Change Management and E-Learning

Change Management and E-Learning

Head, Hands and Heart

Let’s talk about learning and change management. As Change Professionals,  we often are asked to educate and provide skills as part of a change mandate. I want to dive into this as it can be a bit daunting.

There is a model of change that uses the metaphor of the head, hands and the heart.

This means appealing to the logical, tactical or physical and emotional sides of a change for people to embrace the change effectively and fully. This metaphor can be used in the learning realm.

Today’s world offers a lot of technology based or e-learning options. Leveraging e-learning can be very efficient and effective as part of your change learning responsibilities.

When choosing methods for increasing personal capabilities remember to choose the right kind of training for the right kind of learning. There are learning situations for the head, others for the hands and still others for the heart. What do I mean by head, hands and heart learning? Here are some examples to give you the basic idea:

How Does This Apply to E-Learning?

E-learning has many definitions but usually involves self-directed learning delivered via some sort of technology. By it’s very nature self-directed learning will be best suited for procedural, fact based, task based types of material which are hand and sometimes even head types of content.

To appeal to “heart” types of learning requires personal contact with either a team, a leader or a facilitator.

Here are 4 practical questions to determine if you need a “heart” learning delivery method…

  1. Will the learning be most effective using role playing?
  2. Are participants learning about how they feel or react to change or a situation?
  3. Does the learning involve reaching group consensus around issues/ topics?
  4. Is it important for an intact team to experience the learning together?

If you answered yes or most likely to any of the above then you should be considering a facilitated instructor led learning approach. Minimize the temptation to use an e-learning approach.


Don’t be wowed or lured by the “coolness” of e-learning solutions if you have a “heart” learning situation. Choose what will be best for the learners and the situation.