eLearning Success: Factors That Construct The Effectiveness Of eLearning In The Workplace Environment
eLearning is still viewed as a new, innovative way of learning that presents an organization with a new alternative, as well as a new means of solving problems. While traditionally undertaken in a classroom-based or instructor-led environment, more and more organizations are now adopting technology to deliver training to the ever increasing number of employees in workplace environment. With increasing popularity comes the obvious question of effectiveness. Corporate eLearning success can be attributed to a number of factors, and studying them closely will reveal that eLearning is indeed very effective for corporate audiences.
Factor 1: The Experience Of Learners
The first factor to influence efficacy of technology–based learning is how equipped learners are to accept the new platform of learning. This is in turn determined by aspects that define learners. The prime determinant here is how much experience does a learner have with the medium; is he or she computer literate? Do they have the basic knowledge to adopt new technology? If yes, then a new platform will undoubtedly be well accepted by the learner group. But sometimes just being computer literate is not enough. Learners may have pre-conceived bias about new technology that dulls their confidence in own their abilities and can build a barrier for learning efficacy. In this case, learners have to be duly motivated to adopt new technology for their own benefit. Here are few tips to drive learner motivation, derived from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:
This is a powerful driver for learning – if the perceived value of learning is increased, so will the leaner motivation. This can be achieved in many ways. A popular way is to endorse the learning program by an industry body. Or expert sessions can be held once the training/eLearning bit is over. This can be held in a classroom environment or via virtual classroom (VCR)/Phone/Video Conference.
A point system can be worked out for every hour of course completed – with grades for different level of points, rewards for reaching milestones and a special reward for the highest grade in a quarter/year. Rewards could be mementos or even a lunch/interaction with the top bosses.
3. Self-Esteem/Feeling Of Accomplishment.
For training endeavor to be successful, the learner should be able to apply knowledge. It is necessary that the learner is encouraged and incentivized to learn more and apply effectively. For instance, the learner can write a short piece, present it to someone, and talk about it in an informal session with the peer group. A certificate and congratulation card could be given to the learner on completion of the course.
4. Monetary Incentives.
Learner could get points for course completion, answering queries, etc., and points could be exchanged for gifts/vouchers.
5. Social Needs.
eLearning does not have to be completely an isolated activity. Learners can be given ample opportunity to interact – either via phone or VCR. Learners can thus exchange experiences or learning and learn collaboratively.
Respect is often the most coveted aspect of learning. At the end of a training endeavor, names of the top scorers or achievers can be shared on a common platform like the Learning Management System or the organization intranet.
Feedback on performance is very important to boost the morale of learners. Feedback could be related to performance –on how they can improve– and call active learners to check if they are facing any problem or if they have any queries about their course.
It is important to sustain learner endeavor for a prolonged period of time so that its full impact can be felt. To extend the effect of learning, we could determine if learning can be passed on to fellow learners or new inductees.
Factor 2: Change In Behavior Due To eLearning
With the adoption of new technology for learning, eLearning also alters the behavior of a learner to a certain extent. As a consequence of eLearning, most of the changes in behavior are mainly on social aspect of learning. While interacting closely in the virtual space for learning, learners become a part of a social environment and a learning community within the workplace. New technologies change the way corporate learner’s access information and this can be encouraged by highlighting the success of peers or instructors by using technologies. Learning technologies also encourage learners to have multiple conversations and this in turn leads to closer collaboration with peers and colleagues.
Factor 3: Organizational Impact Of eLearning
How well eLearning initiative is accepted among learners directly depends on how well eLearning strategy is developed by the organisation. The acceptance of change by employees within an organisation is a key factor for eLearning efficacy. An understanding of how eLearning is adopted in organisations is important and can be achieved through the evaluation of eLearning strategies. It is evident that changes in the organisational structure where instructors become facilitators and managers become champions of adopting new technology for learning, can lead to increased interest in online and hence, cost savings. Additionally, flexibility, in terms of how technology is introduced and the management of learner expectations also has an impact on the adoption of eLearning. Taking this into account, organizations should offer flexibility in learning through technology and align their training endeavors as per the evolving expectations of corporate learners.
eLearning has been increasingly popular in the corporate circles for training and learning. But in the face of this popularity and increasing need for eLearning courseware, there is still the constant challenge of making eLearning truly effective. Aligning training endeavors as per the top factors influencing the effectiveness of technology-aided learning can be a positive step towards gaining maximum ROI and ensure true eLearning success.