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Blended Learning challenges in technology adoption projects are inevitable, so here’s a short guide to managing them…

Scope

With process and system changes, it is very easy to get carried away thinking additional items "will be useful".  By approaching learning in the same strategic way as you would the whole project, it creates a foundation for what will be included, why and how.  This up-front learning strategy makes a real difference, keeping attention on the target objectives and outcomes for learning and the learner at the heart of the programme.  Additionally, as the project evolves, being able to refer back to the learning strategy, is an additional way to adapt to meet the change.

Business continues around projects

It is very easy to get so involved in a technology project and forget the fact that the rest of the business around you will continue.  This sometimes can lead to conflict in other areas, if they feel they have not been involved.

In the learning strategy, take time to consider what else is happening in the business.  Make links and anchor into other areas, particularly where this project can support them.  Do this in the training material too - it will really help learners make connections between what they are learning and how it will impact the business overall.

Leader sponsorship

Often technology projects are led by groups of consultants and in-house business experts.  These people are absolutely well placed to do this.  However, when it comes to how important the change is within the business, specifically training, if no-one senior, (someone that employees recognise as leading the business) is advocating it, it will be difficult to get traction.  We would encourage leaders to talk in town halls, newsletters, team meetings about what is coming.  Include things like what to expect from training, when and where it will be held.  This means that the people employees look to for guidance and role modelling are giving them the green light to attend training, detailing why they need to attend, and linking their part into the success of the business.

Communications

Simple stuff, but if no-one knows about training for your new technology, no-one will come!

People need to know up front what to expect, how much time to allow, where and when it will take place.  Simple things, but done well, and at the right time, can make or break the smooth delivery of materials and ultimate engagement and adoption by learners. 

How, when and where people learn  

More and more people want to take responsibility for their own learning.  They want to learn at their own pace, sometimes in their own time, therefore content needs to be available to them when they want it.  Use a blend of learning materials to support this and consider making material compatible with mobile devices, to enable access to content at a time to suit the learner.

Involve IT

It might seem a bit far-fetched to say that IT support teams are not automatically included as part of a technology implementation, but it does happen. Support teams on the front line have not been educated as part of the change - hard to believe!

Simple of course, extend the communications and training to them.  Have an early life support model to enable the helpdesk teams to direct the calls to the right place.  Save vital time on basic queries, so that the bigger things can be resolved by these experts.  Ultimately this is where knowledge transfer from the project to the business also comes in, coming up in this article.

TransferLearning Transfer

Frequently with technology changes, employees will have to continue using one type of software until the end of the week, and switch over to the next the following Monday.  Obviously, it is highly unusual to be able to train everyone so close to "go-live" that they remember everything.  The challenge of learning new systems and then having to use existing ones between then and go-live, leaves a gap, for the knowledge to seep away.  We want to make sure that learning transfers to the workplace.  So, by developing a programme where content is available at the point of need, materials can be re-used to support the time-lag when back at the workplace.

Sustainment

Your go-live and all is well, everyone is starting to use the new technology.  A month later, you realise you need to do something you haven't done before.  Whilst you received some formal training 6 weeks ago, research shows that you will have forgotten what to do.

Sustainment is a critical element of any technology project.  Having access to performance support materials is one part, but knowing where to find it is another.  Consider building in navigation into your learning approach.  This means there are two elements to learning - knowing it now (content), and knowing where to find it (performance support).

Talk to us about how we can help you create the right blend of learning for your organisation.

Blended learningLearning strategyCommunicationsSponsorshipTechnology projectperformance supportsustainment strategySustainment

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