Monday, November 25, 2013

E-Learning - The Shift Is On!

Many organizations today understand the need and the rationale for implementing E-Learning, i.e., reduced costs, greater efficiency in time management, better learning outcomes, more up to date content, greater consistency and the maturity of the technology. What has held organizations back from a more rapid implementation is the technology’s demand for a paradigm shift. E-Learning has far reaching effects that ripple throughout an organization in areas like administration, customer service, human resources, sales and supplier education. This has been further exacerbated by the sudden proliferation of vendors who have rushed to fill the void and perhaps most importantly, the technology’s implied relationship with hardware and software (aka IT), making it a seemingly complex issue to address.

 The state of current learning systems has as much to do with this as anything else. Most learning systems within an organization have evolved using traditional mediums such as, print, video, PDFs,workshops, presentations and web portals.  As each new medium has come along the existing legacy content has been adopted to fit the new format yet the nature of the content and the learning has not changed. If an organization or company is going to benefit from E-Learning it demands a paradigm shift, a re-thinking of how learning will help build brand, create greater awareness around its products/services, improve its partnerships and galvanize employees.

If we can now recognize the far reaching effects of E-Learning, we can begin to understand why there has been such foot-dragging on the implementation of something that seems to make so much sense on the surface of it. I generally don’t like lists, tips, rules or guidelines, so on this occasion I will simply call them thoughts to consider when implementing E-Learning stratyegies:  

1.      E-Learning is a relatively mature technology – it should work like the telephone – no special hardware or software required – just use it

2.      No IT department is required unless you plan to become a learning institution

3.      Subject matter experts are part of the solution. You will need them in designing content in a variety of learning “flavours” ranging from blended learning to self-paced learning

4.      Legacy material cannot be converted into E-Learning – it can be used as the basis to developing E-Learning

5.      Allow learners to have more control over learning: when, what, where,

6.      Be prepared to engage with learners – moderating forums, frequent updates of content, answering questions, promoting the value of content, rewarding learners, challenging learners

7.      Try an emulate the classroom, accommodate different learning styles and levels of accomplishment

8.      Start from scratch and first implement a pilot project to work out the kinks, then evolve to the next level

9.      This is a hands-on enterprise. There are great rewards to be had…along with great rewards come great responsibility

10.   The archive of images, video, etc., you have will not meet the demands of this new initiative. Think long term

11.  Allow for creative interpretation, the content has to inspire the learner …just like that teacher that inspired you…don’t drain the life, or fun out of E-Learning

12.  Create opportunity for interaction among learners

13.  E-Learning technology is constantly evolving  - avoid licensing and plan to ensure your content is portable  so that you are not trapped by proprietary hardware/software

14.   Create more opportunities for social interaction within E-learning

15.  You must provide opportunities to recognize, respond and act on learner feedback
If you have questions ..please post and I am happy to answer as honestly as I can... 

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