Getting the full benefit from business transformation is based on employees keeping the right attitudes and skills to evolve.
Yes, it means change management additionally it means learning. Charles Gould examines the function and benefit of eLearning, and the part it must play in these enormous events.
Billions or even Trillions of dollars are invested in business transformation programmes every year. May it be a merger, a restructuring, or transformational IT systems and procedures, these are typically strategic initiatives with sponsorship and backing at the highest levels. To give an outline of scale, Gartner is forecasting a major international IT spend of $3.6 trillion alone in 2012, a great deal of which is fuelled by the need for transformation.
Yet, extracting the full benefit from these enormous investments depends on employees keeping the right attitudes and skills to evolve. Yes, this means change management it also means learning. The sheer scale of these projects suggests that eLearning is almost always an essential part of a successful solution. Exactly how should we ensure that it truly facilitates and enables business transformation?
“Don’t overlook the readiness of the workforce to adapt positively to change.”
Whenever we mention business transformation we mean a fundamental change to the way a business or organisation operates. That could be:
· Entering a completely new market
· An alteration of operating model
· A merger or acquisition
· A new IT platform
· Restructuring due to a downturn
As I write, a $40 billion merger has been confirmed between Xstrata and Glencore to form one of the world’s largest companies. This indicates a hunger for enormous change is insatiable even during times of great economic uncertainty. However, additionally, we know that more often than not these instances of transformation fail to give the benefits which had been intended. There is one issue that I think can be easily underestimated: the readiness of the workforce to adapt positively to change.
Here are several factors behind failure could possibly derail any change initiative:
· Disengagement and low morale
· Lack of acceptance
· Inability to retain key employees
· Poor understanding of new processes
· Poor skills and knowledge to operate new systems and processes
· Poor transition from major change to business as usual
The role of eLearning in business transformation
The size and speed of business transformation signify that it’s hard to rely solely on face-to-face types of communication and training. Learning technologies can and must play a large part in a large transformation from an initial stage. Multimedia communications such as animated trailers or short videos could be used to provide positive messages that underline the advantages of making the change. Intelligent key messages can be used as part of a communications campaign to provide reassurance that the transformation will be managed and executed for the top level possible benefit of the organisation.
In addition to being a crucial an important part of winning minds and hearts during the early stages of change, learning technologies will then play a pivotal role in readying staff for the post-change environment. In almost all types of business transformation, we come across, substantial change to how people perform their jobs is also essential. It could well be that the vast majority of staff will need to operate a new software platform that lies at the heart of how the future organisation operates. Business after business has purchased massive IT implementations to make their organisation far better or agile. The return on that investment then becomes the platform for future success. Too often training is seen as yet another cost as opposed to a crucial part of the core investment.
Tricks for using the benefits of eLearning to support business transformation
2. Ensure the business goals are evident, agreed, and distributed to everyone, and test everything you’re doing against them. You can easily get ‘mission creep’.
3. Engage individuals from the start and keep them engaged! And, be realistic. Make people feel active in the solution – so use focus groups and evaluation to get rid of out and get rid of any barriers early.
4. Think logistically – don’t underestimate the scale of the task and be realistic about the work that will need doing – give thought to practical things like infrastructure (desks/kit/space) to set up a team together.
5. Think sustainably – you might want to reuse whatever you produce for subsequent BAU – so future-proof wherever possible. But don’t try to be over-clever regarding it – things will change anyway so it’s better to plan for a change instead of being surprised by it.
6.Decrease risk – your solution has to be technically robust and usable. If you’re being adventurous, test the solution early and remove issues, then when you’re close to go-live, you know you then have a robust solution set up.
7. Stay closely aligned with the stakeholders of the change programme – you need to make sure that the eLearning closely aligns with the business objectives so that you change and react as things change. You also need to make sure you undoubtedly have their buy-in and discover how crucial the learning is to the overall success.
8. Focus on smart processes in place of tools, especially if you are going to have to develop a lot of content rapidly – the finest tool in the world can’t create great content on its own!
9. Pilot and discover – try and test your ideas early by using a pilot group and use that to tell your design and approach – you’ll benefit from it, and yes it gets buy-in from your learners.
