4 Ways To Set Up An Enterprise eLearning Program With Multiple Objectives
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How To Set Up An Enterprise eLearning Program With Multiple Objectives

The pedagogy that is deployed in an eLearning program depends to a great extent on the targeted audience. For instance, kids often have very short attention spans. Consequently, the eLearning programs targeted at them are designed to be fun and interactive – something that will keep kids engaged. For older age groups however, the type of eLearning program depends on the end-objective. For one-way discourses, mobile apps and video tutorials are most effective. On the other hand, courses that need interaction among attendees are effected through video conferencing and chat applications.

In December 2014, our team analyzed the online learning setup deployed at one of the leading NetSuite partners in North America. Given that this is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) program that is used in a multitude of industries, the target audience included CTOs, account managers, manufacturing executives, small business owners, retailers, etc. In each case, the audience was seeking information on how a software like NetSuite could help their specific work objectives.

In the absence of a clear end-objective, popular enterprise eLearning systems like webinars can be a long-drawn, expensive affair. This is because every session would appeal to a specific section of the audience that does not have an incentive to return to subsequent discussions. Ultimately, audience acquisition could itself become a challenge for every new webinar session. So how would you design an eLearning program for an audience with unique objectives? Here are a few options:

  1. Case Studies.
    Educators do not typically consider case studies as part of an eLearning setup. But with enterprises, they are one of the most effective channels for awareness-building and education. With case studies you can narrow down the focus from specific functions to a handful of industries. This helps educators manage the end-objectives better. Another advantage of case studies is that different audiences within an industry can interpret learning in their own way. For instance, a case study about Enterprise Resource Planning in banking could provide marketing insights for a marketer while at the same time help a bank manager evaluate productivity improvements using Enterprise Resource Planning.
  2. Videos.
    While webinars only cater to a small group of attendees, video tutorials have a far wider impact. This is especially true if you are in an “evergreen” industry where content does not get outdated very quickly. Given the larger audience that video tutorials cater to, the costs incurred with producing videos may be better justified. Another advantage of video eLearning programs over webinar is that since these are not real-time, content produced may be reused in different forms based on the need. For instance, a “What is Enterprise Resource Planning” section that is made for a banking Enterprise Resource Planning video may be reused in videos produced for other industries as well. This is unlike webinars where the same content has to be produced uniquely every single time.
  3. Whitepapers.
    Whitepapers are the text-equivalent of videos. Like videos, whitepapers too could be used to educate target groups over a lengthy period of time, thereby justifying the production costs. Again, like videos, content sections produced for one whitepaper can always be reused in other whitepapers depending on context.
  4. Knowledge Bank.
    In an enterprise setup with multiple learning objectives, it is not possible to comprehensively answer all questions that your audience may have with one video or paper. Even if your content itself is evergreen, the questions that your audience may have would continue to evolve over time. For example, an enterprise software maker would have received questions about compatibility with Windows OS a decade back. But today there are likely to be more questions about compatibility on mobile and tablets. An effective way to deal with such situations is to build a knowledge bank. This is a repository of tutorials, Q&As, and other eLearning modules that have been developed over time. If you have a help-desk team, they may be put in charge or keeping the knowledge bank updated with answers to the latest questions. Over time, such repositories perfectly address all kinds of questions and concerns that your target group may have without the need for a dedicated production budget.

Creating the objectives of enterprise eLearning is quite different from an academic setup where there are tangible metrics that may be used to measure success (annual sales, for example). Deploying the right eLearning platform is not only a vital asset from an educator's perspective, but is also a marketing tool aimed at bringing more sales and ensuring customer satisfaction. What are your thoughts?

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