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Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Elearning: Is that how YOU learn?

Photo: David James
David James, Learning Strategist summarizes, It seems to be the perennial challenge for L&D leaders: how do you get your employees to want to engage with elearning? 

Photo:  iStock/Boygovideo

It’s comparatively easy to get employees to complete online compliance training - you just threaten them. But for building the capability of knowledge workers, I still think elearning is yet to deliver on its promise.

We’ve tried everything we can think of, from whizzy animations, ‘real-life’ scenarios, game design, leaderboards, and interactivity. There are an abundance of tactics aimed at grabbing and holding the attention of employees long enough to make a difference but despite these, (and at the admission of its providers) elearning notoriously ‘struggles to retain, engage and motivate learners’ to an extent that could really impact upon an organisation’s people development goals. 

I see this time and again. But rather than asking: ‘what new fangled ways can we now try to gain take-up of our company elearning?’, perhaps we can ask a different question, one that gets to the heart of the problem…

Is that how YOU learn?

I've been asking this question to L&D professionals for quite some time and have yet to experience positive acknowledgement that those who source or create elearning actually learn this way themselves. I've only once had a challenge to this question and was subsequently told that whilst he didn't develop himself with elearning, it just wasn't his preferred learning style!

It’s now widely recognised that more than 70% of employees will go to web-search as a first port-of-call to learn what they need for their jobs - and I’m willing to bet that they’re not searching for an elearning course.

For me, there is a clear distinction between 'elearning' and 'learning online'. We might learn online when we use web-search to find answers, definitions, or in-depth information on a given topic that helps us to do our job. When we engage in online forums, seek credible ‘experts’, search YouTube for ‘how-tos’, TED talks for inspiration, etc., so that within a relatively short amount of time, we can equip ourselves with the information or know-how we seek. And just to be ultra-clear, what I mean by elearning can be understood when reading most people’s faces when you ask the question: 'What do you think of your company’s elearning?'

According to Towards Maturity’s latest benchmarking report, employees do want to learn online and the top three reasons they are motivated to do so are:         
  • To do their job faster and better 
  • For personal development
  • To increase their productivity
Whilst only 10% want to compete against colleagues for a high score.

Source: TrainingZone