For the last two weeks the Training Manager and I executed a simple e-learning only test. With the Training Manager leading the way, we asked our field sales group to help us get friendly practice volunteers to go through our newly created compliance e-learning. Our field sales team provided us with 63 volunteers who agreed to take the training within two weeks and provide us feedback on the training content. Next, we emailed the details on how to navigate to the e-learning to the 63 volunteers.
Two weeks after the launch of the test, we ran a report to discover how many of our 38 volunteers completed the e-learning. The results were 2 volunteers completing the training, giving us a 5% completion rate.
I met with the training manager and reviewed the results. We both concluded that the results were strong enough to verify that our live trainers have no worries regarding e-learning replacing them as the mode of choice. The Training Manager suggested that we next proceed to testing the Blended Learning Process.
I felt relief that our quick test of e-learning validated the research showing that e-learning, on it's own, suffers a low completion rate. I also felt a bit panicked by how low the completion rate was for the test. Our need ofr a successful blended learning has now taken on a new urgency.
I also felt that this quick test was valuable in engaging the the Training Manager with the realities of e-learning. Having her experience the low completion rate seemed to have energized her desire solve the problem. I feel that this exercise as a success.
In the last two weeks, I was able to have multiple meetings with with both the Manager and Training Coordinator.
My first meeting with the Manager and Training Coordinator allowed me to explain the following: what the project was about; why it was important; what her role in the project would be. This last explanation was critical – I communicated that her role in the project was most important in that she would make sure that the procedures were easy to follow for the training coordinators and for our learners. She left this first meeting with the documents for review.
The Training Coordinator, in our first meeting, had 8 issues with the process and call guides. Afterwards, I resolved all 8 issues and called for a second meeting. In Meeting 2 the Training Coordinator found 2 additional issues. Along with the decrease in the number of issues, her view regarding readiness of the Blended Learning Process had shifted from thinking that our processes and call guides was not ready to a more neutral mindset.
Again, after the meeting, I resolved the Training Coordinator’s two remaining issues and called for the third and last meeting in this cycle. In Meeting 3, I received from her no additional issues. Her view regarding the readiness of the Blended Learning Process had again shifted. Instead of ‘neither agreeing or disagreeing’ with the survey statement, our Training Coordinator now ‘agreed’ with the statement, “I am confident that the Blended Learning Process is ready for testing.”
With the Training Coordinator, it appears that her confidence regarding the readiness of the Blended Learning Process for testing grew as her issues were resolved. I asked her if there was a direct correlation between the two and she replied, “Sure. Once you resolved my concerns I saw no reason not to test the process with our learners.
In Meeting 1, the Training Manager had 3 issues with the process and call guides. After Meeting 1, I resolved all 3 issues and called for a second meeting. In Meeting 2, the Training Manager found 1 additional issue. Along with the decrease in the number of issues, her view regarding readiness of the Blended Learning Process had shifted. Instead of ‘strongly disagreeing’ with the survey statement, our Training Coordinator now ‘disagreed’.
Again, after the meeting, I resolved the Training Coordinator’s issue and called for the third and last meeting in this cycle. In Meeting 3, I received from her one additional issue. With this new issue her view regarding the readiness of the Blended Learning Process had shifted back to ‘strongly disagreeing’ with the survey statement. This surprising development caught me off guard. The pattern shown with the Training Coordinator becoming confident that the Blended Learning Process was ready for testing was not evident with the Training Manager.
I endeavored to examine the reasons why I received a difference in reaction between the Training Coordinator and the Training Manager. While the Training Coordinator’s confidence increases with the elimination of concerns, the Training Manager, I examined the Training Manager’s one remaining concern: “I am concerned that there is too much e-learning for the learners to go through prior to a live learning session.” I asked her, “Why do you have this concern?” She answered, “I am concerned that my live trainers will feel threatened by the e-learning – that the will think that e-learning will replace them.
With this additional conversation, I was able to determine that the Training Coordinator’s narrow scope of work enabled her to focus solely on process improvement as a way of increasing her confidence regarding the readiness of the Blended Learning Process for testing. In contrast, the Training Manager’s responsibilities, wider in scope, include managing a group of live trainers. As the leader of liver trainers, she reflected upon the possible reactions to blended learning that can occur within that work group. One reaction from within the group could be the perception that the blended learning is designed to replace them.
How did I feel about the Manager's reversal of her support for the blended learning test? At first I was surprised. I was not expecting this response. I was expecting a smooth sail into testing out our Blended Learning process and call guides.
Upon reflection, however, I realized that she had decided to reflect upon the process of blended learning from the point of view of her live trainers. She was adopting different viewpoints that the Training Coordinator did not. How do I feel about this? I am grateful that the manager did take this position. If she cam e to this thought, then it will be very likely that a certain percentage of her trainers will also come to the same conclusion. If our trainers do think of the blended training process as a threat, then they may reject the concept all together. I realize now that we will have to devise a quick test to show the live trainers that the success of e-learning requires the live trainers for the blended working to be successful. I also think that the Manager must be involved in this quick test.