Are you wondering if your organization is ready for e-learning? Often times, HR and Training Managers are given the mandate of implementing e-learning without a proper understanding and preparation for setting the organization for success. Even more demanding is the instance where e-learning is introduced in a haste – aggressive deadlines that are requested from the top down. It is tempting to act immediately – to purchase an LMS, some off-the-shelve online courses, and to put a training team together. However, buying an LMS or any e-learning software right-off-the-bat is like getting in a car without getting a sense of where you are, what terrains you will encounter, and how well your driving skill is – or indeed if you can drive at all! Ideally, you would have a solid understanding of where your organization currently stand and where are the gaps you need to fill before setting a direction for your e-learning journey.
Based on our experience, we put together a list of step-by-step tasks you need to tackle to assess your e-learning readiness:
- Conduct a content inventory – a content inventory will help you take stock on the current online and face-to-face course offering in various departments across the organization. In order to do that, you need to:
- Map out all the current content
- Create a content roadmap
- Determine who owns and update the content roadmap
- Evaluate the effectiveness of current content
- Evaluate the needs and attitudes of your learners – It is vital that your target users will have the appropriate skills (both technical and online study skills), a positive attitude towards e-learning, and to be included as part of the change management tactic. You need to evaluate:
- Learners’ attitudes about e-learning
- Motivation factors around getting trained
- Hardware and software on devices your learners typically use
- Learners’ experience and comfort levels with computers and using computer for learning purpose
- Topics of interests and needs in digital format
- Review training team skill gaps – if you already have an in-house training team, it is time to assess their skill level and to provide support accordingly. You need to find out your training team’s:
- Interest and skill level in e-learning design and development work – so that you can determine whether to hire new people to bridge the knowledge gap or to develop your existing staff on new e-learning skills
- Current and projected workload – do they have the capacity to take on more work/different work? If no, what takes priority? How can you redistribute the workload?
- Gauge the level of technological resources – e-learning is technology dependent and you must get an overview of what technological infrastructure and support are currently available for your endeavor. You need to understand:
- The current IT infrastructure – what is available to use for online content repository? Are there any bandwidth limitation?
- Who owns all the electronic devices? How are they maintained and how often do they get replaced? Does your organization have a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy?
- Help desk capacity and knowledge
- Talk about money – like it or not, implementing e-learning costs money. You need to assess the availability of financial resources before you can decide on what to invest. You need to know:
- What is the overall budget and how much of that is available now and how much is available gradually over the next three year?
- What is the cost of training (both front end learners and back end administrators and instructors)?
- What is the cost of change management?
It might seem like a lot of work to conduct an e-learning readiness assessment at the beginning, it will be well worth your time. With a proper orientation and understanding of resources at your disposal, it sets the foundation in which you can build upon your e-learning strategy, tools, courses, and all the associated technologies for a successful implementation.