Learn about project management, queue and ticket systems, marketing, and data analytics.
- You know what surprises a lot of learning professionals as their organization grows? How much their department becomes like a small business and that they need to run it like a CEO. This certainly surprised me. While learning professionals may know a lot about learning and instructional design, they may not be as skilled with marketing, coding, or financial planning, and yet all these skills will be crucial as you work to stay ahead of the needs of your organization. No matter what your current size and scope is, it will grow, and your department will move through its own journey of the Greiner Curve as you hire leaders to run the various functions, create systems and processes, battle red tape, and explore alliances.
So, let's take a look at some of the typical functions you'll need in order to successfully deliver great learning to your talent. These may be things you do yourself or delegate to an employee or contractor. First, you'll need a process for serving as a strategic partner to your business. You'll need to decide who serves as consultants and how you'll track the requests they get. It's not uncommon that similar issues start to crop up across the organization, so you'll have sales asking for a solution on change management and then engineering does too.
You'll want to coordinate those requests and resources. Next, you need a design team who can create amazing learning solutions that use best practices for helping adult professionals grow. There are instructional designers who specialize in all kinds of formats, including online learning, webinars, adaptive technology and in-person events. You'll need a project management process to keep track of the various learning solutions you're creating for which audiences. As projects get bigger, you'll need to think about estimating person hours, tracking progress through various teams, and even managing the various assets like presentation decks, exercises, and curated content.
How about marketing? Yup, you need that too. As you build great learning solutions, you'll need to get the word out so that people in your organization know what you offer and how to use it. You might be able to start with email announcements and a simple website, but eventually you may achieve global announcements in multiple languages that appeal to different audiences. As complexity grows, you may need to interface with an internal communications team who monitors compliance with brand requirements. And once you've gotten people excited about something you offer, they need to be able to enroll in or access a learning solution.
How and where do they do that? What kinds of communication will they need prior, during, and after a learning experience? And now that people are enrolled, who will deliver or facilitate the learning solution? Do you use in-house facilitators or external ones? How do they get trained on the content and who does quality control? Your facilitators will also need a system for signing up for sessions, getting the material they need to deliver a flawless experience, and then dealing with the post-event details like evaluations and payment.
Because you'll need to demonstrate the five levels of evaluation and ROI, you'll need to collect data so you can assess the effectiveness of your learning solutions. Data analytics will help you evaluate all kinds of issues, from enrollment patterns and demand, to attendance, to effectiveness. This includes both tracking online usage such as page views and clicks, and also assessing comprehension and mastery of a skill. Another level of analysis will include knowing where you are on the Greiner Curve so that you can sunset certain solutions at the right time and pivot to investing in the solutions for the next phase.
And finally, you'll need to stay up on all the legal implications of contracts, licenses, and copyright issues. As your program grows, these teams that coordinate all these elements will grow as well, becoming more complex and possibly more siloed. Your goal is to grow in a way that maximizes coordination and collaboration. I know this seems like a lot, and it is. The good news is that these shifts occur gradually and there are lots of automated systems and processes that you can buy that address your needs.
As you stay connected to the L&D industry through professional associations, publications, and conferences, you'll have access to the latest and greatest options.
- Identify the six stages of organizational development.
- Describe how to recognize your organization’s L&D stage.
- Explain how to create a culture of learning in an organization.
- Summarize important aspects of adult learning theory.
- Recall the levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy.
- Recognize the importance of assessing your audience prior to training.