Gaining Buy-In from Stakeholders

As I prepare to launch my first corporate e-Learning program, one of my team members continues to express opinions that online learning cannot replace classroom learning and we should not proceed with the launch. Most of the people on my team see the usefulness (including my boss), as we have many remote employees we are unable to reach via classroom training. I would really like to put together some statistics on the usefulness/success of e-Learning programs and any other information I can use to gain buy-in to this delivery method. Can anyone share links to data to support use of e-Learning programs in the corporate environment? I think it would be great to keep this information handy for the skeptics.

Thank you, in advance, for your help.  

14 Replies
Chip Ritter

Hi Leanne,

I can't point to any specific links to metrics, but I was in a similar situation where I worked for a central office where I was tasked with providing training and development for many remote employees. One of the ways we were able to legitimize online training was the savings in travel costs. I live in Montana, and you can imagine the cost involved in either having a trainer travel all over the state to deliver ILT let alone bringing up to 300 employees to one location. Gas, meals, hotels, room rentals, etc. all adds up and are fairly easy to calculate based on how you handled training before. Good luck with your project! A well executed plan will make your boss happy and help your company's bottom line!

Charles Zoffuto

Leanne,

Before you go throwing stats and cost saving numbers in your co-worker's face, you should go as that person why they say online learning cannot replace classroom learning. There are certainly ways you can address your co-worker's concerns and state the benefits of elearning. It could be that your co-worker may have a valid point, and that elearning isn't the "silver bullet" that you thought it was going to be. A blended approach of elearning, webinar, and classroom sessions may be a better way to go.

Feel free to post your co-worker's reply to your inquiry and we can help you with his/her specific concerns.

Leanne Fisher

Thank you Chip and Charles. I think the issue at the root of the "push back" is a dislike of technology. This coworker sees the training topic as a good opportunity to interact with employees even if there is no added-value for the organization. The training is a basic HR topic delivered every other year.  I can easily put together the estimated cost of our internal travel to deliver the training (and still not reach all staff) and have used that point in the past, but including some industry data on the success of e-Learning for any future "selling" needs would enhance my ability to influence in the future.

Bob S

Leanne,

You might try helping your coworker "win".

By that I mean be realistic about the pros and cons of both delivery methods. The simple fact is they both have a place in the workplace. Pointing out how he/she is right about the strengths of ILTcan help to pull them back from an entrenched defensive position and allow them to acknowledge the strengths of elearning too.

If you need help with some pros and cons for each methodology, I or the great folks here would be glad to chime in with some ideas.

Hope this helps,

Bob

Lilly  Grossman

I have also used the "end user" analysis as a means to legitimize the integration of technology into training. By this I mean we have conducted needs assessments not only for content but for delivery preferences....we can see clearly the percentages of individuals who would prefer e-learning/blended opportunities over in person for many of our OTS trainings we deliver.

Edward MacDougall

Hi Leanne,

If you are looking to make an evidence-based case that effective e-learning has similar impact to traditional instructor-led training, I would suggest looking at anything by Ruth (Colvin) Clark. She makes a convincing argument that people place too much emphasis on the medium of training with few (if any) facts to back up their assertions.

Good luck!

-Ed

Diane Yamashiro

I think Charles’ point about talking more with your co-worker is an important one. Although you may be interpreting his push-back as a dislike of technology, it may be more that he sees a gap in the training delivery—the lack of immediate feedback to any questions or concerns on the training topic. If so, then any presentation of dollars saved isn’t really going to change his mind, because it was more about making that human connection. It’s putting a face, a voice, a name to the training, not just a URL. Should that be the case, then perhaps a conversation on how to build in human interaction—when it’s appropriate and needed—would be more productive. This particular course might not merit it, but ideas like having virtual Q&A sessions, a discussion board or providing an email address of an HR rep to answer questions/address concerns would be ways to use technology to make those human connections.

Leanne Fisher

I definitely agree that the push back is most likely due to the lack of human connection and we have addressed that by including information on who to contact for more information or questions. For this program, it just makes sense to most of my team to use e-Learning. I don't want to convince my teammate that e-Learning is the only way and don't intend to eliminate all classroom learning, just for this topic.

The supporting data provided by this discussion group will definitely help me communicate that e-Learning is a viable option to the classroom for certain topics, especially in our geographically dispersed population. It will be good to show that this delivery method has been tested and proven to be an effective method of delivering learning.

Before this discussion, I had no idea where to find metrics to show that e-Learning is effective. Thanks to everyone for all the comments! Great discussion!   

John Classen

Interaction in education and training are, indeed, important aspects to consider.  Although I work in higher education rather than corporate training, the concepts of learning are the same.  I use e-learning all the time, my primary course is completely taught by distance education, on the web and without synchronous meeting times.  But working in interaction between learners and the instructor, among the learners, and of course between the learner and the content has been shown to be an important contribution to the learning process (see some references below).  Here at the university, we have additional resources, primarily the use a Moodle, a learning management system, that provides much of the functionality and navigation needed to make the e-learning modules more effective.  There are certainly ways to make the connections with users with more traditional technologies, email, Google talk and others.  Good luck.

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Dunlap, J. C., D. Sobel, and D.I. Sands, 2007. Designing for Deep and Meaningful Student-to-ContentInteractions. TechTrends: Linking Research & Practice to ImproveLearning, 51(4): 20-31.

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Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";}Verduin, J. R., and T. A. Clark, 1991: Distanceeducation: The foundations of effective practice. Jossey-Bass, SanFrancisco.

Steve Lyne

I agree with Charles about the possibility of blended learning.   When doing an Articulate course with Charles in SF in 2009 I recall the discussion in the group raising two great points:

1. What you want learners to "do" is probably best done face-to-face; what you want them to "know" can be done very successfully online.

2. An online approach can be a great way to present theoretical stuff prior to learners attending a workshop.  This may free up time in the workshop for more practical activities.  The online material becomes the pre-requisite to the workshop.  Leanne, this may be a good "in" with your co-worker.

I also have some firm views based on 30 years in education about the specific advantages for the learning styles of men in online training as against face-to-face.  It goes to generalisations about males being visual learners, having control etc etc, as against the classroom situation which is typically passive, linear and "chat" oriented.  Not saying this is bad but not always the best for every learner.

The efficacy of face-to-face training very much depends on the communication skills of the presenter, whereas an online presentation can be produced with a high degree of competence and the company knows that all of the employees get exactly same information.

Cheers,

Steve

Tamworth

Australia