Frank Smit provides some ideas for managing e-learning effectively.

So what’s the big issue with managing e-learning? What makes this any different from managing face-to-face training?

Isn’t it just a case of developing the courses, or licencing some generic courses, loading them on a Learning Management System (LMS), allocating them to the learners, and then running reports to see how the learners are going?

Sure, that’s one interpretation, but in our view there is a lot more to it than that.

Firstly, we have found that getting the learners to do the courses at all is sometimes a real challenge. Unlike face-to-face training which is usually scheduled for a particular day, e-learning generally allows the learners to complete the course when it’s convenient for them. This is one of the main benefits of e-learning, but it can also result in procrastination or complacency on the part of the students.

So how do you motivate them to get on with it?

Here are 8 ideas we hope you may find useful in successfully managing e-learning in a corporate environment: 

  • Make sure the training content is relevant to the level and role of the learners, and that it is presented in a way which actively encourages them to learn. This is often the failing point of compliance courses. If it’s just about getting to the end, then the training experience tends to become a ‘click-through’ affair.
  • Have a definite deadline for the course, and ensure that the learners are aware of this – never have an open-ended target. This applies to most online course libraries which is why the take-up rate is so poor.
  • Try to link the learning to measurable activities or objectives so it is not pure theory. Make it real with actual examples from the organisation.
  • Allow the learners time off to learn. Agree this time and make sure they use it. If they don’t, then follow up immediately.
  • Make sure that the system you use can report on progress at various stages in the learning, and actively manage this. Have they started? How far have they gonet? Have they done the assessments and how did they do? Intervene when you see a problem.
  • Prevent learners from being disturbed by making this an office rule. You can’t have it both ways – if you want them to study online instead of going out of the office to a course, then you have to protect the learners from interruption.
  • Motivate achievers with additional rewards, even if these are small. This is pretty obvious, and may have direct results, but it is seldom done.
  • Follow up regularly, letting the learners know that you are managing this, in both their interests and those of the organisation. Leaving progress management to the next appraisal session in 6 months is not the way to go.

“Passive management” is an oxymoron, especially with online learning. For your e-learning campaign to succeed, it needs to be actively managed and encouraged.

We hope you found this interesting, and look forward to hearing any other ideas or queries you may have. Please mail Frank at