Strategic Planning For Custom eLearning Development

Strategic Planning For Custom eLearning Development Process
Summary: Be proactive with a strategic plan: ask the right questions, take a fresh look at your learners and culture, and form an accurate big picture. You will be set up to prevent issues, create opportunities, and launch the goal-driven learning experiences your company needs at the right time.

Custom eLearning Development Process: Seeing The Big Picture Is Key For Strategic Planning

Suppose your son comes to you complaining that he can’t see and his eye hurts. You look down at him and notice that he has a stick in his eye. Realizing you have an emergency, you rush to the phone to set up an eye appointment for some glasses. Then you immediately call the school and ask that your son be moved closer to the front so he can see better. Last, you offer him medication to ease his pain.

eBook Release: Providing An Amazing Custom eLearning Solution For Corporate Training
eBook Release
Providing An Amazing Custom eLearning Solution For Corporate Training
Inno-Versity offers a marvelous custom eLearning solution for corporate training and provides a complete guide for L&D professionals.

While this may be a ridiculous example, it makes a good point. In the world of Learning and Development, stakeholders often act as the parent in this example. They completely miss the real problem in their organization. It’s easy to do, and it’s often a natural reaction to a crisis. But this kind of reactive approach can lead to much larger problems down the road. And it’s why strategic planning is so very critical.

Strategic planning is key to the success of any project, and that much is obvious in any industry. But it can also take time to step back and look at the whole picture, and time is often of the essence. Seeing the larger picture, though, is key for the development of effective, goal-driven learning experiences, regardless of how long you’ve worked within an organization or how well you think you know your learner or the content.

Below are 4 key questions to ask your stakeholders. Their answers will shed some light on the culture of learning at your company and inform your strategic planning process. You’ll also find some specific tips to aid you in the development of your plan based on the answers you receive.

Question 1

What is the culture of learning in your division or entire organization?

What The Answer Tells You About Your Organization

  • The motivation, or lack thereof, for the learner
  • The value the company places on Learning and Development

How This Question Informs The Plan

There is always a culture of learning within every organization, but it may be unsupported or not fully developed. If you find yourself in this kind of situation, you’ll need to make sure your strategic plan clearly identifies incentives. It should also over-emphasize communication with participants to build excitement for the event and motivation to attend.

Question 2

Is there an overall learning program or curriculum map for this year, and how is it tied to company goals?

What The Answer Tells You About Your Organization

  • The depth of planning needed to make sure learning solutions meet the needs of the organization as a whole
  • The approach to learning as an organization: is it proactive or reactive?

How This Question Informs The Plan

In many organizations, learning events are created as a reaction to a problem or crisis. They are merely reactive. If this is what you’re finding, you may need to lobby your leadership team for a more proactive plan or the opportunity to create one. Certainly, reactive training can still be designed as a quick response to issues, but at a higher level, you’ll want to begin mapping out a learning plan across the entire company for multiple years. Here are some categories to consider mapping out: safety and compliance, leadership, soft skills (such as team building), communication, and specific skill training. If you map these carefully and align them to company goals, you’ll also make a strong case for the continued existence of your Learning and Development team because these plans show a clear path to Return On Investment.

Question 3

What was the most recent learning experience implemented? How was it received?

What The Answer Tells You About Your Organization

  • Potential pitfalls to avoid
  • Potential instructional or deployment strategies that can be built upon

How This Question Informs The Plan

The answers to this question speak to communication and delivery method. You may find that you need to allow more time to build up to a learning event, communication across multiple channels and an easier path to participation. You may also discover participants were highly critical of the delivery method. Perhaps, an eLearning course could be broken into smaller microlearning chunks or made available in a mobile format. Or you could also be excited to learn that the last learning experience was very well received. Either way, make sure to do a thorough project debrief to discover what communication method, delivery strategy, and deployment made it so successful and build on that.

Question 4

How are opportunities for learning experiences communicated internally to your learners?

What The Answer Tells You About Your Organization

  • Mental preparedness of learner at the beginning of training
  • Attitude towards training

How This Question Informs The Plan

This topic cannot be emphasized enough; an internal communication/marketing plan is critical to the success of a learning experience. You want your participants to attend the eLearning with a sense of excitement and anticipation. Maybe, you’ll need to add some pre-work or discussion across company internal communication platforms to build that anticipation or sense of accountability. Make sure to clearly communicate incentive for completion of the modules and, if possible, offer additional incentives beyond the obvious professional ones. eLearning can feel very isolating an individual, but with a proper communication plan and additional opportunities to share among participants, you can create an exciting buzz about the opportunity.

Strategic Plan

Once you have the answers to these questions, you can begin to strategically plan, informed by the answers. Every organization has its own way of scoping projects, but you’ll want to make sure you’re including the following items:

  • Company values and goals for the year
  • Stakeholders’ needs
  • Audience characteristics
  • Content requirements
  • Optimal delivery methods
  • Measurements for Return On Investment
  • Potential revision issues or concerns

Carefully ask the questions above, listen well to the answers, and use them to inform your strategic planning. When you do, you’ll be in proactive mode, preventing issues and taking advantage of opportunities with a clear plan for long-term success.

Are you an L&D professional looking forward to adopting great corporate training practices which employees will find more than useful? Download our eBook Providing An Amazing Custom eLearning Solution For Corporate Training to discover when companies should invest in custom eLearning, the factors to determine the appropriate level of interactivity needed, the stages of the custom eLearning development process, and much more...

There are many more sublevels to discover when it comes to custom eLearning development processes, especially in relation to strategic planning. Learn more about strategic planning and many more in-depth topics by checking the webinar Developing Custom eLearning For Corporate Training. This webinar will be led by experts who have led some of the largest eLearning projects in the world.

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MindSpring is an award-winning agency focused on delivering engaging and transformative digital content. We create digital experiences using exceptional creativity, the best of learning science, and innovative technology. (Previously Inno-Versity)