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Andre Ramsaran

K-C Corporation Europe

Training Manager EMEA

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Getting Staff to Engage with E-Learning


To the Great and the Good of TZ,

The organisation I work for has had a poor experience in getting staff to undertake/use e learning packages. As the new guy in town, I have been asked to look at how we can encourage staff to use the packages/training provided. They have tried using e-learning as a "dip into" resource to compliment our more formal classroom learning and that hasn't worked.

Given that the staff population I am responsible for is located throughout Europe, my final and most costly option is to go out and hold a roadshow type event to get people to buy into e-learning.....which is not going to impress the boss!

Could anybody give me any examples of how they have manged to overcome such resistance to e learning, in a friendly cost effective manner?

15 Responses

  1. Topics

    Hi Sagara

    I think it might help if we knew the topics you are delivering by E learning?




  2. Topics..


    The group concerned are largely Sales and Marketing staff dispersed across Europe. Who have access to both technical sales and marketing e leraning packages as well as the centrally provided performance management online courses, (given the size of the global organisation, is dealt with by another team).

    I know this answer may seem very broad, but the problem is a broad one.


  3. E learning

    Hi Sagara

    I’m sure there are far better people than me to comment on E learning but we have a full suite of E learning packages here that I never look at…not a great lover of E learning and the times I have tried to do an E Course, even the new fangled animated ones leave me cold I’m afraid.

    However, things that do work here are…

    1) Communities of Practice…I think almost everyone in the organisation belongs to at least 1 and they are very popular.

    2) Just in time learning. I can access very short (less than 3 mins) content on all of our systems and I use this type of E learning every day and find it really useful.

    3) We are considering Mobile Leraning but this is still a long way off. I would imagine its more use in a Sales and Markleting arena than the one I work in. I invited these people in and was very impressed.

    As mentioned, I am by no means and expert so the above is the end user perspective.


    Good luck



  4. Two experts to try


    I would suggest you try Googling Clive Shepard and Jane Hart.

    Both are recognised eLearning / Social Media experts, with blogs and websites full of useful tips and advice.

    Good luck

  5. I’m no expert, but…


    As the title states, I’m no expert, but one thing I have done successfully in a previous life:

    – Put the e-learning to one side for a second, and get a real grip on the issues that the people within the business are facing

    – Review the e-learning packages you have, and start sending out regular links to relevant content… If you can’t find anything relevant, maybe you’vee got the solution to why it’s not being used.

    (You don’t have to limit this to the packages that are your own ‘e-learning’… properly sourced and acknowledged material of the internet can also be added into the mix, recommendations of useful books, etc).

    – Keep doing it… Regularity is the key… drip feeding the population with material that’s appropriate to their roles and needs




  6. Thank you….

    Thank you for the replies thus far.

    The answers given certainly provide some food for thought.




  7. Engaged

    If the question is "how do I get staff to engage with e learning"

    As an employee I would want to know why "you" are so engaged with e learning?

    I think a lot of the problems are the terminology used. If I was told to start doing some E Learning Courses it really would

    turn me off and demotivate me.

    However…if there was a pop up information video every time I needed to know something that was just the click of a mouse then I would see real benefits and actually like using it.

    My previous experience with E learning has been 30 minute sessions with a sliding bar to tell me how much "pain" I have left to endure and if I’m lucky I print a certificate to put in a folder never to be seen again.


    Not even sure why the called it E learning as I never used to learn anything other than how long 30 minutes seemed when I was doing it!

  8. Increasing the Uptake in E-learning Courses

    Hi Sagara!

    Rather than jump in with suggestions, if I may, I’d like pose some initial questions/general thoughts.

    1. I’ve been in this situation a few times and I’ve always gone back to the fundamentals for a sanity check.  Are the titles you have still relevanat to the current business environment.  In my experience, if the subject matter is a "need to have" – in the eyes of the learner – then they will at least make some effort to study them when they can.  If not, then don’t be afraid to recommend the removal of titles that just don’t motivate the staff to use them.
    2. How conducive to learning is their working environment?  Sales and marketing teams, aside from being out on the road more than most business functions, are usually quite noisy environments.  So be prepared to look at the conditions in which you hope your people will learn.  I actually feel that this is where mobile learning will start to gain ground.  Now I realise that, overnight, you’re probably not going to be able to get the content you need out onto mobile devices and the remote study of desktop e-learning courses is still not easily achievable, but this is worth considering for the future as part of your e-learning "make-over" strategy.  In the short term, maybe you could consider setting up more conducive spaced for learning.
    3. Never underestimate the power of the line manager to make or break your e-learning strategy.  So do spend time with them, understanding their thoughts on what is available, how it is accessed and how valuable they see it as a development tool for their teams.  Quite often, by spending time with line managers, I’ve been able to win them over and come up with a strategy that is delivered through this group of key individuals.

    In the past, I’ve often used the analogy of an iceberg, where the most significant portion is below the waterline.  For me, the marketing and communication you will do is "above the waterline".  The matters I’ve highlighted above are very much "below the waterline".  I’ve then gone on to say that it wasn’t what was above the water that sank the Titanic.  So spend some time looking at these core issues…and then build on this with the other great ideas you’ll receive from the other members of the TZ community.

