Online learning is a great way to engage employees while upgrading their skills. With so many elearning options available today, companies can train employees in everything from new technical skills to better management techniques.
However, not everyone who you need to take your online training program will be enthusiastic. Some will be reluctant or downright unwilling for some reason. By anticipating and preparing for some of the common objections, managers can make sure their employees benefit from the training program and that it is a success.
“What’s in it for me?”
Simply mandating that employees take online learning without giving them a clear reason why typically fails to motivate them.
Instead, make sure to be clear about the goal of the the training and how that fits into the company’s overall business goals. And then stress how the training content relates to their daily job duties and how it can make them more effective in their role.
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Whatever the end goal is — whether it’s adopting a new software program to streamline their everyday tasks or increasing their industry knowledge — state it clearly to the employee beforehand so they understand how the training benefits them in a very personal way.
“But I’m not a techie!”
Before assigning the elearning program, managers first must assess employees’ basic computer literacy. While today’s online course software options are very intuitive, some employees may lack the requisite digital skills to complete the training.
For those employees, remedial instruction is needed before they start the program. Either a professional trainer or a colleague already familiar with the program can do that pre-training. Also, make sure employees have access to a computer or tablet so they can successfully embark on the elearning courses.
“Training is boring.”
Elearning takes many forms, from videos and podcasts to social learning where employees can interact with other learners as they progress through the program. Emphasize that online training isn’t just sitting at a computer screen, reading long texts and taking quizzes.
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You can also anticipate this objection in the instructional design phase. One great method is to Incorporate gamification into the training so employees score certifications for completing courses and moving ahead in the program. The competitive aspect of gamification can amp up the motivation.
“How do I know I’m really learning something?”
Frequent assessments during the elearning program are the solution to this objection. They convey to learners how much they’ve learned and, just as important, which areas need improvement before they progress to the next level. Additionally, virtual simulations enable learners to test their knowledge before they apply it in a more pressurized, real-world situation.
Encourage employees to give feedback as they move through the program. In that way, employees see management is invested in their professional development and takes the training seriously. It also provides valuable insight into whether the elearning is relevant and imparting the required skills.
“With all my work, I don’t have the time to complete the training.”
This may be the hardest objection to overcome. Employees today are expected to do many tasks, and online learning may seem to be an added burden. Therefore, managers must be respectful of employees’ time and work/life balance.
If the employee is amenable, he or she can do the program during their off-hours, but that shouldn’t be a requirement. But assure them they will not be penalized for completing the elearning during the workweek. But make sure they carve out time in their day or week to dive into the program. Configure the elearning in short modules so the employee isn’t tied to a computer for hours at a time.
Work on the big picture
The best motivation is to create a culture of learning within the organization. If employees know that they will benefit from it, that it’s important to the business and that management supports their learning, employees will be invested in training.