Friday, 26 February 2016

From the Notes of Yesteryears- 3 Effective E Learning

This post is  based on the gist of notes I had taken from an article written by John.W.Cone and Diana.G.Robinson in the August  2001 edition of the Training and Development magazine.To my mind, the significance of E learning and its possibilities are all the more today than it was in 2001.Further, some of the ideas suggested for ensuring performance change post the  E learning exercise  can be gainfully applied to the regular class room training as well.

According to the authors,  the two problems that have been noticed with increasing frequency in respect of structured learning through technology are

1) Poorly designed E learning experiences: It is the same old stuff from the instructors and guides; the change being only in the medium.
2) Insufficiant focus on the work environment system after the learning experience (for ensuring change in performance)

The following action points  have been recommended to ensure performance enhancement post training:-

(a) Even prior to designing and implementing E learning solution, ensure that the learning design supports the results. At the stage of  'need assessment', the readiness of the work environment to support the new or improved skills be considered.
(b) Assess the need for the training intervention through conversations with client managers and program participants.
(c) Meet the client manager to agree on actions that management must take to address identified barriers to skills transfers.
(d) Resist and oppose the client manager's request to provide an e learning solution when the work environment won't support skills transfer and consequently the desired results.

While preparing the E learning solution, the following need to be kept in mind:-

  • The E learning solution design is equiped to  remove or minimise the effect of work environment barriers.
  • The solution connects to existing job processes and systems, especially those, that are also E systems.
  • The system anticipates and tweaks the design to  the actual conditions of use of the learners.
  • The design provides for enabling managers to give coaching. 
Finally, some tips for follow up to ensure effectiveness of the E learning after implementation:-
  1.  Stay connected with client managers to ensure that they are taking the agreed upon actions pertaining to the work environment.
  2. Make provision for  prerequisites   and requirements for attending the course that are comparable to those for tradional programs.
  3. If the E learning solution is stand alone, develop a method to indicate to the managers that their staff has has completed the program or module. This will enable managers to meet up with their employees and discuss how to apply the learning.
  4. Monitor participants after training to determine whether they are applying what they have learnt.
  5. In case of a lack of transfer, determine the primary causes and meet with the client manager to decide on actions.
The matters discussed in the article  are  relevant for any training intervention and not necessarily only  for E learning.To that extent, an L&D manager can profit from  these ideas for effectively contributing in his role. The article  provides inputs  for applying at  various stages of the training process, with the focus being on improved performance on the job after the training.  


  1. This also gives me an answer as to why e-learning doesn't work in class rooms too! It is the same old thing, notes and lectures, in a new cloak most of the time!

  2. Glad that you could relate to this post Mridula.Who else but you can give authentic picture of the classroom situation!

    The couse corrections suggested with final outcome in mind could solve the problem to an extent...

  3. A very neat and concise piece on how E-learning should be designed and effectively implemented to have the desired results. And yes, as you rightly say Rajeev, the suggested implementation strategies in this article are relevant for any training intervention..Thanks for sharing this interesting and relevant piece.