When Does eLearning Make Sense?

January 26, 2013 16:12 by Dana Peters

On occasion, we have had the opportunity to be involved in high-level discussions about blended learning. Often in a small to mid-sized organization setting, those responsible for learning and development are taking a closer look at their existing (face to face) instructor-led training (ILT) programs to determine other delivery approaches that could be leveraged. eLearning is always part of this conversation. Of course, the underlying premise to these conversations is that any changes incorporated would be a move for the better for both the organization and the learner.

Quick sidebar: To make sure we are on the same page, when I refer to eLearning I am talking about self-directed online training modules that the learner takes independently at any time.

So when is eLearning a good possible option?

  • When bringing your audience together in one room is challenging or impossible. Maybe your learners are spread across a large geographical area or you’re a 24x7 operation and participants are spread across shifts.
  • When bringing your audience together is cost prohibitive. Because of the cost of travel for the learner and/or the instructor or because taking staff for extended periods of time away from the job site for in-person training doesn’t work for the business at that time.
  • When time is of the essence. In situations where information needs to get into the learners’ hands quickly.
  • When you need to use your ILT resources for something else. In situations of rapid change you may want to use your face-to-face training time for certain pieces and let eLearning support other learning objectives simultaneously.
  • When your learner’s time only allows for small amounts of training at a time. Contact center employees, staff involved in field sales, and front line retail team members are able to squeeze in small chunks of eLearning in between their duties.
  • When consistency needs to be tight. Learning objectives related to compliance and regulation often demand identical information be delivered to all learners.
  • When the audience is large. Especially when this is paired with time constraints and geographically dispersed learners.

I do strongly believe there will always be a need for face-to-face training; eLearning is not the automatic answer. However there are many situations in which well-done eLearning could be leveraged to meet the learners’ needs and organization’s business objectives.

What other situations have you come across in which eLearning is a good possible option?

Tags: , , , ,

eLearning | Online Learning | Training

Comments (10) -

Rebecca Doepke
Rebecca Doepke United States
1/30/2013 3:42:42 PM #

Congratulations on the new blog - MondoSpective, this is very exciting!  Looking forward to more discussion, conversation, and great learning.    

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Dana Peters
Dana Peters United States
1/30/2013 4:54:43 PM #

Thank you, Rebecca!

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Barbara Boldt
Barbara Boldt United States
1/31/2013 5:45:09 PM #

Congrats on the new blog Dana! One other circumstance that occurs to me where e-learning could serve an excellent purpose is as pre- and or post- face-to-face training, either having the learners prepare for something that will take place in a ftf session (possibly maximizing the use of the ftf time) or having them do something as a follow-on to the ftf training.

Looking forward to reading more!

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Dana Peters
Dana Peters United States
2/1/2013 11:32:32 AM #

Thank you for raising this point and checking out our blog, Barbara. Absolutely, eLearning could provide many opportunities to supplement, enrich, or increase the impact of a f2f learning session with pre and/or post session elements.

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Mary Clare Healy
Mary Clare Healy United States
2/7/2013 11:14:14 AM #

Dana, congratulations on your new blog. It's a great idea! I too agree with what you've said about specific circumstances lending themselves toward e-learning. Barbara brings up a good point about pre and post learning. Piggybacking on that, I've begun to use e-learning as a refresher tool. Live training sessions are sometimes way in advance of a particular launch of a new system or porcess. E-learning gives me yet another touchpoint to ensure employees have the knowledge they need when they need it.

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Dana Peters
Dana Peters United States
2/7/2013 12:39:05 PM #

Thank you, Mary Clare. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on what has been shared so far.

You mention that eLearning gives you yet another touch point post f-2-f instruction to ensure employees have the knowledge they need when they need it. Are you using it as a static tool to reinforce learning objectives and/or quiz knowledge or is it something more interactive/dynamic where experiences of application on the job could be shared, questions could be posted, and SME’s could respond/engage?

Take care,
Dana

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Mary Clare Healy
Mary Clare Healy United States
2/12/2013 4:32:43 PM #

Dana, in answer to your question, our e-learning began as a static tool. We're in the process of taking it to a whole new level and I'm quite excited about it.  We've formed a community of users, where colleagues can share what's working, chat about some key points to keep in mind, and discuss how to prevent potential pitfalls.  I do chime in, but it's more like I'm the manager of the community, allowing for this interaction to take place.  Questions are basically addressed by the SMEs.

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Dana Peters
Dana Peters United States
2/13/2013 8:50:12 AM #

Mary Clare, you should be excited. It will be interesting to see how these opportunities for collaborate enhance the learning experience and the application on the job. Thank you for sharing more details!

Reply

Jim Aubele
Jim Aubele United States
2/8/2013 8:06:35 AM #

Elearning also makes sense to bring learners up to speed before an ILT, and as a refresher.
Good POST and Congratulations on your Blog!  Jim Aubele of BusinessMentors

Reply

Dana Peters
Dana Peters United States
2/8/2013 8:50:12 AM #

Absolutely, Jim. Thanks for contributing and for the support!

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