Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Role of Training and Support in eLearning Success Part III

In is the third blog in this series. Part I dealt with the key issues in eLearning and Part II is about training and support. In this part, I discuss methods and procedures that we have adopted, and how they have contributed to our success.

We have adopted a number of methods and procedures to ensure that our work goes on seamlessly. This procedures are mainly administrative to make sure for example that all the training schedules are done and dispatched on time via campus communications, ensuring that all bookings for training are captured and if there is any additional information the trainees need to know is communicated to them, informing the office of staff development of the training for their records and also for catering purposes (we offer a light snack for every training that takes more than three hours), analyzing the training reports and where intervention is needed doing so promptly, reporting back to the office of staff development as well us updating our databases of the people who have attended training and most important that the training actually takes place. There are also elaborate procedures and steps that we follow in putting forward feature requests and reporting bugs to the technical departments. Other methods for success include proper documentation, sound project management, team and capacity building and marketing.

On the documentation, we create a report of each and every training, consultation, meetings with stakeholders, and things that arise during our course of duty. Also, at the end of every week, we prepare personal reports detailing out every major task that we have done, and its status. The personal reports are usually divided into administrative tasks, training, meetings, consultations, technical and seminars. These reports helps us in sharing of tasks and also when we need to do an audit of the capacity within the team. In addition, we prepare monthly reports with an audit of all the activities that have been taking place.

The eLearning division is small compared to the demands of our clients. Good project management and planing is essential. Over the last year, we have been having a number of special academic projects (also as part of our marketing) going on. These projects had an overwhelming demand for our support and its only through good project management we managed to deliver. Due to the success rates of the projects, next year we have many more projects lined up. For next year too, only proper management of our training and support will make us succeed.

Continuous team and capacity building takes place during our "Capacity Building Sessions" every Friday afternoon. During these sessions, we hold our division's meeting and a team member does a training/demonstration of some of the talents or skills she/he has for the benefits of all the other members. Also, as part of the capacity building, members are encourage to attend conferences and seminars on eLearning.

Marketing and changing of mindsets is very important. We have to convert the traditionalists to use eLearning. Our approach to marketing reach-one reach-all. When a lecturer shows interest in using eLearning, we encourage him/her to setup a project. In this project, we offer all the necessary resources, support and training. We work to make sure that the project is a success. Once this project is successful, we ask the academic, now the champion to lobby within his/her department. The champion schedules and invites us for a meeting with the department. During these meetings we
informally discuss the fears, expectations, promises, challenges, etc of eLearning with the academics. It offers us a chance to not only listen to our potential clients but also to know them. This of late has been driven by the successes that have been reported by other departments. We also offer incentives in the form of laptops to the champions.

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