Part I: Ask These Questions Before Launching an Elearning Program

Posted By: Katie Strand, Client Success Manager, Tooling U-SME on January 21, 2020

Part I: Ask These Questions Before Launching an Elearning

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 investment.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 incentive.
  5. 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 department-specific knowledge? 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.

Tags: "career progression", elearning, manufacturing, OJT, onboarding, online, "on-the-job training", "Tooling U-SME", training, workforce