Operations executives are finding that an eLearning program has a valuable place in training their employees on a wide variety of topics. But the term eLearning can be confusing and misunderstood and since it is relatively new in the operations world, it is helpful to clarify what it means and what an eLearning program might look like in a plant, warehouse or distribution environment.
I recall many years ago when I was finishing my basement and I felt comfortable doing much of the work myself. Rough carpentry was fairly simple, running conduit was easy, attaching lights was not hard, screwing drywall was quick and forgiving. But there was one thing I would not tackle, drywall finishing. I recall watching the contractor putting on the mud and carefully scraping it away until it was perfectly smooth. As I watched him I commented how good he was at this and I’ll never forget his response: “Hey, I’m a professional, I do this for a living”.
Does your company have a fleet of delivery trucks or vans? Many do and they employ professional drivers to deliver products to customers and act as an ambassador for your brand and in many cases the face of your company.
I’ll bet you’re not surprised to hear that the answer is “it depends”. Let’s look at a possible scenario. We’ll use as an example a growing company with 500 employees that needs an eLearning module on regulatory compliance that all employees must complete. The three options they explore are to build it themselves, to purchase a generic library course at $20.00/learner or to have a custom content developer build a highly interactive course module just for them for the cost of $15,000. They reject the first option because they wisely recognize that they lack the skills and resources they need to do it well. So, for option two the math looks simple. 500 X $20= $10,000. Clearly less expensive than option three, right? Yes, for year one, but remember, we said that they are growing so let’s say they add 100 employees a year for the next 5 years. That’s an additional 500 and an additional $10,000. So now the total investment in the library course is $20,000 and growing each year. Meanwhile the custom content is still $15,000.
Imagine you just landed a job and it’s your first day, you go in ready to be trained so you can do the best you can and be successful at this new job of yours. After you’re introduced to a few of your co-workers, they show you to the area where you’ll be working, but instead of training you they tell you they train with the trial by fire method and you’re on your own, no walk through, no asking questions, nothing. They just leave you alone to your own devices and you have to figure it out. May the odds be ever in your favor.
With more ways to access knowledge than ever before, anybody with an internet connection can now be a student in practically any chosen field. And custom content eLearning is one of the most powerful tools in disseminating information to your organization’s communities and audiences.