The focus of today’s discussion will be on how the company can benefit from electronic learning. We will examine E-learning, it’s uses, and the potential that it holds for the company. In addition, we will look at how the company is situated in reference to your ability to implement E-Learning in a quick and cost effective manner. Attention will be paid to the current state of your learners, your trainers, and your technology. Recommendations will then be made concerning the potential uses of E-Learning in your company, and if the company is ready to make that transition. After the presentation there will be time for a question and answer session. Please hold your questions until the end. Thank you.
Everyone has heard the term “E-Learning”. It’s constantly on the news, being thrown around in a manner that suggests it provides some magical cure for the education system. While E-Learning has many attributes, it is not a final cure for all things educational. At its most basic, E-Learning is any learning performed using an electronic medium. This can be as basic as the use of a CD-ROM, or as complex as a live multinational video conference that spans different continents and time zones. Is E-Learning effective? It is. E-Learning can be just as effective as traditional learning. However, with E-Learning much more depends upon the learner. Self-motiviation, time management, and a responsibility for one’s own education are paramount in E-Learning.
There are many uses for E-Learning in both education and business. By removing the confines of location and time, E-Learning opens up opportunities for expansion that did not previously exist. Through E-Learning, teachers can educate students who will never enter a brick and mortar educational building. Managers can chat live “face to face” with employees in other countries, without having to travel. Trainers can deliver a single presentation from their office and effectively reach all of the participants in the company. Those are just some of the broad, basic uses for E-Learning. Each example can be refined to reflect a more personal learning experience.
The switch to e-learning will involve the use of different training methods. In e-learning, the learner becomes more responsible for their educational experience. Content will be delivered through various mediums, and it is then the learners job to take that content and manipulate it around their existing knowledge. This is not to say that e-learning instructions do not provide support. Their jobs becomes less about the dispensing of content and more about guiding and mentoring.
One of the many temptations companies face when implementing e-learning is to use all of the available technology. Many people believe that more is better. In learning, this is not the case. Humans can only process a certain amount of data at one time. After that limit is reached, retention is affected. Simply because technology is available is not a sufficient reason to use it. At its most effective, e-learning is no frills. This is not to say that a company cannot use the most up to date technology, rather to focus on one learning event at a time. Overkill with technology will lead to a poor learning experience.
Considering the current age bracket of new employees, there is a good chance they have already experienced some form of E-Learning. Most colleges and many high schools now use E-Learning for at least a few classes. In addition, high school and college graduates today have experience using computers, tablets and smart phones, which makes the transition to E-Learning easier. The area where there may be a problem is with the existing employees, especially ones who have been with the company a long time. Some employees may resist the change, and that is to be expected. Nobody will be forced to use E-Learning, but it will be highly recommended. Training classes will be offered to those who feel they need extra instruction.
The technology end of E-Learning is where the company is most prepared. As a corporation, you are already wired to the Internet, possess desktop and laptop computers, and are connected to a reliable power source. What we need now is to take the existing technology, and design and implement an effective E-Learning plan. A one year plan would be advisable, projecting the future technological needs of the company, so the fiscal side can be planned. Spreading out the purchases of webcams, whiteboards, and other higher end technology will help defray the costs.
As a company, what would E-Learning add to your existing operations? That is the question most asked by business owners when they begin to explore the potential of E-Learning. If there is no value, then there is no point in implementing the system. For a business, E-Learning can be used to enhance training procedures, hold meetings, and expand the interview process. Trainers can now follow up with trainees on a consistent basis to provide the support they need after leaving the training program. Meetings can now be held with all of the team members at one time, regardless of their location. Potential employees will be able to take screening tests and interview from remote locations, increasing the talent pool for the company.
Electronic meetings (E-meetings) can be one of the most beneficial uses of E-Learning for a business. Basically, an E-meeting provides the same attributes as a traditional meeting without the travel and location costs. Meetings can be set up individually, as groups, or in a traditional classroom lecture format. Any content can be covered, and graphics and props can also be used. The only restrictions are having a reliable Internet connection, compatible software, and a hosting service. The company already possess everything except the hosting service. Reliable services such as GotoMeeting or WebEx can be found for reasonable prices.
E-Learning can also be used to enhance the current training system. As it stands now, management trainees must spend twelve weeks in a training store, often living out of a hotel for that time. Imagine the savings if you could cut that time in half. Many of the current training exercises can be performed online. Tests and projects can be submitted online and reviewed by instructors. More frequent and better quality follow up can be implemented through E-Learning as well. Instead of a weekly phone call, trainers can now have daily video chats with the trainees who leave the program, enabling them to answer questions and provide guidance.
