So We Agree? Let’s Get to e-Business

By Holly MacDonald

I’ve just finished delivering a workshop called: 3 Practical Strategies for Transitioning to E-learning and most of the participants indicated that they didn’t actually need to “sell” the idea of e-learning to their organization. They had implicit or explicit support and needed guidance on how to get there. I really hope that this is representative of where we are at in terms of industry acceptance.

Rather than expending energy to convince “The Powers That Be” (TPTB) of the potential benefits, we can actually get on with the task of helping people do their jobs better through a broader range of learning and support tools!  That feels like a much more constructive place to be. I still hope that people are linking the learning to the overall business goals, environment and strategies, but if we can agree that there are options out there to explore, at least we can make some progress towards it.

Now for the discouraging part:  bad e-learning and the pall it casts over the whole industry. Compliance training is the biggest culprit. It’s often described as boring, it targets the lowest common denominator and in the discussion that we had in the workshop, seems to display no real interest or understanding of learning or instructional design.  Hard to regain credibility when you are perceived in such a way. Cammy Bean wrote about it in her post ‘The CBT Lady’.  Join me in a collective cringe with her.

For some organizations, this is their reality, and we talked about some ways of dealing with this, such as putting together an employee advisory group that can provide input into what would work, (who also play a dual role of championing the e-learning with their peers) or being choosy about when you use a course as your “learning solution”. Think way beyond the course (performance support, user generated options, etc). And taking it a step further, don’t even call it e-learning.

Luckily though, it isn’t all doom and gloom. We also talked about some organizations that are innovators or early adopters of technology and that they might be willing to try things that a more risk averse organization doesn’t. My advice was not to underwhelm this group. If you (lucky you) find yourself in this position, take advantage of your opportunity and really stretch what the meaning of e-learning is. Remember the “e” stands for electronic and there are no shortage of electronic devices/methods that could be leveraged.

I, for one, am glad that we can stop talking about why it’s a good thing and roll up our sleeves and make some cool e-learning!

Holly MacDonald is an independent consultant with well over 15 years of experience in the learning & development field. Holly is a bit of a techno-geek and can often be found playing online. When she steps away from her computer, she spends time outside: hiking, kayaking, gardening and of course walking the dog. She lives on Saltspring Island and is a leader in the live/work revolution.

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