If you have been training your employees face to face through instructor-led training programs, it may not be easy to make a dramatic shift to online training. However, the key is to start small and then scale up with the increase in need and demand. You can also choose to integrate your ILT initiatives with eLearning for pre-classroom activities or for post-training assessment purposes. Start with one department – may be sales or HR department and then scale it up to other areas in the organization.
What do you need to start eLearning in your organization? How do you assess their readiness for starting eLearning initiatives? So, how can you figure out if your organization is ready for eLearning? There are three things to get the ball rolling for eLearning.
1. Training content: Every organization has some form of training or the other – ILT, on-the job, etc. For this purpose, you are bound to use some training material – trainer presentations, handouts, etc. You might also have on-the-job training handouts. You might collate presentations given by senior managers. Additionally, there are bound to be product literature, brochures, policy documents or process documents that you can use for supporting content. It means there is enough and more content in the organization to develop eLearning. The key is to identify content that is suitable for eLearning. If you have a good eLearning vendor, they will be able to weed out the right content from the pool of resources you share with them. All you need to do is to tell them the learning objective of the course.
2. Training experts & SME: You may have trainers or senior managers who double up as training managers or SMEs who take up training sessions for their employees. They can provide valuable inputs for eLearning development and implementation. ELearning initiatives cannot be successful if the existing team of trainers, SMEs, sales trainers, HR personnel and marketing communication members are not involved in the process. They are either natural trainers or subject experts and good communications experts. Their buy-in and support is crucial for the success of your eLearning initiatives.
3. Technology: To introduce eLearning in your organization, you can start with your existing infrastructure. If you have computers, Internet or intranet access for your employees or an LMS, you can begin by uploading small eLearning modules on the intranet or internal portal. In fact, you can begin by getting trainers to use them as pre-classroom activity. That way your employees can get familiar with the concept of eLearning and it will be easier when you plan to scale it up later.
So, if you have the content, training expertise and basic technology, you are ready to implement eLearning. The next question that comes to the mind is how do you develop eLearning courses? In order to develop and deploy eLearning courses you need the following:
1. Learning design experts: These are a pool of instructional designers, graphic designers, visual designers and production team who are experts in using authoring tools.
2. Licensed authoring tools: You need to have authoring tools such as Articulate, Lectora, Captivate. You may also need supporting software for image editing, audio video editing, etc. The rapid authoring tools these days do have some facilities for image, audio and video editing to some extent but they might have their limitations.
You can either source them from within the organization or recruit them for the purpose. But since, our goal is to start off with what we have, it is best to begin by outsourcing the services to an eLearning vendor who understands your requirements. If you outsource the course development to an eLearning vendor, all you would need to do is to
- Provide inputs to the vendor about your requirement – learning objective, user profiles and infrastructure available.
- Liaise with the developer from time to time to ensure that the course development is up to your satisfaction.
- Authorize and approve the course upon completion.
Assume that the course was developed and it has been deployed on to your intranet. It was received well by a section of your employees and now you would like to
- Scale it up and reach it to a larger group of employees.
- Track the progress of the course registrations, completions.
- Provide certification upon evaluation to your employees.
You can consider hosting the course on to a Learning Management System. You do not have to invest in a proprietary LMS but can start with an open source LMS such as Moodle. All you would spend on is the initial set up and customization, which is not too much an amount. This would enable you to assign, monitor and track the courses with a click of the mouse.
You can start eLearning by taking a small step first and then scale it up progressively as your employees get used to taking courses online. What do you think of this process?