Launching e-learning in an organisation with limited computer access

Hi all


This may sound like a strange situation, but I am going to be launching our new e-learning system in our organisation shortly. A lot of people, in fact most are not computer users (at work) and either don't need to use one as part of their work or there is no PC in their work location.


We will be encouraging people to access the solution from home, using someone else's PC at work or find another solution.


Whilst recognising that this could be quite a challenge, I suspect there are some people who have trod this path before and have implemented in situations with similar access challenges.

Can anyone share any insights, ideas, tips or pitfalls that could help, particularly in convincing the sceptics?



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Hi Richard

One organisation I'm aware of in your situation launched an internal communications campaign featuring a made-up character the training team created, who now personifies all communications regarding their e-learning. They used some traditional forms of marketing across the organisation to spread their message, including posters and postcards around staff rooms and other common areas to re-inforce the fact that the e-learning was there for them to try and showing this character giving it a go. It sounds basic but it worked for them.

I've attached a recent case study tracking e-learning adoption in an organisation like yours where most workers don't have access to a PC. Hopefully will be useful to you.

Hi Richard

I myself am in a similar situation and having to think on my feet as to the best solution. I am looking at potential alternatives such as using internet cafes and agreeing a flat fee to use their resources, i am also looking at the various libaries around the country as we have 26 branches, that our staff can perhaps access.

I am also going to be contacting local colleges, learn direct (they may be able to provide free IT training), community projects and trying to access additional funding from a number of sources that may be able to match fund the purchase of additional equipment.

With ref to convincing the sceptics i always find that informing them that this has the potential at reducing costs, increasing business opportunties and reducing some of the associated workload particularly if it applies to them has helped, but i imagine you have already gone through all of that so when you manage to win them over let me know how.


Richard Murfin
I'm wondering how hard it would be to convert a learning module into an interavtive DVD as you can pretty much guarentee the people without computers have one of them, or I did see at the lsg that calibrand were doing a quiz on the psp
@Richard Just because they don't have daily access to PCs does not mean they don't have other tools you can leverage. Don't overlook tools like mobile phones and mp3/4 players! You can use the phones for 'tip of the day/week' type features. You can create podcasts or vidcasts that the users can download. Be creative. Think wide. This is an opportunity to be really innovative!

Suggest you look at this site see the art of the possible.

We have a similar situation. We have got around this though by having a couple of pcs dedicated for e-learning. Users can jump on when they have a chance to take the e-learning. Seems to work okay, though it does require some pushing to get e-learning taken.

You just need basic pc's with internet, flashplayer etc
I would be sceptical of employee's taking e-learning at home as they may feel it is a work time activity eating into their social life, but it very much depends on the mindset of the workforce.
Hi Richard

The other problem you may have with asking people to access e-learning from home will be the vast array of different computers they will be using. So you may build/buy something that looks good and works on your OC, but will not work on some other PCs that may be older/have smaller screens etc. That will just need some careful thought.
Hi Richard,

I work within the Nuclear Industry and I would say that 50%(ish) of our workforce do not have a dedicated PC as they are directly involved in the manufacturing process. Instead we have provided several PCs in their workplace which they can 'hot desk' at in order to pick up emails, complete e-learning etc. This approach has worked very well with very little relative investment in hardware.

We have also turned a relatively little used training room into an ICT suite. This facility can be booked by both individuals and groups of people in order to complete their e-learning.

The potential solution that you have considered which involved the users accessing your system from home, may I feel, be fraught with issues such as 'overtime demands', firewall access problems, incompatible systems etc.

If you would like to visit my work site to view how we have worked around some of the problems, I would be more than happy to oblige.

Please contact me if you would like to take me up on this offer.

Hi Richard,

Me again!

I've just read your profile and have noticed that you work for the WRVS.

Being ex-military I recognise the relationship between the Military and the WRVS. Perhaps you could speak to your military contacts and see if they would consider sponsoring you for some PCs/hardware. I know from experience that the Army is always looking for opportunities to assist charitable organisations and given the relationship that the WRVS has with the military, you might get a pleasant surprise....

... if you don't ask!?!?!?!

I am involved in quite a few retail elearning projects where there is typically one PC per shop, usually with very poor internet connections. So we need to keep it light on media (no video!). Often these users share a login, which throws up tracking problems if you want to know who's done what, so consider how the users will login, how you will set those users up in the system, etc. Self registration on learning platforms usually requires an email address during the registration process, how will you handle users with no email address?

You have home users, so a wide range of browsers will need to be supported, ensure the developers test it in Firefox, Internet Explorer 6,7,8, Mac browsers like Safari. Chrome less an issue as doesn't sound like the tech/geek audience is your target.

Depending on budget, have you considered delivering learning to mobile devices (iPhone, Smartphone, gaming devices, etc)?
Hi Richard

From a non-hardware point of view it might be also beneficial to get key people in the business areas involved and get them excited about the new learning options to spread the word. Research has shown (Rogers 2003 - The Diffusion of Innovations) that people are likely to adopt a new technology, in your case a new learning offer, if it has been adopted by people in their group they respect and look up to. So if you get a group of people that are respected by the workforce (that is not necessarily their supervisor or manager) to adopt your new elearning strategy and to promote it to their colleagues it might help to jump start the use of elearning at any place - at home, in internet cafes etc, as they want not to miss out on the knowledge or oportunity.


Hi Richard

I was given a similar task recently to launch a learning management system in to our Retail space. 95% of the Retail stores did not have any PCs away from the shop floor and to be honest completing eLearning on the PCs instore was not really an option for us.

We explored various options to get around this, like coming in before the shop opens and doing the learning or when the shop closed. This was not a well received option.

The solution we came up with took a little bit of investment but we are reaping the rewards for this at the moment. We purchased a Netbook (mini laptop) for each store. All Netbooks came with a SIM card, which meant they could access the Internet through a mobile broadband connection or via WiFi.

What this did for the stores was give them freedom to take the eLearning whenever and wherever they liked. Obviously the screen size and bandwidth were issues, but we were able to overcome them by looking at how we create the eLearning and ensuring it was suitable for use on the netbooks.

As for encouraging usage, this I believe is a challenge for just about every company. We had a top down approach and targeted managers first to show them the benefits of eLearning and getting the to go through the process. We also gave them the alternative of a 3 hour classroom session at head office. So this gave them the push to make it work for them in their retail stores.

The feedback we got from the programmes we have launched has been very positive and they are asking for more which is very encouraging. We our first programme launch we hit 78% completion, which was above the target we set ourselves.



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