Tuesday, December 15, 2009

e-Learning for Business Value not for Teaching skills to employees

Always shifting the anchor points in a brainstorming session gives more clarity and shakes up prejudices and strong views of people for a given topic. Talking of e-Learning vs ILT, e-Learning ROI vs ROE, Training for Performance, Custom vs Catalog course effectiveness, have generated enough literature that many are now not of much interest or add value.

But the problems still remain. It is not mainstream investment. The cut back is immediate when drive is to save bottom line and top line is stagnant. Lot of companies generate enough flash files and learning courses with many companies mandating e-Learning purchased courses to complete during "bench" time.

What next ?

This post from Cathy Moore, inspired me to write on this topic, running for quite some time on how to make a difference.

e-Learning courses when asked by customers need to be qualified better for their business roles :

1. Do you want e-Learning as a digital expression of hard copy manual ?

2. Do you create e-Learning courses to reduce costs ?

3. Do you desire e-Learning to become a benchmark for better communications, alignment to goals, mapping close to business goals?

If answer to #3 is "yes", then state the goals.

Few examples could be:
  • State the current communication method for product rollout, process change, availability of a new help mechanism? What is level of user participation ? How much would you want to increase ?
  • What business problems apart from cost do you like to see ? Are users comfortable traveling to your site ? Would they be happy, if training reaches them than they reach to training centers ? How would this contribute to users helping the company in return ? - More involvement, more productive, more responsive, less thoughts of leaving the organization, more participation in new initiatives ?
  • While achieving stated business goals what positive side effects would be desired? Reduction in time for efforts, errors, increase in participation to initiatives, ease od maintenance, etc ?

The crucial factor, we omit in all these discussions is to put
a "measurement index" around the goals. Some simple techniques that has worked with our customers are:
1. First feedback from 50 users should be good.

2. The number of dealers who have achieved certifications should be 40 in first month.

3. I should be able to give a CD along with my product.

I have seen e-Learning commissioned more and more by business functions from their budgets than IT or HR budgets.

Do you see the same patterns emerging in your roles ?

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