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Archive for June, 2010

Benefits and Potential Drawbacks of Internal eLearning

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On June 27, 2010 NO COMMENTS

Internal development of eLearning brings both benefits and a few potential drawbacks to learning and development as well as the organization as a whole. As with any business decision, your job is to determine if and when the benefits will outweigh the drawbacks. Or, you may determine that drawbacks will be no more than a blip on your radar. Let’s look at the benefits of internal development first.

One of the primary benefits of developing eLearning internally is the control that comes with it. As the developer and owner of the content, your organization has the ultimate control of each and every word, activity, test question, and evaluation. This means that if your organization sometimes has rapid or constant changes in policies, procedures, products, or regulations that affect training content, you’ll be able to implement those changes quickly and efficiently. Plus, you can tailor your content to your audience so that it makes a long-lasting impact on the learner.

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eLearning: Developing Internally vs. Licensing Externally

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On June 20, 2010 NO COMMENTS

eLearning is becoming an essential in learning and development, especially for organizations with diverse workforces. Keep in mind that a diverse workforce, in terms of learning, could be a group of employees who are physically together but learn at different paces. A diverse workforce could be geographically and culturally different, as well, meaning the employees can be remote from the headquarter organization in many ways. But with the advent of eLearning comes the decision about whether to develop eLearning programs internally or to outsource them to vendors or eLearning providers. Before you make a decision for your organization, it may be a good idea to look at each approach, define it, and determine the benefits and drawbacks, both in general and for your organization. First, let’s take a look at internal development.

Internal development of eLearning is the process of developing, designing, deploying, evaluating, and changing courses and programs within your own organization. It sounds simple, and from outward appearances it is. In fact, any time we see the term “internal development”, we think of control, ease of access, and probably less cost. Most of these thoughts are true, and we will look at benefits and drawbacks of internal eLearning development next. But let’s break down internal development into its necessary components, so that you can determine if you have the infrastructure to take it on.

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Corporate University: Avoiding the “Ivory Tower”

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On June 14, 2010 NO COMMENTS

Learning and Development departments, as well as corporate universities, can sometimes fall victim to the “ivory tower” syndrome, that is, losing touch with the “real world”. Typically the ivory tower is no one’s fault; it simply happens because all of your resources are so focused on the task at hand. The tower can even develop when you are still in the process of rolling out your corporate university, so some of the ideas here can be used during the initial build as well as in the future. How can you avoid getting caught up in the ivory tower?

The first way to avoid the ivory tower is to keep analysis and assessment consistent. Even if there is no major development going on at a given time, you should be evaluating courses, instructors, technology, delivery methods, and even the Learning Management System at all times. Continuous assessment of how you’re performing will help you determine where to put your resources, even if the corporate university is still in the setup phase. Plus, assessment will help you discover the university’s efficiency, costs, and benefits. And this will come in handy when it’s time to prove ROI.

Another way to keep in touch with the “real world” is to maintain contact with your sponsors and stakeholders, throughout the entire rollout process and beyond. This group is made up of people who are doing the work, supervising the work, and even planning the goals behind the work. If you alienate this group or simply lose contact with them, you run the risk of losing contact with the world outside of the corporate university office.

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Corporate University:Include Technology

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On June 7, 2010 NO COMMENTS

In today’s environment, technology is king. We know this because first of all because technology is cost effective and efficient, but also because, let’s face it, technology is popular. Smart phones, MP3 players, and social media almost make it a necessity to include a technology plan in the roll-out of the corporate university. Obviously this use of technology will help the university to stay fresh and cutting edge, but what’s better is that effective use of technology will save money and help you show more ROI.

The first step is to examine the organization’s existing technology infrastructure. To put it plainly, some organizations may not have the technology to offer the most advanced technology. You may know what your organization is capable of, but even if this is the case you should get your IT department involved in the planning stages. Use some of the examples we are about to discuss in order to begin a dialogue – and find out what you can and cannot do. Keep in mind that the “cannots” may turn into “cans” in the future – and the speed at which technology moves usually means that the future is closer than we think.

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