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6 factors when integrating training catalogues to Business Skills Training

With constant demands on business through new legislation (think GDPR) and the need to upskill and encourage employee development (think CPD), there’s an increased need for training.    

But how do you cover all the bases and stay abreast of new developments?  Most organisations will scarcely have the bandwidth or experience to extend their training provision.  So many will turn to outsourcing it to training companies or buying in via eLearning.  Yet how do you know that what you’re getting is the right fit and how do you avoid losing more time and productivity to training?

Why Training catalogues?

Training catalogues, suites of elearning courses that cover core Business Skills, may seem like the obvious solution to the headache of keeping up with necessary skills.  Most organisations have a restricted training budget and don’t have in-house resources to deliver, so it makes sense from a cost point of view to buy in this expertise.  Training catalogues can also help provide the continuous learning that employees require for their professional development (CPD).

Training catalogues take full advantage of the benefits of elearning.  They help keep employees productive by allowing learning to take place where and when it’s needed, allowing learners to learn at their own pace.  The use of powerful narratives and learning strategies like gamification, delivered with eye-catching multimedia, keep learners engaged and motivated.  Elearning also gives learners the chance to take control of their own training and brings it into the workplace.

It’s about integration, not replacement

Buying in training catalogues isn’t the whole answer.  It’s not enough simply to swap in elearning and hope that it will automatically meet all your training demands and, more critically, make training more effective.  To allow eLearning to drive better performance you need to prepare the ground and integrate, not simply replace or override.

Here are 6 things to bear in mind and help ensure a smooth and effective integration of training catalogues into your organisation’s training.

1. Prepare the ground

Elearning training catalogues come ready-made and ready to implement.  But while they may technically be self-contained, you shouldn’t treat them as just a software plug-in.  To get the greatest benefit you need to align them with your organisation’s culture and goals.  As with any training, elearning needs to meet business priorities and be set in the broader organisational context.  And that means more than just customising a few screens in an elearning module.

Opting for elearning is not about replacing your L&D department or side-lining in-house expertise.  It’s about enhancement and what you can do to make training more effective.  Research suggests that a blend of learning has the greatest impact, so don’t throw out what you have but consider ways in which it will work alongside the new elearning modules.  Think of training catalogues as an upgrade to your training that offers more dimensions and greater breadth.  Consider how it blends with existing training and employee development programmes.

Make the most of the potential to customise elearning.  That means digitising what you already have, incorporating any existing elearning and capturing best practice and in-house expertise in the formal training.

2. Don’t assume uptake

Training catalogues can be an attractive and effective addition to your training and remove many logistical problems for your organisation, but don’t think the benefits are so obvious to everyone.  You still need to motivate your learners.

With new technology and content on demand, learners’ expectations are changing.  They’re formulating their own learning objectives and finding their own ways to meet them.  Training catalogues can realise this by providing a learning environment that allows learners to take control of their learning path.  The task for your organisation is to enable this by adapting the elearning modules to make them relevant to and accessible in the environment in which your people work and learn

Learning should address a need that learners themselves perceive, rather than one you’ve created for them.  Your organisation can reinforce a sense of personal responsibility for learning by trying to improved performance, peer recognition, and personal reward.

3. Re-use and repurpose

Elearning modules are often seen as a direct replacement for instructor-led, classroom-based training.  But it’s worth remembering that they can have the same limitations.  If training catalogues are hidden or difficult to access, they’re no different from the closed classroom session or the off-site training day.

Elearning shouldn’t be a one-off event but rather something that can be used as a permanent resource, and easily accessible when it’s needed.  It’s not only that modules offer self-paced learning, but it’s also that the information they contain can be presented and accessed in different ways.

The material in training catalogues can be reformatted to provide a searchable database of resources.  It can be sliced and diced to make shorter, more targeted, more digestible chunks of instruction and learning.  It can be used, in a quiz format, to determine prior knowledge or to refresh learning.

This flexibility in delivery and formatting also offer a more personalised way of learning.  Just as every learner can proceed at his or her own pace, so learners can jump ahead or go back.  This way, training appeals to the individual needs of your learners and is not just a question of addressing the lowest common denominator.  Instead, trainers can manage learners on a personalised level, charting progress, identifying gaps in learning at an individual and organisational level and making recommendations and interventions.

4. Increase access

Using training catalogues as a flexible and adaptable resource can be further enhanced by increasing access.  Making elearning resources available across a variety of devices and platforms extends accessibility.  If this is combined with mobile connectivity, you make access to learning so much easier.

We carry our mobile devices with us all the time.  So, it makes sense to use this portable tool to deliver learning.  You move away from the locked classroom or LMS and enable people to learn on the go, mirroring the way we increasingly search for and access information.

5. Move training closer to work

The increased flexibility, accessibility and mobility afforded by elearning have implications not just for the way training occurs but how and where it’s managed.  Making material from training catalogues accessible across platforms means there’s no longer a need to regard training as distinct or removed from the workplace.

Training moves into the workflow.  So, training doesn’t cease when you leave the classroom or exit the elearning course.  Moving learning into the workflow helps to enhance its effectiveness and improve productivity by improving its focus and relevance.  It allows people to keep working while enabling them to learn on the job.

6. Build a learning culture

Elearning training catalogues, if adapted and integrated correctly, can help make learning a continuous process.  To support that process you need to develop a learning culture.  This means actively building an environment and culture of learning, where knowledge and best practice are shared between individuals and teams, as a matter of course, rather than just in the classroom or in motivational sessions.

People learn better when they share knowledge and ideas while they’re working together.  The influence and knowledge of peers can help create an environment where sharing information becomes the norm.  Elearning encourages that collaborative and social approach to learning.  Information can be distributed through and incorporated into elearning resources.

Integrate to get the full benefit

If in using training catalogues all you want to do is to save cost, you’ll not derive the real benefits.  To maximise the advantages that catalogues bring, you have to integrate elearning into your organisation’s working practices and take advantage of its engaging learning strategies, greater flexibility and accessibility.  You need to realise the potential to reuse and repurpose content.

Fully integrated into an organisation’s processes and ways of working, training catalogues help sustain a culture that promotes continuous learning and learning at the point of need.

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