You Can Lead Them To Elearning, But You Can’t Make Them Learn

Elearning modules can be as instructionally-sound, engaging and slick as possible, but if staff aren’t using these modules then these well-designed and packaged learning experiences make as much noise for your organization as a tree that falls in the forest without anyone around to hear it.

Companies spend thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars on elearning development each year. Yesterday I shared a case study about the struggles of my own organization in getting people to enroll and complete courses that we’ve invested in. It’s not just the story of my own organization, but similar stories can be told across the country and around the world by project managers and human resource departments responsible for elearning roll-outs.

In an effort to take a closer look on how to make the investment in the design and roll-out of elearning programs, I have asked several experts with deep elearning background to share their insights on my case study. Yesterday, Mike Culligan, Director, Last Mile Learning at LINGOs took a page from effective dieting strategies to offer three strategies for more effective elearning adoption.

Today, Nicole Legault, Community Manager for Articulate has weighed in:

When, as e-learning developers, we ask ourselves “why” employees don’t complete an e-learning course it’s important to look at factors that drive job performance; this means identifying the specific reasons why the e-learning is not being completed. By addressing the “why”, you address the root cause of the problem. There could be several reasons why the e-learning is not being completed, but based on the scenario presented, here are a few possibilities:

  • Lack of motivation or incentive: How strong is the incentive to complete the e-learning, and how much do the incentives really matter to the employee. What are the consequences for not completing the e-learning? In this case, if the supervisor is also struggling to fulfill his commitment to complete the elearning, intentionally or not, he is sending a message that there are higher priorities.
  • Lack of time: Do the employees have the necessary time available to perform this task? Professional development can’t be an afterthought. If the task keeps getting pushed back or re-scheduled due to other commitments and meetings, this could indicate that there is a lack of time to get everything done. Again, it also indicates it is not a high priority. And once professional development becomes an actual priority, employees need to be provided with the time to complete it.
  • Lack of feedback: The original case study revolved around a series of elearning modules focused on project management. Are the learners ever given feedback about how they are doing with regards to their current project management performance?  Sometimes receiving feedback from the right person can really drive job performance.

Elearning offers a flexible way to deliver professional development, but simply making it available to employees will not necessarily lead to completion or transfer of learning. Motivation, time and specific, meaningful feedback are just a few factors that could be driving the lack of completion of the e-learning modules.

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