10. Do an intensive and early TNA – define your learning objectives, and be realistic about what can be achieved prior to go-live and what needs to be covered in post go-live BAU/support.
11. Think 80/20 – concentrate on what your learners are likely to spend 80% of this time doing.
12. Above all be pragmatic. And stay calm!
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As any learning and development specialist will confirm, workforce training is one of the most vital business investments a corporation can make. Without a well-trained workforce, a business simply can’t remain competitive in this dynamic and fast-changing environment. At the same time, pressure has never been greater to reduce costs and enhance the effectiveness of training programs; which is where eLearning and the benefits of eLearning enter the picture.
To the majority of professionals linked to employee learning and development, the benefits of eLearning are obvious – it saves time and money, is flexible and scalable, makes it possible for on-demand training, offers better retention, can be customized for anyone or departments, even more. However, the initial cost of incorporating an eLearning solution can be the cause of hesitation from those in command over the training purse strings. And that’s not the only intent behind push-back from decision-makers.
The choice to implement a new style of training (or any new technology) carries with it a measure of risk. Not that the job won’t succeed, but that the ROI won’t exist. So it often boils down to weighing the hazards against the incredible potential this technology offers, with the ultimate purpose of having the boss onboard with eLearning.
What is eLearning?
The 1st step in the process is to define what exactly is meant by eLearning. Often, even knowledgeable folks have an archaic or misinformed perception of modern eLearning. Depending on when they were first exposed to the concept, they may remember computer-based training modules that were nothing more than electronic study guides. We all know, eLearning made a great progress way since that time.
Modern eLearning demands the implementation of various forms and styles of knowledge transfer. It uses computer-based delivery mechanisms to instruct concepts visually and kinesthetically as opposed to just aurally. Additionally, it can provide a customized training approach based on a learner’s demonstrated skills and understanding. It’s this radical flexibility which makes eLearning so powerful and compelling.
Purposes and Benefits of eLearning
We’ve previously mentioned some of the long-term rewards of eLearning, like reduced training costs, improved learner retention, the capability of delivery and scalability. Let’s now list one or two specific examples of where eLearning can add value to any company’s training program.
· Easier measurement of learner progress.
When implemented alongside a Performance Management System and/or Learning Management System, e-learning becomes an effective way to measure overall training progress, and the efficacy of each training module a learner completes.
· Individualised needs assessments.
one fo the benefits of eLearning is that it can be used to determine a satisfactory level of training for every person, considering assessments that can branch out in response to answers given. Training can then be tailored to the learner as needed.
· Reinforcement of concepts.
Elearning can be made in a way that reviews and reinforces the concepts which have preceded it. This is sometimes called ‘spacing’ or performance support, and it uses terms or concept repetition to aid a learner to retain often tricky ideas.
This uses game mechanics to engage a learner. Leaderboards, badges and achievements are an excellent way to show progress, engage the learner, promote friendly competition, provide immediate feedback and much more.
· Anytime Delivery.
One of the big benefits associated with eLearning is the ability for the learner to view it anytime, and from anywhere if the course is set up so. Learners can also return to a lesson and review it if they need to and use as a performance support piece.
The intersection of technology and breakthroughs in training techniques have led to e-learning opportunities not even imagined very few years ago. A simple example; a sales representative for a health-related device company opens the most current eLearning module from his organisation before boarding a flight. He settles in and proceeds throughout the training course while in-flight, utilising the self-assessments along the way.
Upon landing, he checks his smartphone to see how many other reps are talking about on the company message board. He posts a question about one of the concepts he was unclear on, and a training professional from his company responds in real time. On his way to the sales conference, he reviews the product specs and once again takes the eLearning course knowledge assessment – now getting all of the answers correct.
Welcome, to just one vision of the benefits of eLearning.
To keep competitive in today’s rapidly evolving environment, businesses invest money and time in workforce development. To maintain the workforce in the know and on top of their game, many organisations are converting to the benefits of eLearning. eLearning is an efficient way to keep employees educated, engaged and entertained, as well as boosting knowledge retention and supplying a superior performance support resource