Friday, January 12, 2007

Tailor Your eLearning for Better Adoption

Your adoption rate - the percentage of your targeted learners who actually complete the eLearning that you have prepared for them - is a key statistic in determining the overall success of an eLearning intervention. Assuming that there are measurable benefits to be realized from every person who completes the eLearning (e.g. they know more, can produce more, sell more, waste less, serve clients better, etc.), the more people completing the program, the greater the overall benefits to the organization. Unfortunately, however, many organizations do not do enough to manage adoption to ensure maximum benefit.

My colleague Mike Grant led a webinar session on this topic this week. His main point was that you should manage adoption right from the outset of an eLearning project - before it is designed and developed - and not try to do so after the fact. The focus should be on tailoring eLearning to best meet the needs and nature of the targeted learning audience.

When we asked the 78 webinar participants what were the biggest barriers to eLearning adoption that they faced, the responses were very similar and grouped around the following themes:

Lack of Motivation: Learners fail to see value of eLearning intervention / there is no "what's in it for me" proposition / there is little relevance or direct applicability to their job

Lack of Resources: Learners do not have the time (or quietude) to do the eLearning / there are too many competing priorities for attention

Lack of Support: Lack of managerial or organizational support to do eLearning (e.g. granting time or proper location for eLearning) / supervisors not holding staff to account for completing eLearning / management not providing learning and technical support to ease transition to eLearning format

Bad Experiences: Learners have experienced bad eLearning before and are now "gun shy"

Old Habits Die Hard: Attachment to the classroom model for training / reluctance to embrace change

All of these factors noted above, and the fact that it is so easy to put off doing eLearning (unlike, say, showing up for a scheduled classroom session), conspire to keep eLearning adoption rates low. In the webinar, Mike showed how you can improve adoption rates by getting a number of questions answered before you begin your eLearning project. These questions are centred around the 4 A's, namely: what Accessibilty do the target learners have to technology / time / and proper space; what are their Abilities in using information and communication technologies; what are their Attitudes to change and innovation; and how Approriate is eLearning given their learning styles and the nature of the content and learning objectives that need to be addressed?

If you let the answers to questions about the 4 A's drive your decisions around your learning mix (what should be done classroom vs. online), and also have it drive your eLearning design and roll-out strategy, your training generally and your eLearning specifically will be tailored to the realities of your target audience and will be a better fit. And being a better fit, your eLearning adoption rates will go up.

For those of you who missed it, here is a recording of Driving Higher Adoption for Your eLearning Through a "Four A" Approach.


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