How to Support 70:20:10 with Learning Technology?

How to use technology with 70:20:10?

How to Support 70:20:10 with Learning Technology?

If you have a job in professional- or corporate learning, chances are you’ve come across the 70:20:10 framework. Hopefully, you have even explored the framework’s meaning and perhaps even implemented in your own learning strategy. The companies who do tend to be successful! Whatever your experience, the framework is today more relevant than ever. The advent of technology, on one hand, enables us to facilitate a 70:20:10 strategy much better. On the other hand, it also forces us in that direction. Thus, we thought it would be good to look at how technologies can help you to get there.

Quick recap of the 70:20:10

The framework is prevalent and big. So big that there’s even an institute for it. The framework indicates that workplace learning takes place in 3 different ways:

  • Formal learning such as training sessions and eLearning courses (the “10)
  • Social learning, such as discussions, coaching, mentoring and personal relationships (the “20”).
  • Experiential learning, such as on-the-job learning, challenging assignments and discovery within workflows (the “70”)

While you can argue about the validity of the specific numbers until the day’s end, there’s a good consensus that the 70:20:10 provides a good approximation. Fundamentally, the framework orients us toward more performance focused learning activities.

But how could we use technology to support these 3 different aspects? Let’s take a look.

1. Using technology to support formal learning

Now this is probably evident to everyone out there, but we’ll spell it out anyway. We’ve been using technology to support and deliver formal learning experiences for a long time. Just think all those eLearning courses you have gone through. There are countless ways of doing it and it doesn’t have to be all digital. You should probably consider blended learning and flipped learning as well.

However, the thing to learn from the 70:20:10 framework is that the formal training activities shouldn’t happen in isolation either. Rather, they should be integrated into the larger workflow and built to support performance in various aspects. To enable this, you should consider learner-centric design methodologies to learning.

2. How to support social learning with technology?

When we jump to the 20 of the 70:20:10, things get a little more interesting. Traditionally, eLearning has done a terrible job in augmenting any social behaviours that normally take place in a classroom. However, that has changed with the advent of social media and the subsequently developed digital learning capabilities. Nowadays, most learning technologies come with social features that enable your employees to interact with each other.

Fundamentally, it’s about getting your employees to share and communicate in a natural and seamless way. Different learning technologies provide a great way to facilitate informal discussions and collaborate. You can also look into things like peer-to-peer learning and digital coaching. The technologies to support all these things out there, just make sure you determine carefully how you align them with the business. It’s all about the performance in the end.

3. How to support learning on-the-job with technology?

Learning on-the-job, or learning in the workflow is not traditionally something that L&D has done an excellent job on. That’s partly because the rules of the game are totally different. It’s not about courses. It’s not about classroom sessions. Rather, workflow learning is all about helping people succeed and improve their performance in a non-obtrusive manner.

Instead of intensive, lengthy activities or learning sessions, this 70% of the 70:20:10 consists of performance support resources, just-in-time learning and actual work projects (incl. stretch projects). All of this is focused on performance, hence results are easier to monitor. Data analytics also play a big part in capturing all this information, from point of need activity to behaviours and finally performance. Therefore, there is no role for traditional corporate learning objectives. Rather, the learning and the objectives needs to be designed with the business with clear performance impact goals.

Final words

Overall, the 70:20:10 is a valuable and relevant framework. If nothing else, implementing it should take you towards more performance-focused learning. Because if you cannot show the impact your learning has on the business, you cannot really demonstrate the value of the L&D function either. Then, you get cut out very quickly.

Today, technology is a great enabler for these new ways of learning at the workplace. While much of the informal learning (the 70 and 20 in 70:20:10) takes place naturally, you can really supercharge the effects with a bit of smart facilitation!

If you’d like to explore the idea of moving to performance-focused learning in the workflow, we can help you. Just contact us here.

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How to Leverage Data in Training Needs Analysis?

How to leverage data for training needs analysis?

How to Leverage Data in Training Needs Analysis?

