eLearning Can—and Should—Have Many Homes

by Claire Schooley.

Making the decision of where to place elearning within a company’s organizational structure is often a challenge. Clients have asked me about this a lot in the past few months. Some may say, “Well, that’s easy, it belongs in HR,” Maybe, but not necessarily. I have seen eLearning find homes in five different areas of the business:

  1. Human Resources
  2. IT
  3. Marketing
  4. Special department of its own
  5. Lines of business

The most common department is HR because learning is tied to performance and career growth. HR takes care of onboarding and a lot of procedural learning at a company is now online. It also shows up in IT especially if there is a lot of in-house production and content involving many kinds of media.

Most people would not think of eLearning managed by Marketing. But it makes perfect sense if your eLearning is closely linked to your success in sales. In this situation, you need to know about the products-- and marketing will make sure you’ve got the right information to make you look smart. Also, this same information can help customers when sales associates look up information on their handhelds and give the customers an answer.

Sometimes learning doesn’t seem to fit well anywhere, and the CEO creates a new department reporting directly to him or other C-level executives. In this scenario, the department usually does a lot of company-wide production as well as production for LOB and even acts as consultants for business units like R&D, sales, operations, and customer service that may already do some of their own short productions.  Organizations going down this path are usually companies with fairly large in-house production unit of proprietary content.

So what’s right for your organization? Take a look at each of these options and see which will give you the efficiency and flexibility needed within the eLearning function. It might be there’s no single answer, and that eLearning is dispersed in several pockets of the organization.



re: eLearning Can—and Should—Have Many Homes

I agree that the responsibility for eLearning should rest where the knowledge needs to be deployed. Common sense really.There is however a risk in that functional areas lack a clear understanding of best practice. For example, many depts may just think lets get something on line & test our people; job done.The organisation needs to manage knowledge in way that encourages knowledge capture at a local level and yet develops best across the organisation.At eSourcing Solutions we have worked with clients who don't understand best practice which is frustrating and just want something thrown up so that they say they have done the training.Real eLearning needs to recognise best practice that motivates users to learn, is memorable and exciting; much in the same way that a kid wants to play a game.