Change is something that every organization has to manage. We are creatures of habit, easily finding ourselves becoming resistant to it. The good news is that we can promote new habits and even a new eLearning culture with a little encouragement. Organizations that have trained their staff the same way for years have some cultural elements to consider. Moving from in-person training to a blended or even fully online approach can be jarring unless it is ushered in carefully.
To benefit from the lower costs and flexibility of eLearning, an LMS has to be inserted into the cultural fabric of the organization. It has to become a regular touchpoint for your learners. A more computer literate and online orientated workforce reduces the barrier to entry, but you may still need to be strategic to ensure the best possible adoption of your new eLearning programs.The key question is, how can I get people on board? Let’s look at two separate groups; Management and Learners.
Getting your organization’s leaders on board is the first step. Include them in the process, educate them on the benefits and the challenges. They’ll love hearing about the positive business outcomes such as a quick Return on Investment, the amount of time saved with its use and the increased employee retention that results. Bring them beyond that. Once the business has decided to get an LMS, adoption and regular use are the key challenges to address. And management can help to create an eLearning culture.
A great example of a leader living up to their name was shown recently when a new customer told us that their CEO was the first person to take a ‘live’ course in their LMS portal. Not only did the person in question back the initiative, they showed a great example by sharing their experience with the entire company including a screen grab of their newly awarded badge! That’s a rapid way to impact the eLearning culture and encourage adoption. Having managers and executives engage in the selection and implementation process shows how forward thinking they are. Training is an investment rather than a cost.
For the day to day management of the system, user roles that can be assigned to different stakeholders. An LMS can be managed by a small number of people but it’s still a great idea to get influential people into key positions. For example, assigning managers in the LMS allows those users to oversee their own teams. They can manage and report on the learners within their groups. Not only does this allow you to delegate tasks, it also encourages adoption. The responsibility given to these users is coupled with how easy and streamlined their dashboard is. It’s not an overwhelming experience, it’s actually empowering. They can just get stuck in, and make an impact to the eLearning culture.
Two elements to consider when trying to embed a culture of eLearning are adoption and continued use. You have to get employees involved, engaged and incentivised to come back to the system regularly. Here’s how:
Create Engaging Content
Courses should be designed well, be visually and aurally engaging. This is easier than ever with the tools available to you. You can build engaging courses in an LMS using video, documents, and exams. A course builder is easy to use so you’ll be able to rapidly convert the materials you already have into engaging course content. If you want to take a step further, use a third party authoring tool to create SCORM or xAPI courses that you can drag and drop into your LMS.
Your learners are used to modern web applications such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The expectation for easy to use and intuitive systems is greater than ever, and so it should be. A modern LMS should be packed full of features and yet carefully designed to be simple. This is particularly true when you change from one device to another. The learner’s experience should be as good on a phone or tablet as it is on a laptop or desktop. A great design encourages the learner to launch courses whenever and wherever they can. This positive experience increases adoption of the LMS and your training as a whole.
Listen to feedback
Now that you have the tools to create engaging content, don’t rest on your laurels. Use surveys to ask your learners about their experience. Be open to feedback so that you can change courses to meet your training goals and to ensure adoption and continued use.
Gamification has revolutionized eLearning. It provides a way to incentivize course adoption and completion by tapping into our competitive nature. Adding badges to courses and activities is a way reward their completion. Why not add a badge for daily login so that users are continuously checking in on their training portal! Points awarded feed into a leaderboard.
Promoting courses is crucial to maintaining momentum. You want to make your learners aware of the courses available to them. You are competing for their time. Be clear and concise with your promotion.
Your LMS should be easy to use. That’s a given. An important part of this is reducing confusion. Branding helps to reduce the confusion that a learner may experience when interacting with the LMS. By placing your company’s logos and color scheme on the interface of the LMS the learner instantly knows that they are in the right place! You can go a step further by white-labeling. This removes any LMS branding and places the portal on a website you control. The learner logs into a web page that only features your branding at a domain name like http://examplelms.com/. This reduces confusion and allows your employees to focus on the course content.
Banner images promoting courses can be placed on the dashboard of the learner’s portal. This is their learning hub, so make sure you are constantly encouraging your learners to launch and complete courses and learning paths. Banner images can be static or multimedia based. Our most successful customers change their banners periodically to promote training programs, treating them like separate campaigns.
Notifications and Reminders
Email notifications are sent when a user is enrolled in a course. These are combined with reminders that are sent out to those who may be slow to launch. These emails become part of the norm and nudge people to get and stay involved.
Change to an organization’s culture takes time. Sometimes it’s best to move in phases and gradually change rather than taking one large step. Take for example an organization that does all it’s training in person, through classroom events. Moving 100% over to eLearning straight away may be a leap for some. Why not employ a blended learning approach using classroom or even webinar sessions alongside eLearning elements. Integrating a webinar tool will keep some of the personal touches whilst automating attendance tracking!
Introducing an LMS and an eLearning culture to your organization will reap lots of rewards. Ensure success by giving it the consideration it deserves. Let us know how you have successfully changed your organization’s eLearning culture in the comments section.