When you choose to put a training program online, the technology you choose to buy is one of the most important considerations. Sure, you need great design, too, but without the right technology you can’t provide the training your employees need.
According to WestMonroe’s 2019 report, “The Upskilling Crisis: Effectively Enabling and Retraining Employees for the Future,” 70 percent of companies introduced a new technology in the past year. Yet, a third of employees report never being trained on the new technology. Obviously, untrained employees won’t provide the promised benefits. Employees need on-demand, digital training programs to increase digital adoption.
However, online training programs are only as good as the underlying learning technology.
Imagine your learning and development team found the most beautiful, augmented reality app for your manufacturing team. It promises to save money by reducing production errors. But your learning technology can’t integrate with AR. Now, you need to go back to the drawing board to find a new way to share an error-reducing job aid with your manufacturing team.
When taking your training program digital, you need learning technology that will meet the needs of your learners today and help you pivot in the future. Here’s the three questions you need to ask before transitioning your program online:
- Does your learning technology partner understand your business?
- Will your technology meet the needs of your learners in the future?
- Can your digital training program scale with your business?
The answers to these questions will help ensure your digital training program drives business results, meets the needs of your learners and scales with your business.
Does your learning technology partner understand your business?
When you digitally transform your program, your goal remains the same — solve a business problem through training. The learning activities will change, but your training will still solve the same business problem.
Your learning technology partner should understand your core business. They need to have the industry knowledge to deliver training to your target audience. Busy health care professionals consume training differently than office workers. Your strategic partner should have expertise in optimizing training consumption and engagement for your niche. Ideally, they’ll be on the cutting edge.
Even more important than industry knowledge, your partner’s technology needs to deliver online training to improve your business’s competitive advantage. Does your competitive advantage lie in offering low prices or great customer service or niche products? Digital training options could improve customer service with consistent onboarding. Or, it could lower costs by improving safety to eliminate costly accidents or lost production time.
At the end of the day, your training partner needs to help you drive business results through digital transformation, rather than just uploading PowerPoints and PDFs to a digital repository. Training partners with the right experience can help you grow your business by fixing problems you didn’t know you had.
Will your technology meet the needs of your learners in the future?
Today, Deloitte’s famous modern learner wants an on-demand, self-directed and relevant learning course with great UX design. But tomorrow, they may want virtual reality simulations and AI-assisted job aids.
Will your learning technology partner add value by staying current with evolving learning trends? Will they continue to update their software with the latest IT standards so you can easily integrate new technologies? Or, will their software quickly become antiquated?
It’s not just learning technologies that pivot quickly. Learners’ needs change as the business landscape changes. Can your partner help you meet new challenges quickly? Can they solve technical problems during a global rollout for new mining equipment, or offer instructional design services to fill any gaps? When you implement a new practice like collaborative selling, can they pivot to create engaging digital spaces and courses where your customer service reps and sales reps can work together and network digitally? If you happen to come across game-changing apps for your car mechanic business, can they integrate them into your training software?
With a strategic business partner, the answer to all of these questions should be yes. Honestly, you shouldn’t just be thinking yes or sure or maybe. You should be thinking how great it’ll be to share new learning design ideas with your partner. You should be eager to ask their opinion on how they can make your dream a reality. After all, your learners’ needs and business problems don’t stop after you create a few courses. Training programs show their value when they evolve and pivot with learner and business needs. You deserve a partner who is forward-thinking and will evolve with you.
Can your digital training program scale with your business?
Digitally transforming your training program should also include the seeds of growth. Why invest in expensive learning technology if it can’t move your business forward in new and exciting ways?
For small businesses, e-commerce capabilities and virtual coaching can make the dream of scaling your local business to a global one a reality. Mid-size businesses often have evolving content needs. New medical practices require continually training your staff. IT teams need to stay up-to-date on the latest standards and regulations. As always, compliance training shifts with new laws, bylaws or industry regulations. You need a system to meet these evolving content needs quickly and painlessly.
Once you achieve your dream of full-scale adoption, the UX design and back-end capabilities of your tech become more important. Too often, companies think of back-end support and capabilities only in terms of number of users. It should also generate useful high-level data to inform key decision makers. An increase in users also means you need more staff like your IT team or learning technology administrators to manage and support them. A robust back-end supports your technology administrators and frontline learners with UX design, while also generating data to optimize your training courses and guide your business.
Most people think of large businesses when they think of scaling their learning programs. Large businesses have unique needs in terms of scale. The biggest benefit to online learning for large businesses is the ability to roll out training to a large number of employees in a matter of weeks rather than months. Instructor-led training takes months to train the same number of people that e-learning reaches in days. Organizations can also adopt new technologies more quickly with a digital learning solution. Now, upskilling an entire workforce in a matter of weeks can become a reality. Imagine the productivity gains.
Is your training program ready for a digital transformation?
Taking your digital training program online isn’t about filling up a cloud-based software with a repository of all the PDFs and PowerPoints collected over the years in your organization and then making it searchable for your employees to find “just-in-time.”
With a transformative digital learning program, you’ll be able to grow and scale your business in new ways. You’ll find innovative strategies to increase employee productivity with job aids or upskilling. You’ll lay the foundation for your workforce to pivot into whatever business climate we find ourselves in the future and set yourself up for success that yields dividends for investing in the right technology.