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Marketing Your eLearning Initiative: Finding Your Champions

Increasing engagement in your elearning program takes more than an email every now and then. Just as a consumer must have 5-7 touch points with a brand to consider purchasing, your employees need frequent reminders on the value of online training. Earlier this month, I shared how establishing a set of objectives for your elearning program will help employees understand the benefits and impact of training on their jobs. In this second post from our ongoing series on how to market your elearning initiative, I will discuss the importance of champions, as well as ways to involve them in your internal marketing.

The Value of Champions

The workplace at times is not unlike high school. Employees tend to dress alike, form groups based on similar interests or job roles, and ultimately try to fit in. And, just like high school, there are also a few employees who are identified by their peers as the leaders of the pack.

These employees are often respected and well-liked by their peers, have the largest networks, and are the most comfortable expressing their opinions on new policies or programs. As they are more likely to be trusted by their peers than management, their approval of your elearning program will help establish credibility and encourage others to join in. These employees are potential champions and should be targeted early when rolling out your elearning initiative.

Activating Your Champions

Champions thrive on being “in the know” and early adopters of new technology or programs. Therefore, the earlier you engage your champions in the process, the better! Provide your most influential employees with early access to courses and have them provide written or video testimonials that can then be used in your marketing campaign. Have a new course coming out? Create a “review board” of champions that can be relied on to provide feedback before rollout, as well as provide course highlights in company newsletters or email blasts.

Champions also enjoy being in the spotlight. Ask these employees to act as your “elearning ambassadors”, providing demonstrations of your learning management system or courses to fellow employees during lunch, as part of department meetings, or even during one-on-one office hours.

Often times an employee’s first experience with elearning is during the onboarding process. Instead of simply sending your new hires the required courses, have your champions provide a presentation on the company’s objectives around training and the benefits to the employee. Getting this message to employees early on, and from someone other than their supervisor, will firmly establish the value of elearning in the employee’s mind from day one.

It is also important that company leadership act as champions for the your elearning initiative, in addition to these key employees. At least one marketing message a month should come from company leadership, such as in a company-wide email or newsletter.


Champions not only lend more credibility to your elearning initiative, but also can help make the program fun. These employees are often more knowledge on what employees like and dislike, and can therefore provide insight into what marketing avenues will work best for your company.

Champion Characteristics: 

  • Well-liked and respected by their peers
  • Possess a large network
  • Comfortable expressing opinions and providing feedback

Activation Strategies:

  • Involve champions early in your elearning program rollout
  • Have champions demonstrate the learning management system and courses
  • Include champion testimonials and stories in your marketing
  • Encourage champions to share objectives and benefits of elearning with new hire

Image Credit: Michael Righi via Flickr

Other posts in the Marketing Your eLearning Initiative Series:

Part 1 – Start With the Why
Part 3 – Branding Your Initiative
Part 4 – Using Email to Market
Part 5 – Signage
art 6 – Harnessing the Power of the Preview