It is a misconception that the primary reason your workers aren’t responding to e-learning opportunities is because they are resistant to change. That may be true in some cases, but the overwhelming reason is they don’t feel they have the time.
One of the most comprehensive studies into employee e-learning activity and outcomes conducted by Kenneth Brown at the University of Iowa determined that a heavy workload put off more employees than any other factor.
“The results for workload suggest what could be called an e-learning paradox: employees with the greatest workload, who are likely to need training to improve their efficiency, were least likely to spend time learning. Thus, those who needed the training most were the least likely to actually do it,” wrote Brown.
A second factor is that while certain employees can handle basic skills on the computer, they feel inadequate at the very idea of e-learning. It seems complicated and they believe that they are not capable of using the technology necessary to engage in e-learning.
As a result, rather than risk failure, they avoid volunteering for available training or learning opportunities.
How do employers meet these challenges and create a climate that welcomes e-learning?
Here are five strategies to get your employees interested and excited about e-learning:
- Do what Dow did. Dow Chemical, one of the first companies to embrace e-learning as a training and educational vehicle for their employees, went out of its way to help employees create time to learn at work. They had a series of signs the workers could hang on their doors when they were taking their courses with messages like “Cybersurfing for Skills” and “Learning in Progress.” Since then, some companies create e-learning centers within their facilities where employees can study free from distraction.
- Invite participation rather than forcing it. Use in-house marketing ideas to encourage employees to sign up for e-learning. Ensure that part of your marketing message is that if one-on-one computer assistance is needed for the employee to get started, it will be available for them in private sessions.
- Leaders need to walk the walk. It is difficult for a manager to motivate his or her employees to engage in e-learning if they are still asking their assistant to print off all their e-mails for them because they haven’t really mastered the computer.
- Ensure that the educational material is interesting. Researchers have found that e-learning programs that have an interesting beginning and are presented in shorts contained components that an employee can master within a fairly short amount of time, and then following that with another similar package, is more effective than presenting a 10 or 12 package program all rolled into one.
- Make sure that the relevance of the training is made clear to employees. The biggest question you need to answer to overcome employee objectives to further e-learning is “why should I do this?”