The coronavirus pandemic has forced every business to look at its ways of working and find ways that enable business interactions to continue online.
Face-to-face has been the preferred approach for most businesses, yet suddenly this now not an option. This represents an existential threat to huge numbers of organisations across the economy. However, for those who adapt rapidly this crisis may become a way for remote working to become more effective and ultimately create competitive advantage in a hugely challenging marketplace.
A three-point plan for making eLearning work for you
The three-point plan seeks to do the following:
- Implement an online learning and communications portal to connect to all employees
- To digitise learning materials so staff can train remotely, keeping up to date and continue learning new skills
- Put key performance support resources online to provide employees with relevant, tailored ‘in role’ guidance and support
Let’s look at what we mean by each of these points in turn:
1. Implement an online learning and communications portal
Find a learning partner who can provide the right Learning Management System (LMS) for your needs. They should be able to provide the following key elements:
- Modern cloud based LMS that is intuitive and easy-to-use and branded for your business. It’s not necessary to go for a temporary stop gap solution, so don’t be panicked into the wrong decision. You may have to accelerate your evaluation and decision process, but if you know your key needs then you should be able to ensure they are fully met for the immediate short term needs and also for your longer-term requirements
- The LMS must be easy to implement quickly and at low risk to your organisation, so ensure your chosen supplier has done it before and is a reliable supplier. Check out their references, see who else they have provided systems to
- It should provide native mobile Apps for iOS and Android mobile or tablets. Mobile is increasingly important and native Apps give a better user experience
- The LMS should be configurable, with options such as Single Sign-on (SSO), HR (or other) existing core systems integration capabilities, configurable user profile information, etc
- A learning specialist who can help you determine the best online learning approach
Once the LMS is in place, you need to consider how it should be used to best effect within your organisation. You may wish to use the expertise available within your learning partner. They should be able to assist you in a range of ways, but the two main ones we will focus on here, are points two and three of the three-point plan.
2. Getting your learning materials online
Some training will be mandatory, such as compliance and regulatory based courses. Other training will be intended to provide key the knowledge and skills needed to perform effectively in their roles. This may include background information and reference materials as well as immediate just-in-time training and support tools.
Start with an evaluation of your existing materials. You may already have some eLearning courses ready for use and you will almost certainly have a range of other materials, which may be suitable such as PowerPoint presentations, recorded webinars, reference and policy documents, podcasts and videos. Be careful not to fill your new learning environment with unnecessary ‘noise’. Remember that it’s better to start with small amounts of relevant and up to date material that will actually be of use to people.
You may wish to buy in pre-prepared eLearning courses on a range of topics, and this can be a good way to provide a wealth of training to people who may find themselves with some time on their hands as they work from home.
Finally you may wish to prepare learning materials on specific areas for specific groups of your employees. eLearning can be useful, but if you are providing mobile solutions then microlearning, video and podcasts are cheaper and quicker to produce and easier to use on a mobile or tablet.
3. Getting performance support resources online
Performance support materials are those key video guides, manuals and other documents that help your staff to deliver in their roles. Putting these online and easily available will make it easier for your staff to do their jobs faster and more accurately than before. Mobile access is important here as mobiles and tablets are more readily usable in most situations. But remember to have an attractive and fully working online equivalent for those people who prefer, or need to have access to materials in the traditional way via a laptop or PC.
Typically, performance support resources may include any or all of the following:
- Video or audio how-tos
- Best practice aide-memoires
- Templates for repeatable tasks or activities
- Guides containing hints and tips
- Case studies to reinforce key learning points
- Standard forms and questionnaires
- PDF documents as reminders of key processes or procedures
As you adjust to a new way of working, you will need to think through how best to support your people. The tools and methodologies are all out there, and it’s not rocket science. The key takeaway from this blog is to pick your supplier partner carefully and make sure that they have reliable, safe and proven solutions, but are also prepared to work closely with you to ensure you are supported at all stages and that you are successful in what you are trying to achieve.
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