Customizing eLearning Solutions For External Partners And Extended Learning
Every forward-thinking organization in the competitive market today strives to create innovative avenues to provide training that educates, enables, and inspires its people. This is true for employees within the organization as well as partners who closely work with the organization. Thus training initiatives have to often extend beyond the confines of the organization and create an effective, relevant, and uniform way of learning.
However, reaching out to external partners is rarely an easy task. Instructor-led trainings can be arranged sporadically, as per the availability of trainers and learners, as well as required resources like classrooms and other equipment. This leads to large gap in the skill as well as knowledge competency among the external partners. The trainings also do not have a uniform efficacy, as most organizations employ external trainers to do the job. With varying expertise, the efficacy of the trainer-led session also varies. Moreover, there is no real measure of training efficacy to understand how much the learners have understood and the areas that need special attention. The learning content itself is also not updated, reducing the relevance of training. Together, all these factors result in a high attrition rate and low morale among the external partners; a cause for concern for the organization.
An Impactful Case Of Customizing eLearning Solutions
For an automobiles company, we created a customized eLearning solution to cater to the needs of their external partners. Here’s how we did it:
- Identifying the right platform.
Whether it was to deliver sales presentations or create as well as submit reports, the external partners were adept at using hand-held tablets. Since this was their device of choice, we created a learning solution that could be accessible to them on their hand-held tablets. Being multi-device compatible, our Learning Management System could be customized and made available to the learners for all their learning needs.
- Identifying learning needs.
The eLearning program began with an initial online test and gap analysis, where the competency of the learner was gauged. Accordingly, a learning plan was created, as per the profile of the learner with suitable courses assigned for eLearning solutions as well as classroom sessions.
After logging on to the system, the learner could proceed to the “Learning Center” where the allocated courses available to him or her were presented, as well as the progress made in each of them. These courses were allocated as per the learners’ role in the organization and thus were customized as per individual need. This helped the learner gain relevant knowledge, something that could be used instantly on the course of work. The learner could also choose to click on the “Available e-course option” to choose from the entire catalogue of e-courses. The entire catalogue of courses was search enabled, and this too helped the learner find pertinent learning content within the system.
- Identifying ways to “push” learning.
The cycle of continuous learning was suitably strengthened by periodic assessments; both online and offline. This provided a suitable push for learning and encouraged learners to aspire for better scores and come up as winners. In addition, certificates were also issued for chosen courses. This provided a sense of achievement for the learners. The certificates were made time-sensitive and had to be renewed over time. This assured that there was perceivable knowledge retention and learners had the opportunity to refresh as well as revise from time to time.
- Using learner analytics.
A variety of reports were customized to churn out maximum utility of the learning portal. The Learning Management System was able to track a variety of data and create logical as well as relevant reports that could provide a lot of pertinent information on the effectiveness of the training initiative. The reports could be churned out as per the requirement of the administrator; as per chosen criteria of department, region, area, job title, dealers, and so on. The reports gave out data about knowledge consumption through usage data and assessment reports through the tests that the learners took on the portal as well as offline. In addition other pertinent reports could also be taken out which gave a larger picture of the training efficacy including manpower and competency index reports, attrition reports, and sales target reports. This created accountability of the training efforts.
The learning initiative was not only successful in creating an easily accessible platform of learning, it also increased the overall satisfaction of the external partners. They were more connected to the organization and had access to the latest learning content. They were able to apprise themselves on newer products as well as schemes for their prospective clients. They were also able to learn better techniques and skills for selling through courses on body language, people management, time management, and so on. This learning initiative provided well rounded knowledge that helped them better themselves as true professionals. It increased work satisfaction and provided better sales figures as well.