Your e-Learning Investment:
How Allen Interactions Achieves Business Impact & Boosts Learner Performance
PRESENTED BY: Paul Howe, Vice President of Sales, Allen Interactions
WHEN: Wednesday, August 22, 1:00 - 2:00 pm Central
IN THIS WEBINAR YOU WILL LEARN HOW TO:
- maximize your investment in performance-based and skill-based learning initiatives
- re-align current training needs for greater budget impact
- apply a new instructional design model to your learning initiatives for maximum learner engagement and performance
by Richard Sites, vice president - client services
Well, it’s March and with it comes the dreaded tax season. While preparing your taxes, you’ll likely take some time to evaluate the performance of your investments and retirement planning efforts (if any). The good news is that a slight rally in the market over the past quarter or two means we may not fear opening those 401K statements as much as we have in the past few years.
Though retirement planning is a very personal decision, the challenge is universal – having enough put away for our post-career years. Retirement planners give us the advice to contribute early and often which gives your money the chance to grow and compound.
Unfortunately, many of us don’t contribute to our retirement accounts because we have other immediate expenses or commitments. We assume that the little we have left isn’t going to make that big of an impact. We’ll have time later.
But any amount invested now is better than nothing. The biggest return on our investment will come the sooner we start.
Training is no different.
Our goal in course development is to maximize our ROI. But, similar to retirement planning, our intentions to produce are often stifled by immediate pressures – scheduling conflicts, team participation, LMS issues, management’s concern over costs, the desire for perfection, etc. And that is just a partial list.
In our effort to measure the value of training, perhaps we should reevaluate the meaning of ROI. Rather than focus on the Return on Investment take a look at the other ROI – the Risk Of Inaction.
What are the Risks Of Inaction?
- Continued lack of empowerment
- Loss of solutions from innovative thinking
- Unmotivated employees
- Poor performance
- Disgruntled customers
- And more!
By immediately investing a little in our employees, our co-workers, and our teammates now, we can enjoy the added benefits of weeks, months and years of compounded growth, empowerment, and performance. So this season, I suggest that you avoid taxing learners with more delays or limited training. Design it, build it, implement it and begin to see the value of reducing your Risk Of Inaction!!
by Ethan Edwards, chief instructional strategist
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I hope you Irish among my readers (and I guess everyone is a little Irish today) will find fun and convivial companionship in your celebrations. Even though traces of Irish blood flow through me, I have to admit to failure in devising a connection between St. Patrick’s Day and e-learning. I pondered this all day yesterday and all night hoping for inspiration and nothing came. (Drive the Snakes Out of Your e-Learning? Give Your e-Learning a Touch of the Blarney? Find the Pot-o-Gold at the End of Your e-Learning?....I think not…) At least there is an entertaining St. Patrick’s Day e-card linked at the end of this post built entirely in Zebra and ready for your enjoyment.
My mind (and my back and arms, actually) is still full of my project this weekend, which was to plant a small orchard. With the help of my 87-year-old father, we dug holes for and planted nine apple trees, a pear, an apricot, and two plum trees. They are all classic heirloom varieties from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time but have put off because it was easier to avoid. And there are many reasons not to bother—apples are readily available nearly anywhere you want to buy them. An orchard requires a commitment. It calls for expenditures today that won’t be repaid for some time into the future.
On the other hand, of course provided that the trees grow and thrive, an orchard provides great benefits. I’m looking forward to harvesting apples that aren’t available to me anywhere else. I’ll have greater control over the quality and nature of my harvest. I will be less subject to the decisions of others as to what is available to me. I have increased the value of this property, both physically and emotionally, and that value is likely to only increase over the next 30-40 years at least.
Another way to think about this is simply a question whether access to apples is an expense or as an asset. When paying expenses, one is always driven to pay as little as possible. This also keeps you in the most perilous state possible in the long run. With assets, one plans for long-term benefit, investing time and resources because the object of importance is of continuing importance and value. That’s right…it speaks clearly to what we value.
