Managing Director accessplanit
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The elearning switch: five ways to avoid an RBS-esque mess

4th Jul 2012
Managing Director accessplanit
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The recent computer problems at Nat West underline the need for good management of training software and learning systems, says Dave Evans.

No doubt you will have heard the news, or worse still, may have been affected by the RBS and NatWest computer systems failure that caused untold misery for many UK-based customers.

The UK banking sector has been in uproar, and the fallout rumbles on – even raising the question of bonuses awarded to those working for the government part owned bank. Online site Maneynet.co.uk even saw a 10% jump in customers looking for alternative current accounts after the fiasco.

"The only way to fully understand your new eLearning authoring tool is to ask questions! By ignoring the support of developers you are limiting yourselves so that you aren’t reaching your maximum rate of ROI."

And, what’s the cause of all this disruption and poor press? It’s been put down to a combination of communication errors, job cuts, but most importantly - software updates going wrong.

Technology is having such an impact on the training industry today that it can no longer be ignored. How can you make sure that when you update your software you don’t suffer this issues that RBS has faced? Here are five poignant issues that, with a bit of foresight, can be tackled head on to ensure that training management software enhances your business instead of hindering it.

1. Make use of the experts

You need to make use of the company from which you bought your training software – that’s where the expertise in terms of usage lies, and this is the key to maximising return on investment (ROI). The only way to fully understand your new eLearning authoring tool is to ask questions! By ignoring the support of developers you are limiting yourselves so that you aren’t reaching your maximum rate of ROI.

2. Go modular from the start

Be smart, training software can be bought in sections; therefore you must make sure that you only choose the modules that suit business needs. As a general rule less is more, if you find that what you have bought isn’t enough then you are always able to upgrade. This is a great way to effectively manage and successfully implement the software you are utilising.

3. Take time to adjust

As with all new processes you must be able to accept and work with a transition period. This is the short space of time that it takes for any kinks in the system to be ironed out and also to ensure that all your staff are adequately trained to conduct the job they will be required to. Again it is imperative to work with your software provider to help you with any technical issues you may come across.

4. Rules of Engagement

How do you get your staff and facilitators engaged with the software you use as a business? As is often the case with software when it gets installed there is a certain level of resistance and a transition period when people get used to it. You can’t expect your staff to know how the programme works without adequate training, after this stage you are able to promote the programme to your staff and show them how you can write really interesting content.

5. Keep your content focus

Chances are the success of the training business you are involved in is closely related to the content that is delivered to individuals on a daily basis. When creating eLearning programmes, this must still be the case. All too often individuals see automation as stripping out the creative element to learning and development – don’t make that mistake. The templates may be there but it is still down to the author to input the content; for instance if you just copy over your Power Point slides with none of the extra info that goes with them nobody is going to be impressed and learners won’t feel any inclination to return.

Training software will show tangible long-term benefits, normally through saving money and cutting through administrative work. For any change, such as this, there has to be an element of re-adjustment and training business have a choice to make when they implement new software: work closely with developers to avoid the kind of errors that RBS has faced, or opt to deliver the change on their own. The first option is highly likely to deliver success.

These key points have been drawn from issues that previous training companies have come across when they have implemented a learning management system to begin their quest into eLearning. Use the information here to devise a watertight strategy for implementation, and avoid the stormy weather that can often be associated with the world of technology.
 

Dave Evans is commercial director at training management software house, accessplanit.
 
 

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