FOUR. Applying E-Learning to Your Business

As a businessperson, you shouldn't be surprised if applying e-learning to a business has many of the same characteristics as applying a new financial system or implementing a new HR benefits package for your employees. It will cost time and money to get it up and running, but if you plan with care and roll it out in a thoughtful manner, it will probably give you the benefits you projected.

-1. What is an e-learning success for you?

- An e-learning success has to be in business terms, not in training terms. The entire reason you're involved with training is for business improvement.

Tell Me More

Some people think an e-learning success is lots of people attending the class. Others think that a success is getting students to learn a lot of stuff.

In fact, if you're a businessperson, an e-learning success is something that makes a positive business impact. The bottom line is that you're a businessperson, and you're investing in e-learning to help your business, not as part of a public service program. And it's important that you be as clear as you can about your success criteria. For when you're caught up in the heat of day-to-day work, it's very easy to lose sight of what you're trying to accomplish.

To make this specific, let's look at possible success objectives for the case studies from Chapter 2:

E-Learning Case Study


Success Objective

Note: These case studies are described in detail in Chapter 2.

1. Product sales update training

Train salespeople in many countries around the world on your new product so they can start selling right away.

All the salespeople are trained well enough on the product to start selling it right away.

2. Technical certification training

Provide ongoing training for hundreds of company engineers so they maintain their technical certification.

Each new engineer gets his certification within the allotted time. And each experienced engineer maintains his certification.

3. Professional competency training

Train hundreds of employees on company-defined skills competencies such as project management, consulting, IT system administration.

An agreed-on number of employees attain the target skill levels within a certain period of time.

Note: The objective here is not simply to provide training, but to make sure skill levels are being attained.

4. Business tools training

Train hundreds of employees on new business tools that they are required to use on their jobs.

All employees needing to use the tool are trained to the required skill level.

5. Technical skills training

Train hundreds of employees on-demand for technical skills like Java programming, data mining, databases, and so on.

Employees can get the training they feel is needed to do their jobs.

Note: The objective here will be hard to measure.

6. "Ongoing professional" training

Provide on-demand training for hundreds of employees in such professional skills as negotiating, running meetings, coaching, team dynamics, and so on.

Employees can get the training they feel is needed to do their jobs.

Note: The objective here will be hard to measure.

7. New salesperson training in "how to sell"

Train dozens of brand new salespeople each year— these new salespeople have never been in a sales job before.

Each new salesperson has the "basic skills" to enable the salesperson to start selling to customers.

8. New-hire training

Train dozens of new employees each year on what they need to know to be productive, contributing parts of your company.

New hires start to be productive, contributing members of your company.

Note: The objective here will be hard to measure.

9. New HR benefits training

Train your entire employee population, around the world, on a new health-benefit plan for your company.

Employees feel they have enough knowledge of the HR benefits to make an informed choice.

Note: The objective here will be hard to measure.

10. Informal Technical Seminars

Communicate leading-edge research via informal seminars.

New research is being communicated to the right people.

Note: The objective here will be hard to measure.

11. Legal compliance training

Train hundreds of employees at several locations on government regulations and laws on such topics as sexual harassment, workplace diversity, and so on.

All employees know the regulations and laws at the required level.

Take special care when you have learning situations like #5, 6, 8, 9, and 10 in the preceding table. Getting good measurements of how those kinds of examples are really affecting your business will be hard to do. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting that you avoid those kinds of learning situations. I'm only saying that you won't really be able to tell with a lot of confidence how effective you are being in those cases.

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