We have another chance to learn from each other's past experiences - good and bad - on engaging stakeholders at the LSG event on the 9th of June in the 9.45 session on ensuring adoption.

Discussions on this site are still highlighting that we are struggling to engage those who make the difference between our successes or being sidelined so this session will give us another opportunity to engage with our peers and steal each others ideas!

Our research at Towards Maturity has identified what successful organisations do when engaging learners and their managers in e-learning. Will any of these good practices work in your organisation?

in the session we want to examine:

Stumbling blocks for your business
Quick wins in increasing e-learning takeup
How to step back and let others do your work

But why wait?!! - let us know here your burning issues and we will try to address them on the day and online!

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Thank you to everyone who came to the small cafe session on Ensuring e-Learning adoption – there were some lively debates and useful ideas that came from the group and I just wanted to summaries what we discussed and to provide some links to resources with more practical ideas!

In the ‘How to win friends and influence people’ session we looked a what successful organisations do in engaging learners and Managers.

For those of you familiar with Towards Maturity research with over 700 organisations – those that are more mature in their use of learning technologies consistently report better business impact of their solutions ( always useful for engaging managers!), better staff impact ( such as motivation) and better take-up. The Towards Maturity Model (http://tinyurl.com/TMModel) highlights 6 strands of activity from the research that the more mature orgnanisations consistently engage in:

Defining business need
Understanding the learner context
Understanding the workcontext
Proactively builing the capability and skills of L&D professionals
Ensuring engagement ( of key stakeholders – management, trainers, learners)
Demonstrating value ( both measuring and communicating value to the business)

In our latest research – Driving Business Benefits
at the end of last year we found that of the 300 organisations who took part, the biggest areas of weakness was ensuring engagement, defining need and demonstrating value. We looked at 3 topics in our group discussion yesterday:

1 What stops L&D from engaging our business more effectively with our own learning solutions?

We need to understand what is stopping us personally if we are going to improve e-learning adoption – not just to blame it on others.

Ideas from the group included:
o Lacking in time ( day to day job vs going out to talk to people,time to learn, takes time to consult and involve stakeholders)
o Lack of budget
o lacking infrastructure and processes
o Lacking strategy
o lacking communications processes
Need more evidence of success – benefits of e-learning were lacking to help convince group
o Business has conflicting priorities
o complexity of addressing disparate work groups ( global and national)
o Politics
o Cynicism & misperceptions
Trainer skill and attitude
o lacking motivation
o believe in stand up delivery only
o fear factor, not want to rock the boat
o Too much short term pain ( but long term gain)

2 We then looked a the things we can do to overcome the barriers to engagement

The group identified areas such as
Improve relevance of offering to business needs
o Establish the right business case to release resources needed
o focus on those business priorities to reduce conflict
o Highlihg the value of new skills developed
o link core activity to quick business wins to capture attention
o address a legislative need
o Build programmes relevant to key stakeholders – an IT offering helps engage IT and our research has shown that when directors and senior managers actually have technology in their own development plans, adoption soars)
Build evidence of success
o Focus on pilots and trials and measure what is important to businesses
o use success stories of other similar companies to influence change internally ( see www.towardsmaturity.org for examples of award winning employer stories)
o Use evidence that already exists ( the Driving Business Benefits report and the resources on www.towardsmaturity,org can help)
Integrate solutions into other offerings
o Performance management process
o blended learning solutions

Create protected learning time
• Make the technology work harder for you

o create more bite sized content to fit with time pressures (combined with protected learning )
o shift culture to pull learning not push
o make the tracking reports work harder for you
o use mobile devices to engage
o time, value, certificates, CPD points ( our research showed that meeting career aspirations of learners has significant impact on business impact , staff impact and take-up)
o competitions ( chocolate always works)
o NB less that 13% of organisations recognise individual e-learning achievement yet research with learners highlights that this is really important to them!
Communicate,communicate, communicate
o Identify stakeholders
o create a plan to engage, motivate, incentivise
o Be sympathetic to needs
o Use language they relate to
o streamline the communication process
o make the most of all face to face time with stakeholders
o create multiformatted messages
o ask people how they want to be told

3 How we can get other people to communicate on our behalf?

The final question of this session was motivated by the statistics from learners on who’s opinion really matters – 55% say their line managers, 23% say their peers and less than 10% HR, L&D. It is clear that to really engage we need to ensure that we are helping others, more ‘respected to speak on our behalf so how can we do this? the group ideas were as follows:

o Engaging the communicators
o identify key sponsors early in the business
o indentify high performers
o involve disenchanted with pilots and win them round as ambassadors
o use peer to peer references ( exec to exec for example ) to engage
o Use champions
o find respected individuals in teh businesses
o involve them early
o get them to spread you message for you eg in lunchtime sessions
o create a champion network – link champions together via technology to share ideas and resources that work well for them.
o Use social networking to encourage peer to peer /viral communication
get learners to update what they have been able to do differently as a result of attending course
 encourage staff to share their own best practice
 post reviews of courses
 recommend a friend
 Help staff to make the best use of the media to do this
o survey learners to find out what they are doing and what they are thinking
o use focus groups
o Respond in a sympathetic way
o speak in laymans terms
o address frequently asked questions
o Use existing communications structures and processes that exist
o marketing or internal comms teams
o Use awards, external articles and case studies to raise internal credibility

Hope this helps - see separate post on specific resources to take this further!
Here are links to the resources we discussed in the session to provide practical examples , evidence and inspiration to help you take this further!

Towards Maturity research:

Driving Business Benefits report - specifically see chapter 1 – evidence to help your business case and chapter 6 – practical activities proven to affect adoption.

Original Towards Maturity research - practical advice based on research with 200 organisations and 1000 learners , see:
Chapter 3 – getting ready ( stakeholder engagement)
Chapter 5 – influencing takeup.

Linking Learning to business research - based on research with 16 successful organisations and 2000 of their learners – hints tips and ideas in the following chapters:
Chapter 3 - Understanding learners
Chapter 4 - Manager influence and engagement.
Chapter 7 - Winning hearts and minds..

case studies and resources on:

effective management engagement
on effective learner engagement
on effective marketing

(stories and hints & tips from organisations such as Toyota, local councils, the health service, BT, C&W Royal caribbean, local libraries and many many more!)

See also:

Consolidated marketing hints and tips over the years! at - http://tinyurl.com/TMmarketinghints
Ideas on how to win awards - http://tinyurl.com/TMawards

We also run an ongoing research programme - you can keep in touch by registering or contacting me directly.

We will be looking at collecting evidence to help the business case over the summer, plus ongoing benchmark research and learner research/benchmarks

hope this is helpful!
Was very much hoping to be able to hop the pond and join everyone yesterday. I look forward to hearing the chatter online as result of what I imagine was a day full of brilliant "infuence."

I'm currently preparing to deliver a workshop on Adopting Rapid eLearning. Some of my research led to me to discover Theory X and Theory Y put forth by Douglas McGregor. When it comes to creating an ethos that fosters collaborative, participative management (Theory Y) no doubt, his theory stands true. Some environments are simply more conducive for embracing all of the various medium and forums (namely social media) to support creative and innovative thinking. So, what inspires a conducive environment? How do we move those organizations that are steeped in Theory X towards Theory Y? This is my burning question these days as it relates to being a learning evangelist.

Looking forward to the conversation with you....Cheers from the US!



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