You may have made the decision as a training manager to move your internal training over to eLearning instead of the more traditional classroom based learning sessions. While you may have a number of great reasons for choosing to do this, it can sometimes be hard to convince your staff that making the switch to online learning is really the best choice.

While you may only be swapping over a small portion of your learning to eLearning, people can still be unhappy with change, and can be unsure how to approach something that they may not have used before, and therefore aren't very comfortable with.

We're going to take a look at some ways you can help your staff feel more comfortable with the switch to eLearning, so they can reap as many benefits from it as possible, and look forward to using it in the future.

Introduce the Benefits

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If you're making the move over to eLearning and getting rid of some, or all, of the more traditional classroom based sessions people are used to, some people may be worried how it is going to affect their learning. This is more than understandable, as people can be quite happy to continue in a routine and don't like when things are changed. The first step of getting people comfortable with something is to stress the benefits of it and how these benefits will directly affect them as a user. While you may have many reasons for swapping to eLearning that are beneficial to your company as a whole, such as saving money and less coordination of separate training sessions, chances are your staff won't be as bothered about these benefits as they will be about the ones which actually affect their working lives.

It may be a good idea to hold an introductory session with all your staff so you can introduce eLearning to them, as well as explaining how your company plans to use it going forward, and give them the time to ask any questions or raise any concerns they may have.

Just some of the benefits you may want to highlight to them include:

  • They will be able to learn in their own time. This means they won't need to rearrange their day to fit in training sessions, as they can complete it whenever they have the time.
  • They won't have to worry about falling behind in training if they are off sick or off on holiday, as they can easily catch up in the their own time.
  • They can complete their learning in smaller or larger chunks than they usually would, depending on what suits them and the way they learn.
  • They have the ability to go back over content they are struggling with without worrying about falling behind or holding up the rest of the class.

It's important to emphasise why moving to eLearning will make their lives easier, as well as making their learning more effective, so they can really appreciate the benefits of making the move, and see why you decided to make the decision.

Have a Troubleshooting Session

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Once you have your staff sold on the benefits of eLearning, it's time to get them started on using it. While they may be more excited about it now that they are clear how it's going to improve their learning, they may still be unsure of actually using eLearning. This could be because some people aren't as familiar with working with computers as other members of staff, while some people may feel they just prefer the classroom setting to learning on their own.

It may be a good idea to get everyone to sit down in a group for the first session so you can talk them through exactly how to do it, and again, answer any questions anyone may have as they come up. Having an introductory session like this should make everyone feel more comfortable about going off and doing it on their own at a later date, rather than just throwing everyone in at the deep end and expecting them to be able to work it all out on their own.

If possible, you'll want to have everyone set up on their own computer so that they are able to see exactly what you're talking about, and try things as they present themselves, rather than just having you present to them on how it's going to work. If this isn't possible in a face-to-face setting, as you may have too many staff or issues such as computers which cannot be moved, consider doing it online via an online conference call, with screen sharing if possible. This means people can still ask questions and see what's going on easily. You could also record these sessions so it can be used in the future as a troubleshooting guide to people who are starting to use your eLearning feature.

Make the Support Structure Clear

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Even though eLearning is designed to be completed individually and in your staffs' own time, you still need to make it clear that your training department is there for them when they need it.

First of all, you'll want to set up a clear learning plan with your staff, so they know exactly what learning they are going to complete and when they are expected to complete it. Even if the learning can be completed in their own time, you will still have a required time it needs to be done by to make sure everyone's training is up to date, and also to make sure training doesn't drag out for months with people not completing it. Even though eLearning can be seen as more relaxed form of learning, there still needs to be accountability to make sure everything gets done when they need to.

Next you need to make it clear who they have to come to if they're having a problem, whether it's the actual eLearning software, or the content of the course that is confusing them, to make sure people don't fall behind or become despondent with their learning. You may want to get people to email you as soon as they have a problem, so you can deal with it then and there, or you may want to set up something like a weekly session where people can bring their problems along and you can fix them all in one go. You will need to think about which option will work best depending on the size of your company, and how much time you have to dedicate to people who are having issues, as you may not be able to deal with things on a case by case basis.

You may also want to encourage people to set up learning groups of their own, where they can work in a group of colleagues to deal with problems that have come up. This will mean they can still interact with fellow learners, and chat through problems with a real person when they need to.

Taking people out of the classroom takes away the automatic link to the teacher who is always there to deal with problems, so it's really important to present a clear support structure to your staff so they don't feel like they're being left out on their own to fend for themselves.

Conclusion

Changing anything within your company's structure can have a huge effect on your staff, so it's important to try and make the transition as easy as possible for them. While you may be able to see the benefits of moving to eLearning straight away from a training manager's point of view, it may just seem like an unnecessary complication to other people, so it's important to make the move as smooth as possible, and really show your staff how it's going to make their day-to-day lives much easier.