E-Learning, as with any other change initiative, comes with its share of challenges and it requires a great deal of thought to devise a cohesive strategy that addresses all parts of the challenge. While there is no magic formula, we can overcome most challenges relatively painlessly by adopting a few best practices that successful organizations the world over have used to in readiness of their implementation of e-learning. A few of these are outlined here.
It is critical to understand that e-learning is more than just successfully designing and deploying online learning. It calls for a paradigm shift in the minds of all concerned people – learners, training departments, management, and leadership. We need to treat e-learning as a change initiative, and factor for thorough planning and strategizing as with any other change. The support for e-learning has to be driven from the top down if it is to be an effective initiative. For this to happen, communication plays a key role. Communicate the reality of your e-learning initiative to the management and leadership team and let them become champions – their support is critical for learner motivation. This is the surest way to get employee buy-in as well. Once they see that the initiative is being taken seriously by the leadership, it will become a business priority for them too. Besides, without proper support from leadership, there is every possibility of the initiative never taking off the ground or being dismissed as a passing fad even by line-managers. Getting leadership buy-in doesn’t stop with getting budgets sanctioned. You need them on board before, during and after the entire duration of the launch of the e-learning initiative.
Much before you get into design and development, it is important to ensure that the people on board the e-learning project have clearly defined set of roles and responsibilities. Without clearly defined expectations and deliverables, a lot of important details can get overlooked till very late into the project – creating unnecessary stress and panic all around. Establish clear standards of acceptance for each deliverable. Compliance really matters in sending across the right message for your e-learning initiative. Establish sound project management – especially a method for ongoing communication and escalation paths during bottlenecks and dead-ends in the project.
The tips shared here might seem too obvious to be stated, but it helps to recall them. At the end of the day, every little bit goes a long way towards a smooth and successful e-learning implementation.