4 Ways Vacasa’s Learning Designers Have Nailed Their Strategy

Challenge For Learning Teams - 4 Ways Vacasa’s Learning Designers Have Nailed Their Strategy
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Summary: How can you adapt to meet rapid business growth? We spoke to Ben Digman, Learning Designer at Vacasa, to find out how his team met the challenge of rapid change. There’s a lot to love about their approach to providing eLearning that works, including the 4 simple things that underpin their strategy.

Growth: A Challenge For Learning Teams To Keep Up

In 2014, Vacasa grew by an incredible 16,000%. The company continued to expand, and to date, they manage more than 8,000 vacation homes spanning 15 countries and 20 U.S. states. As the biggest full-service vacation rental organization in the USA, Vacasa now employs more than 2,000 people, including lots of seasonal and temporary workers.

Read about Ben’s approach to data-driven eLearning.

The fast progression has been great for the company, but it presented a big challenge for Ben and his small team. As well as needing to provide eLearning content for the growing number of employees, they needed to ensure that what they served up was going to be effective and up to date.

Initially, There Were 3 Key Obstacles To Success

  • Outdated authoring tool
    They were using an inflexible LMS to author content which, Ben explained, "Just didn’t cut it for learner interactivity and engagement".
  • Lack of insight
    The team had very little insight into the effectiveness of their eLearning projects beyond completion rates and wanted to use data to inform their strategy moving forward.
  • Skills gap
    "We couldn’t find an eLearning developer who was strong enough in Instructional Design and vice versa. We had hired some amazing people who, it turned out, couldn’t fully perform the job they were hired to do using traditional authoring software."

"To create anything beautiful and useful, you need the right people and the right tools. Tools, without the right people, can’t create anything. And people, without the right support, are misplaced talent."

"With all our requirements and methodologies in hand, we finally found the solution that checked every box: Elucidat. The platform was easy to use and also allowed us to build the quality of courses that we expected." 

Having found one platform that would help them overcome each of the barriers, Ben’s team has been able to take their eLearning to the next level and keep pace with change.

4 Things Underpinning Their Successful eLearning Strategy

1. A Clear Focus On Goals

The team has a clear and tangible grasp on the purpose of their digital learning: to engage and support employees to meet business needs. For Vacasa, eLearning is most definitely not a box-ticking exercise; it’s critical to their business’ success.

Ben’s team keeps a clear focus on this goal, and as such, they’re not afraid to "kill their darlings". They’ve coined this phrase to explain how they regularly scrap or refocus ideas that aren’t working. Sometimes, this includes ideas they love or that have worked previously—because as the company grows and enters new marks, its training requirements are constantly changing.

2. Measuring And Refining

Having moved away from authoring using its LMS, which only offered completion rates, Ben’s team has gained far more insight to ensure content is hitting the mark. He explains, "I like to use data to inform where we’re going and understand our projects’ effectiveness".

For example, Ben looked at a compulsory module and found that only 10-15% of the 700 people who’d taken it actually completed it. Even better, he identified exactly where users dropped off and adjusted the content to improve completion rates.

"Today, we have a review process in place so we can make those adjustments as needed. The analytics tool is a game changer for us."

The top 10 eLearning analytics to track.

3. Respecting Time With Personalized Learning Experiences

Ben’s team certainly doesn’t consider a one-size-fits-all approach suitable for eLearning. Their aim is to meet every user’s individual needs and make training as valuable as possible for all employees.

To help deliver this, the team organizes the learning into bite-sized sections, which enables the user to find and digest only the content that’s most relevant to them.

4. Accommodating Everyone

Vacasa doesn’t provide computers for their employees, so they need to provide training and learning content that can be accessed on mobile devices by those out in the field.

Making sure that learning content is widely available where, when and how people need it has been crucial to the success of their learning programs.

Vacasa’s Advice

Ben stresses that Vacasa’s story isn’t unique and that many experience the challenges of providing effective training within a rapidly-growing company. His advice is to leverage tools like Elucidat to help scale the training at a pace that suits you.

"We know we’ll have the right tools to support our talent, no matter their role or department. And that, to me, is the true beauty of creative magic at work." Ben Digman, Learning Experience Design Manager at Vacasa

Read more about Vacasa’s story here.