The pandemic will have lasting effects on business operations, especially in the HR world. By no surprise, instructor-led e-learning spiked among the massive remote-work shift in 2020. As a result, the significant investment organizations made in online learning tools and technology will propel L&D initiatives well into the future.
However, as organizations made e-learning a larger part of their program last year, common myths about e-learning also arose. Widespread belief of inaccurate information around e-learning has muddied the waters, which leaves leaders questioning the value of their investments. Here are four of those myths and how e-learning rises above them to deliver critical training experiences to today’s employees.
E-learning doesn’t work for everyone
Every business leader knows no two employees are the same. Each brings unique experiences, skills and abilities to the table. Naturally, that lends itself to different learning styles, which some leaders worry may make it difficult for employees to find success in e-learning.
Content for online L&D programs can be just as effective, if not more so, than their in-person counterparts. They can be tailored to fit learning styles, schedules, desired outcomes — nearly every configuration an employee could want.
The most critical issue to remember is that employees should walk away from any program with a proficiency in a new skill or competency. Companies are already moving away from monolithic proxies like years of experience or a college degree. Instead, they’re relying on a combination of numerous data points to more accurately infer competencies. For example, it’s one thing to list a series of skills that someone is exposed to in an e-learning course, but it’s another matter entirely to demonstrate proficiency in said skills. An L&D program that effectively promotes proficiency will be more successful whether or not it’s done in a virtual environment.
Employees won’t engage with e-learning
Leaders may worry that, after investing in an e-learning L&D program, their employees may not be as engaged as they would with in-person learning or just simply won’t participate. They might find the content irrelevant or boring, or maybe they’ll struggle with the concepts and fall behind. But, employees want these opportunities to grow and develop — it’s actually one of the most sought-after benefits. The desire for training is there, so it’s up to employers to proactively create and manage a culture of learning and recognition within their organizations.
To do that through e-learning, companies should consistently encourage employees to dedicate a portion of their working hours to virtual training modules and sessions. The new world of work means employees should be free to train whenever and wherever they choose — which promotes efficiency and engagement from the employers’ perspective.
It also helps to foster social engagement as part of the L&D program. Conversations that might’ve happened during boxed lunches in an in-person session don’t happen anymore. Consider building learning networks as part of the virtual learning environment, using specific skills or credentials as the keys to entry. It creates unique opportunities for engagement between similarly motivated employees within an e-learning space.
E-learning systems are too complicated or expensive
Some leaders might worry about the initial investments of switching to an e-learning platform. Training sessions that used to be held in conference rooms might now require specialized technology or expensive training modules. Even if employees want to engage, can they do so given the particular tools they have to use in a virtual world?
Most e-learning programs are built with user experience in mind, so they’re designed to be simple. There are also a multitude of free or low-cost tools available for easy transitions to e-learning. Zoom, Hangouts, Skype, FaceTime — the options are truly incredible. But the key isn’t which platform you have your employees use; it’s ensuring they feel comfortable and confident in navigating its features and functionalities. If employees struggle to move through course units, or find the unmute button on a live Zoom training session, they might find it too much of a burden to continue. To help resolve this, companies should choose one platform to handle all their e-learning needs, and then offer platform training and certification to employees.
E-learning makes it hard to measure success
With everyone working at their own paces and training on various skills and abilities, leaders can quickly get overwhelmed when they try to figure out if employees are succeeding. Teams are dispersed in a virtual environment, which means companies need digital representation of their employees’ progress through training programs.
E-learning programs that offer the opportunity to earn digital credentials help leaders assess their employees’ progress with a common language of verified skills. Employees can receive verified digital credentials as they complete training sessions, which provides employers with the full context of what an employee can do thanks to their participation in an L&D program. It also allows them to better quantify L&D, with a transparent view of how much time and effort it took to earn each credential. Communicating success from both the employee and employer’s perspective becomes a much easier task.
While the future is uncertain, and companies may bring back more in-person training and learning opportunities, e-learning will still provide a useful avenue for offering a much-desired benefit. E-learning is an easy-to-use option that can get employees engaged and demonstrate its value through verified digital credentials, demonstrating employees have the right skills for the job and are effectively learning through virtual platforms.
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