Guest Blog by Elisabeth Ellis, Director of Be4 People

“You can avoid having ulcers by adapting to the situation: If you fall in the mud puddle, check your pockets for fish.” ~Author Unknown

CC-BY image by kbhollo "Fall Woods with Vines"  http://kbhollo.deviantart.com/art/Fall-Woods-with-Vines-285290820
CC-BY image by kbhollo “Fall Woods with Vines” http://kbhollo.deviantart.com/art/Fall-Woods-with-Vines-285290820

I’ve talked with managers regarding their e-learning strategies, and often I’ve heard reluctance to engage with the process of change. Either it is not overt in their strategy, or they are not sure how to go about it – particularly for e-learning. And often the managers are going through the change process themselves and may be having trouble “seeing the wood for the trees”.

Why is change leadership important to build into your e-learning strategy and what are the key elements to focus on to ensure your eLearning implementation is effective?

Any kind of technology change brings with it challenges for stakeholders and change for why and how they do what they do. We know that the digital revolution means that technology for learning is constantly changing at an exponential rate and learners’ expectations for how, where and when they can learn are also changing.

As managers we tend to get fascinated by the “bright, shiny toys” of technology and multi-media content development and consumed by or bogged down in their implementation at the expense of skills development for trainers and learners and paying attention to gaining stakeholder buy-in.

People – particularly your trainers and learners – need to want to change to using new tools, processes and methods. However, change is messy, and can be daunting. For some it can be exciting, but often threatens deep down convictions of what learning should be, and how they see their roles. They are being asked to move out of deep comfort zones into what seems like the “unknown”. And if they are reluctant to move – the investment in your e-learning strategy can be compromised.

As a manager – leading the change process can be seen as difficult and not as straightforward as a project plan. Some managers can “put off” doing the hard yards for assisting their people to make the shift. Your commitment to leading the change and allocating sufficient resources, can be the most essential components of ensuring your e-learning strategy is successful.

There is a lot involved with leading change, however here are some key strategies for elearning implementation:

Communicate the vision

Why are you asking people to make considerable shifts in the way they do what they do? What will the future look like – and how will you support them in the change process? How are you going to have real conversations with your people about what this change means for them?

CC-BY image: Parallel Running - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parallel_running
CC-BY image: Parallel Running – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parallel_running

Plan for transition

Yes you need to be ahead of the game, or at least in the running – and there is some urgency about this. However chunk it down! Remember that moving in small, achievable steps for people and using as many familiar tools or processes in moving to unfamiliar ones can make the process less daunting and easier. And build in evaluation, reinforcement and processes to celebrate success.

Know your people

Who are your early adopters, and who is likely to be reluctant to change? How are you going to communicate with each of these? How are you going to respond to them as they express their doubts, their scepticism etc? Identify early on the “What’s in it for me?”

Recruit role models and change champions

With e-learning, organisations are usually lucky to have early adopters who are already leading the charge. Recruit them as role-models – get them to show and talk about what has worked for them and why.

Resource the change process

This can be the hardest part to fulfil in leading change for e-learning – depending on your role in your organisation. However it is essential that there are adequate resources for skills development, time to adopt new skills, and release for subject matter experts to develop content and learn new facilitation techniques.

Explore these and other key areas further in Elisabeth’s upcoming webinar “On the Virtual couch with eLearning Change Manager, Elisabeth Ellis: eLearning Change Challenges – leading change in eLearning implementation on 25 March 2015.

Contact us now via email or phone 0400 732 270 to learn how to effectively implement e-learning into your organisation or enquire about our E-learning support services.

Subscribe to our Digital Capability – Doing it Smarter eUpdates.

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This guest blog was written by Elisabeth Ellis

Elisabeth EllisAs a highly experienced Learning & Development, Organisational Development and HR manager, advisor, facilitator and practitioner, with roles in industries as diverse as retail, community services, Local and Federal Government, and broadcasting and media, Elisabeth Ellis is passionate about empowering people’s potential and facilitating learning and growth for organisations, teams and individuals.

In the digital age, as workers adopt new ways to learn using a variety of tools, methods and behaviours, Elisabeth is a leader in making learning accessible and applied through blended learning principles and practice. As technology drives change in workplace learning and organisational development needs, she is adept at identifying best-fit e-learning strategies and approaches for different needs. Elisabeth also is experienced in guiding, supporting and leading change processes within organisations.

At the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Elisabeth worked on significant technology change projects, as well as developing and implementing the organisation’s e-learning strategy. She currently works with businesses in a range of sectors, in all aspects of Learning and Development: instructional design, change management, strategy development and facilitation of programs.

eLearning Change Challenges: leading change in eLearning implementations
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