Across the world, organizations spend millions of dollars on eLearning to meet the learning and development needs of their employees. To ensure the success of their eLearning initiatives, organizations rely on various means such as using the latest eLearning technology and creating engaging content. However, in spite of the efforts, organizations still encounter challenges like low rates of completion or low adoption in eLearning culture.
In 2012, organizations across the world wasted nearly $131 billion on unused workplace training. A key reason behind this wastage is the absence of an eLearning culture in most organizations. In this article we will look at some ways in which organizations can develop an eLearning culture.
- Focusing on ease-of-use of learners.
One way to encourage employees towards eLearning is making eLearning highly user-friendly. This includes things like creating learner-centered designs that are easy to navigate, as well as creating shorter duration courses that do not overwhelm the learners. Organizations also need to remember that most employees have a resistance and fear towards eLearning because they arevery much used to face-to-face training. This issue can be addressed by providing technical support and guidance on how to use eLearning. When learners know that they have someone to help them when they get stuck, dropouts can be reduced and participation in eLearning can be increased.
- Enthusiasm of top management.
Traditionally, the push towards eLearning has only come from departments that have training as their direct KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). These are usually the Human Resources or Learning and Development departments within organizations. However, if eLearning has to get a real boost within organizations, it needs to be embraced by the top management. For example, if the chairman or the CEO of an organization endorses eLearning and regularly uses eLearning to develop new skills, the middle managers also start adopting the same. And this enthusiasm can flow down to all employees.
- Creating time for learning.
While most organizations understand the need for constant learning and development, on the ground they do not provide employees with enough time to learn. In most cases, employees are expected to devote time to eLearning while also meeting their productivity or sales targets. If organizations are really serious about developing a culture of eLearning, they need to look beyond the short-term. For instance, organizations can have separate learning targets and provide attractive incentives for those who meet the learning targets.
- Linking learning to appraisals.
When developing eLearning courses, typically organizations focus on their own goals, such as growth in sales and profits. However, employees have their own professional aspirations as well. Yet, many eLearning courses don’t take into account the professional aspirations of learners. If organizations wants to create a strong eLearning culture, the courses should serve the objectives of both the organization as well as the learners. For example, if eLearning can lead to real career gains such as promotions or pay hikes, more and more people will be attracted towards it.
- Creating a learning-friendly environment.
Be it school education or corporate education, the social environment has a big role towards encouraging learner participation. If organizations can create an environment where there is peer pressure for learning, employees will be driven to put in more effort. For example, organizations should share eLearning success stories on a regular basis.
Likewise, employees should also be encouraged to share their knowledge with their co-workers. Too often employees like to “hoard” their knowledge, because they fear that sharing their knowledge may put their jobs at risk. Organizations should try and convert the knowledge-hoarding culture into a knowledge-sharing culture by incentivizing employees to share their knowledge and by using eLearning to simplify the process of knowledge transfer.
In today’s competitive times, every organization needs a strong eLearning culture. Organizations need to remember that eLearning is not only about individual courses or programs, but rather more about sustainable processes and systems. Only a strong eLearning culture can pull employees towards eLearning on a sustainable basis, thereby providing long-term benefits to organizations.