Thursday, 26 July 2012

Where do I start?

In today's environment everyone but everyone does this elearning thing right? I mean there can't possibly still be organizations using purely face to face (f2f) training or paper based distance learning can there? Surely everyone not only has elearning but they also have the right systems to run it on too, right? If this was a Likert Scale I would probably be on the Strongly Disagree button right now! Whilst there are plenty of organizations successfully running blended learning systems on their LMS, there are plenty at various stages of development and a huge number still not yet embarked on the journey at all.

Working in New Zealand; you may have assumed that this was just a local issue with an agrarian culture that's way behind the rest of the World, but you'd be far from correct. I deal predominantly with NZ and Australian organizations, but neither of those societies is in digitally backwards one, the geographical isolation of NZ in particular has made it an early adopter of digital communications across the Internet, the largest growing industry here is online shopping. I've previously worked in the UK for a number of years and encountered the same thing, there are runners, walkers, crawlers, observers, non-starters and ostriches in the world of Learning Technologies.

Some areas of business and education are seemingly more advanced than others here; most banks, insurance, government agencies and health providers seem to be on their journey, but it's amazing how many commercial enterprises haven't yet started. Even more surprising is the number of training providers still holding on to the old world of only f2f sessions. Medium and small sized businesses are often of the impression they neither have the time or money to invest in elearning. Of course, necessity is the mother of invention; organizations with dispersed workforce facing increased pressures on reduced travel expenses are more often than not early adopters in this area, but just because the organisation is a local one, doesn't mean that the training and records need to be the same.. Anyway, let's talk about getting it going..

Step 1; This is a bit like any 'training' in that you need to establish the need. That means finding out firstly about how your organisation currently approaches learning, development and training. The big motivators for most organizations is around time and money, but you should really be focussing on what is the best way to deliver the training ahead of the savings.. Think effectiveness first and efficiency second. Sure, justifying any expenditure to your CEO is going to revolve around benefits and their biggest interest will be around time and money, but think about how you can do things better first.

Step 2; Get some help. Read my previous blog on You don't know what you don't know to get some tips here.

Step 3; Plant the seed, spread the word and any other clich├ęs that essentially mean you need to get key influencers and decision makers on side. You need to form your vision of how this will work and the sell this vision to those key people. It's about taking the first two steps and painting a picture that others can see.

Not a step, but quickly thought I'd add looking up from my breakfast in Koru Club (hey I travel a lot!) that I was surprised to be f2f with our NZ Prime Minister John Key! Good news is that he's got no plans to sell off our Koru Club in the near future!

Step 4; Get your enablers sorted and start the ball rolling. If you're working with very limited budget this is even more key. If you're working without budget look at Open Source offerings as a way to start; Moodle is a great first step towards this and Totara if you have any budget. Authoring tools come in various shapes and sizes with a huge variety of costs to associate that I can't go through here.. We'll do that in another blog, but the Moodle and Totara in-built tools are a great place to start!

Communicate. Whether this is all new to you or your already on your journey towards a truly blended learning environment, communication is the key. You need to continually paint the picture and let people know, involve others and celebrate every success as I talked about in.....

That's all for this one, my planes going to go without me if I don't get moving, by John, safe flight to Christchurch. As always, the opinions here are entirely my own and don't represent anything that anyone else would want to write anyway. If you agree, disagree or just feel like commenting please do so here or to @Nigelkineo or LinkedIn

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Location:Auckland Airport, New Zealand