E-learning needs to be sponsored from leaders and managers in an organisation right down to the grassroots for it to take effect, and for change to be realised as a result of the learning objectives. These objectives can be set by managers based on changes required in their teams, or be set by a team of learning and development specialists within the organisation. However, what about leaders and managers themselves? How can we ensure they keep developing their skills and encourage e-learning to develop and retain their staff?
Virtual College recently attended the People Development Summit in Budapest. One of the key trends which emerged from our discussions there was culture change. Towards Maturity reported that 90% of Learning and development leaders now want to play a role in changing mindsets, while 83% are looking to build a more self-directed learning culture.
Great managers need good leadership skills in order to be able to lead their teams.
However, because leadership can be viewed as a set of soft skills, if an individual does not already possess the required skills, they can be difficult to develop. Classroom based leadership training has been shown to be ineffective for developing soft skills. There are many theories about good leadership, but managers need the opportunity to put theory into practice, and that is difficult in a classroom setting.
Strong leadership skills are also vital for delivering culture changes in organisations. For some individuals’ change can be an unsettling or even frightening process. Having a confident leader, in whom people believe, and who empowers them, can make the process much more comfortable.
E-learning allows participants to play the ‘what if’ game. This means they can explore ideas in a way that encourages creativity and innovation, an approach that traditional, instructor-led learning cannot offer. The safe space created by e-learning enables individuals to face real-life challenges and explore possible solutions without any risk of potential harm. This approach gives managers the confidence to develop their leadership skills and thus benefits the whole organisation via story building.
Behaviour change is the most requested learning outcome for digital learning. In order for changes to be realised, organisations need to partner with the right organisation to interpret the best way to deliver their desired outcomes. This means that the content developed has to ‘fit’ in with the company culture however it also needs to deliver the new desired outcomes. This must be measureable and have impact which in turn will drive the right changes to the culture. Managers and leaders need to embrace these behaviour changes, and ensure this reflect the desired culture. E-learning is widely accepted as an effective approach to bring about behaviour change in individuals due to its personalised approach and accessibility. As well as that it can be easily tracked and monitored to ensure progress is made and objectives are met.
Delivering e-learning content via gamification and simulations can help with the shift into a new culture. Not only can these techniques help drive acceptance of an e-learning culture, but they have been proven to develop learner engagement and retention of knowledge beyond course completion. This realises significant advantages on the longer term for the individual, the team they are in - all in line with the company objectives set. Gamification is great for developing leadership skills such as problem solving and communication and it needs to be widely utilised beyond millennials.
Other benefits of e-learning come from its individualised approach. It is self-paced, interactive and accessible, thus learners have more opportunity to truly understand the information. This allows them to fully adjust to new behaviours of thinking in their own time around other tasks and workloads. This applies whether you are part of a team or a manager or leader – this benefit makes a strong argument for leadership and management online content delivery.
E-learning is a great way to get your teams engaged and to help them on their path to becoming better managers and leaders. However, this needs to be supported by an LMS and audit tool to help drive focus and change in the right areas – not just for leaders and managers but for the individuals who work for the organisation.
For more information on Enable LMS, Enable Audit and our range of projects that have delivered behaviour change in a number of companies, please contact Cameron Glennon.