Williams Spindloe is a regular contributor of CLO-me.
We have been able to bore people in the classroom for years and now we know how to bore them online too’
Dr. Gary Woodhill- Chief Learning Officer, Operitel Corp.
A great pulling no punches kind of quote there, I am sure you will agree. Showing us that implementing e-learning is perhaps a little more complex than many might think. Perhaps to illustrate this further here are some interesting numbers from a study put together by the Forrester Group who worked with 40 Global Organizations who had implemented e-learning.
When provided access to e-learning…..
68% of the employees would not sign up voluntarily
30% did not access even when this was made compulsory
50% never finished even when they did sign up
The reasons were many and varied for this lack of participation. They ranged from ‘Lack of Time’ to ‘Poorly Designed Courses’, ‘Technology Problems’ to my personal favorite which was it conflicted with ‘Individual Learning Preferences’ . Having been involved with Learning and Development for over 25 years I can tell you that many Individual Learning Preferences include elements such as a 5 Star Hotel, Buffet and Barbados.
OK I’m being a little facetious, but these numbers are worrying, and frankly the failure simply says that in many cases this was not thought through. It shows that perhaps these projects did not sufficiently answer the ‘Whats in it for me?’ question at an organization, divisional, departmental and individual basis. The number seem to simply show a lack of support.
Sometimes when it comes to things like course selection, sometimes the end user may just have a point. I do know that in one case I was asked to look at some time ago, the company in question had brought in some Team Building e-learning courses. This was not a precursor to some team based event either. They were simply assigned to each individual to take alone. Probably the most underwhelming and sad use of training I have experienced to be honest. Needless to say you could cut the feelings of irony in that company with a chain saw.
Your e-Learning implementation is not going to happen by osmosis. It needs to be thought through. If you are going to avoid a similar lack of support there are some questions that need to be asked. What are we trying to achieve? How are we going to measure the impact? How and who are going to decide on the courses? Which are we going blend? How are we going to market these? How do we ensure we deliver no matter where our employees are? This list goes on. But I shall leave the final word on this to show that failures here can happen to the biggest and best of breed out there.
“The fact that just over half the workforce finished the course had nothing to do with technology or instructional design. It had to do with the motivation they got from their managers”
Mike Markovits ( GE’s Center for Learning & Organizational Excellence)
William Spindloe is
Middle East and Asia