How to Build a Simple Digital Learning Strategy that Works

My Post (24).pngGetting started with digital learning can be deceptively simple. Buy some online content, put the content into a platform, then market it to your audiences to increase use. Voila! You have a digital learning strategy. Or do you?

The truth is that executing in such an overly simple way will not be the most impactful thing to do. Just as converting your old face-to-face courses directly to virtual classroom courses isn’t the best use of learning technology. So, what does it take to build a digital learning strategy that works?

To start, you have to first ask your organisation the right questions, then build your solutions around the answers if you are to be more impactful to your organisation’s performance.

Economic shockwaves are coming in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic which are going to drive truly challenging business decisions. Knowing your organisation’s context and priorities should help drive the right approach to become an agent of value, as well as a cost efficiency driver. With that in mind, here are some simple rules to follow.

Rule #1. Focus on exceptional value adds, radical cost savings, and speed to value

Learning powers change. And in the midst of a crisis, those that learn fastest are the ones that survive. If you don’t know which projects in your organisation are the game changers, then you  won’t know where  learning can potentially have the most impact.

business impact and value add

And if you don’t know, you won’t have a context for what your digital learning should be supporting. Your function will be a cost, not a contributor, if you aren’t supporting the real business measures and results.

Rule #2. Understand the predictable drivers for learning in your organisation

Outside the gamechanger projects, there are usually predictable drivers for learning where you can demonstrate value. Your digital learning strategy needs to facilitate new systems, new starters, new processes, new products, new markets, new innovations, regulatory compliance, licenses to operate, continuous improvement, performance opportunities / resolving gaps, new promotions and leadership roles, and new ways of working. How you use technology to support these will be driven by the context of the audience and the nature of the learning need. The opportunities to impact change are all around you if you know where to look.

predictable drivers organizational learning

Rule #3. Put yourself into the shoes of the end user and understand their context

Profiling your audience, how they work, what they need to do, who they are and where they work is essential. Understanding the personas you are serving is a bedrock.

Think about their context through three key lenses (see diagram below) of personal development, business performance, and strategic talent development. Each have different components and types of learning solutions that are more or less relevant. But what we consistently find is that solutions which support future workforce readiness – the solutions that help you mobilise your organisation around future business lines, future skills and career development – are rarely great at delivering support for operational performance.

Now, the pressure for operational performance is going to be intense over the coming months. So thinking about how you intertwine social performance management, collaboration, performance support, bite-sized learning, and learning in the flow of work, is going to be a key part of understanding what needs to take precedence as you look to enable more digital learning in your organisation.

Rule #4. Get into an AGILE way of thinking

AGILE is an important concept for L&D to embrace if it is to survive in the months to come. There are two critical ways of thinking about AGILE in the learning context. One is seeing learning projects as AGILE. Think about small but viable solutions that can be delivered quickly and improved in sprints – rather than always seeking to deliver a complete and final solution. The second is to think about individuals as their own “minimum viable products,” with two-week sprints of improvement, reflection, and the next stack of development. – Read more

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