HELP! I don't know what I don't know!

Ok - I feel like I should know this, but our company is so behind, technologically...  We're really trying to revamp the way we train, so make the eLearning more engaging and exciting, HOWEVER, the associates that we are tasked to train are an older, less computer-literate demographic so everything has to be EASY.  We currently have a mix of trainer-led online classes (via Citrix), manuals (all print), and recorded classes (all outdated - some are PPT to Flash, and some use Articulate Presenter '09).  We also have "mini courses" that the store managers print and deliver. Oh, and all of our course content is VERY specific to our retail company and what we do, so we can't use "canned" training modules.

We don't have a true LMS system (which I'm pushing for) - at the moment, our associates' managers sign them up for the trainer-led classes via a web form, then once the class is over, the trainer emails me with who attended, and I enter it into our company's payroll system.  (Recorded classes aren't tracked at all.)  (Also, each individual associate doesn't have email, although I've heard rumors that might be changing...)

Anyway, I don't know why I'm spouting all of that, except that we are at a point that we could possibly revamp our Training system ENTIRELY, and I want to do it RIGHT, not just rearrange what we currently have.  Any pointers on how to get started?  (Any eLearning for Dummies books or eLearning out there?)  I am looking at the eLearning 101 blog post, but even that gets a bit confusing.  Thanks for your help.

4 Replies
Kimberly Valliere

What the LMS gives you is a place to store everything and actually get data from. It will not necessarily help with eLearning engagement in the specific courses. You can engage your learner in the learning process through the LMS with contests and badges, but think of it really as the container for the content you mentioned.

Many LMSs will allow you to track instructor-led training and several will include those opportunities on the learner's transcript. There are HUNDREDS of options out there and the search can be VERY overwhelming. Feel free to reach out if you'd like to chat offline about an LMS and the benefits. (No I'm not with an LMS vendor...I just recently went through the search myself and more than willing to share what I learned based on my company's needs.)

Julie Stelter

Hi Karen,

It sounds as if you are needing an educational strategy. You have identified one of your learning needs which is to keep the eLearning easy. You will need to identify what this means exactly. Also, define which content should be placed online, updated and maybe tossed. Some content may be best using the format it is presently in. Once you have identified your learners' needs and the content that you and your learners want to learn. Then decide how best to provide this training. Technology should not be the driving force behind your decision. The best training programs are developed by strategically analyzing what the learner needs to know and how best to present this information. Your learners' comfort with technology needs to be considered.

Cheers, Julie
julie@waldengroup.net
262-385-1494

Karen Johnson

Thank you both...  We DO need a strategy - that isn't to say that we have nothing out there.  Right now we offer 17 trainer-led classes (14 of which the majority of our new store associates need to take, the rest are for our store managers or higher level store associates).  We also offer probably about 20 or so "recorded" classes (which are either chunked versions of our trainer led classes or broad level overviews to get the associate started).  Most of our training is product related - the nuts & bolts of what we sell.  The problem is, we basically took what we used to do in live sessions (PPT and all), and turned it into the trainer led & recorded classes, without much modification (i.e., bullet point slides & reading what's on each slide - not much interaction).  When we do have our "live" sessions, even though we have the online classes as prerequisites, there are quite a few people that get stuck on the basics - so obviously they're not retaining the info.

Julie - as for the technology aspect - I think our goal is to make the materials we have easier to find for the store manager.  We get emails (fairly regularly) from our store managers, asking us to create training for X, when we have some format of training for X already out there...  (Usually in a manual, which they never read.)  I think that, if we could rearrange our "training portal" so that the managers can search by topic for ALL training related to X, they'd be able to pick the format of training style that works for the associate.

Julie Stelter

This helps...Like Kimberly suggested, I would look into an LMS solution first. Organizing your content is a necessary step in building a strategy. You will find out what courses you have and who accesses them. This provides great information for you to build further courses. Call if you would like to chat about LMS solutions.

Cheers, Julie