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What I've Learned from Consulting With eLearning

Sep 3, 2008
Having been involved in learning and development for many years, mid-last year, I took a step into the world of eLearning. I'd had some experience prior to this, but hadn't previously been involved in consulting to clients interested in eLearning.

After joining an eLearning company, I gallantly took on my first couple of clients when the opportunities presented themselves.

So, what have I learned so far?

A large part of the consulting process with clients is managing their expectations of what eLearning can and cannot do, and helping them understand how it can be best applied in their organisation. Often, part of this is managing their expectations around what value they get for their money. There are always clients that want the 'sports car' solution for the 'family car' budget. The circle just doesn't fit the square hole!

I've learned that clients tend to hold eLearning on a pedestal and see it as something that may revolutionise their training, or, they look to it without applying some basic Learning & Development principles. If you're not dealing with Learning & Development folk, then it's back to basics.

To get the ball rolling...apply these three simple steps:

1. What are the knowledge and skills that need to be learned - your learning outcomes?
2. What is the most effective learning method for each learning outcome - demonstration, reading, listening, performing a task?
3. What is the best delivery medium for each learning outcome - eLearning, face-to-face, self-paced workbook?

A client wanted to migrate its member database system training from classroom training to eLearning. Using the simple 3-step process, we mapped out the following sample learning outcomes:

Learning outcomes: Overview of the member database
Most effective learning method: Reading, listening
Best delivery method: Face-to-face, eLearning

Learning outcomes: Look up member details in the member database
Most effective learning method: Explanation, demonstration, simulation
Best delivery method: Face-to-face, eLearning

Learning outcomes: Look up account balance
Most effective learning method: Explanation, demonstration, simulation
Best delivery method: Face-to-face, eLearning

Having established the possible delivery methods, a number of other factors now come into play. To name a few:

* are the learners all in one location or multi-locations?
* how many learners are there?
* are there any diversity issues to consider (learning disabilities)?
* can learners do training at the same time?

In our example, the learners are shift workers dispersed across Australia, making face-to-face training the least effective method of delivery. With a large workforce, eLearning was deemed to be the best solution. Also, this training will be used for all new starters as part of their induction.

So when consulting with clients to develop eLearning, it's important to keep in mind and remind clients that it is just one delivery medium and you still have to apply the basic L&D principles we've outlined here.

From here, you can begin to explore the many ways that eLearning can help meet the client's desired learning outcomes and ultimately produce highly skilled, productive employees.
About the Author
Aframe provides comprehensive eLearning, learning content development, compliance training, and learning management system solutions across Asia Pacific.
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