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6 Tips for the Introduction of eLearning in Your Company

Liesa Huppertz
Oct 31, 2019

eLearning enriches our working world in the digital age - no question! But how do you manage to convince skeptics and anchor digital learning as an integral part of your corporate culture? Get convinced with our tips!

A total of 77% of American companies were already using eLearning services by 2017. They achieved 218% more revenue per employee and 24% higher profit margins, according to a survey by the American Society for Training and Development.

First and foremost, online courses simplify access to training programs and enable training in a full-packed workplace – to name just two of the many benefits for employees. Thematically, anything is possible: from team leadership, to digital marketing and SEO, to safety training and employee rights.

The popularity of these learning formats has a completely different background. Let's look at the topic from the point of view of the employees. Their satisfaction strongly depends on the intensity with which employee involvement is exercised in the company. This is because only companies value their employees, support them in their work, and invest in their further training can retain them in the long-term and profit from them as loyal, high-performance employees.

Josh Bersin from Bersin by Deloitte about learning as an Employee Engagement Tool.

Personal development is the most important basic human need. This applies as much to professional life as it does to private life. Remember that we spend a third of our life (13 years and 2 months in total) at our job. Outstanding employers have long recognized this fine detail and offer their coworkers the best. Because they know that satisfied employees and a head-start in knowledge offer the decisive competitive advantage.

Since you are interested in this article, we hardly assume that the "why" for eLearning is 100% clear to you. The goal is to create a win-win situation.

In addition to the creation of the actual eLearning program, the introduction of digital knowledge transfer in your company represents another major challenge. This should by no means be underestimated. Ultimately, it is your approach that determines how well your eLearning program is accepted by your staff.

Back to the topic. However, before you communicate the change to your staff and actively move forward with the establishment of the eLearning program, you should start with yourself. This means clarifying the framework conditions and setting the course.

That's exactly where we'll start here.

Important strategic considerations at the beginning.

From the beginning, you should say goodbye to the wishes listed below. Don't be under any illusions! This inhibits your own motivation.

  • The unique expenditure lowers the costs.
  • Learning results are scalable without further investments.
  • The new way of learning can easily be integrated into the old learning culture.

The three points need no further explanation. The answer "Why not?" becomes obvious in the course of the article. Read on for more!

The switch to eLearning is definitely not an overnight feat. You need time and a strategy. In addition, not all people always perceive change as something positive. Realistically, you will encounter some complications with this project. However, you can minimize them with thorough preliminary work. We’ll support you in this! 

#1 Perform needs analysis.

In this first step, you will examine your motives for introducing an eLearning program. On the other hand, you compare the actual with the target state. The following questions can help you. As soon as you have answered the questions, don't forget to organize your resources accordingly.

Recommended list of questions:

  • What are your goals for your eLearning program?
  • What additional personnel and technical requirements do you need?
  • Who assumes which role in the learning process?
  • What content or knowledge should be conveyed? Which employee groups should be trained in which topics? Does teaching material already exist or does it still have to be designed? If so, internally or with the help of external service providers?

#2 Interview employees.

Like everywhere in marketing, product development and customer experience focus on the target group. Together with them, ideas are brought to life according to the lean management principle and adapted to their needs. Since, in this case, your target audience is your employees, you should let them participate in the development process of your eLearning format.

Recommended procedure:

  • Interview employees in different positions and departments: What are your criticisms and fears? How do they envision an optimal eLearning experience? What are your requirements?
  • Talk to trainers and persons responsible for training. Your opinion will give you a completely different perspective.
  • Conduct a first pilot project with a small learning group. Identify stumbling blocks and optimize the learning experience.

#3 Define strategy for implementation.

The goals formulated in #1 provide a point of reference. Your primary task is to make eLearning known and, at best, popular within the company. This requires a unified communication strategy and the support of all those responsible, as well as management, who may need to demand change.

Recommended measures:

Formulation of a strategy and a communication guideline.

  • Plan concrete measures for internal communication:
  • Create information and promotional material.
  • Organize events: Information events, webinars on "What is eLearning,?" panel discussions on "What are the benefits of eLearning?”
  • Play all internal marketing channels (e.g. intranet, social media, company newsletter etc.).

Case Study Google: How to teach and learn Googler.

You have now laid the foundation. Now it's learning by doing! In other words, let the system run. You will notice that some tasks and problems can be solved the first time, others will keep you busy.

This is how you will inspire your staff.

#1 Eliminate doubts.

Fake news likes to spread like wildfire. Take early action against it. For example, when false information or assumptions circulate. The solution: Transparent communication to build trust.

Have understanding and inform your employees thoroughly:

  • Is personal data collected? If so, what?
  • Is learning progress tracked and are work samples or examination results forwarded to superiors and/or the human resources department?
  • For what purpose is data processed or accessible?
As a manager or eLearning manager, you should always seek dialogue with your colleagues and encourage them to do so, e.g. at daily scrums, team meetings, or in staff appraisals. This is the only way you can find out how everyone is doing and answer questions honestly.

#2 Motivate

Some colleagues will ask themselves: "Why should I take online courses now? What good does that do me? Simply communicating the advantages of eLearning is not enough. They must create incentives and communicate learning content in a practical way. The latter will be discussed in more detail in the section "Organizational framework.”

You can motivate them by introducing a reward system, for example. Everyone who has completed a course receives a certificate. You can also give awards and bonus points to people with the best results or who have taken a lot of courses. Be creative! There are no limits.

