The eLearning Value Proposition – The Bad and the Ugly

This is a discussion that I have been wanting to have with you for a long time and frankly, it has taken me down a lot of paths. I have written a couple of small ebooks, yet to be published and a visual quick guide, the term I use for info graphics that I develop…

Let me share an overarching observation…

Whether you like it or not…

Whether you are actively training your workforce or not…

People are learning all the time,

  • Every moment of every day,
  • Including when they are at work… people are learning…

The question is what are they learning?

  • Are they learning what you want them to learn?
  • Do you know?
  • Because if you don’t know, they are probably not learning exactly what you want them to…

What does learning look like in your organization if you don’t have a training program? … We’ll, it’s going to be learning on your own through trial and error, prior experience, watching others, asking questions, common sense and so forth.

Any while the average employee has the best intentions, the workforce is learning through tribal knowledge, not really on the job training, just inconsistent direction given when and where it might occur.

The big disadvantage to your crew learning on their own is that NO TWO people will perform the same job the same way. The implications to this of course are not good; inconsistent output, poor quality and ultimately customer dissatisfaction…

And if you are new on the job it’s even worse, given that you don’t really have a clue about how to properly do what you have been given to do.

In my opinion and experience, if you don’t want to devote the time to training and educating your workforce then you are going to suffer the consequences.

Pretty direct I know, but can you argue with me? (Drop a comment at the end of this post)

Here are some of the consequences of not training in a bit more detail:

Poor product quality – Through  a lack system, process and produciton training, product will not consistently be made to specification.

Lost Sales – if your sales staff is not consistently trained then product knowledge is not what it should be, the sales message become blurred, contradictions materialize and sales are lost.

Poor reputation in the marketplace – Bad news travels fast and if you product is not performing properly or is not up to standard then it’s only a matter of time before the word gets out.

Workplace Injuries – Due to a lack of operator training, dangerous conditions exist and employees can get hurt.

Ergonomic Injuries – Due to lack of an ergonomic training, lifting, repetitive motion and other ergonomic issues arise.

Illness – Improper handling of materials can lead to illness over time or immediately depending on the situation.

Liability / Regulatory issues – Due to workplace injuries, OSHA violations,  fines can be levied on your organization and the cost of your insurance rises.

So if you agree so far that in the absence of some type of deliberate training that your workforce is continuing to learn and maybe learning the wrong things exposes the company to any number of potential threats mentioned above…

Why don’t you aggressively train your workforce?

The four objections that I most commonly hear are:

Time

Many businesses just don’t have the time to develop and deliver even the most critical training and education programs to their employees or customers. There are only so many hours in a day and you have NO trouble finding things your for staff to do, like keeping production schedules getting product out the door.

When most companies start prioritizing projects and plans, training and education usually end up at the bottom of the list.

And even if you have developed a training program, there never seems to be enough time to focus on it, complete it and then keep it up to date…

Taking two steps forward and one step back can be frustrating… But it’s not just about time…

Money

Developing and delivering training and education is not only time consuming, it’s expensive…

If you are delivering classroom training, then travel, lodging, entertainment, the classroom itself and equipment costs must be taken into consideration.

And if all that were not enough, whenever content is modified, some or all of your existing training materials are usually discarded and new materials must be produced – can you say “Not Green“.

If you deliver classroom training inside your facility, then opportunity cost exists for both the trainer and the trainees; what could they be doing with their time instead of training?

Focus / Direction

Developing and delivering training and education to your workforce, your customer base or any other critical group can just be plain overwhelming when you start thinking about all of the options – where do you start?

Selecting a Training Topic

What should your first or next training topic be? You potentially have so many different areas that need attention and you need to spend your time and money wisely.

  • First your employees need to be trained on work and system processes.
  • Then there are safety and regulatory concerns and
  • Legal issues such as sexual harassment.

Next is customer training; How to use and maintain your products. Maybe you need to train your suppliers in how to interact with your system and manage commitments made with your company.

So the choices are many and you are just not sure where to start. You want to implement training with high impact and quick return on investment.

Method of Delivery

Then you have to decide how you want to deliver it. Do you want to deliver it in a on site or off site or via other means?

For example, you recently deployed a field sales force and now your training must be delivered to both those that physically work inside your organization and those that work in different parts of the world. How do you keep everyone up to date in an efficient and effective manner? What approach would best fit your needs?

Shifting Sands

Needing direction when it comes to training and education can be an ongoing challenge given shifts that you might be experiencing in your corporate strategy.

You need to have a training plan that allows you the flexibility to adjust to the “Shifting Sands” of programs, plans and products.

Expertise

If Time, Money and Direction were not enough, who is going to drive the initiative?

You don’t have trainers and instructional designers in house and even if you do, depending on the direction that you decide to go, does your staff need further training?

Like all areas of expertise, developing, delivering, managing and maintaining training and education are dynamic subjects.

You need to stay abreast of the technology advances so that you can deliver the training most appropriate for your audience…. All of a sudden Time and Money enter back into the conversation!

  • You don’t have the expertise to develop training
  • You don’t have the expertise in house to deliver the training
  • What about going digital – training on the web? How do you do that?

So after looking at Time, Money, Expertise and Focus it’s hard to blame you if you don’t devote a lot of time to training… In the next post I will provide you with my take on the eLearning Value Proposition Bullet Points

 

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