By Laura Rexford
The most successful organizations using elearning apply a complete operating model covering four essential building blocks.
Successful engagement begins with committed leaders setting the direction and tone.
- Value objectives defined up front with stakeholder buy-in
- Active sponsorship of executives/stakeholders
- Regular strategy sessions to ensure alignment to critical organizational priorities
- Annual success criteria defined and monitored ongoing to deliver progress toward the value objectives
- Continuous improvement is top of mind
According to the U.K.-based research organization Towards Maturity, seven habits emerge when describing top learning companies exhibiting tight strategical alignment. Well-aligned L&D organizations:
- Actively involve business leaders in learning decisions
- Use strategic business objectives to determine learning priorities
- Focus on the end results
- Integrate with HR and talent strategy
- Demonstrate business value
- Ensure staff members understand their contribution
- Enjoy proactive management commitment
How important are completions in an elearning adoption strategy? Well, it depends. In some cases, completions are essential. With compliance training or other mandatory training, completions are typically valuable. Yet, in cases of behavioral or technical skills development the value of completions is quickly eroded.
Adoption success looks like:
- Many individuals consuming elearning repeatedly over time
- Embedding the learning into the workflow
- Actively communicating relevant content options and promoting consumption to individuals and groups
- Highly accessible and visible across the enterprise
- Broad management buy-in
Outcomes are optimized through the quality of engagement, alignment and adoption efforts. The ultimate test for any learning metric is whether it helps the organization deliver peak performance.
Does the metric help monitor agility or other key organizational characteristic required for success?
Does the data help identify high efficiency or over-investment? Does it allow decision-makers to compare performance quarter to quarter?
Does the data help identify strengths and opportunities? Can outcomes be forecasted?
For decades, the limiting belief that value derived from learning cannot be measured has left too many organizational leaders with no data for decision-making and less confidence in the power of technology-based learning.
Perhaps causal relationships cannot be defined easily without deep scientific evidence, however most organizations operate successfully every day by applying “roughly reasonable” estimates in decision-making. Are revenues not forecasted? Are budgets not based on estimates? Is office space not sized based on projected growth?
Business decisions involving hard dollar commitments are made routinely based on estimates. Leaders today demand analysis and evidence of value. Thankfully, several worthy evaluation options are available both for free and for fee.
Laura Rexford is a Manager, Client Loyalty at Skillsoft.
 Aligning learning to business, Towards Maturity In-Focus Report. Towards Maturity, 2014