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How do You Jump Start E-learning in Your Organization?

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If as an employee, I receive an internal email asking me to enroll for an online course, what would be my reaction? Most probably “Why should I?” followed perhaps by “What’s in it for me?” I would probably question the underlying intention and skeptically dismiss it as the organization’s latest fad! On the other hand, I may have had a different reaction, if I got a proper orientation to the concept of online learning earlier.

If you are a marketing professional, you would probably know that any new product will need to go through 5 stages of adoption – Awareness, Interest, Evaluation, Trial, and Adoption. The same can be applicable to a new idea or system, such as e-learning within an organization. So, taking cue from the product adoption process can we follow a similar methodology for introducing e-learning within an organization?

Stage 1: Creating an Awareness About E-learning

It is a good idea to build awareness about eLearning, as a one of the methods of training, among the employees. Employees need to warm up to the idea and get comfortable with the process. You could share some industry statistics, on how similar organizations have started to adopt eLearning within their organization. Paste this information as flyers in canteen, notice boards or even in company newsletters. This makes employees realize that your initiatives are not isolated.

Stage 2: Generate Interest in Online Learning

Create a buzz about the activity, by sharing success stories about its implementation elsewhere. Suppose I read about Smith, or Jack or anybody in another company or department who have taken eLearning and received a pay hike or promotion. I am bound to be interested,wouldn’t I? Give specific instances of how this can help them on an individual basis. This always attracts attention and you would have generated sufficient interest for your online learning or e-learning program.

Stage 3: Allow Employees to Try & Evaluate the New Technology of Training

Before buying a new product in the market, I would like to try it out first. Get a first-hand feel, of what it is going to be like using the product. The same is applicable in the case of eLearning. If you issue a circular saying that here is an online course on, “Know your product to sell it better”, I may be wary of the whole idea, or may view it as another chore. However, if I am asked to click on a link that gives a demo of how it is going to be like, such as trailer video, I may be more interested. While planning to implement E-learning on a large scale, it is a good idea to develop short e-learning modules, of say 5mins or maximum 10mins,on simple yet handy subjects – “What you need to do if you lost your access card?”, “Things you need to know before you use the company’s intranet” or “Do’s and Don’ts while answering customer calls”. Get your employees to access these modules, so that they can familiarize themselves with the whole idea of gaining knowledge from a computer instead of a physical instructor.

Stage 4: Implement E-learning on a Trial Basis in One Department

It is a good idea to first implement e-learning in one department. For example, you could roll out an eLearning program for the sales team, with an online module on product training. As there has been some general awareness and acceptance about the new concept; it is easier to get employees involved in the trials. It also allows you to iron out the teething problems, technological or otherwise, and develop a fool-proof system that can be duplicated across other departments.

Stage 5: Enterprise-wide Adoption of E-learning

The trials you conduct will help develop systems and process for an enterprise-wide eLearning initiative. The successful implementation in one department will convince employees in other departments, to receive it with less resistance. Your e-learning initiative is more likely to be a success. Don’t you think, instead of a sudden enforcement of eLearning programs on employees, a gradual stage by stage implementation will help better the chances of its acceptance within the organization? Would you not agree that this is a methodical way to strengthen your company’s training capability through e-learning? Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

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