The Magnificent Seven questions for an L&D ‘Online Learning Strategy’

Has the task of writing the L&D strategy landed on your desk? Or, perhaps the strategy is already set in stone but you are considering how to ‘future-proof’ it in terms of offering blended solutions and learning technologies? In either scenario, please read on….

Here are The Magnificent Seven questions to consider when writing your L&D Online Learning Strategy.

1. What are the business drivers and top priorities?

Align your L&D SMART objectives to the business' headline objectives. It’s easier said than done, however taking into account both an L&D perspective and commercial awareness will stand you in good stead for the following questions.

2. How can you gain buy-in from stakeholders?

Consider all of the teams across your organisation and ask yourself who might have a vested interest in the strategy. Put yourself in their shoes, meet with them and ask what their concerns would be in implementing an Online Learning Strategy. Potential concerns might include IT security, compliance, IT skills of end-users, financial matters. How will you reassure and manage their concerns?

3. What skills do you have in-house already and what might you choose to outsource?

Depending on what ‘strategy’ you are considering implementing you potentially have three options:

• Use in-house expertise that already exists ‘as-is’
• Develop in-house expertise with additional investment in training and technology
• Outsource

Also a combination in certain situations could work well. There are lots of factors to consider when developing online content in-house such as timescales, resources, quality of the finished product, and even more factors when out-sourcing e.g. choosing the right supplier, getting value for money, ensuring you own the copyright, consideration as to what happens when content needs updating.

4. What learning technologies and options are recommended to support the strategy?

Note this isn’t a shopping list to go crazy and buy all the latest technologies and tools! Conduct research on which online tools are already in place across the organisation, what technologies perhaps your competitors are using effectively, ‘test’ software perhaps taking advantage of ‘free trials’. This will ensure you invest in the most appropriate and relevant tools, spending the budget wisely. 

5. What project processes will you follow?

On top of general project management processes, when designing online digital content there is an extra layer of quality assurance to take into account. What checklists will you use for signing off storyboards, video scripts? What testing (testing and more testing!?) processes will you implement before you move to ‘go-live'?

6. What creative ideas do you have to encourage take up of learning (and completion)?

How will you motivate learners to engage in new learning media especially if this also coincides with a cultural change in moving from traditional face to face delivery to more blended/online courses? Try to think of cool, innovative and creative ways to engage staff (the more original the better as this will be more memorable and doesn’t need to cost much at all). Combat typically high dropout rates for self-study by offering tutor support through live online sessions, forums and networking. 

7. How will you measure the effectiveness and efficiency of the strategy?

What measures will you put in place to measure the success of your strategy? This links directly to question 1; for example, is your strategy to ensure compliance targets are met or that there is a measurable increase in productivity or a reduction in complaints? Compare and contrast the costs/ time/resources taken to deliver, whether the solution is to be delivered face to face or via blended/online solutions.

We hope these pointers are helpful. Perhaps you have your own ‘killer’ questions to add to this list? Best of luck in writing your own Online Learning Strategy and please feel free to get in touch if you feel that we can help you and your team.

 

Louise Talbot is Online Learning Team Manager, at , and can be contacted at  or on 02476 411288.