Learning Experiences

Is your digital learning strategy fit for purpose?

There are a number of reasons your digital learning strategy might not be achieving it's goals, but how can you identify them and create solutions?  

As organisations start to uncover and recognise the added value digital learning can have on their business and its people, I am seeing an upward trend in more and more organisations investing increased budgets and dedicated time on digital learning.

However, through conversations with colleagues, networks and clients it is becoming clear that either an organisation is failing to reap the benefits and returns, whilst others are implementing a well thought out digital learning strategy, that is delivering real business impact. The question is, which of these two camps resonates with you more, and does it make you feel concerned about your digital future?

Whether you are planning, creating, or evaluating your digital approach to workplace learning, there are a few potential challenges and factors that must be considered, for digital learning to be implemented and monitored effectively. Through my experience, a strategy on the surface can seem embedded and digital course completion rates may be high, but that does not necessarily mean the digital offering is fit for purpose and your learners are having a great learning experience. So, why is it that a digital learning strategy might not be achieving its goals for your organisation and your people? What is getting in the way? I would recommend reflecting on what your plan looks like. By the way, the plan here is in the form of a digital learning strategy!

One key recommendation is to determine whether your plan is aligned to the organisation strategy. Any type of learning strategy needs to support the business priorities to support the professional education and growth of its people, otherwise it is not fit for purpose. It should be outlining as a minimum how you are ensuring that the knowledge, skills and capabilities of your people can contribute to the execution of the organisational strategy. You also need to think about what needs to be achieved, by when, where and why.

I believe that the alignment to the organisation strategy is just one integral part of ensuring your digital learning strategy is fit for purpose. Another essential part of your digital learning strategy I recommend must be thoroughly thought through, is the learner. Learners have their own expectations when it comes to learning. Their learning experiences can vary according to several factors; Is the learning providing the outcomes the learner is expecting? Is learning being delivered in a variety of formats? Is learning catering for different learner preferences? Are learning solutions moving with the times or stuck in the dark ages? Are learning solutions encouraging an environment for digital learners to be curious?

A digital learning strategy must consider the individual needs of the learner, understanding the audience and what they need. Knowing your learners, focusing on defining the problem, and understanding the why are important factors. Without the why, how can you create a strategy? This is the starting point to deliver against learner expectations and reduces the risk of not missing the desired impact to the learner and the organisation.

My advice is to consider all these factors and more, at whatever stage you are at, whether it is planning, executing or measuring impact of your digital learning strategy. If you have not considered some of these factors, don’t worry, you are not alone. This is something my team and I observe and consult on regularly and is a common challenge for organisations – especially those that have developed learning strategies practically overnight to keep up with the evolving digital landscape.

The good news is that I am here to help. I have outlined three  key steps you can follow to ensure your digital learning strategy is more fit for purpose and can deliver real business impact. This will steer your strategy in the right direction, ensuring the associated learning solutions are set for success, delivering the desired results.

1. Step back and ask why.

  • How is your digital learning strategy aligned to your organisational strategy?
  • What are the business and learning outcomes and how are they linked?
  • What are the problems you are needing to solve?
  • Does the problem really exist, or is it a result of misunderstanding?
  • Are you ensuring that you focus on the problem and not the solution?
  • Have you got exec sponsorship? Who are your key stakeholders?
  • Have you considered input from the exec sponsor or key stakeholders?
  • What digital learning solutions do you need and why?
  • What measures are you putting in place to determine success?

2. Speak to your people.

  • Have you understood who the target audiences are and understood what solutions are required and how they are going to add value?
  • Have you captured what your people want and need and understand the why?
  • Have you identified the priorities?
  • Have you considered what regular interactions are required and with who?
  • Are you communicating with and educating your people about what learning solutions are available and highlighting the impact the solutions could have?
  • Are your people accomplishing their learner outcomes?
  • How are you monitoring and measuring success of learner experience and impact?

3. Plan the way forward.

Now you know your problem, how are you going to shape the solution and when?

  • Have you considered the best delivery method(s)?
  • Do you have the capabilities and capacity  to create the solutions, or do you need to obtain the specialist skills and knowledge to define and/or create them?
  • Have you anticipated and flagged any potential risks or concerns?
  • Are timescales realistic and achievable?
  • Have you considered how you will regularly review impact?
  • Remember, don’t lose sight of learning outcomes that need to be achieved

Once you have followed these recommended steps, you should be clearer about how your digital learning strategy could be more fit for purpose and deliver value to your learners.

If you have experienced any of the challenges mentioned, or have any other suggestions to add, please feel free to share your comments.

My colleagues and I in the Digital Learning Experiences team at Davies Learning Solutions, would love to hear from you if you need any assistance with your digital learning strategy or digital learning solutions. Also, look out for our next blog from Adam Eckersley, Head of Digital Experiences, who will be exploring in more detail ‘defining and knowing your audience’ to make your digital learning strategy a success!

What does it take to evolve your digital Learning Strategy?

Join us at our upcoming webinar where our L&D expert and Client Solutions Director for Learning Lee Russell will be answering this question and more.

Lee will be joined by Learning Experiences Director Craig Hamill as together they will be revealing the secrets behind a Successful Learning Strategy on the 1st of March at 02:00 PM

Register your interest here