In so many areas of life, technology has made significant contributions. But, unfortunately, technology innovations, too often, become institutionalized. And, there’s the rub.

Professional IT personnel can become very excited about the things that technology can do — and so they start stretching the technology to achieve their own satisfaction. Consequently, they can often lose sight of their technology’s goals and end up complicating the lives of the people who have to live with their creations. You see this misuse of technology in many large corporations and school systems. What used to be easy to do “the old fashioned way,” has become a labor intensive activity for the employee and the teacher. Wasted time and frustration become the results of technology-for-its-own-sake.

Similar dangers lurk in the implementation of E-Learning technology. So, you need to be ready to examine — and, re-examine — the goals of your technology-training choices.

Periodically, you should step back and objectively evaluate your E-Learning initiatives. In doing so, there are several results you should seek.

Have your enrollments increased, decreased or stayed relatively flat? Your learners are telling you something about your offerings. Word of mouth is communicating to you in a positive or negative way. People will endorse your selections if they feel that those offerings have value to their future success, and the attendant personal rewards.

Do your learners actually finish the E-Learning programs assigned? Nationally, far more than half do not. In this case the tracking results of your administrative system or LMS are making a valid assessment of the communication value of your offerings.

Are the trainees’ immediate supervisors happy or displeased with the transfer of knowledge from the classroom to the shop floor? If the E-Learning you are offering does not translate into more efficient and effective on-the-job performance that, too, is telling you something about the quality of your offerings. After all, the transfer of performance objectives in the classroom should have a direct correlation to the trainees’ performance on the shop floor. And their supervisors should be encouraged to give you feedback as they are the ones who will see a direct correlation between the training and the actual job performance.

Of course, there are other evaluation tools like cost control and time savings but if you track the above three you’re going to have a pretty good idea. If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll quickly know if your E-Learning initiative has been a success – or failure.

If it has not been a success, I would suggest that you examine the courses you are offering against the standards set by your goals. And, when you do, you will quickly discover that, mistakenly, you have placed your emphasis on technology delivery as opposed to the objectives of your training. Further, you will find that in almost all cases involving ineffective E-Learning, you will have ignored the vital importance of full-motion video and optional word-for-word audio as the foundation for your E-Learning offerings. And, that would mean you are offering training that is outside the learning culture of your workforce majority.

Regardless, in time, management will evaluate whether or not you have positively contributed to reduced expenses, increased revenues, and/or increased market share. If they find you successful that will be because you have concentrated on the goals of the learning rather than on the technology itself.

Enjoy your Labor Day weekend! More on Tuesday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder, ITC Learning (Tuesdays & Thursdays)