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Seb Anthony

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E-learning concept in your company


We are currently working on the concept of e-learning within our company. Blended learning, Online libraries, Authoring tools and others are new products that would be worth to offer to our employees.

We offer such products to our employees since 2001 (online courses mostly on IT , Business and Desktop topics). We have also developped courses internaly for corporate usage. However e-learning usage is still not fully satisfactory.

In order to have a better overview on further developments and define our new concept, we would like to learn from experience of other companies using e-learning as training and development tool: what are their successes, what are their failures in this field, how they found suitable solutions, what about their implementation...
It would really help us to define in which directions we would like to investigate.

Therefore your experience on e-learning within your company would be greatly appreciated (providers, products used, perception of e-learning in your company...)

Should you have any other infomation, there are more than welcome.

Thank you in advance for your help.

8 Responses

  1. E-learning in a consultancy
    Dear Sarah,
    I’m at a big consulting firm, covering management consultancy, IT and outsourcing. We use an external company to provide a big range of courses, mostly technical. The technology side of the business uses this well. They also use training material which partner firms give us, and access our library of reference documents which we keep online, covering all sorts of management and personal skills.
    However, the management consulting side of the business makes little use of e-learning. It think there are three problems: time (they work long hours already), technology (they are often on client site and accessing an intranet via dial-up is slow) and cultural (they still think learning = going away for some days on an expensive course). We are challenging this with a programme of accelerated training events, with some success.

    In summary, you need to make sure you have the technology in place, then challenge assumptions about the best way to learn.

    All the best,
    Dick Barton

  2. Start small, get buy-in
    Dear Sarah,

    We haven’t implemented e-learning, but I have worked both with plenty of companies that have, and plenty of suppliers. Here’s my precis of their experiences:

    1) Don’t go big bang. Start small with a pilot in one department.
    2) Don’t assume that what works in one place will work elsewhere – if you pilot in the IT department, do another pilot with Sales.
    3) Ensure that you get buy-in from the pilot group. Not passive acceptance, but a really positive view of e-learning. Use this feedback to persuade others of the value of your programme.
    4) Roll-out your programme slowly, setting low expectations, and with plenty of internal marketing.
    5) Take your time picking a vendor, make sure that they know they are in competition with each other, be aggressive on price.

    Although I know plenty of vendors, I won’t recommend any. I would recommend you at least consult the e-learning network ( for more info. Although a member of this group, I have no other interest in it.

    Another fount of information in this area is Clive Shepherd, founder of Epic and now a consultant (

    Best of luck with finding the supplier and programme that’s right for you.

  3. E-learning

    Communication is key to the success of any initiative and the communication needs to be clear and concise at all levels of the business. Internal marketing is also important, you need to make people feel comfortable with this new concept of learning – a blanket marketing strategy is good but also target different areas, pull out courses that you feel would interest this target audience.
    Run demo sessions and see if you can get some champions in different areas who can be a point of contact and support for individuals, one issue with e learning is that people feel isolated
    One initiative we ran to gain interest coincided with the Olympics – E-learning Olympics where by certificates were offered for the completion of a course at a staggered percent – Bronze, Silver and Gold, if the individual achieved a gold certificate they were awarded a polo shirt (limited amount), the certificates were designed in-house therefore the only out lay were the t-shirts and postage to the individuals – we left it down to the individual to contact us if they wanted a certificate.

    Hope this helps

    Samantha O’Dell
    Training Co-ordinator

  4. Buy-in, management support, enthusiasm and marketing, but most o
    I agree with most of that below – it’s essential to get management support, launch a good internal marketing campaign, build enthusiasm and steer expectations, develop champions and start off small. However, we should never lose sight of the purpose and process of the training intervention. Looking at your profile it would seem that your audience shouldn’t have any issues with the technical aspects of e-learning, which brings me to suggest that some of the motivations and content offerings are not clearly defined and catered for – these are the primary factors determining success.

    As the study rhythm of e-learning is so flexible we can easily end up with no study, so it becomes even more important that we focus on what the learners want and need. Everyone is pressed for time so we need to get to the core of learning motivation; in many environments this is aligned with job motivation/satisfaction, and so logically all training should deliver:
    – learning that will help them do their job better/faster, or
    – learning that will help them overcome a challenge they face (in which context is for you to decide), or
    – learning that will help them define and contribute to their career.
    Training towards these goals should be recognised in their performance objectives, or at a minimum their learning recognised by management. The delivery mechanism used should be the one most suited to the content, audience and time available, so rather than deciding what we can do with e-learning we analyse which tool available is most appropriate for our needs.

