Although some might try to make an argument that all content should be converted to e-learning, Brandon-hall.com's Chapman says it's most important to concentrate on the low-hanging fruit: The content that reaches the greatest number of people.
When Dade Behring, Deerfield, Ill., needed to train its customers to use the company's new data management system, it made sense to offer the training online because of the large number of customers to train in the field, says Nick Payne, director of training, North America. Dade Behring worked with Knowledge Anywhere, Bellevue, Wash., for seven months to develop an online training program for the new system.
"This is the first class that we developed—it wasn't easy, but it worked very well," Payne says. The class includes about eight hours worth of training, and more than 1,800 customers have participated. "This class was our jump start into content conversion, and we are already developing our seventh online support tool in three years—that is pretty significant for us," he says.
Focusing on the low-hanging fruit also creates potential for the greatest ROI. In addition to the savings from the decreased travel costs, e-learning is starting to reduce support costs at Dade Behring's technical assistance center. Payne says that when they ran a pilot for one of their online educational support tools and followed the calls of the people who attended the online education component, they found that the number of calls to technical assistance center decreased 27 percent.
"We don't provide online training for the sake of it," Payne says. "Combining technology and education is an investment, and we have to justify that investment." —G.J.