The training needs analysis is a real staple in the corporate L&D field. Everyone does it, yet the real value-add is ambiguous. The traditional ways of doing it are not employee-centric, which results in irrelevant and inconveniencing rather than enabling learning activities. While extensive use of data to support that analysis is clearly the best direction to take, organisations don’t often understand how. Thus, we wanted to explain a few of different ways you could leverage data in your training needs analysis.

Using search data to understand what your learners really need

One of the biggest problems in training needs analysis is that the people doing it don’t often really talk to the end user of the training. And naturally, they don’t have the time either. While it would be nice to sit down for a 1-on-1 with each learner, often that’s not a practical nor feasible possibility. But what if we could have the learners talk to us anyways? That’s where data collection comes in handy.

By monitoring e.g. what your employees search during their work can be a really good indicator of the types of things they would need to learn. As most of workplace learning happens that way – employees searching for quick performance support resources – you should really aim to understand that behaviour. So, why don’t you start playing Google? You already should have the capabilities of tracking search history on company devices or within your learning systems. These searches are highly contextual, as they happen within the direct context of learning or work. It’s just a matter of compiling this data and using it to support your training decisions.

Using real-time learning data to identify organisational skill gaps

Another stream of data that you should be looking into when doing training needs analysis comes directly from the learning activities themselves. First of all, you should make sure that the learning data you collect is relevant and actually gives an accurate representation of learning. If you’re not yet using xAPI, start now. You’ll unlock a whole new level of analytical power.

Once you’ve got that covered, you should track that data across the board. This enables you access to individual-, group- and subject matter level insights. For subject matter (i.e. training topics), you’re better off tagging all your learning content appropriately. By having an up-to-date representation of what learning experience related to what topic or competency, you enable quick glances into your organisation’s learning. For instance, a skills heat map might aggregate this “tagging” data and learning data to give you a visual representation on which areas your learners are lacking in competence. Then, you can start drilling down on the group- and individual levels to determine why some are succeeding and some are not. This helps you to craft better and much more personalised training activities and learning solutions.

Using performance data to understand the business needs

Naturally, organisational learning should always support the business rather than inconvenience it. Therefore, it’s important to measure and understand performance. If you don’t keep track of performance, it’s impossible to measure real learning impact and consequently do effective training needs analysis. Performance data is everywhere, often scattered across the business in various systems and silos. Different departments might have their own data and some of it may be centralised. But whether it’s sales, marketing, customer facing staff, operations, finance or HR, the data is often there already. And it’s incredibly important to tap into this data, regardless of where it is.

However, one extremely important thing to note is not to use performance data in isolation. Rather, you should always compare it with your learning data. For instance, if looking at performance data alone, you might see that performance of department X is lacking. The easy answer would be to “assign” more training. However, looking at learning data could reveal that training has not solved the problem before and thus you should be looking at completely different solutions to it. Furthermore, you should always be careful in jumping to conclusions when linking learning to performance impact. Again, the L&D department might see performance improvement as a quick win, but a deeper cross-analysis with learning data could reveal that the performance improvement wasn’t actually caused by the training.

Final words

Overall, there are tremendous amounts and types of both learning- and non-learning data we can leverage in training needs analysis. The above provides just a few examples. With better analysis we can provide better learning experiences and positively impact business performance. To not leverage the vast amounts of data available to do that is simply foolish.

If you need help in crafting more data-driven learning strategies or adopting technology to do so, lets talk. Just drop us a note here.

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How to Use Learning Analytics? 3 Value-add Cases

How to use learning analytics?

How to Use Learning Analytics? 3 Value-add Cases

As corporations become more data-driven in their decision making, learning & development has to follow suit. To make better decisions, you naturally need to collect a lot more learning data. But that alone isn’t enough. You also need capabilities to analyse the data to understand what it means. While there’s a lot of ambiguity about corporate training analytics and some organisations intentionally try to make it sound extremely difficult, it’s not entirely true. To clear out some of that ambiguity, here are 3 different use cases for learning analytics that are applicable for organisations of all sizes.

