Online learning: how to get company-wide support

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Raise your hand if you’re ready for a training solution that provides your team with flexibility and timely content, all for a reasonable price. Sounds like you’re ready to take the leap to online learning. Maybe you’ve relied on in-classroom training or conferences up until now, but budget or ineffective results are spurring a change. Or, perhaps your team has become so geographically spread out that getting everyone in a room together to train just isn’t realistic anymore.

So, if you’re sitting at your computer with your hand raised, that’s the first step. Next, how do you make the move? What are the advantages of online learning anyway? How do you know what to look for in a provider? And once you choose one, how do you get your whole organization on board?

You might have more questions than answers at this point, but that’s OK. Before you choose an online learning partner and seek buy-in throughout your organization, read up on these FAQs.

What are the benefits of online learning?

Before we jump into benefits of online learning, let’s think about some of the pain points you face with traditional training methods: Cost—both time and money are spent. You probably send team members out of the office to attend training. And then you probably pay for their travel and expenses in addition to the cost of the conference or class, right? Then, when they get back, they’ve got a lot of catch-up to do. Oh, and then there’s the fact that most conferences or seminars only cover one topic, and much of the time, participants can’t go back and access those materials—other than the great notes they took or the recordings they have. Traditional classroom training has its pros, no doubt; but let’s look at how online learning solves for many of these issues.

No lost office time. No hefty travel costs. Employees can train whenever, wherever. They can go at their own pace, and reference the materials over and over. Additionally, employees have the power to choose what they want to learn when you empower them with an online learning solution that offers courses on multiple subjects. These are all things that facilitate an on-demand learning style that meets the learner where they are. 

Why pick an online learning provider?

When it comes to training your technology team, things can feel daunting given the rapid pace of change. If your organization needs results without getting mired in the design and architecture of creating a training curriculum from scratch, partnering with a provider can save both time and money and is often much more effective.

What do I look for in an online learning solution?

Would you pick the first contractor, mechanic or doctor that comes up in a Google search? Of course not! You’d do your homework first, and it’s no different with an online training solution. To really do your homework, look for consistency and subject matter in course material, check out the features that are included and ask for samples or relevant examples that relate to a current or upcoming project. Ask if your team can have a free trial to test it out. Do a little detective work and see what the online community is saying about the providers on your short list. 

What should I watch out for when it comes to online learning?

Beware of providers that sell you what they want you to buy, rather than what you really need. Be sure to ask about hidden costs and add-ons, which can add up if you’re none the wiser. In addition, think about what level or levels would best suit your employees. If a provider has a wide base of intro-level courses, but nothing for your more advanced folks or vice versa, you may need to partner with a different provider. 

How do I get upper management on board?

The key here is to speak to your audience—and involve them, too. Ask your senior managers what expectations they have and then target your online learning plan to specifically align with those expectations. Set milestones and a tangible way to evaluate quantifiable progress, such as participation rates, completion dates and passing scores. In addition, make a commitment to report your progress on a regular basis. Even if there isn’t a whole lot to report at first, it will show your commitment and keep the initiative top of mind. 

What about the rest of the organization?

Here’s where getting your C-suite on board pays off: Leading from the top down can be extremely powerful when it comes to creating a culture of learning. Find a member of your leadership team who can help champion the cause of continued learning in your organization. Identify the “WIIFM” (what’s in it for me?) factor to help all members of your organization clearly see the benefits of the training in question.

When it comes to online learning, investing the time to make a good choice and implement a program can pay back dividends for years to come. Picking just the right partner and gathering support from leadership to entry-level employees will help make the roll-out a success.

Read our full guide: Choosing the right online learning partner and getting buy-in from your organization

Contributor

Pluralsight

Pluralsight is the technology learning platform. We enable individuals and teams to grow their skills, accelerate their careers and create the future.