Your e-learning program has rolled out and has come under constant evaluation. What are you doing with the evaluation data? If you’re filing it away, that’s not quite enough. Every piece of data you receive, whether it seems small or not, can help you modify your e-learning program, keep it fresh, and move it into prominence with your organization. When you consider modifying your program, look at three common areas: system, course design and delivery, and marketing.
Remember that during evaluation you are looking at user data, evaluation data, and even survey data. When you look at modifications to your system, think about that data in system terms. Are users reporting problems with accessibility? If so, you may need to look at the number of users, the organization’s bandwidth, or its overall technical architecture. Any of these characteristics can show you specific and overall problems with the program. In specific areas, you may find that accessibility problems are caused by a slow running system, malfunctions in video streaming or interactivity, or overall system preparedness. If you determine that there are issues with your system, make a list of the problems. But don’t stop there. Make a list of the solution you’d like to see. For example, if the system is functioning slowly, know what the optimum time should be. Once you have a list of requirements and optimum functions, go back to the vendor or in-house IT department and present it.
The next area to look at is course design and delivery. In evaluation, you’ve looked at the number of users per course, how many of those users finish the course, and how many leave the system without a course completion. If the system is functioning well, then you should consider the possibility that the courses are not presented as well as they could be. Remember our discussion on e-learning guidelines. Are the courses too long? Are individual frames covered with text and little interaction? Is the content appropriate for e-learning deployment? Are certain courses used infrequently? If so, consider taking them offline to create space for more critical courses. A training organization must always have a thick skin, but now is the time for the group to look at its output very critically for the benefit of the learners. The key item to remember about course design and delivery is that changes must be made consistently, especially if courses are required at certain time periods. For example, if the entire organization must go through compliance training each year, consider making changes to the appropriate courses each year. Learners will appreciate the effort and will always be on top of mandated learning.
In the course of modifying your program, don’t forget to look at the marketing and message of the program itself. If user numbers are low, think about the message and how it’s being broadcast. Send out surveys to see if learners received marketing information – and what they did with that information. Ask them how they reacted to the message that new training methods were available. Along those lines, find out if learners are being given ample time to complete training – or if they are being pulled back to work before they’ve had time to take courses. The idea here is to also take a critical look at how the program is being marketed – and to be bold in asking for changes to that message.
Modification of the e-learning program should be gradual, however. Some organizations have been known to pull large parts of the program offline in order to modify it. This may not be the best way to take care of changes. Determine which areas need the most attention and work on those first. But avoid taking whole pieces of the program offline at all costs. Modifications should be so gradual that the learner notices the small changes each time he or she logs in to the system. Your modification should be a “no shock” plan.
Remember to use your evaluation data to make constant modifications to your program.