It can be argued that if you or your team members are not satisfied with your eLearning management system, it's because of an over-reliance on it or your failure to manage the learning journey properly. I know, right - scandalous accusation! Well, before you do this to your desktop or mobile device...
...hear me out. This comes from the reliable folks at the Aberdeen Group who have conducted research (and those guys were not too cool for school! ...is that even a compliment?) to determine how organisations are leveraging their Learning Management Systems and managing the learning experience of team members. Brace yourselves, according to their results, there are a couple of key habits that are destroying the effectiveness of your eLearning experience. Read on and get some sellotape for that poor monitor...
A world-class Learning Management System (LMS) can help organise learning content, reduce administrative time, create custom reports and track learner progress effectively. However, although this can bring more benefits to an organisation than that free coffee machine you had installed, it’s important to note that it can’t provide all of this on its own. According to the Aberdeen Group, there are two common habits that may be destroying the effectiveness of your eLearning programs. See if you are guilty of these two habits and, if you are, have a word with yourself:
Over-automation: According to the findings, over 80% of automated Learning Management Systems are deployed with virtually no human interaction involved in the learner's experience at all. There is frequently little instruction, collaboration or social engagement with learners which leaves them to self-manage and to negotiate the course with no actual human interaction. Don't get me wrong, automation is not an entirely bad thing, but, while one of the benefits of learning technology is that it allows administrators to save time by automating tasks, managers and team leaders with responsibility for effective workplace learning should be aware that the whole process can be optimised through a blend of formal and social learning activities. If your technology is leaving team members completely devoid of human interaction during the learning journey you may need to consider redressing the balance.
Leaving learners to manage themselves: Another habit that the Aberdeen Group's findings discovered is that 80% of businesses (who took part in the survey) introduce their learners to a Learning Management System and then leave them to manage their own journey from start to finish, including time management and progress monitoring. I imagine them sitting at their desks waiting for their team member to fall through the door and slap a certificate of completion in front of them. But anyone who has had a training course or staff development program pushed their way will know that motivation is rarely self-sustainable. Further, learner success requires a carefully monitored plan that includes involvement from mentors and managers (read more about engaging staff and creating happy-to-learn team members with my other article on creating a successful learning plan).
Be warned, set team members off on a solo cruise of un-guided self-management and there is a real risk of demotivation, apathy and under-performance. Amongst other things, when learning is entirely self-managed, it can be overwhelming and delays in receiving help can create an anxiety which then becomes self-reinforcing the longer it's left unresolved. Also, if they're not getting any recognition, validation or support for what they're doing, or if their goals are not clear, then you can't blame them for becoming dis-engaged from the learning process, can you.
So, I'm sure we all agree that eLearning and a world class Learning Management System provide countless opportunities for business compliance, growth and professional development, but an over-reliance on learning technology automation and on learners to manage themselves throughout the journey will likely destroy eLearning success. It is the responsibility of whoever is managing the team members and their learning programmes to ensure that there is the right level of human involvement alongside the technology rather than using technology as a tool to retreat from the process.
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