One of the reasons that eLearning is, let's not mince words here, hated by so many people is that for so many the only eLearning they take in any given year is the raft of compliance training that their company mandates them to take. So much of it is simply of the 'click next to continue' variety. Taken from a classic Death by PowerPoint slide show and converted using a PowerPoint to Flash converter like Articulate Presenter with a voice over added. When it was an instructor led class is was bad. Now it's simply awful.
And that is what people face all too often.
But it could be worse.
I worked for a company that had a Sexual Harassment course that was almost that bad. As a manager living in California I had to have a minimum of 60 minutes of Sexual Harassment training each year. The eLearning took about 40 minutes to complete if you did it slowly. When I inquired how to make up my missing 20 I was told to take it again.
But it could also be better.
Let's look at ethics training.
Most companies have something along the lines of this and for most they include something about not accepting gifts from vendors or from people outside the organization when this could be seen as some sort of conflict of interest. And maybe there is something there about reporting contacts that could be seen as such to the ethics office or similar.
A good eLearning course will present scenarios and ask the learner to respond to them, giving the learner feedback as to how well those responses match the company policy.
But how about an alternate approach. This is built on something I first heard out loud from Tom Kuhlman when he came to ASTD Golden Gate for a couple of days in 2013. (Blog post on that here)
Send out the updated policy in a PDF via email and tell everyone to read it and follow it.
Send an email from outside the company to everyone. In the email ask them to do something in breach of policy, like giving a heads up on how sales are this quarter, or if that new product will be ready on time. Offer an incentive of some sort.
Then sit back and see what happens.
- Some people will follow policy perfectly. Reporting this contact to the appropriate group and awaiting instructions.
- Most will simply ignore or delete the email. A Minor breach of policy.
- Some might reply to it in an appropriate way. Telling the person that this is unacceptable behavior. An understandable reaction if not one totally in keeping with policy.
- And a few might make other contact with the sender.
After a while the folks in group 1 get a 'gold star' and a pass on any further ethics training that year. Maybe a prize goes to the fastest reaction in this group.
Groups 2 and 3 have to take a short eLearning reminding them about the policy and why it is important to follow it.
Group 4 get some serious training. Maybe eLearning, maybe even Instructor led.
Now that is something that is truly performance based training.