“You should really try out our eLearning,” enthused the training manager. “It has everything you need to know about how to use the new recordkeeping system in the one place.”
“So how do I access it?” I enquired. “I’ll send you the link” she replied, “It’s been buried in the intranet. You’ll never find it yourself.”
“Ok thanks, I look forward to using it. As I said, I am a little bit confused with how to use this recordkeeping system and what I should be saving in it.”
Let’s leap forward a week; when I run into the training manager again.
“What did you think of the eLearning? Did it help you get over your confusion about the recordkeeping system?” she enquired. “Well, no, not really” I replied. “The topics were so slow to load when I first went online that I thought I had a problem with my browser and refreshed it a couple of times before I realised that they were just very slow. That was frustrating, and there were a couple that took more than two minutes. So I gave up on those.”
“Yeah some of them are pretty big files. We’ll have to fix it when we revise the design” came the somewhat less than helpful reply.
“What about the content though?” she pressed.
“Well, I really need to understand what documents I need to keep and how all this new titling and naming works. I couldn’t find any of that in there.” “Oh you wanted recordkeeping information about the BCS and Titling. You would have to go to the records team for that. The eLearning only covers the software. We didn’t want to confuse people.” I felt more confused now. Who was responsible for what? I made another point. “On the topics I did do, I couldn’t control the speed of the training. There were times I didn’t catch what was being said or have a good look at the record form and I wanted to slow the training down but I couldn’t. The only way I finally understood what was going on was to replay the module several times which took ages and was very frustrating.”
“I’m also really keen to use the Actions feature but that topic just went over my head. At first it seemed easy enough, but then it went on into using really tricky stuff that only people with special permissions can do. I’m really confused about what I can do with it.”
“Wow” she said, looking little crestfallen from my comments. “I hadn’t had this feedback before. Actually I haven’t spoken to anyone who has actually done it.”
“Well, I talked to my colleagues and my boss and they hadn’t done it. My understanding is that no-one actually has to do this training. It’s voluntary.”
“That’s correct” she said with more confidence in her voice as though she was on firmer ground now. “We decided not to use the big stick approach. We think that looks negative for a system no-one’s very enthusiastic about using anyway.”
“So how do you expect to change people’s behaviours and get people using the recordkeeping system using this eLearning? I’ve done some in the past that’s been great, but this has got so many holes in it.”
“Well, the eLearning isn’t really my responsibility. I’ll pass your message on” was all I got in reply as the training manager slunk away.
Anything sound familiar? Unfortunately, this scenario is not uncommon. EDRMS Project managers and Record managers have recognised that eLearning has the potential to reduce the delivery costs of large rollouts to a geographically dispersed workforce. But they miss recognising and applying the content and delivery elements that actually ensure the eLearning is used to both learn technical skills and transform behaviours.
1. The starting point for good eLearning is the technology. It must be easy to load and navigate. Delivering eLearning which is slow to load, or has broken links turns people off before they start to see the content. This is true of course for any eLearning not just EDRMS eLearning.
2. It is essential eLearning is self-paced to allow different users to learn at the speed which is comfortable for them. eLearning in this sense is an improvement on instructor lead learning for technical systems like EDRMS. Self-paced training lets Users control the pace at which they digest learning of foreign concepts and what really is a whole new language. In addition, it must of course be interesting and not as we have seen in some organisations, a glorified click and view set of PowerPoint slides.
3. eLearning must be accessible. It must not be buried deep in the intranet where only those in the know can find it. It must be promoted both in terms of its availability and in terms of the necessity of its completion.
4. It is important for people to be rewarded for completing the training. The rewards do not need to be costly. A simple “I see you have completed your EDRMS training, well done” is sufficient. In rollouts, competitive incentive programs for business units can be introduced. It is important to the reward that can be supported and sustained by your organisation. There must be a process in place for enrolling and monitoring the training. Access to the software can be integrated with completion of the training.
5. Each business unit must have one or more individuals given personal responsibility within the process to encourage completion and provide support. Ideally that person will have been nominated as a Records Champion (e.g. Super User, Power User) in the rollout project, and have additional training to empower them in managing the responsibility.
6. There must be a process in place to monitor outcomes and quality for continuous improvement. This may be done by using survey software to test knowledge and skills or providing buddies to observe. It is important to understand whether any gaps in capability are related to the eLearning or other personal attributes of the user such as willingness or other office environmental factors before reviewing the eLearning. It’s easy to blame the eLearning and make changes, when in reality other factors are affecting transfer of learning to performance.