1. How to use learning analytics to increase engagement?

One of the bottleneck issues in corporate learning today is engagement. It’s not always an easy task to put out learning experiences that resonate with the learners and keep them engaged. Naturally, your content has to be of good quality, and you should likely use a fair bit of interactivity. But once all that is said and done, you should unleash the analytics.

Through learning content analytics, we can get a much better understanding of our users. We can see what are the pieces of content that are used the most or the least. We can also get an understanding of ‘when’ and ‘where’ learners tend to drop off, which then enables to start figuring out ‘why’. Furthermore, we can drill down to each interaction between the learner and content/instructors/other learners to really understand what is working and what is not. All of this (and a fair bit more!) enables us to constantly develop our learning experiences based on real information instead of gut-feels and opinions. And when we can make our content to be more relevant and to-the-point, a lot of the engagement tends to come naturally.

2. How to use learning analytics to personalise learning experiences?

Our professional learners – the employees – come with various skills, degrees of experience, education and backgrounds. As they certainly don’t represent a one-size sample, we shouldn’t be putting them through one-size-fits-all learning experience either. As organisations have understood this, the hype around personalised learning has grown significantly over the past few years. But it’s not just hype, there’s real value to personalisation that learning analytics can help us to unlock.

First of all, learning analytics help us to understand the different individuals and groups of learners in our organisation. By being able to drill down all the way to the level of individual’s interactions, we can understand our learners’ needs and challenges much better. This enables us to cater to their various strengths, diverse learning history and varying interests. Instead of providing a simple one-size-fits-all learning experience, we can use this information to design personalised learning paths for different groups or even up to an individual level. These learning paths can branch out and reconnect based on difficulty of content, experience, current job and various other factors. The learning experience thus becomes a spider’s web instead of a straight line, and you’ll be able to catch much more of your learners.

3. How to use learning analytics to prove the impact of learning?

Proving the impact or the ROI of learning is something that L&D professionals often struggle with. One of the reasons for struggle is not using learning analytics. For learning results in terms of knowledge acquisition, a data-driven approach beats out the traditional multiple choice testing or feedback forms by a long shot. Furthermore, it enables a much more formative way of assessment, thanks all the data points collected and available.

But simple knowledge acquisition isn’t simply enough to demonstrate corporate learning impact. After all, what’s the learning good for if no one applies it? Thus, it’s imperative that we combine learning analytics with performance metrics and indicators. By doing this, we’ll get a lot closer to real learning results. E.g. how did the sales training affect the sales staff routines, behaviours and performance? How much of the risky behaviour did the compliance training help to eliminate? Is our training on team management actually resulting in teams being managed better? By enabling this level of analytics, you can answer a lot more questions. Furthermore, you can also start asking questions that you were not even aware of.

In our work, learning analytics and data-driven approaches play a big part. While technology plays a big part, there’s obviously more to it. For instance, you want to be sure that you’re setting your corporate learning objectives to enable this. If you’re looking to move into more data-driven learning strategies or understand your training impact better, we can probably help you. Just reach out to us here.

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How to Set Better Corporate Learning Objectives?

How to set effective corporate learning objectives?

How to Set Better Corporate Learning Objectives?

When designing learning activities, one of the first things to consider is what you want to accomplish with the training. Without proper goals, you can’t really know what to measure, let alone demonstrating the effects of the learning. While all L&D departments probably do set goals, not all of the goals are very meaningful. Specifically, learning professionals tend to set knowledge-based goals (e.g. “after this training, the participant will know good practices of leadership in the workplace”). However, the accumulation of knowledge, while a noble goal, doesn’t really provide any value to the business. It’s the enactment of new, desired behaviours and change, i.e. implementing the learning on the job, that determines the value-add. Thus, to effectively demonstrate the value of learning in our organisations, we need to set our corporate learning objectives in another way. And here’s a 4-step process to do that.

1. Define the workplace behaviours that you want to affect with training

First, you need to determine the specific behaviours you’d like to affect through training. And really, it means getting specific (you’ll run into trouble in #2 if you don’t). To continue with the leadership example: “we want our managers to become better leaders”. Bad. “We want our managers to have more frequent conversations with their direct reports”. Better.

