e-learning for … everyone?
Recently I was interviewed for Slaw.ca, Canada’s online legal magazine:
These articles came out of a discussion with Natasha Chetty of http://bellwetherstrategies.ca/. Bellwether provides strategic planning, business development, reputation management and training services to professional service firms and related organizations. Natasha and I had recently met and she was intrigued by the breadth of e-learning options and thought that some of her connections and clients might find information about e-learning useful.
It has got me thinking that there are hundreds (maybe thousands or more) of groups or people that might not be aware of how e-learning might work for them. Some organizations are well on their way to understanding and implementing e-learning. But others might be less aware of how you might leverage e-learning.
To “spark your interest”, here’s how some of our clients have used self-paced e-learning:
1. Academy – used e-learning to supplement face to face sessions, as a great value add to their product suite. Their use of e-learning was to include self-paced modules before and after a workshop to prepare and/or reinforce concepts and support offline activities. It was a good way to incorporate a ton of content into a more structured framework.
2. Software company – used e-learning to enable customers to gain competency with their software product through small modules. They had been offering open enrollment webinars for customers, which was convenient for the instructor, but not for the customer. They also used e-learning to enhance the customer journey, ensuring that the customer received the right module at the right time for a more logical sequence. All the modules were also re-purposed as performance support for customers.
3. Non-profit -used e-learning to reduce risk of losing key instructors and to increase consistency of training. With one instructor and a vast area to visit, this non-profit decided to create self-paced modules and a discussion guide to enable local facilitators to support learning about their cause.
4. High tech accelerator – used e-learning to spread their reach and provide access to entrepreneurs outside of metropolitan areas. By creating self-paced modules, the organization was able to provide more service to a larger geographical area. It created several modules that entrepreneurs could complete at their own pace. There was a set of worksheets that accompanied the modules to help the learner translate knowledge into action.
5. School districts – used e-learning to provide training around innovative initiatives (adults mentoring youth). This group recognized that a way to not only convey the philosophy of their program, but also offer skill-building opportunities and reflective suggestions would prepare program participants with more information and increase the number and quality of successful mentoring partnerships.
6. Real estate appraisers – used e-learning to help apply theoretical concepts to practical real world situations. There’s a lot of theory, math and models involved. These are usually taught with textbooks and lectures, however when it comes to putting the theory into practice, there are some real world constraints to consider. Using self-paced modules allowed for pictures, interactive elements and instructional feedback to solidify the practice. It also provided a way to contrast good and bad practice.
7. Health organizations – used e-learning for patient education to ensure people with a chronic condition could manage their health and lifestyle. The previous approach was to have a nurse visit the patient at home with a binder full of information. The organization realized that this is not only hard on the patients, but also the nurses. The patients were provided with the online modules that they could visit and revisit at any time. The nuances related to this particular condition meant that constant monitoring was needed and online modules enabled patients to refresh themselves on what was needed at that point in time. Nurses could spend time reinforcing and dealing with more complex challenges.
8. Sales organizations – used e-learning to teach sales reps how to sell products and services in a consultative way to support their unique value proposition and to save their sales managers time in product training. Managers are provided with discussion guide and offline learning activities to enable reps to practice what they’ve learned in a coaching environment. This ensures that the reps are learning what they need to learn and practicing with their manager, not the customer. It also provides the managers with the structure to support their reps, not have to be expert teachers.
9. Associations – used e-learning for staff, volunteers and members – getting all stakeholders on the same page was much easier with self-paced modules. There are overlapping needs from these groups and the organization was able to repurpose the content to meet each of the groups’ needs.
10. You? – do you have an organization need that you’d like to use e-learning for? We’re particularly interested in small to medium sized organizations and groups that offer community service, education around a cause, organizations that want to enhance their product offering or value proposition and pioneering individuals who’d like to find a way to sell their training. If so, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
So, e-learning for everyone? I think it’s likely that e-learning is a great fit for a lot of organizations. Maybe not everyone, but I’ll bet we could find a way for a large majority. If you have a story to share about how you/your organization used e-learning, please post in the comments.