A company’s training strategy usually comprises of four aspects:
- Identifying measurable outcomes
- Evaluating costs against the value addition due to the outcomes
- Developing a training plan based on the above two
- Monitoring the effectiveness of the training plan.
The first aspect above is agnostic to which training methodology you use. It is purely based on your business goals and comprises of targets such as increased productivity, reduced attrition, improved customer service, etc. However, all other aspects in your training strategy are closely linked with the Learning and Development (L&D) methodology that you will use to execute your strategy. It is advisable to monitor every aspect of your methodology so that when the time comes, the evaluation of whether to go the MOOC way or not will become simple for you.
Costs and budgets
The average organization in the U.S. spends approximately $800 per employee annually, but this varies based on the maturity of the organization’s L&D function. This number not only includes training, but also other talent initiatives such as maintaining the knowledge management systems and creating personal development plans. As an organization, you must clearly identify your budget for L&D. The money that you are expending on training within your organization has to be justified by the outcomes that you have identified. You must ask yourself if you are spending more money than the value you will be getting in return.
Consistently monitoring your budgets versus actuals for your L&D function will help you evaluate the cost benefit that you get if you transition from your traditional training strategy to a MOOC based or hybrid one. Companies can expect to reduce their training costs by 25% when they move to a MOOC based training strategy. This is due to the usage of technology enabled learning that a MOOC delivers by being geographically independent, providing uniform lecture delivery, incorporating verifiable participation and enabling online assessment validation. A MOOC-style delivery also causes the elimination of other costs such as travel, accommodations and loss of client sales times.
Transitioning from a traditional training program to a MOOC based approach causes a huge shift in how you plan and execute your trainings. For one, your training calendar is simplified because instead of securing specific dates and venues for trainings, you simply create deadlines for your MOOCs. This means that employees have to complete each course by a certain date, irrespective of where they are located. You also do not need to be bogged down by your trainers’ availability to travel as they are only needed while creating the training content, if at all. You also save yourself the hassle of spending time and money on travel for your trainers or even trainees, in some cases. This not only significantly reduces your costs, but also allows your corporate Travel Desk to devote more time in booking work related trips that will enable revenue growth. Similarly, Finance and Administration functions spend lesser time in managing training related activities which leads to an increased productivity in your organization’s support functions.
Transitioning to the MOOC greatly reduces your organization’s learning footprint. A learning footprint can be defined as the ratio of your training staff to your learning employees. A higher learning footprint means higher costs and lack of uniformity in training delivery.
The Corporate Learning Factbook® 2013 states that in 2007, just 11 percent of U.S. companies were using communities of practice in a training context. Today, the figure is nearly three times higher. Similarly, spending on social learning has grown substantially over the past few years. In 2012, U.S. companies spent $13,675, on average, on social learning tools and services, a 39% jump over 2011 levels. This means that companies are trying to combine traditional learning methods with social interactions in order to gain more benefits. However, this is coming at an additional cost to organizations. A MOOC allows organizations to enjoy the benefits of peer networking and social interactions with a far more cost effective execution.
The outcomes identified at the beginning of the training year have to be achieved in order to have a successful training strategy. Apart from your pre-set goals, monitoring tangible and intangible value additions to your organization due to training will allow you to evaluate where your training plan needs improvement.
Tangible value additions could include:
– Increased knowledge and skillsets: How many employees actually gained more information/ skillsets than they already had in the first place?
– Lowered attrition: Are lesser employees leaving due to better managers?
– Better customer service: Are your customers more satisfied? What types of complaints are reducing most? Which training could be responsible for that?
– Better adherence to processes: Is there better adherence and standardization of processes across offices?
– Higher productivity: Are your employees delivering more in lesser time?
– Team work: Are employees getting better 360 degree feedback from their seniors, peers and juniors?
Traditional monitoring methods only have one-direction employee assessments, which means that assessment of an employee’s performance after a training is performed by the trainer or a central assessor. However, MOOCs allow peer reviews by multiple participants of the MOOC who can also judge an individual’s contribution to the social interactions, which can be factored in the assessment. This is important because it fosters and encourages an environment of teamwork within the individual and the organization.
Intangible value additions could include:
– Brand recognition: Are you leveraging your training content to give you more brand recognition?
– Alignment with the company’s vision: Are your employees able to connect with the company’s values?
For the next few years to come, MOOCs will bring the “wow” factor to companies that start using this new methodology to train their employees. Employees today love to work for organizations that are innovative and this increases their motivation levels to be creative and productive. It also allows them to feel more united with their company’s values. Using your subject matter experts in MOOCs is also a good way to increase brand recognition. These benefits cannot always be achieved with traditional training mechanisms.
Copyright 2013 Bryant Nielson. All Rights Reserved.
Bryant Nielson – Managing Director of CapitalWave Inc.– offers 25+ years of training and talent management for executives, business owners, and top performing sales executives in taking the leap from the ordinary to extraordinary. Bryant is a entrepreneur, trainer, and strategic training adviser for many organizations. Bryant’s business career has been based on his results-oriented style of empowering the individual.
Learn more about Bryant at LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/bryantnielson