This is the same question we face in planning training, and while it applies to all training, it is especially relevant to e-learning, because the initial development costs can be significant. Viewing employees as an expense, training just becomes one more place to try to reduce costs. Reducing budgets, time, and resources that we are willing to pay for training development only gives us less influence in creating an organization that truly embodies our unique goals and values. This is what I find off-putting about the single-minded push to ever more rapid e-learning. The only factor that seems to matter is how little time and effort one can get by with…and ultimately, the greatest success, if that is the goal, is to not do e-learning at all!
Viewing your workforce as an asset changes the way you approach training. Training becomes an investment that will yield both short-term and long-term results. But learning is an activity that takes a long time, and demanding that it deliver all anticipated outcomes immediately is unrealistic. A specific training course is only the first step in the overall training process that requires mentoring and on-the-job learning that will occur over months or even years. And because a “training as expense” mentality requires immediate accounting, irrelevant short-term assessments take the place of any meaningful measure of success. (In a few weeks I should see if the trees leaf out and I can report that as success….never mind that real success will only be known several years from now if and when those trees actually bear any fruit.)
Again, this is a topic that has more to do with the whole vision and value that your organization has for training than specifically to the design of instruction, but I find in talking with new training professionals thrown into e-learning, that the failure of an organization to grasp what an investment in e-learning looks like—in terms of tools, design and development skills, access to media resources, and adequate time—makes accomplishing anything of lasting value nearly impossible.
Without that vision, we’re unlikely to provide training that makes much impact. It’s as if we’re left with buying nothing but waxed and shiny Red Delicious and Granny Smith apples. They look decent, are perfectly uniform, last forever, but provide very little taste, and give only a hint of what a good apple ought to be.
by Nancy Miller, strategic relationship manager
When potential customers tell me, “Nancy, we just can’t afford the level of e-learning that you are trying to sell us.” I have to stop and ask them whether they are looking to reduce expenses around learning or are they looking to invest their learning dollars using a true ROI model. In the end, I ask them “How can you NOT afford the level of e-learning that assures engagement?”
The difference means either focusing on cutting costs or on improved productivity/performance of learners. If you want to cut costs, e-learning can certainly get you there in terms of savings over traditional methods (e.g. travel, facilities, instructors). But if the e-learning is not motivational, memorable, engaging or relevant--the expense reduction doesn’t matter.
Training occurs but learning does not.
Why not look instead at what effective, interactive e-learning can do actually produce performance improvement ? You can better assure your investment will pay off in terms of learner performance by developing engaging e-learning with a vendor or resource that understands the basic elements of good instructional design: Context, Challenge, Activity and Feedback. That’s the best way to know you will get the “bang for your buck” when you’re looking for a true ROI of your dollars.
by Carla Torgerson, instructional strategist
I’ve been wondering... In these increasingly tight economic times, are people more likely to see corporate e-learning as a cost or an investment?
For those not familiar with the return on investment (ROI) speak, if we see training as a cost, then it’s just something to check off our checklist. In this case, we will spend as little as we can and really won’t look at the quality of the outcome. However, if we see training as an investment, then helping employees to do something better improves our business. In this case, we will spend an amount that seems appropriate for the problem we’re trying to solve, and we will care deeply about the quality of web based training and its impact on employees.
Personally, I know a few trainers and instructional designers who have been laid off (and many more, who like the rest of us, are just plain nervous). In these tough economic times, it’s not surprising that people are trying to cut costs, and some see the training department as an unneeded expense.
But what I’m most interested in is the opposite side of that fence. I was recently at a major cell phone store and the customer service was amazing. I was so impressed that I told the staff person so. He thanked me and said that the company was working on customer service because they believed it could keep customers coming back in these tight times.
In these economic times, I think it’s more important than ever to think of training as an investment. Can you use training to keep customers coming back when they do spend? Or maybe you can train employees to get a process done faster or reduce errors - both of which may also impact customer service.
What are your experiences? As we “tighten our belts” are advocates who once saw training as an investment now seeing it as a cost, or are people who didn’t see a lot of value in training seeing it as a possible competitive advantage? Or are our attitudes the same, but we’re just looking for a better value for what we spend? How is the economy changing our views of training?