The intention of an e-learning strategy is generally to advance the efficiency and effectiveness of organisational learning. However, there are other less obvious advantages of an e-learning strategy that may not be thought about at first. If you keep these other advantages in mind, you can integrate your strategy more holistically and use them as a measurement of strategy success.
Here are seven other advantages of an e-learning strategy that I’ve come across. Please feel free to make a comment and share others you have seen:
- Greater utilisation of the organisation’s existing technologies. Examples include web conferencing or webinar, forums, instant messaging and blogs. Often IT have technologies available as part of the enterprise licencing agreement with, say, Microsoft. However, the technologies may not have been well adopted. Integrating these technologies into a learning strategy can help the technologies be adopted into other parts of the business.
Example: Using webinar for frontline leadership can expose managers to the advantages of webinar for other operational uses.
- Advancing technology use ‘best practice’. Often learning practitioners will bring creative elements or new requirements for a learning design that stretches the technology beyond the organisation’s current use.
Example: The organisations “ad hoc” use of a wiki can be improved by the thoughtful design of the wiki as part of a blended learning program.
- New opportunities for learning and knowledge sharing. As learners of an online program become more comfortable sharing their thoughts and experiences on discussion forums, they also become more familiar with the principles of online knowledge sharing. It’s a great idea for learning and development teams to integrate their strategy and sometimes their learning activities with knowledge management.
Example: An online Community of Practice for client engagement skills doesn’t need to finish at the end of the learning program. Open the online space to the rest of the organisation and ‘democratise’ the content usually only given out to attendees. Monitor the adoption of language and knowledge across the business.
- Staff skills development of existing technologies. For example, some time ago I developed a video on how to create a podcast using organisation-issue hardware. This enabled staff to develop new skills in producing and sharing content – and it didn’t cost a cent.
- Employees as content creators. With similarities to points 3 and 4 above, this is about developing staff habit of creating content that is more accessible and usable than large documentation. Providing employees with the opportunity to develop content for sharing helps develop skills in instructional design, and encourages a culture of (dare I say) altruism.
- Continuous learning how to learn. Some time ago a colleague argued whether organisations can morally continue to ignore implementing learning technologies. To continue to provide only classroom learning is denying staff’the opportunity to learn how to learn in this rapidly evolving technology environment.
- Organisation experience in social media. Although the intent of social media for learning is different to, say, marketing, the very introduction and experience of social media for learning can help inform other parts of the business. Some of the principles of social media are the same; whether it be learning, marketing or recruitment – principles of transparency, accountability, reputation, recognition and response.
So, there you have it. Seven secondary advantages of an e-learning strategy. Feel free to add more in the comments. Thank you.