E-learning (I’ve never liked that term.) is increasing as atraining and development tool. But the key question is, “Does it contribute to achieving important business results?” A meta-analysis of online-learning studies by the U.S. Department of Education offers evidence that “e-learning” in certain circumstances and done in certain ways, can increase knowledge more than classroom-based instruction. However, retained knowledge does not necessarily mean that business results will be achieved. That requires an organizational experience beyond the technology.
Sean Murray and I wrote about this issue in an article titled, Getting Business Results From E-Learning, published in the January 25 issue of the online magazine Learning Solutions. We argue in that article that unless managers of learners are implementing five factors, that we call the 5As Framework, the organization will receive little benefit from e-learning programs. These five factors are: 1) alignment; 2) anticipation; 3) alliance; 4) application; and 5) accountability. And it’s not enough for HR and training professionals to be implementing this framework. Managers of learners must employ these principles to create an environment in which employees learn and apply that learning to achieving important business results.