I believe that as a company, you can have a quality E-Learning system up and running inside of six months. The technology is already in place to initiate an E-Learning portion of the training system. I feel you should start with a follow up system for the trainees, then move into actual online training. By the end of six months I think the training can effectively reduce your current training program time by at least one week, with more reductions in the future. Once you have a successful E-Learning platform in the training program, you can move on to decreasing the time trainees spend in-store. From there, probably after the twelve month mark, we can implement the use of E-meetings
This will be the most difficult and expensive part of implementing an E-Learning system for the company. As a group, you may not yet possess the talent or knowledge required to provide effective E-Learning. Trainers should be provided with reading material to familiarize themselves with the concepts of E-Learning. In addition, each trainer should attend an E-Learning conference where they will be taught techniques to promote online learning. Part of this conference should consist of an actual E-Learning experience from both the learner’s side and the instructor’s side.
Any time something new is brought into the picture, people will be wary. This seems to be especially true with e-learning. Most people who have not actually used e-learning will still have an opinion of it, many times negative. In order to overcome this obstacle the e-learning experience must be presented in the most positive fashion, as a benefit to the employees. Focus on how e-learning will make jobs easier, and the company will never expect employees to use the system on their own time. They were paid for training before and they will continue to be paid for training. Time will be provided for the training during the employees scheduled shifts. Consistency is also important. The management team and the trainers must always model the appropriate attitudes concerning the e-learning system.
Introduction This discussion will focus on the potential use of E- Learning in the company Preparedness of the company in relation to E-Learning Ability of the company to adapt to an E-Learning format Benefits of E-Learning Uses for the system Recommendations concerning E-Learning and the companies current state
E-Learning: The Basics What is E-Learning? Any learning performed using an electronic format CD’s & DVD’s, email, text, live video Is E-Learning effective? Depending upon implementation Can be as effective or more effective then traditional learning Much depends upon the learner Reference: Lever-Duffy & McDonald, 2011
How e-learning works Information-acquisition Instructor’s job to present information Student’s job to engage and retain information Examples of information-acquisition learning: Reading from a report or text PowerPoint presentation Lecture from an instructor
How people learn from e-learningMeans of learning How learning works Learner must examine the People have separate material presented channels for visual and audio Select the words and images stimuli which relate to the topic Humans can only process a From these images, the limited amount of data at one learner must organize the time data into a cohesive picture Learner must be actively This new knowledge must involved then be assimilated with Knowledge can be transferred already stored knowledge from long term memory
Assessment of Readiness: Learners E-learning is based on technology Today’s employees have a solid grasp of the resources used in e-learning Employees enter the company with the necessary skills to succeed in e-learning Proliferation of smart phones, tablets, and Internet access has provided today’s learners with hands-on technological trainingReference: Horton, 2006
Assessment of Readiness: Technology E-Learning: Basics of technology Consistent, reliable Internet connection Computers that run on the same operating system Advanced technology Webcams Wireless Internet The company currently possesses all of the supplies listed above Simple transition into E-Learning
Potential of E-Learning for the Company Enhancement of current training procedures Reach a wider audience Reduce travel expenses Video Conferencing Inclusion of team members from remote locations Reduction in facility rentals Addition to the interview process Expansion of potential employeesReference: Clark & Kwinn, 2007
Example: E-Meetings Definition of E-meetings Meeting involving team members from multiple locations Interaction occurs over video screens Takes place in real time Each member can see the others No restrictions of location or time zone
Example: Management Training E-Learning as an enhancement to the current training system Reduction in the time new managers spend in “training” stores Provide live follow up to manager trainees once they leave the training store Allows for the use of different methods of training in additional to the traditional program
E-Learning System Proposal An effective E-Learning system can be developed through two stages Stage one: Implementation of the basic system Technology is already in place Start with enhancing the training program Stage two: requires the purchase of additional equipment Whiteboards, tablets Implement the use of e-meetings
Training the Trainers Trainers will need to learn new techniques Will need to be provided with required reading Attend a training conference Training will be supplemented by an e-learning course to provide experience Trainers will then participate in a second e-learning course as trainers to practice their skills
Challenges with E-Learning Resistance from employees E-learning must be presented in a positive fashion Highlight the benefits to the employees Potential for “cheating” Difficult to manage offsite Provide employees learning time during their shifts Continuous changes in technology No need to keep up with the latest fads Construct a simple system and stick with what worksReference: Evans, Forney, Guido, Patton, & Renn, 2010
References Clark, R. C. & Kwinn, A. (2007). The new virtual classroom. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer. Dubrin, A. J. (2004). Applying psychology: individual & organizational effectiveness (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. Evans, N. J., Forney, D. S., Guido, F. M., Patton, L. D. & Renn, K. A. (2010). Student development in college: theory, research, and practice (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Horton, W. (2006). E-learning by design. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer. Lever-Duffy, J. & McDonald, J. B. (2011). Teaching and learning with technology (4th ed). Boston: Pearson.