Are Your Staff Ready to Learn Online?

by | Mar 6, 2015 | Articles

When three out of five L&D staff report that learners are failing to engage, should we be asking if our workforce is ready for online learning? 

Laura Overton shares 6 questions you need to ask yourself before going online, along with a heap of crowdsourced suggestions that are bound to improve your approach and impact.

When we look at how organisations are bringing their learners online, then delve into our 11 years of research on what makes effective practice, it’s clear that the L&D industry has a lot of rethinking to do. At the Charity Learning Consortium members seminar, we asked attendees these six questions. Read them for yourself and check out the slides from the seminar to see how we came up with a mass of helpful tips to make sure you can prepare your workforce for online learning.

1.  Do your staff have the skills and confidence to learn online?

Our data tells us that 60% of L&D staff are saying their learners are reluctant to engage in online learning. That is a scary statistic for an industry that should be taking advantage of the vast capabilities the digital world can offer us, if not a complete eye opener for those looking to patch their course gaps by purchasing content from online learning providers.

When only 18% of L&D leaders say their staff are confident to manage their own learning and 58% say their learners are confident with computers, it looks like today’s workforce is missing some key skills for self-development. We need to be focusing on getting staff more confident and tech-savvy before we throw online content at them and expect them to utilise it.

It is clear that something needs to change in the way learners are prepared, or introduced to online learning. See what tips people came up with in the slides at the end of this article.

2.  Do you encourage collaboration?

Only 20% of L&D staff agree that their teams know how to work together to productively connect and share. If this is you, you’re definitely a minority – team culture is a big influencing factor for success, so be sure to check out our crowdsourced tips for this area. If you’re struggling to come up with a coherent team strategy, improving collaboration techniques and workflow could be a win for getting those learners up and running online.

3.  Can they access what they need?

In our 2014 Benchmark Study, less than half of the participants agreed that they had a good relationship with their IT department. This highlights a major disjoint in a large number of organisations where L&D is trying to promote the usage of online facilities but failing to engage the staff that increase accessibility and usability of those facilities. Read the slides below to see what tips and ideas people came up with at our seminar.

4. Are learners weighed down by poor past experiences?

55% of L&D staff say that past experiences with online learning fell short of their expectations. If the people creating the content are unmotivated by the prospect of engaging their learners online, then the whole system is going to be flawed by preconceptions that it’s simply not going to work. For the workforce, around 30% from our Learner Voice research told us that poor content is a barrier to learning. If you’re struggling with an unmotivated workforce and lack of inputs, be sure to take away all the suggestions from the slides below – it is possible to overcome cultural preconceptions about online learning, with the right approach.

5.  Do your leaders get it?

58% (almost two-thirds) of L&D staff say their managers are reluctant to engage with online learning, with a mere 26% claiming to have seen senior managing staff using learning technologies. It is evident that something needs to be done about the senior level mindset towards learning. This is what one of our Benchmark participants had to say:

“If the top do not champion learning, the middle will not see it as a priority for the bottom.”

If that quote challenges your thinking, check out the solutions and tips offered by our seminar attendees in the slides below.

6.  Are your trainers ready?

With only 26% of L&D staff saying they have the skills to use learning technology to business advantage, it’s no wonder that less than a quarter are equipping their trainers to extend learning beyond the classroom through technology. It’s important to utilise the broad connections your trainers have with the organisation and our research tells us that this simply isn’t happening. Check out the slides below for helpful tips on this area.

Bonus:  Have you asked them?

Don’t base your answers to these questions and where you fit into the stats on your own assumptions. We’ve learned a lot over the 2 years that we’ve been using the Learning Landscape Audit to help L&D staff understand the workforce they’re trying to help. Now, with over 15,000 learners’ feedback, we’re starting to see straight off where L&D and their learners have different perspectives. We strongly encourage you to check out the Learner Voice, which highlights the areas where you might need to pay more attention to what your staff are looking for.


Check out the slides below and make sure you take away some action points from the workshop feedback!

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