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What do I need to support and maintain my elearning process?

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The elearning journey can be very daunting for organisations to embark on, particularly when the individuals leading the path are unsure as to how the process will work, what to expect, which elearning provider to use and whether the respective organisation's employees will be enthusiastic about learning. 

Committed organisation

First and foremost, in order to choose, support and maintain your elearning process, the respective HR director or L&D manager should be fully on board. Those within the team with responsibility of delivering an elearning product and service to the organisation should work collectively to ensure they are enthusiastic, willing to commit through the start-up stages and eager to research the market offerings. Of course, understanding your own organisation’s needs is the first and most important step. Without this knowledge it will be very difficult to map your needs to a prospective elearning product successfully. 

Committed elearning provider

When selecting an elearning provider, your learning and development team should ensure that the provider is committed to your needs and wants. There are always a few sacrifices to be made, but an elearning provider should do all that they can to reach your needs. A good elearning provider will ensure that the process to launch is clearly visible to all involved and will indicate what is needed from the organisation (e.g. a behavioural framework with descriptors) and what the elearning provider will do.  

To achieve a successful launch of a new elearning provider or product it is great to make a day of it. Have the elearning provider come to your office with brochures, information on the product, run demonstrations and be willing to answer any questions the end users have. Additionally, elearning providers are often able to offer webinars, pre-recorded video demonstrations or virtual training sessions to introduce users to the new learning offering. These are particularly useful for organisations with users worldwide and enable learners to watch back at a further date.

Following a successful launch, a great elearning provider should keep in regular contact with you, whether it be by email, phone or in person. This should be arranged in advance to allow preparation of any questions and queries from either side of the relationship. 

Where elearning providers have their own content for your use, they should be able to align this content to your organisation's job titles, behaviours, industry sectors etc. in order to allow all users to access the most relevant information. 

What you can do to support your organisation's elearning

A structured plan is key to aligning the different parts of the project and ensuring a successful launch. However, you and your team need to have the ability to be flexible around this plan and allow contribution from others to maximise the impact of the project and achieve a high return on investment.  

An organisation should promote a learning culture so that learners feel proactive and assured that they are learning and improving their personal development, rather than feeling as though the organisation is pushing to do something that is compulsory. Incorporating self-study modules or resources empowers learners to develop themselves in the manner and time in which suits them, and can have a hugely positive impact on your organisations performance. Enabling learners to develop the skills that they themselves feel they need to enhance, will improve their confidence first and foremost and give them the ability to carry out their job function more effectively and efficiently. 

Organisation budgets mean that elearning cannot always be provided to all, and sometimes it may not be applicable to all. However, in order to promote an inclusive culture and equal opportunities, you should give access to elearning resources and/or courses to the maximum number of employees; the more that have access the better your respective organisation will perform. Of course, as a starting point you can run a pilot session with a selection of learners, with the aim to expand to all employees afterwards. 

While fully understanding your own organisation and the market in which operates is very beneficial, it is vital to be aware that you need to listen to your chosen elearning provider in order to fully maximise their product. Elearning providers will have worked with other clients with very similar needs and objectives, and therefore will be experienced in what will work against a variety of learning or business objectives, time frames, markets, job seniority levels etc. 

Of course, investing in any new product or service is a risk and as such, trialling an elearning product can be a great indicator as to how you see it fit your organisation and the learners within it. By starting with a trial and then piloting with a small group of learners, you will better understand the benefits and challenges your respective organisation will gain and experience when you roll it out to a larger audience, if not the whole organisation. 

Setting expectations

Finally, it is recommended that organisations have a longer term plan from 12-24 months to ensure you do not set your expectations too high in the first few months. This also provides time for the impact of the new elearning service and its integration in to your organisation to filter through. This is because up take can be high at the beginning but continual promotion and encouragement is required for it to disseminate throughout the organisation over a lengthier period of time.   

It is important that whatever form of elearning you choose, you must make sure that you takes steps to assess your needs and understand the features and benefits that will help drive the largest impact within your organisation.

You can learn more about how Virtual Ashridge can help your organisation here

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