An ideal learning culture is one that completely values and encourages continuous learning; one in which employees continuously seek, share, and apply new knowledge and skills to improve individual and organizational performance. Organizations with strong cultures of learning tend to attract their industry’s top talent, engage and retain employees, and boost both performance and personal satisfaction. If you currently encourage a strong culture of learning within your organization, chances are you are already witnessing these positive effects.
Developing a culture that supports learning is, of course, an investment, but it also provides tremendous benefits for your organization. A learning culture is important because it helps you capitalize on your employees’ potential and ultimately grow your business. From employee engagement to increased productivity, a learning culture is something every organization should strive to create and develop.
In the last few years, we’ve seen a major shift within global organizations morphing from instructor-led training to e-learning (or a hybrid of the two). So, what makes a successful corporate e-learning culture? Are your employees excited about their online training programs? Are your employees engaged with the existing e-learning programs?
Having a strong and supportive e-learning culture ensures you’re upholding companywide standards and keeping your employees accountable. Here are some best practices for providing a good culture for your e-learners:
Clear & Open Communication
- It is extremely important that all parties involved (employees and facilitators/designers) collaborate with each other to overcome obstacles. This of course goes hand in hand with the core principles of transparency and mutual respect. Employees already have established experiences and perceptions when they enter the workplace. These opinions, beliefs, and values have a direct impact on who they are as individuals. Thus, every member of your staff should respect and honor the cognitions of others. The alternative is an uncomfortable work environment where employees are afraid to voice their concerns.
Assistance & Encouragement
- Even the most senior folks at your organization need help with their online training from time to time, in order to move beyond obstacles and expand their knowledge. On the contrary, not getting the help they need can actually stifle their professional growth. That said, even if the employees don’t actually require assistance, they should always have access to online support resources, which could be in the form of FAQs, online tutorials, email escalation, or peer-based forums.
Employee Motivation & Focus
- Employee training is essential, but it isn’t of any use to your employees if they’re not prepared for the challenge. This is the reason many major organizations are now integrating wellness programs into their online training strategies. For example, meditation, yoga, and other relaxation exercises allow employees to take a step back from training and focus on their health. Because of this, they are able to better concentrate on the job and be more efficient in their daily role.
- So rather than developing hour-long online training courses that offer a tremendous amount of knowledge, make online training more personal and digestible for your employees. Incorporate frequent breaks into your training design, as well as spaced out e-learning activities so that your employees can pace themselves. Breaking down courses into microlearning modules is also a popular strategy.
Strong Leadership & Support
- Every manager and high-level executive must be in your corner supporting this initiative. These are the folks who lead by example, and employees look to them for guidance.
- These individuals must also know how to use the online training platform effectively and recommend the right online resources based on their employees’ needs.
Additionally, these leaders should be in charge of improving performance on a departmental level. As such, they should perform all of the online training they require before the online training courses launch.
- In general, employees should be held accountable for their actions and behaviors. More importantly, there should be consequences if the standards are not upheld. They must set their own goals and choose the online training activities that suit their needs. It’s also important for managers to enforce the online training guidelines.
- However, employees should feel personally responsible and invested in their online training. If they know that there is room for improvement, they need to acknowledge it and determine how to fill the gaps. Denial is the foe of productivity and personal growth.
Self-Empowerment & Self-Confidence
- Way too often, employees feel like online training is out of their control. They have no direct say in what they do, what goals they strive toward, or how they utilize the online resources.
- A successful corporate e-learning culture depends on self-empowerment and self-confidence. Employees need to know that their thoughts and ideas matter, no matter where they sit on the corporate ladder. Everyone is a valued member of your training team, and they need to be reminded of this from time to time.
- Give praise when praise is earned. Offer your employees personalized feedback so that they can identify their strengths. You may even consider leaderboards and other gamification mechanics that build their self-assurance.
Focus on Goals
- A successful corporate e-learning culture centers on goals and objectives. Every online training course, activity, and support resource should align with the desired outcome. This involves a well-written objective statement, detailed online training guidelines, and clear expectations.
- Larger goals should be broken into smaller milestones to make online training more manageable. Organizations must also reevaluate their online corporate training strategy on a consistent basis and identify areas for improvement. Furthermore, they have to take action when an issue arises and use all available online resources to improve their approach.
- Additionally, every member of your team must be given the opportunity to achieve their own goals. This includes providing just-in-time online training resources and individualized online training paths.
Fostering a successful corporate e-learning culture requires more than just planning. Organizations must take action and lead by example. Managers and executives need to promote your online training program. They must show your employees that their effort, time, and dedication will pay off significantly. Otherwise, you may find that motivation, or lack thereof, becomes a key issue.