Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot of training managers saying they’re just not getting people signing up for online training. In these organisations, they have plenty of great courses available on their intranet or LMS, but they’re just not getting as many workers enrolling as they’d like. If that’s something you’re experiencing, these five tips will help you get those numbers up.
1 – What’s the WIIFM?
Don’t just circulate the catalogue and hope they have time to browse through it, finding the courses they need. Highlight the benefits of each course – what will they get out of it? Perhaps pick some specific courses each week to highlight. People want to know ‘What’s In It For Me’? before signing up. Tell them what they’ll be able to do as a result of working through the course. Tell them what difference it will make to their working life. Tell them how much more confident they’ll feel or how much easier their work will be if they take the course.
2 – What’s it like?
Manage their expectations by explaining how it will work. Outline the equipment they’ll need and what’s involved in terms of time commitment and input. Never apologise for putting training online – saying ‘we’re sorry this can’t be delivered face to face, so we’ll try and do as best we can online instead’ hardly fills them with confidence! Instead, explain that it has been designed especially for delivery online and that it will be effective, engaging and impactful.
3 – Make it easy
Make sure training is easy for everyone to access. Have workshops at different times of the day, make notes or recordings available and make training easy to access. If some of your people work on mobile devices, make sure any elearnings or webinars will work on mobile. If some of your people work shifts, make sure that training is available when they work.
Also make it easy for people to enrol. Do you really need forms and signatures for every course? Review that process and strip away anything that’s not needed to make it easy for people to sign up. How often do you honestly get everyone signing up to every course and not doing any work at all because of it? Trust your team to take responsibility for their own learning and help them to do that.
4 – Give the gift of time
You’re busy. Everyone’s busy. No one has time for luxuries like training! Yet, you know it's important and you know that it will have a positive effect on your employees, your business and your customers. Make learning a priority. Make time and budget for it. It might make sense to allocate time specifically for learning. Google famously has their 20% rule which allows employees to spend 20% of their working time on their own projects. You could dedicate a specific time slot each week for internal workshops, have drop in sessions at lunchtimes or use your intranet or communication platform to promote training. Make it the norm that when someone has some downtime, they can fill it with learning. Make it clear that (unless there's something really pressing that needs done), it's perfectly acceptable to spend some time learning.
5 – Be a role model
Above all, embrace it yourself. Demonstrate that you are continuously learning and developing your own knowledge and skills and encourage other senior colleagues to do the same. This can be the most effective way of encouraging a learning culture in your workplace. Talk to people about what you’re learning and how you’re doing it.
Talk about great courses you’ve taken, videos you’ve watched or books you’ve read. Talk about how you find the time to make your learning a priority. Talk about how you draw on your network to learn about what’s happening in your profession. Talk about the journals you’re reading to keep up to date with your industry.
Own up to mistakes and be transparent about how you’ve learned from them. Share your experiences and outcomes with others. You could do this through your internal social network (if you have one), a presentation, or by email.