Creating a staff training strategy for successful eLearning

You know what they say, “Look after your (team) and your (team) will look after you”. Employees who feel unappreciated or unrewarded will likely seek out a new employer who values them and invests in their future. You see that? Valuing and rewarding employees doesn’t end at a cheeky slap on the back and the provision of occassional perks (although they do go a long way!), it includes an investment in their future; the provision of training opportunities and a clear route to success. The rewards? They feel integrated and efficient, an asset to a company they are in tune with and a sense of accomplishment. Indeed, an employee who struggles in a role they arenʼt trained to fully engage with is likely a demotivated, anxious and underperforming one. You no likey, they no likey. But how do you manage the path to success? With a plan…

Desktop or mobile, a savvy approach to workplace elearning options will ensure organisational staff are kept up-to-date with compliance needs, are prepped in the fundamentals of health and safety legislation, first aid, leadership and management skills, customer service or business skills – the list is endless (almost). However, failure to implement a structured learning strategy involving coaching and reinforcement could leave staff disengaged, apathetic and un-motivated to complete (or even start!) their online training courses. For more information on supporting team members and processes, read my other article on just that topic. Go on, treat yourself and get prepared!

So, it’s no good simply throwing courses at team members and leaving them to it. Staff members need an elearning plan, and someone needs to take responsibility for this. If you can’t do it you could consider employing a training mentor, but if the size of those pound signs (or dollar or euro signs) make you want to run for the hills, then you could designate a senior team member to take on the role of setting and monitoring performance expectations.

So, where would you or they start? 

First, assess individual needs. Each one of your team members will have different levels of experience and knowledge in their brain boxes. So, it is an essential start to assess them on an individual basis (frankly, if you don’t see each of your team members as individuals then you might want to consider brushing up on your leadership and management skills.

Invest just a small amount of time to understand the needs and the abiliy of each team member before putting them on a particular course. A carefully matched approach to choice of course and existing knowledge, skill set and ability will be a perfect starting point. Otherwise, you could end up falling down. This is a simple one to achieve, even for those that see time as a subtle thief of productivity. It could take the form of a simple pre-training survey for each learner, a one-to-one chat or an observation of past performance. Take your pick.

Next, you need to engage your team members in their learning, make them aware of the options and let them have a say in what training they want, need or would benefit from the most. They are more likely to want to take part in additional training if they understand the importance of it and if it matches their perceived ability to achieve it. It’s fair to say that not everyone likes to have their abilities challenged and probably fairer to say that not everyone likes change, so getting your team on board from the get go is critical. Mike’s advice is to be open to questions from your team members and emphasise the benefits, for them and for the business, to ensure they feel they are an asset to the success of the business. This should motivate your team and help them engage in learning.

If you’ve managed to create a good match between your engaged learner and the additional training they are about to embark on, it would be a prudent step to also make it measurable. We’re not only talking about time frames and printing out a little certificate that they can stick to the wall, the ultimate aims of the additional training should be clear. In this case, think SMART goals:

  • Specific
  • Measureable
  • Agreed upon
  • Realistic
  • Time based

A successful elearning plan has a clear goal or set of goals, so staff members know what they are aiming for. 

At this point, I have a confession; I am quite immature. No really, it drives my wife insane! One thing I do is continually remind my significantly better half of my accomplishments. I don’t mean the important stuff either, I mean really trivial things like washing up or getting the kids out of the mess I got them into in the first place. I’ve also been known to leave perishable food out on the kitchen side for hours rather than putting it in the fridge so that I can showcase my foraged goods. Chuck in a receipt that demonstrates that I am a real bargain hunting hero and you’ve got yourself a real show! Why do I do that? Simple. I, like most other people, am motivated by validation. It’s not ‘needed’ in a sense that I would crumble and feel like a failure if I don’t get it, but, in some ways, most of us as adults are in need of some validation, reward and recognition. It’s not just for kids, it helps us remember that we are doing a good job and it just feels good! So, celebrate the success of your learners and do so at every stage. This can help maintain morale, motivation and that sense of accomplishment. These are essential ingredients for long-term training plans as otherwise the initial excitement of prospective success in a learner will wear off pretty quickly. Don’t patronise them though, my wife did that and then the only thing that got left out of the fridge was her expensive organic face pack. No amount of cosmetic products could wipe the anger off her face that day, hahahaaa!

Finally, receive feedback. This process shouldn’t be a one-way street and that “open door” policy that people insist they have really comes into play here. If you tell people you are available, make yourself available. Yes, I know the open door policy we all wish we really had can mean that you leave yourself susceptible to bombardment, but you could ensure you have room in your schedule for drop-ins or organised catch-up moments. Being genuinely open to receiving feedback from your team on the progress of their training will kick the doors wide open for honest discussion. This can make all the difference between a passive, reluctant student and someone who is actively taking part in shaping their personal development. Someone who feels empowered and positively engaged in their learning.

So, there you have it. This is in no way an exhaustive template for creating a successful training plan, but it is a good start and contains some top-tips to take into account to ensure you create an online learning plan that will succeed. If you’re taking on this task yourself, or if you’re designating an internal team member to take control of this, you may wish to consider some leadership and management training to really fortify that plan too. If you have any eLearning needs for yourself or your team members, you know where we are (we’re here, by the way) and we really do have an open door policy.


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