E-learning doesn’t have a great name. You may well have experienced one of these boring click-through experiences yourself. Or perhaps you see it not being used as a real learning tool but more often as a ‘tick box’ exercise. In fact, many people doubt the effectiveness of e-learning. In a recent survey I ran with The Big Fish Academy it was seen by respondents as the least effective format in Diversity and Inclusion, with 32% seeing either no or only slight effectiveness from online programmes.
Yet, it’s a great way to reach many people for a reasonable budget. Plus it also has the advantage that people can dip in and out, learning at a time and place that works for them.
So when to use e-Learning in Diversity & Inclusion and how to make it effective?
1. Do not expect e-learning in Diversity & Inclusion to change behaviour
Some clients are keen to be more inclusive and teach staff about inclusive behaviour or about being less biased in their hiring. Behaviour change requires sustained practice and support, and it’s unlikely you can get that from an e-learning programme. No matter how good it is.
2. Use e-learning in Diversity & Inclusion to raise awareness
Good e-Learning can be a great way to explain a concept and raise awareness around diversity and inclusion. Whilst it’s not going to change behaviour or teach a skill, it’s definitely a good way to create understanding and awareness.
3. Use e-learning in Diversity & Inclusion to start a conversation
Next, it’s about how and when you use e-Learning. A great way is to use short modules, watch them e.g. in a team meeting, and use them to start a conversation.
4. Make e-learning in Diversity & Inclusion fun or emotional
As the saying goes; “A picture is worth a thousand words.” So, in fact, a well-designed digital solution can have a real impact. Well-designed could be a video like this one from McKinsey & Company and this one from Deloitte. Both illustrate a concept in just a few minutes, in a way that is hard to do in a training session. And both really tug at your heartstrings, making them memorable.
A great example of a light-hearted approach is our short video for a client on diversity. In total, we made 10 short video’s for them to raise awareness about Inclusive Behaviours, and start the conversation.
So, there is definitely a time and a place for e-Learning in Diversity & Inclusion and it can have a real impact. But of course, remember that just the e-learning isn’t going to make a change on its own. It’s wise to embed e-learning in a wider programme of initiatives that raise awareness, a broader dialogue in the organisation, changes in recruitment and advancement processes and face to face leadership development programmes.