Custom eLearning: 7 Tips For Aligning Learning To Business Goals
Successful Tips For Successful Custom eLearning Initiatives
As technology-aided learning gains more popularity among modern corporate houses, it is clear that it has a lot of potential to significantly improve the way that learning and work are integrated. In this light, the Learning and Development function needs to clearly find important links between learning and business objectives of the organization. It is now imperative to align custom eLearning efforts of employees and individual departments towards business success. It is important for the Learning and Development function to create a continual eLearning process that is beneficial both to the learners as well as to the organization. This builds the confidence and capability of workers, as well as improves business results for organizations.
According to a research done by Towards Maturity, there is a definite lag in how well the objectives of learning and business are actually defined within the organization. Here are some baffling numbers:
- Only 36% of organizations work with business leaders to identify business needs within the organization and performance indicators that they want to improve.
- While demonstrating value back to the business only half of those organizations -a mere 16% in total, measure against the business metrics they agreed!
- And finally, only 55% analyze the business problem before recommending a solution.
This is why often eLearning, for all its vast potential, does not measure up to the expectations of the learners as well as of the organization. Here are 7 things that most evolved Learning and Development leaders suggest to create ‘aligned’ learning within the organization – for the benefit of all.
- Involve corporate leaders and top honchos in learning decisions.
This may be easier said than done, for the top honchos find it difficult to get time out of their busy schedules. Before approaching the top management, Learning and Development managers should do up the reading on what the senior leaders are sharing in reports and media interviews. These are the values that create the objectives for the business and help the Learning and Development team to build a learning program to deliver these objectives. In addition, Learning and Development managers can involve the top management in other ways that do not take up much of their time or effort. Building a channel of communication – over something as basic as email, might be the first step that will aid involvement. Know the answers to key implementation questions before the board asks them. This will demonstrate preparedness and also save the precious time of top management.
- Prioritize learning through strategic business objectives.
From a clear understanding of business objectives, successful Learning and Development functions establish custom eLearning priorities as well as set up a longer term strategy. While working along business managers, Learning and Development teams don’t have to simply take learning orders from business managers. They should analyze business problems before recommending solutions. Not only does this improve the learning impact, but the strategy is also inclined to adapt with changing business priorities.
- The focus should be on the end results.
The Learning and Development team should be clear of learning goals and focus that online training strives to meet the goals. Thus, all eLearning solutions should be designed with the business outcome in mind. This means ensuring that learning professionals are clear about the strategy and priorities of the business. Top learning organizations succeed by setting up business targets for learning interventions as well and then measure against them. They also demonstrate a commitment to ensuring the skills that are developed are then actively utilized in the course of work.
- Integrate with HR and talent strategy.
Custom eLearning is a social activity and even within the corporate houses, it never occurs in isolation. Many modern organizations have established talent management strategies and their Learning and Development function makes sure that their learning activity fits within the wider talent strategy. In such organizations, learning is closely meshed within succession planning, recruitment and performance management strategies.
- Calculate ROI, demonstrate business value.
Successful Learning and Development teams are focused on adding real value back to the business. Learning-inclined organizations calculate the return on investment for their learning programs and go beyond efficiency savings by calculating actual value to the bottom line. This makes sure that management teams are clearer about how learning is aligned to their overall business plan and push the learning efforts accordingly.
- Ensure that the staff understands their contribution.
Learning and Development managers should make sure that learning is embedded directly into the workflow of the learners. This encourages them to develop a learning culture. It also answers the important question ‘why am I learning this?’. Learning and Development should ensure that their staff are clear about how their learning supports the organization’s performance and that their workers understand their personal contribution to business success.
- Proactive management commitment is the cherry on top.
Lastly, successful learning companies run impactful custom eLearning initiatives through the proactive support from their top managers. If senior managers demonstrate an ongoing commitment to learning, including technology-enabled learning within the organization, it is a huge push for learning, which not only benefits their staff, but also themselves. Managers influence the employees the most even more than top learning professionals within the organizations. So, if Learning and Development can convince the managers to embrace learning initiatives, the reach and impact increases exponentially.
Modern organizations implement successful learning by clearly understanding what is important in the business. They understand how learning adds value back to the business. And with a well-defined alignment of business goals as well as learning, the value of the entire organization increases.
- Suggested further reading: In-Focus: Aligning Learning to Business (2014)