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Companies with a learning culture have employees who continuously search for, share, and apply new knowledge and skills to improve their personal performance and organizational performance. Your organization needs a workforce consisting of people with the desire and ability to learn, whether it’s about the importance of staying union-free, skills upgrading, Human Resources policies, department procedures, safety procedures, leadership strategies that increase employee engagement, or any other topic.
The issue that so many organizations face is how to continuously deliver the learning opportunities for improved compliance, productivity, career advancement, technical and social skills development, and a myriad of other topics like labor unions and leadership. What your leaders and staff know is important, but what they may learn is equally or more important. Implementing the right custom eLearning strategy to promote learning behaviors has become a business imperative for maintaining high productivity, employee retention, filling the leadership pipeline, protecting brand reputation, and enabling people to acquire new knowledge and skills to maximize potential.
Projections, Inc. discussed many eLearning features that make it successful in the blog The Future of eLearning Post-Pandemic. Following are a few more best practices to keep in mind.
You can’t just say, “Okay, employees, here’s the new eLearning platform. Go for it.” An eLearning system is most successful when employees are given an introduction to its purpose, how it works, the goals, and management expectations. The introduction of basic training on the system or program can be included on the eLearning platform or instruction provided separately via videos or even podcasts to engage employees. The main point is to not just throw a new platform at the workforce and hope it sticks!
Make eLearning proactive, and don’t wait until there’s a problem. Reacting to an unexpected development (i.e., a union organizing campaign, new labor law, or pandemic) is necessary at times, but many areas of importance need regular attention within the context of a learning culture and in alignment with corporate goals. They include things like safety compliance, benefits instruction, positive organizational culture reinforcement, harassment and diversity training, and leadership training.
In a previously written eLearning post, we mentioned that using optimal delivery methods for the specific workforce is crucial, especially since so many companies have permanently transitioned to a hybrid workforce of onsite and remote employees. However, it’s just as essential to remember generational differences in tech usage if you have a multi-generational workforce.
Younger generations embrace features like gamification because they regularly gameplay online. However, an AARP survey found that more and more people over the age of 50 are playing games in some capacity, and 73 percent in 2019 used phones, tablets, and other mobile devices, 92 percent report playing alone. If you utilize gamification, which requires your older employees to participate in gameplaying with peers, remember they may not be as practiced as younger generations that regularly play games online with people they don’t know.
Along the same lines, advanced eLearning program technologies will enhance platforms, but the implementation needs of these sophisticated technologies can be overwhelming for some people and for all people if too many changes flood the platform. A best practice is this: Don’t overwhelm. Train, show patience, and accommodate different comfort levels with certain technologies. It’s an important element of a successful eLearning strategy.
Be prepared to make revisions as needed. The revisions could be for purposes of fine-tuning the program to better meet employee needs, amending the program to accommodate new corporate policies, addressing job requirement changes, addressing organizing efforts of a specific labor union, and so on. Of course, metrics play a primary role in determining whether the eLearning system is meeting expectations. If you do a pulse survey or request feedback, and employees indicate they are having problems or would like something added, then revisit the eLearning platform.
This covers a lot of territory because eLearning can inform, train and develop leaders and their employees. The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) discussed conducting a training needs assessment as a 4-step process.
By thoroughly answering these questions, you are pointed to the right path for establishing an effective training program and determining if you have the necessary internal resources and expertise. In most cases, custom eLearning developed by external talents, like Projections, will be the best option because an experienced company can satisfy all the training factors.
Developing an eLearning strategy began with two things: 1) identifying areas of organizational need to improve workforce capacity, and 2) employee needs to close performance and development gaps—the next steps in the eLearning strategy dive into developing the program.
Assuming custom eLearning content is the preferred delivery method, the whole strategy will include the following steps.
One of the nice features of eLearning is that it is appropriate and effective for all employees, from the CEO to frontline workers. However, you should address the good, the bad, and the ugly of training to ensure you’re on the right path for your organization. Projections discussed the pros and cons of online leadership training for this very reason.
The cost of training is one of those subjects that organizational leaders struggle with because there’s a need to experience a certain ROI to justify resources’ commitment.
You have three choices for eLearning. One is to buy off-the-shelf courses with generic information about a topic. This may not be the best choice for many employers because the content is not specific to the organization. It’s a good way to lose the interest of employees. However, it depends on the subject matter. For example, harassment training covers information applicable to every workforce.
A second option is to develop an eLearning course in-house, using staff expertise. While possible, it is a costly option because it means you’re dedicating in-house resources to an ongoing project. There are many estimates made by various companies, and they all have one thing in common. Developing a custom eLearning course does require an investment, and most organizations underestimate the true cost.
A third choice is to hire a company like Projections, Inc. to develop custom eLearning solutions.
The training and development membership association ATD does regular surveys to track the time it takes to develop individual training products. The organizational people surveyed have responsibilities like needs assessment, learning design, training delivery, and project management. In 2020, the average hours the in-house developers took to develop one eLearning module was significant.
The very wide range of hours in each category reflects factors like how many people are working on the project and the level of expertise.
The survey respondents were also asked what slowed down eLearning development.
As the author of the survey results mentions, the data doesn’t address the quality or effectiveness of the products! You can invest resources and not get the quality product desired.
The wide range reflects the fact that many factors are involved in eLearning development. They include, but are not limited to:
In 2017, ATD predicted that soft skills training would experience greater demand, and the organization was right. The need for employee training in areas like collaboration, business communication, and active listening lends itself to opportunities for real-time learning opportunities.
Due to the complexity and levels of eLearning development, it’s impossible to say there is one average price. When developing in-house, a long-term commitment must be made to program maintenance, debugging, and current technologies and revisions. You must commit resources that include ongoing payroll costs for a development professional or team and their training on new technologies, upgrading technologies, making revisions, and so on. They must also stay current on messaging designed to produce the highest level of engagement for leadership training and staff training.
Given the long-term commitment required for the in-house development of a custom eLearning program, it makes more sense to consider the money saved by utilizing the services of a company like Projections, Inc. that has a team of experts dedicated to producing high-quality eLearning products. For example, Projections can help your company avoid costs:
The cost-effectiveness of using external resources for eLearning development comes from:
What type of topics best fit eLearning? The answer is that any topic works. Following is just a sample of the solutions that eLearning programs can address.
Within each eLearning program, there are numerous features to choose from. For example, a custom employee-facing UnionProof website can include informational training on topics like the management open-door policy and employee benefits, podcasts, videos, and a FAQ page where employees can also anonymously ask questions.
Developing custom eLearning programs is part technical ability and part art form. The skills needed include instructional design, content writing, expertise in technologies, graphic design, program development, data collection, and outcomes metrics production, to name a few.
The right eLearning vendor for developing a custom eLearning course has, as a minimum, the following characteristics.
There is so much involved in eLearning solutions development. Projections, Inc. offers the easiest way to deliver the ideal training to your leaders and staff. You could go it alone, but why would you when an affordable, high-quality option is available? Want proof? Check out the Projection’s Trader Joe’s eLearning success story.
Walter is IRI's Director of Digital Solutions and founder of UnionProof & A Better Leader. As the creator of Union Proof Certification, Walter provides expert advice, highly effective employee communication resources and ongoing learning opportunities for Human Resources and Labor Relations professionals.