The behaviours will naturally vary by topic, and some are easier to drill down to than others. However, “loose” learning objectives like masked as “performance objectives”, like in example #1 will turn out to be near impossible to measure.

2. Figure out what to measure and how. Don’t rely on self-reported data

If the first step is already a critical, the what and how of measurement is often the detrimental one in the context of corporate learning objectives. When trying to assess behavioural change (i.e. the impact of said learning) in organisations, there are two major mistakes that happen across the board.

First, not understanding what to measure. In similar fashion to setting the learning objectives, the ‘what’ is often too vague. If you’re doing sales training, measuring sales growth directly is too broad: you’re cutting a lot of corners and making dangerous assumptions. Sales may increase, but it may have no correlation with the training. Rather, the effect could be due to external environment, team relationships, incentives, seasonality, etc. Therefore, you need to drill down deeper. A proper level for example in sales training would be individual metrics, such as conversion ratios, time on calls, etc. These may or may not result in performance improvement, but that’s for you to find out without making ill-founded assumptions.

Second, the ‘how’ part of measurement is often lacking as well. If you really want to make an impact through better corporate learning objectives, it’s important to get this right. First, never rely on self-reported results. People lie, exaggerate, underestimate and aim to please, and even anonymity doesn’t remove the barrier to give honest answers. Rather, you should always use hard data. If the data is not readily available through non-learning channels (e.g. HR systems, performance management systems, ERPs, CRMs etc.), find a way to capture the needed information.

3. Quantify your corporate learning objectives

The relieving thing is that once you really drill down on the specific behaviours and get objective data sources, quantifying your learning objectives becomes much easier. In e.g. sales, finance, marketing or operations that is already a lot easier naturally. But even in the previous leadership example, there’s quite a large difference between “we want our managers to be 50% better leaders” vs. “we want our managers to have 50% more conversations with their direct reports”. The first is impossible to measure accurately, hence the quantification is moot and void. The second can be measured e.g through internal network analysis, communication meta-data and even calendar appointments.

Furthermore, once you quantify the learning objectives, you’re setting a transparent set of expectations. Consequently, you’ll have a much more easier job to sell the idea to your management and subsequently report the results. Once we analyse things a bit more deeply, we can assign “dollar values” to the changes in workplace behaviour. The value of sales staff converting 10% more of their calls is real and tangible, and it’s easy to track whether the learning investment is paying off. When the behaviours become less tangible (e.g. that leadership practice), you should agree with the business heads on what the value of those behaviours is to the business. For e.g. learning company values etc. it might seem silly, but you should consider doing it nonetheless to enable transparency in assessment and reporting. Of course, as you probably haven’t measured learning this way before, it’s important to acknowledge that in the beginning. So don’t punish yourself if you don’t “hit the target” right away.

Final words

By using this simple 3-step approach to setting corporate learning objectives, understanding the link between learning, impact and performance becomes a lot less burdensome. On an important note, once you’ve put this in place, you really need to actually measure things and commit to using the data. Collecting the data and insights, even if done properly, is itself a bad investment if you or your management still resort to making assumptions rather than trusting hard facts.

If you need help in understanding your organisation’s learning on a deeper level or to develop a data-driven learning strategy, contact us. We’ll walk you through what it takes.

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How to Enable Peer-to-peer Learning in Corporate Environment?

peer-to-peer learning in corporate environment

How to Enable Peer-to-peer Learning in Corporate Environment?

Regardless of context, learning is much more of a social effort than we tend to think. People learn from each other, whether through mistakes, experiences, stories, testimonials or even straight-up coaching. While corporate learning remains largely a top down effort, you could save your L&D team a lot of trouble by enabling your employees to mentor and teach each other. As organisations are increasingly dispersed and filled with busy people, the issue might seem too big to tackle effectively. But that’s not the reality in most cases. And to demonstrate that, here are four different ways of facilitating peer-to-peer learning in your organisation.

