September 3, 2014

In so many ways, technology has made significant contributions. But, too often, those innovations can detour from their original purpose and become institutionalized. And, there’s the rub.

Often, the users of technology can become very excited about the things technology can do — and so they start misapplying the technology to enhance their own satisfaction. Consequently, they can end up complicating the lives of the people who have to live with their decisions. You see this misuse of technology in many public school systems. What used to be easy to do “the old fashioned way,” has become a labor intensive activity for the students and their teachers. Wasted time and frustration become the results of technology-for-its-own-sake.

Similar dangers lurk in the training world when it comes to the implementation of e-Learning technology. So, you need to be ready to examine — and, re-examine — the goals of your technology-training choices. In doing so, there are several answers 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. (Always remember that your trainees will endorse your selections if they feel that those offerings have value to their future success.)

Do your learners actually finish the e-Learning programs you have assigned? Nationally, far more than half do not. (The tracking results of your LMS should give you a valid assessment of the communication value of your offerings.)

Are the trainees’ immediate supervisors happy or displeased with the transfer of knowledge your trainees exhibit on 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 effectiveness of your offerings. After all, the transfer of performance objectives from 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 value of the training you offer and actual on-the-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 initiatives have been a success – or failure.

If they have not been a success, I would suggest that you examine the courses you are offering against the standards set by your organization’s goals. And, when you do, you will quickly discover that, mistakenly, you have probably placed your emphasis on the delivery technology rather than on the learning objectives of the training. (The most obvious examples for failure are converted PowerPoint adaptations as well as repurposed written procedures.)

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 that your training efforts have been successful it will be because you have concentrated on the goals of the learning (better on-the-job performance) rather than on the technology itself.

More on Monday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, co-Founder, ITC Learning (Mondays & Wednesdays)