first_img Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Whether you have already invested in online training or are stillconsidering dipping a corporate toe in the water, assess your readiness withthis self-test.US e-learning guru Darin E Hartley has taken the UK by storm with his recentconference appearances, writes Stephanie Sparrow. One of his strengths ishelping organisations assess whether they are prepared to make the financialand cultural commitments to e-learning. Texas-based Hartley has agreed to sharewith Training Magazine readers his readiness assessment tool with the followingextracts. Many organisations are being driven by their leadership and sometimes publicsentiment to make greater use of technology to enable learning, writes Darin EHartley. Granted, there were some technology-enabled flops and there willcontinue to be e-learning snake-oil salesmen, but using e-learning is a naturalevolution of training as organisations get smaller but produce more productsand services. Often, the issue is not that the e-learning isn’t any good. It is that theorganisation is seeking out e-learning before it is ready to implement it. Thisis like climbing Mount Everest without the proper equipment, guides, andpreparation – the trek up the mountain in such conditions could be fatal. The same can be said for e-learning implementations that are not done withappropriate readiness. If your organisation is not ready for e-learning,something will go wrong when you implement it. Readiness is a very fundamental issue that every organisation should addressbefore undertaking an e-learning initiative. If your organisation is not readyfor e-learning, and you attempt to implement it, you could have problems withinitial delivery, maintenance, or subsequent engagement of your learningpopulation with the new methodology. Additionally, your company might bespending thousands of pounds on its e-learning offering, so it behooves thetraining organisation to make sure the company is ready to learn this way. Why are some organisations not ready for e-learning? There are a variety ofreasons. There might be organisational culture, instructor readiness,business/fiscal readiness, or other resistance to this new initiative. Any oneof these or a combination of these attributes that do not support e-learningreadiness must be heeded. Specific areas organisations should investigate, which are a part of theeOA-Assessor (E-Learning Organisational Aptitude Assessor) from Learn2now.com,include: – Organisational culture – Technological infrastructure – Instructor developer readiness – Support/maintenance structure – Business/fiscal readiness – Delivery methodologies. These are broken down in more detail with some of the sample questions thatshould be asked. 1 Organisational culture Why is organisational culture important in readiness? If an organisation hasan organisational culture that is still primarily communicating face-to-face orby telephone, has an older work force, has limited access to the internet, andstill offers most of its training in the classroom, there is a great chancethat the organisation’s culture will not support the use of e-learning. Forexample, since much of the e-learning offered today is on the internet, limitedaccess to the Internet affects an organisation’s readiness to learn. Here are some sample questions from this portion of the survey: All employees have equal access to the internet? – Yes – No What percentage of the current training is instructor-led orclassroom-based? – 81 per cent to 100 per cent – 41 per cent to 80 per cent – 11 per cent to 40 per cent – Less than or equal to 10 per cent – 0 per cent The company is primarily made up of knowledge workers? – Yes – No 2 Technological infrastructure Do you have a corporate intranet? – Yes – No Who has access to PCs? Managers/executives only Select individual contributors and all managers – Most employees – All employees 3 Instructor/developer readiness If you are going to implement e-learning in your organisation, and all thatyour instructors and developers know is the classroom and lectures, there willbe problems when you try to implement e-learning. What experience do the current training/learning staff have in e-learningsolutions? – None – Limited – Average – Expert Trainers and developers prefer developing and delivering content themselves?– Prefer in-house development – Prefer external development 4 Support/maintenance structure There is a common fallacy in the training world that says once e-learning isin place, the work is done. Since instructors don’t teach e-learning classes,when e-learning is implemented the work is done. This is false. Just as aclassroom course that never gets updated once developed, e-learning coursesthat are not maintained and improved become stagnant and lose theireffectiveness. Here are some sample questions from this section of the survey. How will courseware and other e-learning solutions be kept fresh after theyare implemented? – Scheduled maintenance – Technology-enabled reminders – Outsourced support What kind of IT resources are available? – There is no IT support – There is limited IT support – There is contract support available – There is a large IT support group 5 Business/fiscal readiness If there is no financial or business leadership support of a new e-learninginitiative, then it will surely not survive. It is difficult to have e-learninginitiatives be truly successful without sound financial backing and the supportof a leader in the business organisation. Here are some sample questions fromthis part of the survey. What is the primary business reason for migrating to e-learning? – Efficiency – Cost effectiveness – Ease of distribution – Competitive response Does senior level management support use of the internet for daily businessactivities? – No – Yes 6 Delivery methodologies How is most training delivered in your organisation? – Classroom – Informal on-the-job training – Self-study or correspondence – CBT or other alternative methods – Web-based ConclusionsWe are trying to determine how an organisation meshes with the use ofe-learning. From the questions you can see how responding to such questions canprovide input to an organisation’s readiness. How is the eOA Assesor survey administered? It is given to a cross-sectionof the organisation and ideally, thousands of employees will respond. Theresults are collated to give the organization an idea of when it would be readyfor e-learning. It is important to get a good cross section of the organisationsurveyed to increase the accuracy of the data. The survey is normally openedfor a one- to two-week period to allow for maximum participation in the groupand to account for absences. Once the survey is completed, the results are used to create a ReadinessQuotient (RQ). There are three ranges: 37-59: in this range the organisation has the most work to get readyfor e-learning. There could be cultural, instructor, business/fiscal, deliverymethodology, or other issues that make implementation of e-learning risky atthis time without interventions into specific areas. 60-82: here the organisation is nearly ready to implement e-learning.There may be some area of readiness, for example instructor readiness, that ifimproved could move the organisation into the ready to implement e-learningrange. There might be one area that can be remedied quickly and make e-learningimplementation smoother. 83-106: here, the organisation is most likely ready to implemente-learning. In addition to a score, a full report is given. Even if an organisationscores in the lowest range, it does not mean that it will never be able to usee-learning. The eOA Assessor is designed to point out the areas an organisationshould concentrate on as it moves towards e-learning. The survey points out theareas of weakness so the necessary developments can be made. For example, if anorganisation scores extremely low on instructor/developer readiness, then itcan offer training and development opportunities on e-learning to its staff,outsource necessary support, or hire e-learning specialists to help overcomethese deficiencies. The survey is, hopefully, quick to complete and the results can be readilycompiled and offer a strategic direction for an organisation to pursue. Withoutsuch an assessment, many organisations will take a hit-and-miss approach toe-learning implementation, which will ultimately result in disillusionment andfailure of the e-learning programme. The key here is that even negative resultscan be used to improve an organisation’s readiness for e-learning. E-learning is sweeping the world. It is imperative that organisations ensurethey are ready to implement it before trying to use it in-house. About the authorDaren.E.Hartley, M.E.d, ([email protected]),is the author of three books including Selling E-Learning (ASTD Press, 2001)and On-Demand Learning: Training in the New Millennium (HRD Press, 2000). Are you ready for e-learning?On 1 Jun 2002 in Personnel Todaylast_img

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