    Finally, don’t be afraid if, based on your research, you find that you need to spend more to get the right training, in the right media to your people.  This could be the investment that will transform your e-learning take-up.

  9. Suggestions …

    Hi Sagara,


    1) Get an e-learning Strategy actively supported by senior management.

    2) Have a Distance Learning Policy covering things like what qualifies, managers having to give people work time to complete pacakages, etc

    3) Make it easy for people to access.

    4) Have pass marks that people have to achieve to ‘pass’ and consequences for not ‘passing’.

    5) Demonstrate the business benefit e.g. I costed a company wide compliance programme (full cost recovery) that would have cost £252k to deliver in the classroom and cost £48k by e-learning. Makes it easy to get through.

    6) Be robust in challenging those who say it’s not appropriate. e.g. HSE informed me a specific package wasn’t sufficient for what we were using it for, I asked them why knowing that they hadn’t done the package or looked at it, one of their reps did the package and admitted it was fit for purpose.

    7) Only use it where it is an appropriate methodology. 



  10. Some interesting points…


    Thank you for your answer, you have raised some very valid and interesting points,which are worth exploring, however in my case……

    The appropriateness of using e-learning is not really up for discussion given the pan European spread of the target group and the additional costs of developing other learning materials in other languages.

    Whilst new to the organisation, anecdotal evidence suggests that staff in some Eastern European countries quite like (traditional) directed classroom learning, however, it is crucial that in our organisation that we maximise the advantage of technology to it’s greatest effect. The additional  associated costs of developing then running training in other countries soon stacks up, not to mention the fun to be had with exchange rates. 



  11. Make it a mandatory KPI and involve line management


    Have you tried a short test to start with, multiple choice with links to supporting material if the answers are wrong? It need only take a few minutes as sales and marketing folk have a notoriously short concentration span. Also, the answers can be centrally monitored and people who are not complying will show up on a report.

    We make and its all controlled via email. Once people get used to doing it, hopefully they can be persuaded to do more.






  12. Expand your toolbox …

    Hi Sagara,

    "If the appropriateness of elearning is not really up for discussion" then you have a bit of a problem. It is perhaps like saying that you have a piece of furniture to put together that involves screws and nails, but you only have a hammer … and you’re not going to look for a screwdriver, but use the hammer.

    I don’t see how you can maximise a medium to its greatest effect if you use it as a solution to everything. I can understand how it might be the cheapest solution, but that doesn’t make it the most cost effective.

    From my experience I would agree that for a lot of Eastern Europeans prefer traditional classroom training (and a beer at 11am and half a bottle of wine at lunchtime!) – which will make your task even more difficult.

    I’m pretty sure you will need more than a road show – and going back to your original post, whilst I wish you luck, in setting out to overcome resistance to e-learning with the strategy and methodology you currently have in place I think you are going to struggle to be successful.


  13. A little marketing goes a long way when implementing e-learning.

    Hi Sagara,

    My name is Jérôme Wargnier and I work as the Director of Business Development for CrossKnowledge – the European expert in the remote development of leadership and management skills through new technologies.  Your post caught my eye, for the dilemma you’re facing seems to be a frequent one among all upper management seeking to implement new technologies, such as e-learning.

    Many of my clients, like you, are faced with the challenge of figuring out how to encourage their employees to use such services.  Such a challenge illustrates the vital importance the end-users’ acceptance of a program plays in defining its success.  And although there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to achieve such favourability, there may be certain ways of implementing and marketing the programme to your staff to make it more appealing.

    Such was the case when L’Oréal implemented one of our e-learning programs in December 2008, which aimed to prevent stress experienced by employees in the international products for the general public and communications sectors.  Putting its marketing techniques to work, the cosmetic giant got some of its 60,000 employees, comprised of over 110 nationalities, to make use of the programme, which was offered in both French and English.

    One morning, the company’s employees arrived to find a pair of earbuds and a fortune cookie placed on their desks.  Enclosed in each cookie was a message: basically "Be Zen!"  When turning on their computers and entering their passwords as usual, they discovered an e-mail in their inbox with an assigned login and a video, inviting them to sign into the program’s portal.  The buzz, skillfully orchestrated by the headquarters’ management teams, was followed by several open days during which the employees could begin discovering the new programme.

    Since then, L’Oréal claims 80% connection rate.  And the programme has been so successful that L’Oréal even recently implemented  a second version which is compatible with Web 2.0, making it more interactive, and thus even more appealing to its employees.  In addition, the company says it updates the portal often and continues to encourage employees to use the programme via its newsletter.

    Perhaps you could use such marketing techniques to implement e-learning in your own company?  If nothing else, I hope such an account gives you some inspiration and ideas to work with.  While it’s impossible to make your staff use the programme, I think with a little creativity, a small budget and some extra effort, you may be able to find ways to make them curious enough about the programme to try it, and perhaps even like it.  And if it’s the programme that isn’t good enough, well then you can always contact us here at CrossKnowledge ( and we’d be glad to help.


    Jérôme Wargnier

    Director of Business Development at CrossKnowledge

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Andre Ramsaran

Training Manager EMEA

Read more from Andre Ramsaran

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