Implementing eLearning

Early eLearning was an utter disaster.

A study by ASTD and Elliott Masie found that 31% of potential eLearners failed to register for compulsory e-Learning; 68% failed to register for voluntary e-Learning. Drop-out rates of 50% to 80% were not uncommon. The study concluded, “For learners, how extensively the course was marketed and promoted was the single most influential factor for increasing the likelihood that learners would begin the course.”

In 2002, Lance Dublin and I wrote a book, Implementing eLearning, to address two issues:

  • How can we make it more likely learners will come? And complete what they start? 
And come back for more?
  • How do we prepare the organization to not only install, but also then implement and ultimately institutionalize e-learning?

We contended that successful implementation takes change from the top (necessitating change management) and demand from the bottom (using the philosophy and techniques of consumer marketing.)

The marketing we were talking about is what David Packard referred to when he said, “Marketing is far too important to be left to only the marketing department.” Our rationale was, as Larry Wilson said, “People love to buy but hate to be sold.”

Here is Chapter 1 at Amazon. (See this tag cloud at Amazon for the focus of the book.)

The book is structured around a number of exercises to tease out a change management strategy and marketing plan piece-by-piece. The capstone of the book is a template for an action plan. (Here’s a copy in Word, should you want to truly fill in the blanks.)

I found it outrageous that our publisher charged $38 for our 140-page book. (They must have missed school the day the price-sensitivity of demand was discussed.) I created a website on implementing eLearning where I published portions of the raw first draft, titling them The Author’s Cut, and promising “what didn’t get into the book. Typos, far-out ideas, and topsy-turvy presentation. This is unedited. From the heart.” After an introduction, those sections cover:

This book is now six years old but it has aged well. To my amazement, the fundamentals still apply.