Wednesday, April 18, 2007

How Small Hinges Swing Big Doors...

What are your biggest issues with the results you are getting with your current training program?

If we wanted to list them out... the list could be long and involve many different reasons. But chances are... many of them could potentially fall into three groups:

1. Current program is too costly, budget concerns, not enough emphasis on making training a priority due to cost issues.
2. Lost productivity due to current workflow, lack of a systematic organized way to deliver training, limited resources.
3. Delivering training that isn’t conducive to all four learning modalities; trainees aren’t realizing the full benefit of your program.

Simply stated, the biggest issues with training are cost, resources and ineffective learning modules and courses.

Historically, although most companies realize the need for an effective training program, many don’t realize that changing one, two or all three of the items above can have a dramatic effect on their training program and allow management, superiors and the owners of the company to really take notice.

Enter elearning.

It doesn’t take much research on the net to find articles and PR about how effective elearning can be. It’s a $5 billion dollar industry. In some cases it has really benefited organizations and in others – it’s radically transformed not only how people deliver their training and track its effectiveness... but how organizations view training as a whole.

Elearning should be viewed as a compliment to your current training program, not something that should eventually replace a trainer or classroom instructor... not at all.

There are huge benefits waiting to be reaped when you begin to realize how to leverage an elearning management system. Huge.

A Careful Balance.

However, we must keep in mind that the system alone is not an end to your problems. While an elearning management system will help your endeavour – you must have a clear understanding of the three issues above to effectively maximize your ROI with the right system.

In 2004, the Nonprofit and Association E-Learning survey was introduced and 481 individuals responded. 88% of those surveyed said the biggest benefit received from elearning was “convenience for learners”. Last year, U.S. companies spent $55 Billion dollars on training and much of that was spent on “non-elearning” activities and materials (manuals, workbooks, CD’s, and the re-production thereof).

Inflexible training schedules, the increasing cost of creating and editing material and running week-long training classes are costly impediments to an effective training program. Elearning removes those from your life... forever. With an elearning management system, you can deliver training 24x7 on autopilot, create and update training courses with ease and at a low cost and can run pre and post assessments (before and after your training classes) to make your classes much more focused and productive AND be able to reinforce your message with repetition and frequency, long after the class is over.

The third big point we made early on... (ineffective training material) can also be smartly eradicated by leveraging an elearning management system, as well.

Someone once said – “the key to persuasion and learning is to elicit child-like curiosity.” The formula goes something like this... create learning modules and material that engage your employees, involve their senses and their emotions into an experience... and interact with them so they’re involved... and they’ll learn faster. When a child is curious, their natural tendency is to really pay attention.

Engage and Interact Your Way to Success.

So your objective is to provide your learners with material that engages their senses (eyes, ears, and feeling) and interacts with and involves them, keeping them interested.

There are four modalities of learning and each of us learns differently. Some of us are “readers” and learn only by writing notes and reading books and manuals, while others are “listeners” and have an easier time learning through lectures, CD’s or audio tapes. Some of us are “viewers” and learn by seeing and watching instructors and DVD’s and others still only learn by being truly involved... hands on.

The biggest mistake we make as trainers is that we don’t always keep the four modalities at the forefront of our training program. When we start to understand that not everyone receives our message the same way – we can begin to modify our program that empowers us to reach every person we intended to.

Again, elearning can do that for you. It not only has the power to save you time and money, it can reach more people faster with a more engaging message.

The end result can be increased productivity and profitability for your organization where you make the learning experience fun for everyone at your organization.

And here’s the kicker... when training is engaging, interactive, flexible and fun, your trainees learn faster and retain your information longer – making them as effective as they can be.

In my opinion, elearning is that “small hinge” that can swing the “big door” of your training program, enabling you to properly cultivate and nurture your employees into a productive workforce.


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