E-Learning When and Where It Makes the Most Sense
When and where you initiate e-learning should depend on your needs. Are you rolling out new software, such as an enterprise-wide operating-system upgrade? Do you have 100 new hires coming through your door tomorrow who have to be trained immediately? Do you need to certify a portion of your workforce to meet a regulatory mandate or make certain they're "server certified"? Do your workers expect more from the job, such as learning opportunities that will help them attain advancement and stay abreast of new technology developments? And what about that new partnership or recent acquisition that's suddenly going to require widespread integration of knowledge, people, culture, and technology?
E-learning, ever cost-effective and flexible, is ideal for all these scenarios.
What advantages you can get from e-Learning:
Users can train as their schedules allow, at their own pace. This high availability helps your employees better manage their time.
Content is presented in the familiar environment of a Web browser. Most employees are connected to a company's intranet or have access to the Internet.
Changes can be made on the server that stores the content. The update can instantly be accessed, and access to courses can also be easily modified.
E-learning can be accessed by computers just about anywhere—an excellent way to save delivery costs when training employees or customers geographically scattered.
Your best bet is to determine first exactly what you need to achieve, and then determine whether e-learning, or some combination of classroom teaching and e-learning, makes the most sense. Is it an ongoing need, such as helping employees attain certification or training new hires, that's best delivered over your intranet and kept in-house as part of a Learning Management System (LMS) or Learning Content Management System (LCMS), which provides tracking, delivery, and other administrative functions? Or is it that large group from your latest merger who can best be brought up to speed with an e-learning system administered by a third party such as an Application Service Provider (ASP)? This is understanding a complex situation and applying your knowledge to it, Again, the inherent flexibility of e-learning makes it an attractive option for a wide variety of scenarios.
e-Learning overcomes many of the shortcomings of traditional learning methods. By delivering learning activities directly to individuals throughout an enterprise at the time and place of the individuals' choosing, e-Learning increases the convenience and greatly reduces the cost of training. 3D Studio Works professionals makes it easy to build assessments directly into Internet-delivered training. e-Learning makes it possible for organizations to measure the effectiveness of training.
We offer a full suite of e-Learning solutions, ranging from custom content development and off-the-shelf courseware to software platforms for learning & skills management. e-learning must be personalized and presented in small chunks to hold interest and to be most convenient, because students/workers expect small, short things they can work into the fabric of their day. This is what we follow.
E-learning is becoming a mainstream application across all industries and disciplines. Enterprises want to take advantage of Web-based learning, but success requires more than moving education and learning to the Web.
Technology-enabled learning has been around for more than 20 years. However, e-learning was made more relevant, feasible and powerful when its reach was extended by Web-based approaches. E-learning is an inherent part of the Web. Numerous surveys reveal that education is a primary use of the Web (by a large margin) over business-focused applications. With more than 500 million Web users, this means there is a tailor-made audience and a natural channel for enterprises to educate, including employees, business partner employees and customers.
Enterprises assume that learning delivered in a Web-based format (on an intranet or via a Web site) will find and educate its intended audience.
Enterprises need e-learning. The pace of organizational change in most enterprises requires a constant refreshing of skills and continual development of new competencies. For many enterprises, not choosing e-learning as the primary method to deliver this needed learning means it will not be delivered at all. Remaining competitive requires:
- Continual learning
- An accelerating pace
- Staying economically feasible
- Being widely distributable
This is the formula for e-learning.
Enterprise Success & Failures
Since e-learning seems intuitive, why are so many e-learning programs failing to achieve the great success and anticipated levels of payback for the enterprises that own them? Why is e-learning seemingly more successful in some industries or in some parts of the world than in others? The reasons for an enterprise's success or failure vary from investment choices to user behavioral changes to the sophistication of the selected technology. Vendor failures are also a source of problems. Some vendors believe that the delivery of traditional learning content via the
Web constitutes e-learning — well, yes and no. In this Spotlight, we begin to explore critical success or failure points in e-learning.
Who Has Implemented E-Learning?
We have observed many successful e-learning programs in a variety of enterprises, including corporations, government and military organizations, universities and public schools. We also have seen many programs where benefits never materialize. Understanding where and how technology leaders have created successful programs can help new implementers of e-learning.
In this Spotlight, two case studies present experiences, best practices and critical success factors. Both are of North American enterprises, but their learning and best practices appear to be globally applicable and not exclusive to any geography or industry. These practices include clear objectives, good design, strong management, the right technology and behavioral changes among stakeholders.