These are indeed uncertain times. The nature of the world today, being so globalised and fast-evolving with rapidly spreading digital technologies has been our saving grace for continued productivity through the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever, organisations, governments and individuals are forced to leverage technology to mitigate the effects of lockdowns and social distancing.
To survive and thrive through this crisis, organisations have been compelled to develop and execute new strategies, most of which involve technology. Digital technologies have always been a significant driver for growth, productivity, competitiveness and innovative capacity but have now become a dependency for survival.
Organisations need to reskill, transform and develop their employees to successfully execute these new strategies. Learning professionals are thus left with the responsibility of supporting their organisation by updating and restructuring their learning strategy to align with the overall new business strategy. This can only be achieved by successfully adopting a digital learning strategy.
The evolution of learning has seen the world move from traditional based classroom learning to e-learning and learning management systems to massive open online courses, learning experience platforms, adaptive learning platforms, microlearning, nano learning, webinars, podcasts, microblogging, ebooks, social media and online communities. It is very easy for learning professionals to get left behind and drag their organisations down with them. In this article, we’ll take you through how to successfully develop a digital learning strategy and strategies for ensuring the success of your digital learning initiatives.
Developing a Digital Learning Strategy
A digital strategy for learning helps advance an organisation’s digital transformation efforts. It helps align priorities with broader business objectives. It provides the organisation with a clear direction to go regarding adopting or retiring new technologies.
Likewise, a good digital learning strategy has to be proactive and specific to the organisation’s needs. It also has to be focused on learners needs and expectations of Omni learning. It should be built around the generation of meaningful learning data and learning impact analysis. It should also give room for awareness creation, and sensitisation as the learning delivery methods in this strategy would most likely be relatively new to the employees.
It is essential to map your organisation’s learning needs on a digital learning grid to identify which learning needs can be addressed using digital tools or platforms. Once this is done, you can then determine the level of importance of each tool and platform based on your organisation’s learning priorities.
It is also important to ask yourself some critical questions like; What resources do I need to execute this strategy for learning successfully? How would this new corporate digital strategy affect my budget? Am I exposed to the right information regarding this new era of learning? How can I ensure I stay on top of the right trends and information?
A good strategy ensures consistency and avoids redundancy. The key is to focus on the desired future and not your current reality.
Strategies for Ensuring the Success of your Digital Learning Initiatives
Digital Learning currently falls into four major categories.
- Virtual Instructor-Led Training
- Blended Learning
- Technology Enabled Learning
Here are six strategies for ensuring success in deploying these four categories of digital learning.
Moderation is Key
One of the benefits of digital learning is being able to expose learners to a wide range of programmes. However, if not properly managed, this benefit becomes a disadvantage. It can lead to a lack of focus and a high rate of noncompliance.
This is particularly the case for E-Learning. Learners should be provided with the right amount of learning at the right time and in the right portions. Do not be too quick to open up your entire digital course library to your employees. Remember, moderation is key.
Gain Employee Buy-In and Support from the Top Management
The way you communicate these digital learning initiatives is very important. Do not launch your initiatives by sending generic emails to employees, or it would get lost in the barrage of other emails that they receive.
If possible, get your CEO or other senior executives to send an email explaining the relevance and expectations of this learning initiative. You can also have members of senior management make short videos for circulation in place of emails.
Of course, to be able to do this, you must be able to get your CEO and senior management to buy into your learning strategy vision for the organisation. Capitalise on this support.
Know Your Learners and Design These Initiatives to Suit Their Needs
Your learners are busy individuals who are faced with new challenges every day. Most learners are task-focused with little or no time for development. Help your learners by encouraging and guiding them through their developmental journeys.
Help them understand the inherent value of this development in their daily work lives. Know your learner groups, their different learning styles and design initiatives to address them specifically.
Empower Your Leaders to Become Teachers
One of the best ways to scale any form of learning through all levels in an organisation is to empower leaders to be teachers. It is imperative to provide your leaders with the right tools needed to become good teachers and leaders.
By doing so, you are helping your organisation establish a cohesive leadership culture.
Establish Accountability Partners and Learning Partners
Learning new skills isn’t easy; especially when faced with so many distractions. Learners need the support of partners to stay motivated and engaged and also to ensure learning is sustained.
Help learners by encouraging them to have both accountability and learning partners. Also, help them manage these relationships by providing them with rules and terms of engagement.
Evaluate and Measure
All developmental efforts have to be evaluated and measured. Digital learning initiatives already offer some form of data insights that traditional forms do not. It is important to assess both the learning initiative itself and the learner engagement in the learning initiative.
When used strategically, digital technologies offer learning professionals a wide range of benefits. Taking the time out to understand digital learning and its benefits is critical for establishing a winning strategy for your organisation, especially through these critical times.
There is a wide range of possibilities for learning out there. The key is to understand your organisation, your culture, your audience and the challenges or specific needs you are trying to address. Now is the time to take your organisation’s learning to the next level.
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