How To Sell Online CHW Training to a Skeptic

Skeptics of online learning can have good reasons for being skeptical. When they think about turning your community health worker program from a live training to computer-based, they are concerned about what it means for your organization. They wonder how much a new CHW training initiative will cost. They need to be assured that health workers will continue to learn when they're looking at a computer as opposed to sitting in a meeting room.
On the other hand, skeptics can also have some pretty invalid reasons for throwing up roadblocks. Perhaps they hate computers. Maybe they fear change. Maybe, for whatever reason, they distrust your enthusiasm.

No matter what motivations your critics have, you'll do a better job of making your case for shifting to training your staff through a computer-based program if you follow the tips below. In short, doing some prep work will make the job much easier.

Recognize their concerns.

First, admit that moving to an online training program might really pose some concerns. It might be more expensive, at least in the short term. It could mean hiring new educators who understand online facilitation. It will require change and learning for the whole organization.

Remember that whenever you're negotiating, it helps to understand where the other person is coming from. So pose to yourself the concerns your critics will have before you present a training solution so that you can address each one. Let their concerns help guide your research.

Research carefully.

Start by doing your own homework so you can back up your position with information that's relevant. This might include case studies of similar organizations who have built successful e-learning programs (check out how the Office of Healthy Communities at the Washington state Department of Health launched a successful online program). You can also ask other organizations to let you see how they created their program and answer specific questions for your group.

Back up that research with industry trends (how many other organizations are using e-learning to train CHWs -- see this research from RAC?) and projections (what kind of growth is likely for online training?).

Estimate the costs.

Create a spreadsheet that details the base costs of online learning. This should include the cost of converting your existing materials to a digital format, hiring staff members and a technology set-up. This article will help you estimate the cost of educating CHWs.

Give a live demonstration.

Computer-based training can be pretty hard to imagine for people with no experience. Make it easier to conceptualize what online learning looks like by actually demonstrating it. Don't worry about getting all the logistics down, because you can work with a vendor to prepare a simulated training for your group. (Contact us about setting up a free demo for your team.)

Let skeptics try it for themselves.

Part two of a live demonstration is to let skeptics try it out for themselves. We create personalized accounts for all stakeholders and let potential clients work in the learning management system on their own. Often seeing how easy an online training is will help quell fears.

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