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What’s the best way to launch a learning environment?

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I am about to launch a learning environment to 900 staff, which will include an Intranet site and a suite of CBT packages. There is a Training Team in existance already who deliver on the job training - the Learning Environment is more about personal development. I have a small budget and the support of senior management. Has anyone got any ideas of how to appeal to the staff and get them interested in using the facilities? What can I add to the Intranet site other than work related information?
Rachel Benson

4 Responses

  1. Attracting potential learners to your intranet
    Hi Rachel,

    I would suggest that the best way is to see if you can get people to WANT to visit your site by making it potentially rewarding (other than in the learning sense) and useful place for them to browse around.

    For your launch – how about sending an e-mail to all 900 users inviting them to enter a competition on your intranet and include a link to the training part of your intranet in your e-mail.

    Then, once they arrive at the competition page of your site, they have to answer 3-5 questions about your new learning environment that they can only answer by browsing the different pages and, maybe even by trying out some new online learning.

    You could set it up so that the competition entry page is simply a form for them to complete (so it would be easy and cheap to build) that either stores entries in a file for you to browse or e-mails the entries directly to you. Give your staff a fixed period of time to respond (I’d suggest a month) then make a big thing of the prize draw and e-mail the winners name to all 900 staff.

    For the launch, you could consider linking the prize to learning. Depending on your budget, how about a long weekend (4-days) for two to visit the pilars of learning in Greece. You could get this kind of break for about £400/head. Not much cost but potentially very attractive to the 900 staff you want to attract to your intranet site.

    Then, if you have the budget, how about monthly draws (obviously based on some other criteria – perhaps all users taking an online course in the month) where you give a much cheaper prize – how about a DVD player, which you can pick up for just over £100 or something similar (or a meal out for 2, etc). Again, I would suggest that you make a big thing of the winners name through e-mail to your 900 staff.

    If you do go down this route, make sure your payroll department sort out the personal tax liability that your staff members would incur by receiving any prize as it would be considered a taxable benefit by the Inland Revenue. The tax element won’t be much so you should be prepared to cover that on behalf of your winning employees.

    This kind of thing can make your intranet a fun place to visit and will encourage the long-term take-up of online learning at comparatively very little cost. Much less than the wasted spend you will incur if the initiative does not take off in your organisation.

    Depending on your company’s policy on internet usage, I would also suggest that you put non-learning items on your site but which are informative and useful (please contact me for ideas on what I mean)

    These are just a few of the ways you could move forwards. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss these ideas or any others (I have more!!). You can get me on 0788 079 0815 or [email protected]

    Good luck and whatever you choose to do, I would be grateful if you let me know how you get on.

    Regards,

    Gary

  2. Communication and support
    Rachel

    From my experience by now you will have spent a considerable time having determined your objectives for what you want your new learning environment to achieve. You will have evaluated and selected appropriate content. Now you are ready to launch.

    I believe that your next step needs to be communication and support.

    Tell everyone about the new service via email, presentations, line manager briefings etc. Make sure you explain to people why they the service will be beneficial. Everyone is busy and training and evelopment is too often an activity completed in isolation from peoples day to day work and only copmleted when people get time.

    Communicate the benefits your site can offer, you will know what these are as this is why you are doing it. In practice though people often forget to tell everyone though why something is happening and what’s in it for them.

    Support is also key, tell people where support will be available to them and how they can access it. Support is essential especially in the early days of this type of project.

    On a marketing note, if you have the buy in of your senior management presentations or communications from this on the launch will add you crdibility. If you can get them to use the facility then this too is something very powerful to communicate.

    Finally, a feedback area on your website will give your users a chance to pass their thoughts back to you. Act on feedback and word will get round that you listen and value their thoughts.

  3. Launch of e-learning environment
    Rachel,

    A pre-requisite of any successful e-learner is self-motivation. Enforcement can lead to a negative perception of the end benefit, but in order to ecourage people to utilise e-learning courses it is vital learners are aware of the investment (not financial) that has been placed in their personal development. The environment you have set up is to provide the opportunity for increasing the learners knowledge base and also to enhance the skill sets of each individual, not neccessarily for the companies benefit but predominantly for their own benefit. It is also essential that learners are aware that this new e-learning environment is just one aspect of the ongoing commitment, part of a blended approach to further their skills if they want it. Empowerment is a wonderful thing.

    The other main factor to the success of your e-learning environment will be content and it is essential that you build in as many relevant resources as possible. Online tutorials, discussion threads, video conferencing etc are all tools that encourage dialogue between learners and actively engage their interest. Links through to relevant sections of other documents, sites or presentations ensure that the learner is sourcing information relevant to their need.

    The key to getting people on and returning is a) ease of access, b)relevance of content, resources etc and c)sense of achievement (some form of certification could be useful).

    Hope this helps in some way. Look forward to hearing how successful it has been.

  4. marketing
    In our experience many IT / training management for the first time have to tackle a lesser known but vital component in any e-learning initiative – Marketing. Obviously this must address 3 key areas, 1/ Buiness objectives 2/ Support in place not just lip service but line manager time commitment 3/ User Comfort.There is a fine line of course between voluntary enrollments and being compelled. For more info you are welcome to contact myself on how we work with client partners in meeting and exceeding such goals – [email protected]

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