1. Social learning platforms enable peer learning

In the past couple of years, social learning platforms have really risen up in the workplace ecosystem. While functionalities differ slightly, the logic and value proposition is real and clear. For a long time, the field of eLearning has completely neglected one of the most valuable aspects to the learning experience: interacting with other people. While this happens naturally in a classroom, often there hasn’t been even an opportunity for peer-to-peer learning while engaging with activities in a digital environment. Luckily, that has changed.

Social learning platforms enable discussions and sharing – the things peer-to-peer learning is all about – across geographies and organisational barriers. In the context of workplace learning, ultimately it’s not about the content. It’s about finding ways to implement the learning on the job. That’s where a community of peers can help a lot. Consider topics like leadership or managing a team. The topics tend to be quite abstract, but when you have someone sharing with you their experience of implementing such practices, you remove a lot of the barriers to implementation.

2. Skills Market Places for peer-to-peer coaching

In organisations, there are a lot of “hidden” skills that companies are not necessarily aware of. Nowadays as people change jobs and careers more frequently than ever, it’s more important than ever to tap into the increasingly diverse experience that our employees have. Establishing Skills Market Places can be a good way to support peer-to-peer learning and skills transfer organically within an organisation.

The idea of the skills market place is a rather simple: connecting people with specific skills to those who want to learn such skills. The people who have in-demand skills and are willing to teach others can indicate the subject matter that they’re good at. Similarly, people wanting to learn new skills indicate the type of skills they are looking to learn. Just drop in a bit of magic (and maybe a bit of tech to make things smoother!) and enable these groups of people to find each other. Let the employees manage the process, take control and engage in ways they see fit. Have them report back and analyse your data. As a side product, you’re much more likely to get an accurate view of your organisation’s skills map.

3. User-generated content is an untapped opportunity for peer learning in the workplace

As with the example of skills market places above, there’s a lot of valuable, tacit knowledge just sitting out there. Instead of sticking to the age-old and largely ineffective top-down training mantra, why not rethink the learning process? After all, it’s the employees who are the best experts at their jobs. They also know the organisational, functional, cultural and interpersonal barriers to implementing change and new behaviours in the organisation – something that even the management often has hard time grasping. Thus, they can generate content with unparalleled level of context and relevance.

As learning goes more into the workflow and shifts to on-demand resources, this type of user-generated content becomes increasingly valuable. It doesn’t necessarily need all the fancy bells and whistles. Often, the high context and relevance more than makes up for the extensive design work that we tend to opt for. Of course, it doesn’t have to be anarchy either, the L&D professionals should still keep control, facilitate the process and curate the content. But overall, the opportunity itself is too great to miss.

4. Collaboration tools enable peer-to-peer learning in the workflow

The fact remains that learning doesn’t only happens in classrooms or within learning platforms. Collaboration tools and platforms (e.g. Slack) are a true example of that. While not designed for learning, they provide a shared platform for employees to engage with each other. Discussion rooms, virtual workspaces, private chats along with the performance support are a great example of facilitating peer-to-peer learning. Whenever an employee encounters a problem with a project they’re working on, collaboration tools provide seamless and easy things to engage in the oldest modalities of learning – asking.

Sure, there are many ways to collaborate within the workplace. But when the workforce is increasingly flexible, short-tenured or even project-based, these kind of platforms increase in importance. We need to learn more than ever, but at the same time, it’s imperative to stay productive and not waste time in just-in-case type of learning activities. These tools not only help your people to work more efficiently, but also provide a great platform for learning from each other on the job, at the point of need.

Are you enabling peer-to-peer learning in your organisation? Are your digital learning resources and experiences still “unsocial”? We can help you with that. Just leave us a message here and we’ll get back to you.

