The benefits of e-learning are well-known and widely documented. Organizations across the world are embracing e-learning as an effective and flexible tool to train their employees. Furthermore, an increasing number of Human Resource (HR) and Learning and Development (L&D) managers have found e-learning platforms to be liberating and flexible with its multi-model delivery; allowing employees to enhance their individual skillsets at their own pace and time. E-learning is cost-effective and makes optimal use of technology, which is becoming all-encompassing in our lives.
It is imperative that the HR and L&D leaders look beyond the basic reasons and develop comprehensive learning policies that include e-learning to help achieve effective change within their organizations. Further, it is equally important for HR and L&D managers to proactively integrate e-learning as a part of the overall business strategy, as well as devise the appropriate metrics to measure the Return on Investment (ROI), as this would help to truly define the overall contribution of the employee.
The Sum of All Parts
A continuous reflection on how e-learning can further enhance organizational growth is crucial as this would help in identifying the skill gaps within certain teams. However, for e-learning to work effectively, there are several parameters that firms need to keep in mind when implementing specific learning programs.
Involvement of the senior management is key
Management teams should not only be the visionaries of their organizations, but must also take their roles as influencers seriously. The senior management should be able to impart information and messages that help employees gain a strong footing in the organization and understand their roles within the greater team. E-learning is the most effective medium to support this on-going effort. Senior management must realise that they have to be actively involved in devising and championing e-learning programs and campaigns within their businesses for this effort to succeed, and often, that can only come from a personal understanding of the benefits of e-learning. Leadership development programs by Harvard Business School, INSEAD and Jack Welch’s Welch Way by Skillsoft are known to be the most effective. Management needs to have a comprehensive strategy in place and needs to synchronize with its L&D team to establish clear objectives and business goals.
Use e-learning to effectively instil a compelling vision in your employees
Every organization around the globe needs to have a vision and mission to clearly direct their organizational and business growth. Naturally, all management teams want employees to abide by these guidelines to ensure business objectives are achieved. Management and their HR/L&D teams must recognize the importance of creating and implementing learning such that it focuses not only on the basics of the solutions and services they offer, but also on the intangible ‘glue’ that holds the organization together and encourages excellence – its culture, values and mission. This on-going activity is easily scalable, customisable and repeatable with e-learning over the course of the employee’s tenure with the organization.
Retain your competitive edge in this evolving market place
In this ever-changing market place where information and knowledge is most sought after, e-learning can be used as a constant tool to groom employees and keep the workforce up-to-date with latest developments in your industry. Updating traditional learning material will require making physical changes to books, reports, documents and the like, an expensive and impractical necessity in today’s fast-evolving business environment. E-learning provides a more efficient and cost-effective method of renewal. With the need for anytime, anywhere learning, e-learning also allows employees to access their courseware online, when it suits them. This reduces any major impact to work schedules and provides a uniform delivery method that has no geographical barriers.
Embrace e-learning throughout your organization
To gain the full benefits of learning, it must be infused in your organization; within every department, job function and level. Leaders and decision makers – whether from the management team, operations, finance, sales, marketing or another division – succeed only when they have the knowledge and skillsets they need to make informed decisions, strategies and plans for the business. E-learning allows timely access to current knowledge, theories, methodologies, thought leaders, business leaders and authors at your fingertips and offer what no physical library resource can. The growing popularity of BYOD (bring your own device) compliments well as learners can browse through relevant materials when needed, during breaks and while travelling too. Moreover, e-learning has wide spread acceptance with the millennial generation, who have grown up ‘wired’ and are fast becoming an integral part of organizations.
Learning is interactive and e-learning brings learning to life. Social learning through company blogs and live threads can become the backbone of information transfer in your organization. It crosses all barriers between senior, middle and lower management, and at the same time it helps identify an organization’s best resources and future leaders.
A knowledgeable and innovative workforce is an organization’s biggest asset and critical to the long-term growth of the business. However, such a workforce is never just organically formed in an organization; it needs to be created by purposefully implementing helpful and well thought-out learning and development policies which emphasize and reward the ‘right’ behaviours learned. Organizations that embrace and practice agility are proven to be more effective in dealing with change and the master key to fostering agility is continuous learning and development. With a strong learning culture that aligns with business objectives, companies are better able to embrace change and manage their talent, resulting in a positive business impact.