eLearning in organizations is often optional—and no matter how good the program is, it will always take a back seat to mission critical work unless some real measures for accountability are put in place.
One of the design principles we’ve built into Blanchard Online Learning is providing accountability for learning. Our goal is to clearly set the expectation for involvement from the very beginning.
In a new white paper on Elearning: Building an Effective and Engaging Solution Online, my colleague Dobie Houson explains that in order to get people involved in the learning process you must communicate the importance of the learning experience to help learners understand how it will benefit them. She recommends you spend time thinking about how you can motivate people to want to attend, and then communicate that message well in advance of the learning experience. For example, in your communications you can:
- Share success stories from previous participants. Endorsements are a great way to build excitement and buzz and help build future enrollment. To build excitement, get others talking about the change they experienced. With Blanchard Online Learning, we can share stories from other customers for those companies just getting started.
- Make it personal by sending invitations to the learning experience from someone who matters to the learner. For example, it’s very effective when a boss invites a direct report to a training and makes direct links to professional development goals that have already been discussed.
- Assign pre-work during which you ask learners to think of real work problems and create solutions and goals around those problems. This helps learners to relate what they’re learning to their job.
- Stress the importance of completing the course. Participants need to know what’s expected of them and what’s in it for them. Explain why finishing the course may improve their job performance and enhance career opportunities. Some of our Blanchard Online Learning clients have made participation in the program a prerequisite to being considered for promotion.
- Offer rewards and incentives. Offer participants extra pay for completing the course or give public recognition via internal newsletters, emails, or a Web site. Certificates of completion or education credits serve as important motivators to encourage participants to complete the course.
- Make it competitive. Providing a chart of percentage completion to show participants how they compare with others is a strong motivator. Make data available to management as well so that teams or units can compare how they measure up against other teams or units in the organization.
- Track and measure participants’ progress. Regularly check how participants are progressing on the course and offer support if they’re lagging behind. During the course, use performance tracking data to post scoreboards on progress and link performance to the participants’ learning plans.
- Encourage communication. Our Blanchard Online System features a cohort threaded conversation that the sponsor can use to ask questions and promote engagement. Participants are told that they are expected to respond to each question.
Anyone with a job in an organization is constantly assessing workload and prioritizing to get the most important things done at any given moment. We can never forget that this is the mindset we’re dealing with and that we’re constantly competing for mindshare.