5 ways elearning can support business change

Posted on Nov 10, 2015

Elearning

Business change is inevitable, learn how you can use elearning to develop employee skills and face the challenges of change.

How well does your organisation deal with change?

Increasingly, the degree to which businesses can adapt positively and quickly to change is driving their success. 

But it’s not just at board level – every employee has a role to play and elearning can help.

Rapid pace

“Change is inevitable. Change is constant.”

British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli speaking at the zenith of the industrial revolution must have thought his generation had the monopoly on change, given the social and economic upheaval of his time.

We may just outdo the Victorians.

In our world, it is not just the level of change, but the rapid pace of change, that is defining.

Technology is the best example.

Today, even the most basic smartphone has the equivalent computing power of a 1980s defence system.

But so-called exponentials promise to take this is a whole new level.

Exponentials are technologies that grow in capability at a much faster rate than normal tech, roughly doubling in performance every 12 to 18 months (relative to their size and cost).

Examples are things like quantum computing, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics.

We don’t yet know where this rapid pace of change will lead us, or how it will impact on our everyday lives, but the ability to adapt to change is likely to become a fundamental requirement for both individuals and organisations.

CEO survey

What keeps company leaders awake at night?

The latest Global CEO survey by PwC sheds some light.

Out of more than 1,300 CEOs in 77 countries:

  • 72% said they are concerned about geopolitical uncertainty
  • 60% are worried about social instability
  • 58% are concerned about the speed of technological changes

Reassuringly, those at the top of business are clear on the strategic importance of developing the skills of their employees to help meet these challenges.

More than 80% said their organisation always looks to equip employees with new skills through continuous learning programmes.

Common barriers

Whether it is the introduction of a new technology, a merger or entering a new market, the workforce’s ability to adapt positively is crucial.

But there are many things that can go wrong.

Some of the common barriers include:

  • Workforce resistance
  • Lack of employee engagement and motivation
  • Organisational culture
  • Poor communication
  • Lack of adequate resources
  • Poor leadership

These pitfalls lead to an estimated 70% of organisations failing to successfully implement business change projects. 

Learning innovation

Businesses that are digitally transforming their learning are seeing results.  

Towards Maturity’s latest Benchmark Report reveals that learning innovation has contributed to a 22% improvement in the ability of organisations to change procedures and products and delivered a 24% improvement on their ability to speed up rollout of new IT, over a 3 year average.

With the speed of change now increasing across all sectors, multi-media elearning is likely to play an even bigger role in future in helping organisations respond to business change.

Interactive videos, explainer animations, elearning games, interactive challenges and quizzes and social learning technologies can all be used as part of an online learning campaign to support a business change project.

We've identified 5 ways elearning contributes to successful transformation:

Communication

A key factor in the failure of change initiatives is communication. Poor communication leads to a lack of understanding and fuels resistance. Getting communication right can be tricky if the business change is complex or happening quickly. Elearning can prove a rapid and effective communications tool. Learning designers are adept at turning detailed information into an easy-to-digest format. Businesses can check understanding through interactive quizzes so they can provide more information where necessary.

Motivation

Winning hearts and minds – you may have heard this phrase if you have been involved in change management. But that’s not going to happen without tapping into emotion. Elearning can use elements such as video and animation to inspire the workforce about the business change, why it’s necessary and what’s in it for them.

Engagement

Closely linked to motivation, business change success is dependent on employee engagement. Engagement will vary throughout the business change initiative, in a process called the ‘change curve’. Elearning has the advantage of being available at any time so employees can refer to it repeatedly and when they are ready. Good elearning also keeps people’s attention for longer and helps them absorb information so it can prove far more engaging that a dry, written communication.

Interactivity

Business change is far less effective if the only option is to respond  passively. Elearning is built around interactivity, allowing workers to understand the change through active learning. Being told to ‘listen and accept’ is very different from being asked to ‘discover and explore.’  The latter is much more effective in supporting employees through change.

Flexibility

For organisations implementing business change quickly, or those with a workforce spread across the world, elearning can be particularly useful. Face-to-face sessions inevitably take time (and money) to rollout. Elearning can be available to all staff at the same time so everyone gets a consistent message, wherever they are in the world. Given the pace of change in some sectors, elearning may be the only effective option to keep employees updated.

To recap, elearning can help support staff development through business change in 5 key ways:

  • Communication
  • Motivation
  • Engagement
  • Interactivity
  • Flexibility

With constant change now the new ‘norm’ for many businesses, those proving most successful are the organisations evolving their approach to change management and how they communication with and train their workforce.

Sponge UK has experience of working with large companies to workforce training on business change using a wide range of multi-media elearning.

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