By Ann Collins, Learning Strategist, Skillsoft and Beth Teixeira, Learning Consultant, Skillsoft
There is a lot of conversation—and frankly, struggle—in the training world about measuring return on investment (ROI), return on expectation (ROE) or some other metric related to various training interventions. It all boils down to L&D stakeholders trying to define the value their organization receives from any given product, service or solution.
As a Learning Consultant (LC), I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the value associated with my own role. Sadly, I feel that many of my customers aren’t getting as significant a return as they could from my service— simply because they’re not leveraging them. I think I figured out why: there is often a lack of understanding and awareness about how to best leverage and apply the strategic services of the Skillsoft Learning Consultant.
As one customer put it, “I don’t know how you can help me with that.”
So, let’s pull the curtains back and explore this together, shall we?
To start, each LC is aligned to a portfolio of customers where our primary responsibility is to provide a range of core services designed to help those customers implement, maintain, and/or enhance their elearning strategy, where the ultimate goal is to demonstrate the overall success and value of the Skillsoft solutions. Our LC’s are workplace learning and performance professionals with extensive experience in the training industry, as well as product expertise—almost all of us were also Skillsoft customers.
Most customers already rely on their LC extensively for that product expertise: advice on the ‘day-to-day’ tactical aspects of their elearning programs, such as questions about Skillport® functionality or what kind of content we offer on a given topic. But I would argue that with all of the training and other support resources available that already provide that information, this is not where the most value is.
I believe that the highest level of value—the most significant ROI—comes from engaging with your LC in the following areas, each of which is an important component of an effective elearning strategy:
- Business Alignment: Your LC can assist you in identifying analyzing which business objectives or key initiatives to target, and establishing program goals aligned to those initiatives.
- Program/Curriculum Design: Your LC can help you establish success criteria related to your intended business outcomes, facilitate core services to align the right content and advise on best practices in blended learning design.
- Promoting Elearning: Your LC can help you develop a marketing strategy, identify creative and effective marketing methods and best practices and provide templates and core services such as email delivery and management.
- Evaluation/Measurement: Identify appropriate measurement methodologies and tools, provide core measurement services such as the Impact Analysis and review best practices in measurement.
Think about it. If you were to bring in an external consultant to help build or revamp your learning strategy; help you select the right blend of learning content; educate you on best practices in program design; provide you with measurement tools AND provide product expertise, what would that cost? How often would you be talking to that consultant and what would your conversations sound like?
It sounds like a cliché, but as an LC, I am truly not successful unless I am helping my customers demonstrate success and value. In fact, that’s exactly how our performance is assessed. And personally, nothing brings me greater joy in my work than being able to show how I helped a client accomplish something that made THEM successful in their own role.
So if you’re not fully engaged with your LC, or you’re talking to your LC regularly but you’re not discussing the topics listed above, you’re probably not getting your full ROI. Think about elevating your conversations—and your elearning strategy. Start with the basics—ask to focus your next meeting on targeting just one business objective and talk through what kind of program you could create that would impact that objective.
Or, make it personal: as an L&D professional, what’s on your performance appraisal for the upcoming year, and how can your LC help you achieve your goals?