Professional dilemmas

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Q
Is an e-learning pilot a good idea before full-blown implementation or can it
take you down a road that may not be suitable for all of your e-learning needs?

A
There is no right or wrong answer to this question as every organisation has
different needs. Any successful e-learning implementation requires buy-in at
the highest level in line with a clearly defined strategy. However, positive
feedback from in-house e-learners is often the catalyst for additional funds or
the creation of a wider range of e-learning materials.

JCB,
for example, felt the best way to gain buy-in from its global dealer network
for a move away from classroom training to e-learning delivery was to produce a
short pilot programme. Each dealer was invited to participate and provide
feedback to shape the potential implementation. This was vital in convincing
the JCB board that e-learning should be an intrinsic part of its dealer
development strategy.

Once
a strategy has been defined we recommend some key messages for pilot
implementations:


Adopt a ‘go and grow’ approach – don’t let individual projects get out of hand
or suffer from ‘scope creep’.


Catch the wave – ensure enthusiasm for early initiatives is maintained by
feeding a range of new courses to learners.


Encourage learner feedback – listen to e-learners and use their feedback to
dictate future content purchases or creation.


Focusing on the needs of the learners and the business, rather than the
technology and the size of the content library, is already providing benefits
for many UK companies.

What
many of these approaches had in common were detailed discussions about
precisely what would follow while the pilot was being commissioned and
produced.

While
there is a fine line between a genuine pilot and committing to an unproven
strategy, beware the "is that it?" response. E-learning programmes
can take time to produce so it is important the pilot plays a defined role in
the implementation strategy and that it is not seen as an isolated project from
the main programme.

Response
provided by Robin Hoyle, ebc’s chief learning architect at www.ebc.co.uk

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