In the first article of this two-part series, we discussed the importance of continuous learning across the employee life cycle. Here, we’ll dive in to how a learning management system (LMS) can help deliver continuous training and development.
Building a Modern LMS Strategy
We’ve confirmed that ongoing L&D is vital for business success in today’s volatile economy. So, how can you implement a strategy to deliver ongoing learning using an LMS? Start with these tips:
1. Recognize your business strategies.
As with any corporate program, you must first identify your overall business goals and then match your L&D strategy with those goals. This provides guidance as you and your training team work to develop and deliver effective programs. It also informs you of any upskilling and reskilling initiatives that will be important in achieving a return on investment (ROI) from your programs. Delivering training that drives business outcomes will help you gain buy-in from your leadership team so that you can deliver your learning strategy to grow internal talent using an LMS.
2. Allocate the L&D ownership.
Before you deep dive into establishing your L&D strategy, you’ll need to establish clear ownership of the project, which can be difficult. Many larger organizations, particularly after the coronavirus pandemic, have established specialized L&D teams. If you wok in a smaller company, you may work in human resources (HR) but also be responsible for delivering training.
Whether you work on a designated training team or operate under the HR umbrella, creating a cross-functional team of professionals from diverse divisions across your firm, regardless of ownership structure, will help you identify business needs and delivering programs to support them. This will help you to get feedback on upskilling and reskilling requirements across various business activities as well as gain buy-in from stakeholders across the organization.
3. Establish specific L&D objectives.
It’s time to define specific objectives for your L&D team. These should be people centered and aligned with business goals.
Also, it is necessary to make these objectives measurable and attainable. Share these objectives with the entire organization to make it clear what your L&D strategy is aiming to achieve. Most LMSs can track and measure your progress toward these objectives.
4. Perform a skills gap analysis.
Once you’ve identified your L&D strategy’s goals, conduct a skills gap analysis in the areas where your L&D program will focus. This may look different across departments, and you may need to do several distinct skills gap evaluations (i.e., a unique skills analysis for accounting, marketing, leadership and managerial teams, etc.).
5. Create contextual learning path for various roles.
After conducting a skills gap analysis, you’ll have a greater grasp of the training needed to support various departments as well as individual learners. As a result, you will be positioned to deliver tailored learning experiences across the organization through your LMS.
Based on your analysis results, consider using various types of training delivery methods and content, such as video, audio, reading and interactive learning content.
In addition to delivering training through your LMS, consider modifying L&D content into engaging, in-app experiences. Mobile learning provides employees with answers to their problems on the job, and is a popular choice among learners and an important one to consider in your organization.
6. Upgrade your L&D software stack.
If your LMS isn’t up to date, you’ll need to invest in L&D software to construct these diverse learning paths and to correctly measure the efficacy of your training. An updated learning tech stack will enable your L&D team to develop, build and deliver courses in a variety of formats as well as track progress, facilitate sessions, measure knowledge retention and collect feedback.
7. Implement and market your L&D strategy.
It is now time to put your L&D strategy into action. Before rolling it out to the entire organization, solicit input from leadership and make changes as needed. Never launch your continuous learning efforts in one go.
In fact, opt for a “soft launch.” Select a small group of employees and start your program trials with them. This helps you address the troubles of an initial program launch head on and make improvements before launching a full-scale L&D initiative.
Once the full-scale L&D strategy is implemented across your entire organization, don’t leave it there. Ensure that everyone is aware of the program by promoting it. Explain to your employees that training is available to help them home their skills and advance their careers.
Any learning initiative is easier to implement if you have L&D champions in important roles across your organization, so work to get stakeholders across departments on board.
8. Evaluate effectiveness.
Measuring ROI is a key challenge for L&D leaders. However, as previously mentioned, adopting L&D software (whether an LMS or another platform) can give you the resources you need to effectively measure the efficacy of your training programs.
Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) such as course completion rates, training progression rates, test scores, enhanced proficiency or productivity for different teams, increased digital adoption rates and so on, to measure using your LMS or other technology. This will allow you to identify problem areas so that you can address them proactively. In addition to tracking your progress toward L&D goals, this will help you identify future goals to focus on.
Overlay business performance and your L&D programs to examine if there have been any changes in overall KPIs that can be attributed to training. It can be tough to link correlation to cause, but big data mining from your learning tech stack can help.
10. Adopt a dynamic approach to accommodate changes
Be adaptable in your approach to ongoing learning. Fostering an agile approach to delivering training across the employee lifecycle will help you pivot to focus on new initiatives as needs arise.
11. Incorporate L&D into all business goals.
Finally, organizations should strive to include learning and growth in all of their business goals. This is related to the first item on this list, which is to understand your business strategies.
Employee development, training and support, while often disregarded, is a key driver for corporate growth. Once you’ve developed a full-scale L&D strategy, incorporate the program’s elements with all your department’s periodic goals.
Continuous learning across the employee lifecycle is vital for keeping up with a constantly changing workplace culture and new business trends. In addition, it helps retain employees by ensuring that they receive the training and upskilling they’re looking for while working in your organization. Use these strategies to start optimizing your LMS and deliver ongoing training that drives business results.