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From Transactions to Learning Journeys – Tips for Great Learning Experiences

Learning journeys - better learning experiences

From Transactions to Learning Journeys – Tips for Great Learning Experiences

While learning happens in many ways, places and times, something we can all agree on that it’s not a singular event. Rather, learning happens over time. However, in the realm of corporate learning, we often resort to one-time events (training session, eLearning course). Employees go through these “transactions” and soon forget most of the learning. In business, time is naturally of the essence and that creates a pressure to get the learning over with fast. After all, when people are learning, they are generally not producing immediate revenue. However, the lack of time should be no excuse to resort to this type of one-off thinking. When putting in a little bit of effort, you can actually provide your employees with much better learning experiences by changing the way you deliver learning and here’s how to do it. Here are tips on going from “learning events” to learning journeys.

Understand your learners’ needs

When designing learning experiences, it’s imperative that you spend time on understanding your audience. Mapping out the learning journey is a good way to get things started. By listing all the various touch points and changing needs, thoughts and feelings of your people, you can get a better understanding on what the optimal set of activities might look like. You can also employ methods such as learner-centric design to ensure personalisation.

Also, you should note that when you run out of content, the learning doesn’t end. A very natural way of reinforcing learning is through performance support: employees consuming job aids and quick knowledge snacks to support their tasks. Thus, you should design the learning journeys with performance support components.

High frequency and high context win

Naturally, the aim of moving to learning journeys is to introduce more frequent touch points. This follows the principles of spaced learning, where increased retention is derived through recurring exposure. As the frequency increases, the bite size must naturally decrease. While learning resources should be concise and to-the-point – just like in microlearning – they should also be of high contextual value. Don’t deliver resources that the learners don’t need, and be careful about it. Use feedback and analytics to help in determining whether you’re delivering the optimal type of resources.

When it comes to technology, mobile learning tends to lend itself quite well for this sort of high frequency, high context delivery. Rather than trying to activate new behaviours, you’re utilising the existing ways of quickly consuming content.

Use data to constantly refine your learning journeys

Finally, a journey-based learning approach really calls for an increased use of data. Since you have vastly more touch points than before, you’ll also be able to collect a lot more learning data. You should use this data to constantly improve the learning experiences. You can analyse what kind of resources or content are working and what are not. Current and future skill gaps become a lot easier to identify as well. Overall, good analytics help you in going back to the first phase – understanding your learners. The better the understanding, the better the learning experiences.

Ultimately, moving from one-off events (transactions) into more comprehensive learning journeys can even help you to save time. With constant, quality exposure you can achieve remarkable improvements in retention and results.

Are you looking to deliver great digital learning experiences but don’t quite know where to start? We can help you in developing a future proof learning strategy. Just start the discussion here.

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How to Use Learning as Performance Support?

Performance support learning and training

How to Use Learning as a Performance Support Tool?

Corporate learning today should pay much more attention to how it enables performance. While there’s a time and place for long-form learning activities, often we’re better off just learning by doing. Adults learn through experiences in contextual environments. Thus it seems that nothing beats learning experienced on one’s own job – or workflow learning. Meanwhile, formal experiences like classroom training and eLearning courses are giving way to more nimble approaches to delivering content. This is partially driven by learners who don’t see the value in sitting through hours of training just to forget things soon after. So, let’s take a look at performance support and how we can use it to learn on-the-go and help people perform better.

The shift from learning beforehand to learning on-demand

Many organisations tend to approach training the same way as schools and universities do, by trying to prepare the employees for everything. Unfortunately, the laws of retention and the forgetting curve are not on their side. The learning offering ends up being a lot of “just-in-case” rather than things employees really need and can apply immediately. In the end, the organisations waste a lot of time, money and resources to deliver learning that doesn’t translate into actions or gets forgotten soon after the fact. Wouldn’t it make sense to focus on what matters – performance – and gear learning towards that?

How to design performance support learning?

To understand how to design learning for performance support, let’s look first at how it differs from traditional learning. First, employees engage with performance support while working and don’t want to interrupt their flow. Secondly, the circumstances are less about learning new, but more about finding ways to apply the already known. Furthermore, whereas the goals of corporate learning may sometimes be bit ambiguous, the goal for performance support is clear: help to finish the task at hand.

