Sunday, July 4, 2010

Possible hindrances to user adoption of e-learning courses

Why do many organizations fail to enthuse their learners about their e-learning drive? What are some of the possible reasons for a low adoption rate? Is it only the e-learning design or lack thereof?

What organizations treading the path of e-learning or introducing anything new need to understand is that:

~The implementation is only the beginning
~The culture of the organization should actively support and drive post-implementation adoption
~Users/learners should perceive themselves as being appreciated and recognized for adapting to a new method

Applying these to the adoption of e-learning in an organization:

Mistakes that many organizations tend to make that get in the way of user adoption are:

1. Managers responsible for team productivity and performance define the learning objectives and ask a vendor to create an e-learning course failing to take the opinion of end users (what the managers perceive as difficulties may not be the real/root cause for productivity or quality failures)
2. Insist on "jazz" which if not aligned/required for the end learning can distract and confuse users (Refer to: Could animations hurt learning? from http://blog.cathy-moore.com/2009/06/could-animations-hurt-learning/)
3. Feel that transferring a ppt into flash is all about e-learning (putting "lipstick on a pig" effect takes place...Refer to: How to avoid putting lipstick on a pig from http://blog.cathy-moore.com/2008/02/how-to-avoid-putting-lipstick-o...)
4. Think of the implementation of an e-learning program as the end of their responsibility, a task to be ticked off on their list for that quarter (the course is out there, learners will go through and performance will improve)
5. Unwillingness to go the whole way and invest in a course that can be made truly effective; the incentive for an e-learning course, from an org's perspective, is often to cut down on training cost and the hassles of coordination rather than learning efficiency

All of these points lead to the creation of a training program and an atmosphere that is not conducive to adoption.

Mistakes that most vendors make that get in the way of user adoption are:

1. Accepting the brief from an organization's representatives and creating a course that they want but not necessarily what they need
2. Failing to do a thorough "Learning Needs Assessment" and thus barking up the wrong tree
3. Failing to carry out UAT because "implementation is not our problem; it's up to the organization to do what they want with the course"
4. Thinking that "jazz" can make up for sound instructional strategies and design
5. Not bothering to help the organization with suggestions on adoption (often, for an organization walking the path of e-learning may be a new measure with no set path to tread; a vendor/consultant/learning solutions designer, in such cases, need to suggest means of inspiring and driving user adoption...

Look out for some thoughts on helping organizations drive adoption in the next post...

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