During tough times, a learning organization may need to make a move into online training – the cost is lower, the maintenance is less expensive, and the personnel requirement is lower, as well. If your organization is about to make this migration, consider vital elements in three areas before you move forward: preparedness, pre-migration, and migration.
Before you actually prepare to move your organization to online trainig, the first thing you should do is analyze the current organizational culture when it comes to learning. Through this analysis, you’ll discover the organization’s level of preparedness for e learning. Is there even an “e” element in the organization? Are all levels of associates accustomed to email contact and basic computer usage, or do their jobs not require this kind of contact? If there is no “e” element, you may want to consider introducing e learning at a very slow pace to allow people to get used to the idea and the access. Of course, if your organization is tech-savvy already, this part of a migration is usually easier.
The second part of preparedness goes back to the organization’s managers. Are they currently held accountable for any training outcomes? Do the managers have to schedule their associates for training and ensure that the associates get it? In regulatory and “constant-change” environments, managers sometimes have this responsibility. If your organization’s managers do not currently have a training responsibility, remember that part of your migration will be an explanation of how and what each manager will be responsible for when it comes to training. Keep in mind that in an e learning environment, only the manager and the employee will know on a day-to-day basis if courses are being accessed and completed successfully.
Once you’ve looked at general preparedness, take a look at how you’ll migrate to an e learning culture. The first part of this is to examine the existing training courses and any future courses to determine what could move to an online format. This is a good time to point out that there should be no swing completely to e learning just to save money or advance technologically. Many organizations have made the mistake of putting all training online – only to have to go back and completely renovate the program. So what courses and types of information lend themselves to online formats? Informative courses, orientation courses, and even regulatory courses are great candidates for conversion. Even in longer classroom courses, some of the information portions can be moved to pre-classroom online formats.
Next, determine how you’re going to implement the online learning system. Will you take courses “off the shelf” to be deployed by the vendor? Do you need a Learning Management System that delivers courses and tracks completion? Or is your organization technologically advanced enough to create its own LMS? Whatever your choice, you must take the time to consider all aspects of this step before creating a migration plan. In addition, consider if the organization will offer certifications or rewards for completing various core e learning programs. This can be a great incentive for employees and will also increase the organization’s retention.
For the actual migration to an online learning environment, you’ll need to take steps that are in your organization’s “size”; if there is not much of an online environment, take small steps and avoid rolling everything out at once. There are great ways to increase “e culture” without scaring the masses and alienating those employees who are not quite confident in their own technical skills. For example, start by sending out informational emails that detail the migration and what courses might be accessible. In these emails, focus on the benefits for both the employees and the organization. If you have an “Intranet” site, consider appropriating a page for the e learning transformation to get people used to going online for information.
Probably the most important step during an e learning migration is to communicate. It’s as simple as letting the organization know what changes are being made, why, and how they can access their training easily and conveniently.
If you think through these aspects of an e learning transformation before any work is done, you’ll have a good idea of how ready your organization is – and how to proceed with a cost efficient migration.
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