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Where Should Small-Medium Businesses Start With eLearning?

Corey Bleich
5 min read

You know you need eLearning or some type of training for your employees. After all, your company is growing and you are moving towards your big business goals. Adding employees and expanding your reach means training new staff and updating your veteran employees. Just like grains of sand on the beach, the possibilities for eLearning for small business seem endless. So where should you start?

Start by asking yourself these two questions

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Start your SMB eLearning development by asking yourself these two questions.

1. What are my overall goals?

Start with a learning needs assessment. You can’t very well figure out what route to take if you don’t know what your destination is. A learning needs assessment uses data to lock on to the best approach to training for your company.

After all, your business isn’t the same as your competitor’s. You may be in the same field; you may even offer the same product or service. This does not matter when it comes to figuring out what your training needs are. Companies are made of people, not SKUs or services.

Take a hard look at what you have and capitalize on your strengths before you focus on what areas need work. Chances are good you have untapped experts with a wide array of skills. They may be willing to help mentor new employees. Your learning needs assessment can help find those hidden gems and polish them until they shine.

2. What type of training will work best for my company?

You have a ton of options when it comes to deciding which type of training will work best for your small-medium size company. If you have a good mix of senior employees, interns straight out of college, and mid-career changers, eLearning saves time and money but delivers the goods just as effectively (if not more) than a day spent staring at a Smart Board in a conference room.

eLearning also encompasses a variety of other methods for training. Using your learning needs assessment, follow up with these question-and-answers:

  • Is your company comprised of mostly digital natives who are used to accessing data in small bites exactly when they need it? Just-in-time solutions like microlearning might be a sustainable training method for you.

  • Maybe your millennial workforce needs more information, but just wants to have a good time? No problem. Gamification is one way to keep employees engaged, focused, learning, and, above all, up-to-date on what they need to know.

  • Is most of your business conducted out of the office and on site? Cast a geofence to keep your project managers and workers notified about changes to regulations, procedures, and methods of compliance exactly when they need it.

  • Are your employees fully trained but need quick reference tools for procedures, processes, or specifications? mLearning is a great vehicle to deliver these. No more expensive, bulky paper manuals. Access and make changes to your training materials whenever you need to on a tablet or smartphone.

Mix-and-matching these eLearning training methods for small businesses gives you flexibility and agility in your training options.

How to develop an eLearning module

So now you know what you need, and maybe you have even decided which type of SMB eLearning approach you want to focus on. What’s next? For any type of training approach, there will be a few steps to take to develop it for your company.

eLearning For Small-Medium Businesses

Start with buy-in from the top

Upper management needs to be on board before you even begin to think about revamping your training.

Get buy-in from upper management and supervisors by presenting them with the advantages of eLearning and soliciting feedback and suggestions. You’ll be glad you did!

Use the tips here to make a solid business case for eLearning.

Decide who will be responsible for development

Who is going to be responsible for the development of your company’s new eLearning program? You have three main choices when it comes to the actual building.

  • In-house developers: If you choose to develop your courses in-house, make sure you have the technical support to build them and to troubleshoot any bugs or issues that arise. Your in-house eLearning expert will need additional time to create the course(s), so plan on shifting their regular tasks to someone else.

  • eLearning experts: EdgePoint Learning has been tailoring eLearning solutions for SMBs for over a decade. We can help you develop eLearning from start to finish, from designing learning needs assessment questionnaires to evaluating how each course is going. If you are looking for a concierge training experience and want to hand this task off to the professionals, outsourcing is your best bet.

  • Combination of the two: Bringing in a professional consultant to help your company’s training experts design and deliver the perfect combination of eLearning strategies may be the best of both worlds. You know your company best; EdgePoint is an eLearning specialist. You know your content; we can help you deliver it.

Who develops your courses is a matter of preference and budget. It is best to consider all of your options before you begin.

Outline a timeframe for development and rollout

Just as with any large project, you need to set goals and outline dates so that redeveloping your eLearning is not a never-ending process.

Plus, that management buy-in earlier? They are going to want updates. Make it easy on yourself by mapping out your development strategy.

Allot resources

Resources covers not only money but also time. If you are committing to keeping it in-house, you will need to give your course developer time to work. That same course developer needs to be familiar with the LMS you choose or have time for additional training.

Other resources include materials, money, and physical space to house any hardware needed.

Design your training and pick an LMS

Whether you build your eLearning for small business from scratch, use a template, or build from existing training materials, knowing how to create a custom training is important.

Use free resources for graphics and templates for design, and select your learning management system wisely, depending on your needs, your budget, and your future goals.

Assess yourself

How’d you do? Are your employees accessing the eLearning modules you set up and getting the information they need, when they need it?

Even if your course is going well, an annual evaluation of your eLearning training strategy is a good idea.

Struggling to figure out how to design and implement sustainable eLearning on a budget for your SMB? Give EdgePoint a call. We can help you get started.

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