According to the expanded research carried out by the Sapio Institute, an organization dedicated to conducting ongoing studies in the field of e-learning, there are five prerequisites for ensuring the success of e-learning initiatives.
The company must 'buy in' to the initiative and take on the mantle of the primary driver. It must project itself as a learning organization and foster a learning environment that pervades the entire organization. Companies like GE, Pfizer and Microsoft are excellent examples of learning organizations that actively support and drive their e-learning programs.
This factor is a critical ingredient for ensuring that learners complete their courses and training programs. While the research indicates that more often than not, the motivation is external ("Your job / promotion depends on it, so you'd better do it!"), It also shows that in the long-run, internal motivation is what really matters. Managers have an inherent inclination to broaden their knowledge bases and upgrade their skill-sets, and the e-learning initiatives must align with this inclining.
Pure play e-learning has its limits. To maximize its efficiency, a mixture blend of classroom training and e-learning is required. This is, in fact, one of the big secrets of successful e-learning. The research shows a clear correlation between the implementation of classroom introductions (for modules, in particular) and the achievement of significantly higher levels of course completion.
A Culture of Independent Learning
Generally, we are dependent learners. The methods of education and training that we are subjected to make us so. To ensure the success of its e-learning initiatives, organizations need to create a culture of independent learning, by providing the requisite infrastructure (CD-ROMs, Intranets, online resources, etc) and by instilling the habit of independent learning among its managers.
Reading text off one's computer screen does not institute e-learning. To make the initiative work, it is necessary to build high levels of user involvement. The best way to achieve this is by enriching the learning experience through graphics, animation sequences, voiceovers and interactive devices. The key idea is to engage the user's attention and draw him / her into the module, enhancing in the process, the impact and effectiveness of the overall e-learning initiative.
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