A typical approach taken by many organizations when launching eLearning for the first time is to buy a huge library of catalogue courses and send out a few standard mails to all employees, telling them about the availability of the courses and providing access details. And keep their fingers crossed, hoping for some decent ROI.
What are Catalogue Courses Anyway?
Typically these catalogue courses consist of a comprehensive collection of off-the-shelf eLearning courses spread out across the following areas: Technology/IT, Soft Skills, Environment and Safety, Legal & Workplace Compliance, and certification courses among others. The number of courses could be huge and targeted at varying levels of desired competence. Catalogue courses are ideal when it comes to training that doesn’t have to be adapted to different specific custom audiences, such as technical training on.NET technology, with varying levels being offered. In such cases, learners who are aware of the courses being offered, can register themselves and take the training. With certifications being offered, at least there is some incentive for employees to take these courses. Besides some of them help you prepare for formal certifications such as those offered by PMI or Microsoft. However, even then, many of these courses have no takers as there is no attempt at marketing or promoting them to employees.
Typical Employee Adoption
In the target group for whom the courses are intended, probably one employee in every tenactually accesses the courses to check it out for themselves, while the other nine simply ignore the mail and figure that if a course is important enough, they will be registered for it on the LMS by the training department and it would be made mandatory anyway. So they decide they will cross that bridge when they come to it. The few employees who do access the catalogue course library very soon find themselves swimming in a sea of information out there and get out before they drown – and this may happen despite categorization and some amount of knowledge management in the way courses and related resources are bunched together. Sounds familiar?
Unfortunately, a cookie cutter approach to implementing eLearning through catalogue courses alone doesn’t really work too well. Only the most determined and driven learner will be able to gain some benefit from this. And let’s face it; with competing demands on employees’ time, such employees are very rare. Your average employee will just decide it’s not worth spending time on it and get back to work. And your catalogue course library gathers dust for the next few years. For any Learning and Development professional, nothing is as frustrating as watching hard-earnedand hard-fought-for training dollars go down the drain.
Do you think organizations get their ROI through investing in catalogue courses? What has been your experience with launching catalogue courses? What do you think can be done to improve this ROI?