Part I: Ask These Questions Before Launching an Elearning Program
Katie Strand, Client Success Manager, Tooling U-SME on
January 21, 2020
Leadership has green-lighted a new elearning program, and you are
excited to roll it out. You smile thinking about the productivity gains
which will lead to cost savings. You know offering this training
benefit will motivate your teams and build loyalty.
Yes. All of this. If you take the time upfront to ask the right
questions. Training programs can underperform because they lack a
strategic rollout. The criteria for success have not been defined
upfront. And, poor communication about the value of the training robs
workers of motivation versus creating it.
We always ask our customers to make the most of their training
investment, by taking a breath and asking a series of questions before
implementation. To cover all the questions, we will share a two-part
blog series on this topic.
Here are the first five (of nine) questions to ask:
- What is the purpose of the training? Consider your
corporate goals — where are the opportunities and challenges? For
instance, you may want your program to reduce scrap or on-the-job
training (OJT) time. Maybe you want to ensure baseline knowledge or
validate knowledge transfer. Your curriculum should match your needs.
Make sure to monitor progress performance against your program goals.
Have you identified your training champion? At the
beginning of the process, it is essential to establish roles and
responsibilities for your team. Who is the main stakeholder or
administrator? This may be a contact within the Human Resources
department or a supervisor. This training champion oversees the
elearning program and helps determine who schedules opportunities for
learners to go off the floor if applicable, who is in charge of
remediation if a learner is struggling, and who handles reporting and
other important issues that may come up. Typically, this is also the
person who updates senior management on the program’s return on
Is the training for new employees or incumbent workers?
Training is essential for both new and existing employees – but each group
has different needs. New employees need to have a strong onboarding process
to evaluate skills and knowledge and ensure each has a firm command of the
basics. Whether the training is part of an existing onboarding program or a
newly implemented one, a company should consider how the online training
classes can accelerate the process of getting new workers to the shop floor
as well as determine how the classes will be tracked. Incumbent employees
should have a structured approach to learning, based on job role and
competencies, tied to career progressions.
Mandatory or voluntary? Some companies require a
certain amount of training per person per week, month or year. This
mandatory learning is tied to career progression and evaluated when it
comes time for reviews, bonuses, and raises. In some companies, however,
training is offered as an added benefit for employees but is not
compulsory. While it works for those who are extremely self-motivated, we
find that there is a low success rate for voluntary programs. There are
cases where companies have standards that require an employee to complete a
set of classes before applying for an open position, which does creates
Will the training be used as a tool for professional development and a
career path for the employees, or will it be used for core or
The best elearning programs align with career pathways for all roles so a
company builds capability from within. This is a cost-effective approach
and leads to strong employee engagement. It builds in performance
improvement, too. Measurement tools can validate learning success and
uncover gaps. Within that framework, sometimes a manufacturer will conduct
core training to bring all employees to the same base knowledge level
(i.e., safety training) or to develop department specific knowledge (i.e.,
tool and die training).
These are the first five of our nine key questions. Check back for Part II,
which will be posted shortly.
In the meantime, you may need internal discussion to answer this first
batch of questions. Thinking about them in advance will help ensure your
elearning program succeeds. Reach out to us at 866.706.8665 if you have questions or
feedback. We’d love to hear from you.
"career progression", elearning, manufacturing, OJT, onboarding, online, "on-the-job training", "Tooling U-SME", training, workforce