I recently finished meeting with the President of a large training company [specialists in the manufacturing training business]. Our conversation was related to the development of an eLearning system for his training company. After a lengthy discussion, I realized that he was either unable or unwilling to expand the training systems that they utilize with their customers. Surprisingly, it was very troubling.He explained to me that their current training system was primarily class-room based, but also included some 1-to-1 training for his clients. When questioned about why not including web-based solutions to his training mix, he responded that he:
“… do not see any value to web based training.”
I was floored, no value? I stammered for a moment. I then attempted to explain to him that some of the values of web-based training are:
Flexibility: The ability to deliver training, to geographical disbursed staff, at irregular intervals. The idea that all employees needing training would and could be available for their training at the moment they were able to deliver it was not very forward looking… but lost in the past. Time and distance and cost were always going to be a factor when providing training.
Scalability: Another advantage is that online programs could be broken into smaller bites. They could be made more interactive, thus engaging the participants. Having to understand information in more manageable blocks, and combining those smaller trainings with quizzes, questionnaires and workbooks could enhance the employee retention and implementation. Making this online system more effective than a massive ‘one-time’ training program where much of the information could be forgotten prior to any performance analysis of a new system or skill.
Reliability: That web-based training is consistent in delivery, presentation, product sharing and tracking . Yet, it would remain dependable and accountable. Once a specific program is developed, it insures that everyone taking the training receives a uniform set of information, delivery and [back to the flexible issue] availability for all staff, regardless of when they take the particular training.
Accountability: Online training can provide accountability for stakeholders. The time spent in the course, the grade or results from any quiz can be viewed down to the participant level. The systematic presentation of the material can then be measured. With those measurements, the stakeholders can then conduct analysis on implementation of the skill or program, the related speed and turn-times of a new program, which would allow for them to calculate the value to the new product or system.
Unfortunately, my sharing of the values of web-based training fell on deaf ears.
I don’t fault him for his position. It would require changing the paradigm of his entire business model. It would have required a new commitment to his clients, his pricing model and how he viewed the future of his particular training program. It would require that he also introduce metrics by which to value his training. [He admitted that currently his training has NO metrics on learning, implementation, effectiveness and value.]
Unfortunately, by the time this President figure out the value of this new wave of training methodologies, a smaller, more nimble training company will have stolen most of, if not all of, his clients.
While the case for eLearning systems is pervasive, it is not an end means in and of itself. Online training and the eLearning systems are foundations to balanced training programs. In conjunction with phone seminars, webinars, class-room training and traditional seminar training, instruction programs can provide a multifaceted method for investing in the human capital of businesses.
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