Professional dilemmas

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Q  We have invested
significant amounts into an e-learning system, but are having trouble
motivating people to use it.

A  The best advice I can give
you is based upon our experience. When the programme is introduced, it’s worth
having an official "launch" which is communicated throughout the
organisation so that everyone knows about it. Make sure you have senior management
and line management buy-in and get them visibly involved in promoting
e-learning as an effective way to learn.

We have found one of the best ways to encourage staff to use the system is
to invite them to a hands-on session in small groups where they can try out
some of the courses.

E-learning can be quite daunting, and employees have to feel comfortable
with it. Small sessions also allow staff to ask questions. It’s important that
they understand what e-learning can do for them and how it can develop their

One of our customers implemented their programme in this way and found that
once the staff had tried some of the modules, they couldn’t wait to get back to
their desks to complete the full course and enhance their knowledge. The programme
was particularly successful because the customer had taken our generic content
and portal and customised it so that it had the look and feel of their
organisation. The result was a bespoke e-learning environment.

The company also allowed staff to create personalised plans. This is crucial
if they are to continue with the learning after all the hype of the launch.

Finally, you must be sure that the courses you offer meet the development
needs of your staff. Make sure you have sufficient depth and breadth to
accommodate all levels of knowledge. What might be appropriate for one group
will not necessarily suit another. And make sure that the content is
interesting and has frequent interactivity to keep the learner engaged. Look
for role plays, case studies, assessments and appealing graphics.

At the same time, make sure the content has been specifically designed for
Web-based delivery from the start.

Response provided by Kevin Young, managing director of Skillsoft,

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