Give your employees more freedom in what they want to learn. In addition to fixed courses, they can, for example, decide for themselves which courses they want to take. Self-control is a valuable and effective motivator.

In this context, the learning material does not always have to be determined by you or third-party providers. Enable employees, for example, to create their own learning material and explainer videos in their area of expertise and share them with co-workers. The whole thing could then be made available to the workforce in an online library, a kind of knowledge hub.

Why should employees get involved in something like this? Quite simply, people seek recognition, support, and harmony by nature. So why not contribute to the common good? Everyone benefits by giving and taking.

#3 Create acceptance.

There are two types of acceptance: attitude acceptance and behavioral acceptance.

The first describes the acceptance of opinions about possible behavior, and the second the acceptance of real behavior that is already taking place. In addition, one differentiates between personal and context-related factors that can further influence the acceptance of eLearning.

Domeba.de describes some starting points for solutions to make digital knowledge transfer attractive to employees. We want to supplement this enumeration with a few more concrete points.

Social factors.

The biggest advantage of digital learning for many people is to be locally independent. But with this, a disadvantage creeps in immediately: The lack of contact with like-minded people and teachers.

Studies in the field of higher education confirm that the drop-out rate for online courses is much higher than the drop-out rate for lectures on campus. Online learners struggle more with social isolation, which ultimately leads them to drop out. But a lot can be done about it.

Examples of preventive measures:

  • Build digital learning groups in which students can exchange ideas and support each other.
  • Encourage lecturers to participate in conversation and be available to answer questions.
  • Enable real-time exchange through chats, forums and video conferencing.
Note:
Experts recommend a combination of digital learning and classic blended learning because they believe that a good mix is the key to learning success. Important topics can only be discussed face-to-face.

Cognitive factors.

Some employees have more prior knowledge than others, either because of their education or their job. Of course, it is easier for them to familiarize themselves quickly. Millennials, as Digital Natives, will get along with the new system much faster.

A few things can be done to get less experienced people up and running quickly. An intuitive design of the learning platform as well as the offer of high-quality content should be a matter of course. The user-friendliness is clearly in the focus, which can be optimized by the following points.

Examples of helpful measures:

  • Before starting the course, offer a crash course on how to use the software.
  • Set up test courses.
  • Hand out starter kit: Manual (incl. tutorial in Screen Capture mode), headphones, and other tips.

docebo's product video gives managers an overview of the design and functionality of the eLearning management system.

Motivational-emotional factors.

Scepticism or rejection of certain things, mostly based on ignorance. This means that when people oppose something or someone, it is often because they do not understand the topic or situation. So in this case, educate yourself and start a transparent communication right away. Have a look again at the section "Removing doubts" above.

Organizational framework conditions.

If superiors do not like eLearning during working hours or are generally sceptical about the topic, employees will keep their hands off it. Most likely, they want to avoid an unpleasant conflict. So the only solution is to actually create space and acceptance for online courses in everyday working life.

In addition, many learners often complain about the theoretical approach of teaching. Newly-learned topics can only really solidify when what has been learned can be put into practice. It is not for nothing that universities offer dual courses of study in cooperation with companies.

Examples of measures:

  • Encouraging employees to put new knowledge directly into practice, e.g. sharing best practice examples from colleagues and endorsing trial-error mentality.
  • Working time is learning time: introducing certain times for learning or blocking individual times in the calendar. Colleagues can be activated for the calendar with the note "Please do not disturb. I am learning.” An email template or a table sign can also be provided for this purpose.
  • Set up rest rooms with suitable equipment for concentrated work.
  • Nominate experienced mentors, e.g. employees in senior positions, who can help and advise Juniors on questions of content.
  • Technical framework conditions.

Technical Framework Conditions

In order for the entire system to function, the technical infrastructure should be available and fully operational at all times. This can mean the following for you.

Examples of measures:

  • If necessary, we can increase the speed of the Internet connection on site.
  • Provide employees with more storage space to download learning material.
  • Establish IT support for incidents and other technical problems or questions.
  • Stay flexible for new technologies so that they can be integrated if necessary.
  • Hand out mobile devices (e.g. laptop, iPad) as a bonus so that participants can also take part in online courses at external appointments or in the home office.

Example from Bayer for a successful eLearning video.

Features of the learning environment.

We have already mentioned some of these features in the previous section and under "Cognitive Factors.”

However, the didactic structure of the learning offers poses a further challenge. Ideally, online learning programs should be self-running. These cost a lot of time and money to set up, especially at the beginning. In between they need at best only little support. However, this never completely stops, since both the topicality of the contents and the programs plays a large role.

If you don't have the capacity for maintenance, you can consider getting support from eLearning providers. They specialize in transforming continuing vocational education and training. For example, they offer you a ready-made e-library, the creation of tailor-made online courses or the compilation of a blended learning programme according to a modular system.

Make your employees & your company happy!

Only when your employees use your eLearning offer in their daily work to clarify problems and questions will it be accepted as an important part of the corporate culture. And only then will the desired success be achieved.

However, in order for eLearning to be regarded as an enrichment on a large scale, you should carry out continuous education controlling. This means constantly questioning processes, evaluating measures, requesting feedback, and implementing suggestions for improvement. You will never stop learning.

For this reason, you should not regard learning per se as an event, but as a process that wants to be further developed every day. It is also important to start at this point. Thus this article functions as your starting signal! Get started!

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