We want to create 2 non-mandatory e-learning courses to train staff in a new HR procedure. The e-learning will be tracked on the LMS, because one day we may want to reference the historical completion data. What do you think about this approach?
Mandatory e-learning implies staff must complete it or there will be consequences. Non-mandatory e-learning is different. Whether or not staff access and complete non-mandatory e-learning is dependent upon the 'imperative' staff feel to do so. The perceived benefit of completing non-mandatory e-learning must be greater than the effort required to log into the LMS, locate the course, tolerate the quality, complete it and actually think about and learn from it. This all has to happen within the context of busy working lives.
Factors that determine the adoption of non-mandatory e-learning include:
- The perception of the LMS in your organisation. Does your LMS currently hold non-mandatory e-learning? If so, how well are these courses being accessed and used? Is your LMS thought of as a useful resource for learning, or a place to go to to complete boring compliance e-learning?
Your answer to these questions will help you decide whether the e-learning in question really belongs on the LMS.
- The perception of e-learning in your organisation. Is the e-learning you currently offer renown for it's quality? Do staff feel as though they have learnt something when they complete your e-learning? Or is your e-learning perceived to be boring and a waste of time?
Your answer to these questions will help you decide whether e-learning courseware really is the best approach for your content.
- The resources available to communicate the e-learning exists. This relates back to building the 'imperative' to access and complete the e-learning. The communication that the e-learning exists and is useful needs to be embedded in as many touch points relating to the topic as possible. And, the communication needs to be sustained long-term or the fact the e-learning exists will be quickly forgotten.
- The accessibility of your LMS. This relates back to the perceived effort required to access the LMS. How close is the LMS to staff workflow? How many clicks does it take to get to the start of the course? Does your LMS enable 'deep linking', meaning staff can simply click on a link in an email and be taken straight to the course.
- The perceived value of completion being captured in the training record of individuals. This is about reward, and links back to communication. What is the advantage of having the completion captured in staff profiles? You need to be answer this with conviction, or arguably you shouldn't be using the LMS.
- The learning self-directedness and self-governance of your staff. This is about staff readiness to be independent learners, which is a skill requirement to learn from e-learning courseware.
Whether or not the e-learning is going to be mandatory will inform your instructional design of the course right at the start. I'll write about this in the next blog post.
There are other learning design options to consider if your course is not mandatory. For example, refer to my earlier blog post: E-Learning via LMS or Video for HR Policy Roll-out