I have a Dream about eLearning

[tweetmeme]“I have been having these two parallel dreams about eLearning. One is rosy and rich with possibilities. The other isn’t quite a nightmare, but it has people running down corridors and bumping into walls.” Allison Rossett wrote that in 2002 in The ASTD E-Learning Handbook.

eLearning has been growing in popularity over the past few years, in large part due to the advancements in technology.  Many of us no doubt, remember the computer-based training programs of the 1990’s and early 2000’s that were nothing more than glorified power point presentations (without Presenter).  With the inundation of technology in our world, today’s workplace learner needs more stimulation than ever before in order to truly engage in the program.  Engaged learners will seek online lessons and references—and now, in this Web 2.0 world, they also contribute generously with user provided content, making choices to both consume and create .   eLearning  has stepped up to the challenge, but it can only achieve its potential when used repeatedly over time and place by engaged learners.   The following are some key points that Rossett says to remember:

  • eLearning must be perceived as useful by participants
  • If value of the eLearning is not obvious, a compelling case must be made
  • eLearning must provide opportunities for success, not failure or uncertainty 
  • eLearning courses match the audience in topic and level 
  • eLearning must be active and thought-provoking 
  • Guide and track participants through a Learning Management System (LMS)

Although these statistics are getting dated, they still give valuable insight into where the eLearning has been and is going.  Approximately 75% of technology-based learning was online in 2004, and about 75% of online learning was self-paced.”   eLearning is here to stay!  

ASTD’s Learning Circuits attempted to find out what’s on people’s minds regarding eLearning in 2008.   The last question in their study (ASTD 2008) was, “What concerns does your organization have about using eLearning?” The number one answer by far on the list was “employee buy-in.”  The use of eLearning by employees has not been automatic.

When people do take advantage of eLearning, they don’t always do so consistently.   One employee can take this opportunity and exercise it with the same strong work ethic it takes to succeed in other areas of the job.   While another can take their access to eLearning and squander it, grumbling about preferring to go to the training class for what amounts to a few days off from the grind.

Every organization will have its challenges implementing  eLearning, but even more likely, many will abandoned eLearning prematurely due to failures in execution and alignment within the organization.  Rossett points to two aspects to successful engagement of eLearning with an organization: 1) great systems and assets; and 2) organizational readiness for what is a substantial change.

You can learn more about eLearning by visiting www.occutec.com or contacting me directly.

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