Challenges faced with L&D integrating E-Learning

Mar 06, 2017

Hi all,

I'm interested to hear what challenges and experiences you guys have faced with integrating E-Learning into L&D departments? And how you handled/resolved the challenges

With my particular experience we have found that people are sometimes reluctant to complete courses etc.

Interested to hear from you all.




8 Replies
Trina Rimmer

Hi Phil. Thanks for sharing such a thought-provoking question with us! I'm sure other folks will chime in with their ideas, but thought I'd share one of my own experiences in the interim. Apologies in advance for the lengthy set-up...

I spent a good number of years in the financial services industry. Some of my time was spent as the sole e-learning designer/developer in the company-wide L&D group. I was embedded in a business unit that was heavily reliant upon instructor-led training and very reluctant to embrace e-learning. 

I came to learn that their reluctance stemmed from previous attempts at using it as the sole means for onboarding their seasonal staff. The results were disappointing, both due to a lack of interest by learners in completing lengthy, droning e-learning courses, and due to a lack of time and resources for managers to hold their new people accountable for completing the e-learning curriculum. 

In short, my challenge was three-fold: I was an e-learning developer on a team with almost no other e-learning developers and no was very interested in designing or developing e-learning...and I was working with a client who thought e-learning was a really terrible idea. So, here's what I did:

  1. I focused on the client and what they needed, first. I decided to just clean-slate L&D's relationship with them and start by asking about their business needs and priorities. I inserted myself (politely) into the unit's leadership meetings, spending loads of time with the training audience, talking with them about their jobs, and I made it my business to get to know the training instructors and understand how they were doing their jobs. I studied their training manuals. I learned the basics of how to use their software. All of this allowed me to see a fuller picture of the problems and the opportunities for L&D—not just e-learning—to be of help.
  2. Then, I reframed the role of e-learning. Instead of talking about e-learning as a way of replacing (a beloved and effective) trainer with something cheaper, I made it about achieving some very explicit performance goals for the team. This approach of reframing e-learning as just one of many solutions we could implement worked both for my L&D team, who sincerely wanted to be seen as a valued business partner, and with my client who desperately wanted affordable, scalable ways to train their seasonal workers. 

To summarize, my advice is to focus on the problems and the opportunities and let e-learning simply be a natural part of that larger mix of solutions you can provide. If you can help it, don't engage in protracted debates with colleagues or clients about whether or not e-learning is effective. Start with a commitment to create effective solutions, including e-learning, by deploying it where and when it makes the most sense. Then, let the results speak for themselves. In my case, we lowered training costs, reduced attrition from the training program, and shortened the onboarding curve by using a combination of solutions that leaned heavily on e-learning and other online activities.

Thanks again for the great question. Good luck!

FSMTB Education

I have trouble getting courses live because they sometimes have to get past 15 different people and have all of their approval in order for the course to be live. Sometimes getting past this means that I have to remind and urge those reviewing it that the course needs to go live by a deadline. Other times I just have to remind myself to relax, unfortunately.

Mike Jones

Great question, Phil!

In my previous roles as an internal Instructional Designer/E-Learning Developer, I had two very different experiences—each with their own challenges. In both cases, the biggest lesson I learned to choose your battles when recommending/advocating for e-learning over other options.

In the first one, I came into a well-established L&D department that already had incorporated e-learning into their L&D strategy. The instructional design team handled the designing and shared the development workload with a multimedia production team, also in our department. I think what really helped us there was the understanding that e-learning wasn't always going to be the best solution to help the organization achieve the intended objectives for any training solution.

That focus on the intended result, first and foremost, then marrying it with the best solution was what helped us sell e-learning to our internal stakeholders. However, there was a strong culture of, "PowerPoint is training—I can do PowerPoint." That meant we sometimes had to make our best recommendation, but ultimately concede to the ideas and requests of our stakeholder.

My second experience sounds more like what you might be encountering.

I joined a department that identified itself as a, "Traditional L&D" entity. That basically translated into most of the department only having experience writing ILT or out-sourcing e-learning/video development. In that role, I ran into challenges within my own team and from the larger organization. The team had limited experience with developing e-learning, so I demonstrated capabilities, trained, and coached my colleagues in tools like Storyline. For any opposition that I ran into from internal stakeholders (they all wanted videos), I shared the capabilities of e-learning to include the things they were used to seeing in other training formats, and discussed the cost-saving implications of development, delivery, and sustainability compared to traditional ILT programs or outsourced video production projects.

So to summarize:

  1. Choose your battles—but also be willing to concede, even if you have the best intentions and are right.
  2. Be a resource to your teammates/allies so they can also advocate for e-learning.
  3. Show the potential cost and ROI to anyone that doubts you.

Hope that helps!

This discussion is closed. You can start a new discussion or contact Articulate Support.