May the FORCE be With You: Evaluating (and Achieving) eLearning Goals

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The process for eLearning and development can sometimes have more red tape than a crime scene: With so many fingerprints on the process, it can be difficult to actually evaluate whether or not eLearning efforts are effective. And, without proper evaluation, it’s almost impossible to improve.

By creating a streamlined, cyclical process for evaluation, analysis and improvement become organic parts of eLearning development. As you speak with those in the know and deploy programs, you can cycle back to evaluation in one fluid motion. When in doubt, remember the acronym FORCE for the simplest evaluation process.

F: The first step in evaluating your eLearning efforts is to FIND THE GAPS. After all, you wouldn’t be noticing the need for action if it weren’t for areas that were being missed. Whether it’s slothful sales or boring compliance training, you should be able to identify areas in which your organization needs to improve its L&D approach.

O: Once you’ve identified the areas on which you need to focus, it’s time to OVERSEE ANALYSIS. This step can seem deceivingly difficult, since typical analytics require sorting through data and numbers. Instead, revert back to the common denominator by speaking to those “in the trenches:” The actual employees and supervisors undergoing and utilizing current learning programs. You’ll get a more personal take on how programs are working (and failing), while getting the information you need to improve and focus your efforts.

R: After speaking with those in the know, it’s your job to REVIEW THE OPTIONS. If the sales manager has complained that his team doesn’t always have the most current information, you can brainstorm ways to fill that gap: Mobile updates sent in the field might be an option. As you go through the current needs, you fit the puzzle pieces together: Which initiatives would work better with eLearning programs? Do some require face-to-face training? How can you better analyze proficiency in the future? When you’re finished your review, you should have a comprehensive game plan in place to help you accomplish your goals.

C: Have all your ducks in a row? CARRY OUT your plans by implementing your newest efforts. Remember that carrying out your vision doesn’t require a dictatorship-like grasp on your L&D initiatives but working with those who will implement and undergo the learning programs themselves. When you demonstrate and explain the benefits, you can increase manager buy-in to improve your chances for success overall.

E: Once your L&D program has been implemented, you’ll need to EVALUATE AND RESTART the FORCE process. As you repeat the steps of finding gaps, overseeing analysis, reviewing options and carrying out your plans again, you’ll be able to continuously improve initiatives until they’re near-perfect and always conforming to the latest trends and needs within your organization.

The FORCE process proves that eLearning evaluation is not a one-time event. Instead, it’s a continuing process by which L&D pros can always ensure needs are being fulfilled on an ongoing and individual basis. Applying FORCE might be the catalyst you need for perpetual, steady motion forward.