    In terms of where to kick off from I can suggest an excellent high level article in Chief Learning Officer ‘The Future of Learning Technology’ (it can be accessed at or from the resources area of the TJ Taylor website at where we have links to articles and documents that have inspired and challenged us, or have just been very useful), then define the requirements, and choose the appropriate learning delivery mechanism with great caution (keep an eye on value for money and be wary of promising/wonderful/expensive new tools/methods). For advice on implementation try Bersin & Associates, and a couple of other articles you may find useful are ‘Six steps to implementing E-Learning’ by Brandon-Hall and ‘Blended Learning: Selecting the right media’ by Josh Bersin, which are also on the same page of our website.

    The company I work for delivers blended learning courses in language and communication, and our experience has been positive on the whole, even though language has more limited e-learning applicability than some other technical topics. In essence deliver training that fits the three criteria above, use an appropriate, workable and user-friendly delivery channel, put the marketing/buy-in, etc. in place and you can’t go far wrong.

    I hope this helps.

  5. Form a Project Team
    Hi Sarah,

    Having recently rolled out a company wide initiative for developing e-learning as a teaching and training strategy, I’ll offer the following as one way of organizing it:
    * Assemble a Project e-Learning Team to develop and oversee.
    * Include on the Team: representation from all disciplines in your company which will be involved in e-learning, i.e. teaching/training staff, training supervisors, curriculum development, analysts, management, IT, etc.
    * As stated earlier, appoint a Champion to continuously support e-learning.
    * Use the Team to develop:
    * Criteria for selecting & piloting courses,
    * A Policies and Procedures Guide,
    * Feedback Forms and analysis,
    * System troubleshooting.
    * Develop a LAN website to place course schedules, resources, etc.,
    * Use a web program, i.e. Blackboard to help teachers/trainers manage the courses.

    Our successes include better participant interest and achievement in e-learning courses compared to traditional.

    Disappointments include lack of continuing use of e-learning by teachers and supervisors, due to the long lead time in developing e-courses, and reluctance of training supervisors to commit the extra initial training manpower.

  6. Targetted E-learning
    Having spent over 10 years working with e-learning from both within a large financial services organisation and subsequently with others as a consultant, my main piece of advice is to treat e-learning no differently to other forms of training.

    Whereas having a large catalogue of online courses may seem attractive, I’ve preferred to ask what do I really need – what does the business really require, where’s the audience for this training, what alternatives already exist and how does the online conflict or support this. I must have spent equal time removing courses from the directory as adding new ones.

    Where there’s been a genuine business requirement, the organisation was attracted to e-learning as a cost-effective method of addressing this real need. And staff appeared not to require much promotional activity to take it, as they could see instinctively how it was of relevance and benefit to them. Many of the so-called “cultural barriers” rarely surfaced.

    I spent more time and budget on locating good quality and timely online courses, rather than marketing activities, which are only short-lived in their effectiveness. Far better to have a small range of targetted courses that get used frequently, than a large range of “dubious” titles, that don’t!

  7. Linking Learning to Business – A study of the practical business
    You can learn from case studies in this research report how to establish a successful e-learning strategy from companies who have indeed done just that. Through an independent voice and from thorough, pragmatic research, the report draws out distilled wisdom, concluding how best to plan, build and maintain a successful e-learning strategy. To purchase the report please go to

  8. Tipping Point

    I agree with much of what has been said already. No need for a big marketing push. Rather focus on a few “quick wins”.
    1)Find a topic people will think valuable, and one that is capable of being delivered in 10-15 minutes on-line. Often MS Office tips or how to write a report/complete a complex but essential form/deal with something new.
    2) Make sure people can find the e-learning help in one click.
    3) Choose your generic courses very carefully. Most lack key organisational context or are not engaging.
    4) Here’s the key. Get managers to nominate a select bunch of staff for a pilot who are respected by colleagues. The managers must give time to the people and make them feel special. Thus, managers are involved and partially committed. the selected staff test the packages and help you develop them further. The deal should be that if they like, they must tell their colleagues.
    If your chosen staff are the right sort of people, it will spread like an epidemic.



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