What does it take to successfully scale your eLearning production? Why do some eLearning programs work when rolled out to hundreds of learners but fail when you scale to thousands?
We asked top L&D managers and industry experts about what they consider to be the most critical pieces of successful digital learning programs at scale. Out of those conversations came 5 key factors that any eLearning manager can implement to level up their eLearning production.
5 Top Tips For Successful eLearning Production At Scale
1. Influence Stakeholders And Collaborate With Business Leaders
Building a relationship with business leaders gets you the buy-in you need and brings the right people to the party. Without it, it’s next to impossible for your learning team to deliver on their full potential.
There are several benefits to this approach. For one, it helps learning teams get out of the trap of a transactional relationship with leaders. According to research by Emerald Works, 60% of eLearning managers feel stuck in this transitional space. Projects come in, teams are desperately trying to keep up with demands and get stuck in short-term thinking. In return, the impact that L&D teams can have in such an environment is limited.
Including leadership early on in the process also reduces pushback; this can help leaders, as well as the wider organization, see the win/win for L&D. As with any relationship, the key is to build trust and understanding.
“L&D teams need to understand the business, as well as their peers. You need to be able to walk in their shoes,” says Dave Barone, consultant at Josh Bersin Academy.
2. Set A Clear Vision
Without a guiding light, your training efforts will seem less like a focused, goal-oriented experience and more like a meandering walk through the woods. Setting a clear vision for your training shows that the path you’re looking to take with your training is actually achievable.
Be warned though, setting up a vision is never a done deal. Your end result, your vision might stay the same but what will likely need to change is your roadmap—the way you will get there.
If there is anything that came out as certain from the pandemic, it’s that things can change very quickly. Most organizations have had to pivot drastically from face-to-face to online learning with varying degrees of success. There is a big lesson in there: stay agile and ready to pivot your roadmap at any point.
3. Lead With Need
Needs analysis helps you produce effective training for your learners (and helps you define what effective means!). Often training is thrown out there as a solution before people even know what the problem is.
When you do a thorough needs analysis, you’ll learn what change you need to deliver to your learners to achieve business impact. This is why practices such as surveying business and learners as well as project needs analysis should be a norm and not a nice-to-have.
For businesses working at scale, this becomes even more important. The last thing you want to do is scale up a digital learning program that tackles the wrong issue or tries to influence behavior that’s not even relevant for the business. Working at scale by default means impacting a larger amount of learners. Without leading with need, you risk wasting time on something that could have no impact at all on the business or, even worse, could actually have a negative impact.
4. Implement A Clear Process
Putting a clear process in place helps you drive learning forward quickly at scale without wasting the time of the experts within your organization. When you sit down and build a roadmap for your training, you figure out where the roadblocks might be. Anticipating the challenges gives you space to think of the best solutions to tackle them in advance.
As mentioned before, you still need to be flexible and ready to pivot at any given moment. After all, as we have learned in the past few years especially, for some things you can’t plan. Nevertheless, going headfirst into a project without a clear process in place is a recipe for disaster, especially when it comes to organizations working at scale where the teams are often dispersed.
There are many approaches to eLearning process design, some notable ones include SAM and Elucidat’s 5Cs Framework. Whichever you decide to follow, the point is: make sure you have one!
5. Measure What Counts
Measuring the effectiveness of learning shouldn’t be a job in itself; it’s all about measuring what counts, with confidence. It doesn’t have to be big, it doesn’t have to be scary, and it’s probably at your fingertips.
The beauty, or maybe the pain, in measuring the impact of eLearning is that there are so many different metrics you could focus on. With so much choice it can be difficult to find the right measurement. At scale, this issue is even more compounded with metrics coming in left, right, and center with varying opinions on what exactly to focus on.
The idea is to bring it down to the basics—the goal of measurement—which is to prove the value of your learning programs where it matters most.
Here are a few ideas of what metrics you might want to consider tracking. And, remember: Don’t limit yourself to measuring at the end of the project. Measuring what counts is not only about the right metrics, it’s also about timing. You can evaluate value before content development, during development, and after launch.
Training at scale is certainly not an easy feat. eLearning programs that have not been set up effectively when they were delivered to a small number of learners will only end up compounding the same issues at scale. And, you need to design for scale from the get-go.
Our extensive research with L&D teams in some of the world’s largest organizations shows that winning at these 5 key factors gets managers to the highest level of eLearning production success. And, if you are interested in digging deeper into the topic of eLearning success at scale, check out Elucidat’s Learning at Large Knowledge Hub.