In the past, people served machines. Today, machines free people to do what technology can’t: sell, service, and lead. As we explore this global shift from the industrial to the digital age, we cordially invite your voice in Developing the 21st Century Workforce™.
By Todd Beck
A couple of years ago I attended a conference where an elearning vendor presented a client case study. After taking elearning, 100% of the client’s employees passed their industry certification exam. Sounds impressive, right? So I raised my hand (couldn't resist) and asked, “What was the consequence if they didn’t pass the certification exam?” The answer: “They lost their jobs.”
I didn’t push the issue, but I hope everybody was thinking about the relationship between motivation and outcome. Even if the elearning had been poorly designed with huge data gaps, those employees were highly motivated to find workarounds fast.
If the classic complaint about elearning is that “nobody” completes it, then this question becomes moot. It’s like medicine: It really doesn’t matter how effective a medication is if the patient doesn’t take it. So, intuitively, putting me in a training room and forcing me to participate and demonstrate some level of competence will generate better behavior change. As a natural skeptic, I’d discount any research that claimed elearning alone achieves better Kirkpatrick Level 2 and 3 results.
I’ll end with another story. The other day a company told me that they don’t want training that requires their employees to come back and do any work after class. “The training should be completely contained in the classroom.” I was shocked. Another company told me that their managers don’t have time to coach employees on using the skills because those managers are too busy running the company.
My guess is that those companies would have terrible completion rates. Whether it’s elearning or any other job assignment, people finish what matters to the boss. WIIFM. What gets measured gets done.
Put your favorite management slogan or motivational poster here.