Keeping that in mind, here’s a quick checklist on key characteristics of good performance support resources.

  • User-friendly – no one wants to spend effort in navigating complex systems when they need the information quickly.
  • Accessibility – employees must have access to the resources anytime, anywhere, regardless of the devices they have on them.
  • Short-form content – performance support resources should be quick to consume and concise (microlearning, anyone?).
  • Searchability – all content should be tagged, indexed and easily searchable, enabling the employees to get to it quickly.
  • Relevance – all content must be up-to-date, and relevant to the employees and their roles and functions. Don’t deploy “off-the-shelf” resources, but give solutions to problems specific to your business.

The bottom line

By giving your employees access to these kinds of tools, you’re assisting them in the most problematic part of learning – putting new skills into practice. Employees will surely value that, as you’re helping them to do their jobs better. Also, you’ll likely save up time on non-productive formal learning and keep the people at their jobs. That should have a direct bottom line impact.

Overall, a performance support approach to some learning activities helps to support the changes in the workplace. As skills, businesses and the environment change rapidly and constantly, it’s important for the corporates and employees alike to learn on-the-go. While this is not meant to replace all of traditional learning activities, it does provide a much better alternative for some of it.

Would you like to explore modern and more meaningful ways of workplace learning? We’re happy to share some ideas and hear about your challenges. Just contact us.

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Understanding Corporate Learning Technology Needs

Corporate learning technology needs

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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How to Launch Learning Technology Projects Successfully?

How to Launch Learning Technology Projects Successfully

How to Launch Learning Technology Projects Successfully?

Learning technology implementations are quite complex projects, especially on a larger scale. In addition to all the technical and design work that goes into a project, you also need to manage and communicate with multiple stakeholder groups. While all phases of the implementation are important, and good stakeholder communication is imperative in every phase, the launch phase is the one L&D professionals tend to be the most anxious about. To help you in the process, here are some different ways to launch learning technology along with helpful tips.

A ‘Big Bang’ Launch for big projects

The big bang launch – a simultaneous organisation-wide rollout – is perhaps the “traditional” approach to launching learning technology. Before the launch, the implementation team works the technology to perfection. All content shall usually be available from the outset. Essentially, it’s about trying to build the perfect product, and only then launching it.

This type of approach may make sense for large organisation-wide implementations, in which there’s buy-in from the top executives. The big launch creates momentum which is detrimental in bringing all the employees on board.

However, this approach to launching learning technology is also a very high-risk one. There will be a lot of nay-sayers (as people, in general, are against change) who will use any flaws in the product to prove its uselessness. While you’re very unlikely to have a perfect product from the get-go, there are measures you can take to mitigate the risk. Firstly, it’s important to know your stakeholders thoroughly. Secondly, it’s important to ensure accessible and direct channels of feedback and support.

A ‘soft launch’ for learning tech may be more user-centric

Whereas in the big bang approach relies on a ready product to be delivered as-is, the soft launch method takes a bit more risk averse approach. In a soft launch, the learning technology is initially rolled out to a selected user group. When it comes to launching learning technology, organisations may often choose to soft launch the platform to the HR team or a particular department. While the approach is much more low-key, it’s also a lot less risky.

Similar to the big bang approach, communication and feedback are important. In fact, the fundamental idea of a soft launch is to gather user live user feedback, implement changes accordingly and ultimately, build the buy-in for the technology through that collaboration. And to gather feedback effectively, you should ideally get as diverse set of user reviews as possible. Thus, it might make more sense to incorporate users with various roles and functions into the initial soft launch.

How about an incremental launch of learning technology?

A third potential alternative to launch learning technology is the incremental approach. You could view it as a bit similar to launching a beta-version of a product. The initial rollout doesn’t have all the features nor all the content. For learning technology implementations, the incremental progression of features comes somewhat more naturally. As we are using more cloud-based products, the vendors are also updating more frequently. Key features should of course be available from the start, but not giving out a too complex system at the launch might actually make it easier for the users to adopt it.

