonstrate the value of a new eLearning initiative.
and develop a good working relationship with your eLearning provider. Many companies try
focus first on the areas with the most complicated needs. In my opinion, this is a bad approach.
that can only end in disaster. Remember to keep your first project simple!

Start by focusing on the areas where there is a need and where there are existing training materials.
within your organization. It’s much easier to create a custom interactive training course from
existing sources, such as PowerPoint presentations developed by subject matter experts (SMEs),
lessons learned documents, case studies, and standard operating procedures (SOPs) instead of
to start from scratch. It’s amazing how much information you’ll find when you start looking.
within your organization. It is true that most of the materials you will find are informational only.
and would have to be structured and redeveloped in an interactive format that ensures
knowledge retention. Having said that, it is much easier, requires less time and resources.
intensive to use existing information within your company instead of trying to reinvent the
wheels Remember to focus on quick wins that will impart essential knowledge to a select group of
your ultimate general target audience and demonstrate the value of your effort.
eLearning is a valuable training tool as long as it is approached in a way that maintains its
ultimate goals, constraints, corporate political landscape and possibilities in mind. like any
other tool the end result depends on the skill of the operator. eLearning can have extremely
positive results within your organization, including saving time and money paid on site
training often involves travel, increased productivity, self-paced learning, and maximized ROI.
However, positive results require foresight and a good working relationship between the content
developer, customer project manager/owner, and project sponsor/champion. We would be
happy to help you with any questions you have. Even if you are only at the beginning stage
needs assessment stage, we will be happy to discuss your eLearning development options
with you.

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