AIIA eLearning breakfast


I attended the AIIA eLearning breakfast session this week, and came away with a small list of action items, one or two new contacts, and one of those “d’oh” feelings.

Firstly, thank you to Jill Price from SkillSoft for MCing the event and for undertaking to find out who that person was from a university who asked if universities could play a role in eLearning for companies, but vanished before I had a chance to tell her “Hell yes, when do we start”.

Mark Cook, Senior Business Partner at Suncorp Human Resources covered Suncorp’s “Agile academy” and how senior execs took eLearning as a personal challenge. One notable snippet was how execs at Suncorp advertise internally what eLearning they are busy with, and announce a monthly book title.

Cost avoidance was also high on the agenda as a means of describing the value of eLearning, and one of the more interesting metrics was Carbon footprint and reduction due to eLearning.

Lindy MacPherson, National Manager – Organisational Development and Human Resources at Data#3 Limited emphasized the competitive employment market and how skills shortage was a critical success factor for businesses.

Lindy emphasized the need to set specific learning goals: in Data#3 employees are set a target of 5 days learning per employee per year. On joining, all staff are given an eLearning license and are expected to demonstrate continuous use.

Key to this are the managers who are not just accountable for this target, but also participate actively in mentorship.

Besides some impressive metrics on course usage and hours spent on learning, Lindy also described how the business units have learning programs set up for staff, and how blended learning is used to tailor their career development or migration .

I was impressed by the use of eLearning as part of induction in the service centre – it is surprising how many organisations still do only ILT that repeats easily-recorded learning material for every session – often with a small number of attendees. To balance the costs, some companies wind up delaying induction in an attempt to fill seats rather than taking the plunge and using eLearning – which would deliver a far more satisfactory outcome at lower cost.

To keep staff interest up, Lindy described monthly info sessions and various competitions – haven’t we all tried variations of these?

By far the biggest item for me personally, and a current pet project of mine is use of eLearning as Pre and post ILT augmentation.

Materials can be provided pre-course to prepare the learner and have them properly prepared for (expensive) ILT courses, whilst post-course eLearning can cement the concepts, give practice, and greatly extend retention.

Why this isn’t a no-brainer in all organisations mystifies me.

Sandra Smith, Executive Director, Strategy and Development at CITEC emphasized the importance of having senior staff act as “Learning Evangelists” to drive a spirit of ongoing professional development. Like Mark, Sandra also has a kind of corporate college environment in the form of a “School of Excellence”.

Big on Sandra’s agenda is the need to align learning programs with strategic KPIs and to make sure that eLearning is relayed to business outcomes. This ensures that the cost of training delivery is justified (and more importantly of pulling people from their day job).
This is where pre and post eLearning augments and improves ILT outcomes.

Sandra also boasted some impressive utilization figures, this time focused on hours per person and total hours spent on eLearning

Other topics that came up during the sessions were the need to blend eLearning with Coaching and Mentoring, and professional and vendor certification needs.

All in all a really worthwhile Friday morning.

My to-do list:

–          Look into establishing a Corporate College based on a zero-budget volunteer model

–          Get the certification module for Moodle up and running with forum activities included as part of new-hire induction framework

–          Go to the mat to get a policy minted that there be no attendance of or delivery of ILT or external training without pre and post course elearning

–          Push hard for a policy that anyone attending external courses or events should create eLearning artefacts to share the knowledge

–          Do more marketing of eLearning

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