How to make e-learning work for the indian employee

Out of 100 people who use e-learning, 70% drop off. That’s a global norm. Raise your hand, if you’re an L&D Manager, struggling with this problem!

When FLIP started, our first B2B client – a large Brokerage house – subscribed to a thousand licenses. They made FLIP mandatory, for their Wealth RMs. High five!  The results, 6 months later? Just 5% completed!

Cut to now, when FLIP averages 80% + successful e-learning completion. So let’s understand – how can you get your employees, to use e-learning?

The simple answer: Understand how we Indians learn!

Every e-learning guide – whether it’s how to build e-learning or e-learning best practices – seems to be written by a non-Indian. These practices don’t always work in the Indian context – because Indians learn differently.

Look back on your education:

1. We need someone to keep pushing us: Yup. Our parents, peers, teachers. And our own internal fear of failure. All of these are, in the Indian context, very powerful ‘pushers’. We need them.

2. We need a really strong goal: The pressure of the Exam! For us, getting a skill, or learning something new is not a goal at all. We need the Exam goal, to get us moving. That’s how we are programmed from childhood.

3. We need a clear, defined timeline: “Why are you wasting your time? You have just six months to go!” Our goal is a clear distance away. And we plan accordingly. We just aren’t comfortable with ‘at your own pace’ kind of learning.

So let’s translate these three very Indian factors, into the corporate e-learning environment.


ways to improve e-learning completion rate


Create a peer learning environment:

Enrol your employees, into a virtual batch. For example, have batches which start on the 15th of each month. This will also help you, to have a defined learning plan for the batch. Encourage the batch to interact with each other, to share and answer queries; share the details of the batch, so they also get to know their colleagues, and encourage competition.


Set clear, aspirational goals:

Announce the ‘Exam’. Yes, it needs to be an Assessment, and one which is taken seriously. Do NOT have anytime, anywhere tests – we all know what happens. Employees of a large private bank – a pioneer in implementing e-learning, tell us that while they’re supposed to take mandatory tests upon completion,  the answers are known. Your own boss tells you to forget the test, she’ll ensure a junior employee takes it for you. An ideal solution would be, a credible third party exam. Do look at certifications – your employees will value an independent Certification on their CV. If this is difficult, announce limited test slots, and randomize the question bank. Gaming the exam system is also an Indian trait! 

And yes – the Exam MUST be aspirational. How? The carrot or stick must be strong! It could be KRA weightage. It could also be rewards and recognition. And it must NOT be easy! Do not fall into the trap of letting everyone pass. That’s a huge death trap. Aim for a 60-70% pass rate.


Optimal duration:

Ties in with the batch and goal concept. An IT company, insisted on giving their employees nine months! to complete a 20 hour program. No surprises. The ‘Oh, I’ll do it tomorrow’ attitude won. In 6 months, about 3% had started.

A great thumb rule (for a 10-40 hour program) : 4 – 12 weeks, not longer and not shorter.

We’ve found an 8-10 week duration to be optimal. A 30-40 hour course length is optimal, too. Once you decide the duration, at the outset, announce the assessment date for each batch.

So, to summarise: Create a peer learning environment, to push interaction and competition. Ensure an optimal duration and announce the Assessment date, at the outset. Make the Assessment strong and aspirational.

Important note: This framework works for training via any media, spread over a period of time: not just e-learning.

Try a pilot and see your success rates zoom. Then, send us a box of brownies! We’d prefer that to brownie points 😊

Questions? Suggestions? Like some help with your learning endeavours?

How to make E-Learning work for the INDIAN employee?

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