I’ve had a thought floating around in my head for a year or more, and it came to the fore again when I read a LinkedIn post by a connection of mine posing the question “How do we get people to use our LMS?”
On-line learning has it’s place of course. There are lots of benefits including ‘just-in-time’ learning which I think we all agree is a good thing. But there are many reasons why people don’t use it. Here are just a few…
- It’s difficult to use – especially for those NOT based in Head Office, or those that don’t have a desk job, so they don’t.
- It’s not well publicised – people won’t use it if they don’t know what it is or what it has.
- It’s impersonal – one-way ‘training’ doesn’t answer all the specific questions we have; it doesn’t re-assure is or motivate us; it doesn’t make us feel special in the way that face-to-face training or coaching does.
- It’s not engaging – click, click, click…it can be too easy to pay lip-service to the training and not actually take anything in.
- It’s not being driven – people need support to get into a habit, and self-directed learning IS a habit. How many healthy eating cookbooks do you have at home or ‘get fit’ videos have you downloaded to never look at again? Intention isn’t enough, we need to be held accountable.
- It’s a low priority – everyone is busy and something ALWAYS crops up at work that means we ‘need’ to postpone training. It’s far easier if you don’t have to explain your absence to a trainer or coach.
So how to encourage better take up? Clearly it needs a multi-pronged approach, but one idea I have is taken from the NHS where my husband works. He gets 10 personal development days per year, in the same way that he gets his holiday allocation. He is expected to use them. Some days go on formal events (both internal and external) and he is expected to provide evidence of his participation and share his insights. The same is true of any informal learning he does. He is allowed time off work (maybe just 2 hours) to complete an e-learning module or to do some SPECIFIC research.
Like the formal learning, it is requested, documented, approved and (when appropriate) shared. It made me think, what if all organisations gave their employees 4 days personal learning time, but held them accountable for it? Just one day per quarter. Because as far as I can make out, businesses are expecting employees to learn for themselves, but not actually making time for them to learn or giving them support. This of course is one of the benefits of a traditional workshop – you are given time off the job to focus on learning and are supported in it.
So maybe people aren’t using your LMS because you aren’t giving them TIME to use it, you aren’t ENCOURAGING or SUPPORTING them, and you aren’t holding them ACCOUNTABLE for the learning that they do.