Magazine article Talent Development

The Trainer's Ally: E-Learning Doesn't Mean Any Harm. It Just Wants to Help. (Training 101)

Magazine article Talent Development

The Trainer's Ally: E-Learning Doesn't Mean Any Harm. It Just Wants to Help. (Training 101)

Article excerpt

Solve this training and development riddle: What do some t&d professionals view as both an opportunity and a threat? The answer: e-learning.

While some trainers view it as preying upon their insecurities, others understand that e-learning is a tool to help learners gain a comprehensive knowledge of a specific field--an elusive task due to rapid product development and evolution. As a result, those trainers realize that learning needs to be a tactical process that enables employees to get information in a just-in-time, just-enough, and just-for-me format. To that end, t&d professionals must adapt their instructional approach to help people learn and retain information as quickly, conveniently, and effectively as possible.

E-learning makes that change possible by improving learner access to training, providing just-the-right training to learners with heterogeneous backgrounds, and helping t&d professionals get training out in a more timely fashion to the people who need it. Thus, an effectively developed e-learning initiative is the trainer's ally in helping employees gain the knowledge they need to perform. Some organizations, however, still hesitate to implement an e-learning initiative. If your organization is one of them, here are a few suggestions on how to start up the e-learning discussion.

Identify winners

Your first step is to perform an analysis to reveal the people who stand to benefit from an e-learning initiative.

Unserved users. Despite recent events, employees in many companies still travel to traditional classroom training that takes place in a few centralized locations. That creates two user groups: the geographically blessed--users who work in the right location to have relatively open access to training--and the unblessed, users for whom training is a major disruption involving substantial

time, travel, and cost. E-learning levels the playing field between the geographically blessed and unblessed.

Overserved users. As stewards of learning, instructors must make the best use of employees' time and teach them the required job competencies. Good instructors acknowledge that some learners will have been exposed previously to significant parts of the course material. E-learning's prescriptive assessments and searchable components allow instructors to provide learners with only the chunks of information they need, in a fraction of the time of traditional training.

Time-challenged users. Requirements such as consistent times and dates for classroom programs exist due to availability of instructors, classrooms, equipment, and learners. Yet, the idea of being away from the office for one, three, or five consecutive days is inconsistent with most people's job requirements. With e-learning, however, learning gets integrated into your overall work. Learning becomes far less event-based and more of a continuous process that opens up training, especially in smaller organizations, to people who can't leave work.

Talented instructors. Good classroom training programs--for example, behavior-based programs such as Internet working or leadership development--will always be in high demand. The number of capable, talented instructors, however, is limited. Leveraging technologies (such as virtual classrooms) enables organizations to provide more learners access to the most talented, experienced, and effective instructors. …

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