7. Insecurity about using eLearning or the hangover of past poor experiences must not be ignored. A communications campaign that inspires confidence in the training and the training process is necessary to explain how the eLearning will be successful. The communications campaign must reach all stakeholders and be designed to ensure they are fully supportive of the program. The cost and time benefits of using eLearning as part of your blended training model in a large scale or geographically dispersed EDRMS rollout are too great to not spend significant time reviewing how it can be used in your organisation. Well-designed eLearning plays a valuable part in the overall strategy of changing people’s behaviours, implementing good recordkeeping processes and learning new software.
Thinking About How
Determining how to utilise eLearning in your organisation is as important as the technology and the instructional design.
Outlined below are three different approaches to blended learning. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Each of them utilises the concept of Record Champions (Super Users, Power Users) in business units who receive comprehensive training on recordkeeping concepts and deeper training on the software, plus are skilled to support their Standard Users.
APPROACH 1 – Traditional model moving to future eLearning
Face to face training is used for the bulk of training during the rollout with eLearning used to introduce select topics. This provides the opportunity for people to become familiar and confident with the eLearning.
Business-as-usual training for new employees is moved to full eLearning as soon as each business unit is trained. As additional functionality or business processes change they are introduced to the users via eLearning.
This approach has the advantages of introducing an inexpensive, sustainable program for the future that is resilient to variable training skills within the organisation. The real cost savings in rollout will be minimal, but the ROI over the longer term will be significant.
APPROACH 2 – Full eLearning
Record Champions are provided with a comprehensive face-to-face training program as described above. This includes training on managing delivery of eLearning to standard users. Standard users are provided with full Recordkeeping and EDRMS training via eLearning. This approach requires rewards to incentivise the Champions to take responsibility for monitoring the eLearning of the standard users and for supporting/encouraging business units tardy in completing the training. The investment in Champions is higher than traditional training programs but is instrumental in successful implementation.
Face to face training is provided for people who do not participate in eLearning for a variety of genuine reasons. Generally this may be about 10% of people who cannot or are unable to learn by eLearning. Business-as-usual training for new employees is also delivered by full eLearning. The main advantage of this approach is the cost savings in delivery and travel costs, equality of training across the organisation and sustainability of training.
The challenge is that it needs superior planning and a large investment in supporting Champions (time and change management) and requires a strong change management program. To take this approach would require evidence by way of training needs analysis that it was not high risk in the existing culture.
APPROACH 3 – Half and Half
Record Champions are established with face to face training. Standard Users receive Face-to-face training in Metropolitan and large Regional centres where travel cost is minimal. Regional and remote areas, where participant numbers are low and travel/travel time costs are high receive eLearning, supported by Champions.
Business-as-usual training for new employees is moved to full eLearning as soon as each business unit is trained.
This approach has the advantages of significant cost savings in delivery and travel costs into regional and remote areas. Rollout time is reduced significantly and training timetables for all people who may work in the same business unit, but are dispersed can be easily aligned. This is a sustainable approach over a long period of time.
It has the disadvantage that regional staff may perceive they are poor cousins. A strong and appropriate change program with significant perceived rewards will need to be delivered. Regional sites will have challenges around having Champions in place as some sites may be very small, and a special records help desk/webinar program will be required.
To reap the rewards of eLearning, each of the above approaches requires support of learners in three dimensions:
- Support of Champions and standard users to improve their familiarity with and confidence in eLearning as a learning method. Champions additionally need to be able to distinguish if problems they are made aware of are people problems, technology problems or design problems and react accordingly
- Support of Champions to manage and encourage changes in behaviours and attitudes of standard users. There needs to be a strong sustained support program for the Champions.
- Support through the design of a structured learning/change process ensuring that:
- Manager/TRIM Champion knows/nominates person to do eLearning and time is provided to do eLearning
- A deadline is provided for completion
- Completion is checked by the Champion
- The Champion visits the standard user to check:
- Basic skills of creating, editing and searching using a simple check sheet
- Explains individual role expectations in using EDRMS using a templated form to be filled out for each role
- Sets up Favourite folders, etc.
- Provides additional support access – such as a support access map, quick guides, printed manual.
eLearning is a genuine and valuable element in the training and change management mix for an EDRMS rollout. It requires thinking and planning to determine what its role is in the mix of training mediums. It also requires monitoring and management to ensure it delivers what it is designed to in the overall training and change strategy.
© 2011 Change Factory and Linked Training