When it comes to content, the incremental approach requires a bit of careful management. Firstly, the progression and scheduling of content needs to be planned carefully, with the most critical learning activities taking priority. Secondly, you should make sure there’s something for all users. Inviting people to a platform with no content useful to them is a good way of disengaging the user base. Thirdly, you should ensure that the whole launch support a gradual change rather than disrupting existing workflows altogether, as that’s a fundamental ideology behind the incremental approach.

Overall, no matter which method of launching learning technology you choose, communication is the key. Feedback before, throughout and after the launch is important. Moreover, you should strive for a learner-centric approach to the development wherever possible. In the end, that’s the best guarantor of success.

Do you need help or advise in launching new learning technologies in the workplace? We can work with you as an implementation partner, guiding you through the implementation process. Just contact us.

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Learning Technology Implementations – 3 Mistakes to Avoid

Learning technology implementation - 3 pitfalls to avoid

Learning Technology Implementations – 3 Mistakes to Avoid

When it comes to learning technology implementations, a lot can go wrong. If not careful, you might be investing a lot of time and resources into something that ultimately doesn’t work. Sometimes, it might be that the vendor has oversold you and fails to deliver. But equally often it might be due to lacklustre internal preparation for the project. Here are three common pitfalls to avoid when implementing learning technologies in the workplace.

1. Not choosing the right technology

The first step to get right in a learning technology implementation is the technology selection. Unfortunately, it’s also a step where a lot of organisations get it wrong. Sure, the market is a big one (you can choose from more than 5-700 different products) and it may be hard to navigate through the aggressive sales pitches of the vendors and to really understand the capabilities on offer. It’s also very easy to resort to systems that someone in the company has used before, but that type of thinking doesn’t really set you out for the long term.

So, when it comes to learning technology implementations, the first thing to understand is your own organisation. What’s the business problem you’re trying to solve with the technology? Who’s going to be using the solution? How? Once you’ve carefully defined the problem, it’s a lot easier to see the potential solutions among all the rest.

It’s important to get the technology right, but it’s also important to find the right expertise to support the project. Technology vendors may sometimes lack a holistic understanding of the use of learning technology, as they’re solely focused on pushing their own product out there. In such situations, it might make sense to bring in an outside learning consultant. The consultant can provide the much needed expertise in digital learning, which helps to get to actual learning results.

2. Believing in “build it and they will come”

The “build it and they will come” belief is one of the longer standing myths in learning technology implementations. However, the belief that once a system is out there, users will automatically engage with it is just utter nonsense.

In reality, you first of all have to know your users; how the technology can help them, save their time, make them more efficient and so on. Naturally, if you haven’t known this already, you might have ended up with a wrong technology altogether. Secondly, it’s important have engaging, interactive and interesting learning content (here, here and here are some tips for that). Thirdly, getting your employees or users to adopt a new system will take a good amount of internal marketing and communications.

3. Locking yourself into a vendor relationship

As mentioned, a lot of learning implementations fail – and many for reasons not even listed above. If a project fails and you’re not getting the results you want, you should probably look at cooperating with other providers. Thus, the worst disservice you can do to your own organisation is to lock yourself into a vendor relationship. Lengthy, often fixed contracts are obviously what the vendors prefer, and in exchange you may score a discount on the license fees. However, if you want to switch providers after a year of failed efforts but are committed to five years, you’re out of luck.

Thus, we would encourage companies to work with vendors who appreciate flexibility, and that their product might not always be the best. Cloud-based systems and software-as-a-service (SaaS) models are very commonplace nowadays. In fact, if vendors insist on long, fixed contracts, that should perhaps be a sign of caution. As in if the product is as good as they describe, a flexible SaaS solution would be more profitable for them as well.

Overall, there a lot of ways a learning technology implementation can go wrong. Here are some of the usually overlooked ones. Hope they help you in your learning technology projects.

If you think you could use outside expertise in your learning technology implementation, we are happy to help. Our engagements cover both technology selections and digital learning advisory. Just contact us to set up a meeting.

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