As you begin to learn about the different ways to bring e-learning into your organization, you will invariably come across the question, "Which is a better option: self-paced e-learning or live, on-line training?" It is not an easy question to answer because there are benefits and drawbacks to both methods.
One of the most intimidating things in the learning and development field is launching your first large-scale e-learning initiative to your entire company. So many things could go wrong. People might not be able to log in. If they can log in, the right course might not be assigned to them. Learners might not be able to find the course. Course completions are not tracked properly causing re-takes and frustration. Worst of all, senior leadership may come to you because they are getting so many complaints.
When it comes to testing, training professionals have a dilemma. "With all the focus on determining whether training helps people perform better, do we really need to include multiple choice quizzes in our e-learning? Don't multiple choice quizzes insult the intelligence of our learners who are experienced, smart, adult learners who do not want to be treated like school children? I mean, I know that we want people to learn what is in the training and testing is a way to do that. But do these quizzes really do anything for anyone?"
Learning professionals spend a considerable amount of time trying to convince management that the training ideas we have are worth doing. Whether it is that new conflict management training or switching to e-learning for the first time, we too often run up against blank stares or direct rejections. We know our ideas will make things better, but often have a hard time convincing others.
You are in your CEO's office and she says to you, "I am happy to increase your training budget next year. But here's the catch. The training better be shorter, faster, and more targeted at our top three company goals than training you have delivered in the past. If you can do that, I hardly care how much it costs. Can you do that?"
Recently, I took on an e-learning design project that had me wanting to refresh my perspective. For this particular project, I did not want to fall into the trap of producing the same old style of e-learning with which I am comfortable. I wanted to enter this project with some fresh ideas. We all get comfortable with what we do and how we do it, and those phases last far too long. For me, the best way to break the spell, is to read a new book, or even an old book as if I were reading it for the first time.
Learning is complex. There are many definitions and many different ways of learning. Learning is the acquisition of knowledge or skills through study, experience or being taught. Learning is the modification of a behavioral tendency. I believe any definition of learning must include the part about a change in behavior. After all, the learning that occurs in organizations requires that people change their behaviors in order to perform work at a certain proficiency. Certainly the stakeholders of our training programs care most that people leave our training and can actually "do" something valuable.
In a recent Bersin by Deloitte study, spending on learning and development rose by 12% in 2012. In another study, 90% of CEOS said they plan to maintain or increase training budgets in 2013. Obviously, this is great news for learning and development (L&D) professionals. Not only do CEOs intend to invest in training, but the study also found that cost is not a primary factor when deciding to invest in training. This is good because the only thing you need to say to your CEO when you have this discussion is this: "If you want me to create this training program you have a choice - Good, Fast and Cheap -- pick only two."
In a recent post, I talked about a new feature in Mindflash that allows you to create training modules that work beautifully on the iPad. This opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for reaching learners with effective and relevant learning opportunities. Based on the numbers and predictions, mobile is going to be bigger that we can even imagine, and learning experience (LX) designers need to be ready. So now that you know designing mobile learning is possible with Mindflash, the next question is, "How do I get started?"
When one gets started in e-learning, it is easy to think, "This is great, now we don't have to do classroom training anymore." This is certainly one benefit of e-learning. However, you do not have to think of this as an either/or proposition. In fact, an effective and popular way to use e-learning is in a blended approach that combines live training and self-paced e-learning.