On the podium thanks to e-learning: why sports clubs and associations should focus on digitalisation
After the Olympics is before the next Rugby League, is before the FIFA World Cup! Or vice versa. Regardless of discipline: Training is not only essential for the professional athletes and players, but their trainers, referees and crew members also need continuous professional development.
This ranges from new training methods through first aid courses to preventive approaches and anti-doping training – and everything in between. We spoke to a former pro athlete, and explain how these and other topics can be presented as e-learning contents, and what advantages that brings.
Remember the summer games? German long jumper Malaika Mihambo leaps seven metres to gold, British swimmer Duncan Scott fishes an incredible four medals out of the pool, and Jake Whetton misses the Australian hockey fans' dream by a hair's breadth. That’s only a small selection of successful athletes who gave the audience goose bumps during the Olympics. And now we are cheering along with the winter athletes in the freezing snow.
Yet, behind all that sweat – and probably also tears – it takes to get this far, is more than physical effort and mental training. Behind every successful athlete is an entire association and a team that also needs to train and continue learning.
Going for gold with blended learning
Clubs and associations increasingly facilitate continuous development through e-learning, as imc Solution Consultant and former professional javelin thrower Eric Uder notes: “The associations need to ensure that training courses on new training methods, referee rulebooks and preventive approaches are carried out and understood.
Pure face-to-face training is not always helpful in this context. Rather, more and more sports associations from a vast range of disciplines favour blended training concepts, combining e-learning with on-site training.”
No chance for a second Wembley goal
According to Uder, sports associations utilising e-learning is nothing new in itself. After all, the integration of the digital and analogue world has long arrived in sports. That also includes using goal-line technology in football to verify precisely whether or not the ball was in. We can therefore rest assured that we won’t see another Wembley goal.
Moving training scenarios from a face-to-face format to an online environment is thus an obvious solution. Even associations which long resisted this step are now coming around to it, as Uder explains: “We have been supporting larger associations from New Zealand and Australia for years; for instance, in rugby. We now see that the German associations too are increasingly interested in online training concepts and our platform.”
New training scenarios tap into new target groups
With the introduction of a learning platform or learning management system, associations open up far more opportunities than simply training the trainers and referees: Volunteers can gain access and complete mandatory training courses or inductions online, at any time and from anywhere.
It is also easy to include sponsors, keep them informed and offer them insights into current affairs, new regulations, and other items of interest. The possibilities are endless. All types of content can be accessed smoothly without jumping through hoops: from video tutorials, through web-based training to learning nuggets, from compliance through anti-doping to mental health topics.
Excuses are so yesterday
Uder predicts: “I believe that sports associations will place an even stronger focus on digital learning platforms in coming years. They are facing enormous challenges: On the one hand, they are expected to produce results. On the other hand, they are often short staffed and lack financial resources. This makes healthy budgeting practices even more important.
An LMS allows them to send out automated reminders for training courses, book entire groups of members onto new courses at once, or integrate tests to verify that participants have understood the contents. This all saves time while enhancing transparency. It makes it easy to verify who completed which training course when.”
This may well be the knockout punch for excuses claiming ignorance on rules. Maybe, it will even allow us to experience what we crave the most: Sports successes the entire team, as well as the associations and fans can celebrate without reservation.
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I have been working in the Marketing & Communication Team at imc since March 2019.
Communication, creative content and social media are my passion. "KISS - Keep it short and simple" is my credo.
To explain complex content in an understandable way and thus make the topic of e-Learning accessible to everyone is an exciting challenge every day.
Privately I love to read, play poker and travel a lot.
I am always happy to receive feedback or suggestions.