Balancing the tangible with the intangible in e-learning

by Viv on July 10, 2007


Still musing on the ELN Showcase back on 6 July about what clients are prepared to pay for when it comes to commissioning e-learning. Information Transfer won “E-learning Project of the Year” from the Institute of IT Training in 2007 “Best e-learning project securing widespread adoption” at the national E-learning Awards in 2006 for e-learning that they did for the Priory Group. The designer of the course ascribed this success to it being a “bog standard e-learning course, but well communicated”.

So how come this e-learning was so successful?

IT’s modesty aside, Priory have invested significant internal resource to bring about the change and communication process to make this e-learning be adopted successfully. Hats off to them, as this seems like it’s been a really well conceived and managed process, connecting buy-in at Board level through to all levels of staff. They did the kind of selling that naturally happens on a face to face training course, but rarely in conjunction with e-learning.

IMHO most L&D departments would not dare to believe they had enough political capital to spend lots of time and energy influencing their internal clients to the extent that Priory did. They think the business would far rather they spent their money on something tangible rather than the softer process of communication (which also ties up their time). Hence I’ve known L&D professionals ask for e-learning that is “really shiny” and comes with “wow factor straight out of the box”.

However, the race to “ultimate shininess” is doomed as learner’s expectations will continue to increase in line with other media that they consume (e.g. games attract far larger budgets than e-learning ever has/will and hence look better). Hence it will only ever get more important that L&D departments create the time, energy and confidence to communicate successfully just how useful and engaging their forthcoming e-learning is going to be.

Ultimately for each individual project, success is about getting the e-learning and the communication prioritised in the right balance.

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