Understanding Corporate Learning Technology Needs

Whenever organisations start looking into implementing learning technologies, they should carefully examine what is needed. Unfortunately, we often encounter organisations who choose technology based on “best practices” and seemingly for “keeping up with the Joneses”, rather than carefully analysing and understanding their own organisation, employees and stakeholders. To help to clear the clutter, here’s a rundown of the different types of learning technology implementations and what fuels them.

The different types of learning technology implementations

This type classification is based on the concept by Donald H Taylor.

Learning technology implementations can be divided into 4 different types based on the needs, goals and motivations.

  1. Updating organisational infrastructure
  2. Increasing L&D efficiency
  3. Increasing learning effectiveness
  4. Facilitating organisational change

Now, let’s look at all of these in more detail and try to understand some of the underlying corporate learning technology needs.

1. Updating organisational infrastructure

The first type of learning technology implementations focuses on supporting the business as usual. Needs related to e.g. risk management, compliance and formal assessments often result in this type of implementation. While all important goals, the focus is often not learning itself.

2. Increasing L&D efficiency

The second type of implementations focuses on making learning more efficient. In practice, this generally means cost savings, increased scalability, reduced administrative burden and shorter time requirements to roll out learning activities. While most implementations seem to fall into this category, they may not necessarily address the real corporate learning needs or the efficacy of learning processes themselves.

3. Increasing learning effectiveness

The third type of implementations are probably the hardest ones to manage. The real effect of learning on performance is not easily measured by conventional means, making the returns harder to prove. However, a data-driven approach to corporate learning and proper learning analytics help tremendously. The return doesn’t have to be strictly financial either, although understanding the business impact does help a lot. Also, if you can demonstrate impacts on retention or time to competence, you’re more likely to get buy-in.

4. Facilitating organisational change

Finally, the fourth type of implementations is evidently the most impactful one to the organisation. Often, these are cases where organisations use learning to support a cultural change. If you’re struggling to measure learning effectiveness on its own, good luck measuring that in connection to organisational change. As a results, thanks to the sheer difficulty of tangible metrics, these implementations are initiated from the top. However, as the buy-in from the senior management is in place from the beginning, L&D might have a much smoother sailing!

Overall, every organisation has different corporate learning technology needs. Consequently, the implementations and their goals are going to be different as well. With this classification, you’re hopefully able to recognise where you and your project stand and act accordingly.

Are you implementing learning technologies but not achieving success? Or are you planning to but don’t know where to start? We at Learning Crafters can help, just contact us. We primarily manage and facilitate type 3 and 4 implementations, but are open to providing advise on other kinds of projects as well.

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