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How to Initiate Enterprise Learning

Enterprise learning is and should always be evolving. According to a survey by The Harvard Business Journal, top learning and development professionals stated ensuring their workforces had the right skills as the most important aspect. But this is easier said than done. How do you ensure you are delivering learning company wide in an impactful way? You initiate an enterprise learning plan.

Before we get into the actual steps to take, it’s important to note how different companies are housing their training materials. This affects how employees access, download and use training. Here are the three versions to consider.

Which learning system should your company use?

  1. Company intranet

The first option is using a company intranet to store all training files. While this seems like an obvious solution, it has its drawbacks. There are usually multiple versions of files stored making it difficult to locate the most current training tracks. Plus, there is no system to track and analyze how the training is being perceived by the employees.

  1. LXP

The next method for enterprise learning is using an LXP. An LXP stands for learning experience platform. It houses all training materials in a centralized system. It is often used for larger enterprises and offers employees a personalized learning experience. And unlike an Intranet, training can be tracked, enhanced through design and personalized. 

  1. LMS

An LMS or a learning management system is similar to an LXP because courses can be created, shared and enhanced through assessments and other learning styles. The main difference is employees can choose which training to take with an LXP and even create their own content. Whereas an LMS offers more control having administrators oversee content creation and which employees take which training courses.

Single source versus multiple platforms

Once you have established how to roll out your training company wide, you need to consider which of these three platforms allows your company to function best. Basically, should you use a single source system or rely on multiple platforms? 

If you are a larger company, a learning system that can integrate with your other platforms is key. Learning management systems allow for integrations with things like CRMs and payroll systems. That way learning is integrated through the company and that’s the essence of enterprise learning. If you are using a single source platform, learning can become disconnected quickly from overall company objectives.

Keep best practices top of mind

After you establish how to house your training materials, you’ll want to create your key enterprise learning objectives. In order to do this, here are a few best practices to think about.

  1. Flexibility

No matter how big or small your company is, employees today want flexibility. This needs to extend to your training program. Chances are you have sales team members who are frequently out of the office or maybe you use employee contractors who work remotely. Consider all these scenarios when creating your enterprise learning program. Training should be accessible across multiple platforms especially mobile. 

In addition, training needs to work whether someone is using company WIFI or a remote network And, modules need to be easily translated and understood if you employ international employees. This also goes for the flexibility to be able to access information regardless of timezone. 

  1. Training program design

After you make your program easily accessible, you’ll want to focus on training program design. This not only includes the look and feel of your training system, but the components. People have short attention spans and have a hard time retaining what they’ve learned. So by adding training enhancements like quizzes, whitepapers, podcasts, infographics and case studies, you’ll get vested employees who actually use what they’ve learned.

  1. Training methods

Another enterprise best practice is to vary your training methods. Just like one person may give directions via mile markers while another will use visual cues, learning styles are similar. That’s why you should incorporate techniques like peer to peer learning, blended learning and gamification in training. Using all resources available to you will produce a more well-rounded enterprise learning program. 

  1. Social 

Training has evolved over time from static modules to training systems to now social. So to keep up with changing learning trends, you should add elements of social media to your enterprise learning program. Think in terms of your personal social media. It’s used to ask questions, give feedback and share common interests. So in training, you can set up online chat groups, peer Q&A sessions and even onboarding groups for new employees. The point is to make training interactive and to ensure that everyone has a voice. 

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Focus on an employee-driven learning 

Enterprise learning today is putting employees first. With the access of information from blogs to webcasts to social media groups, employees are learning new skills daily. And some of this learning is coming from outside sources. So in order to fill in the training gaps, learning programs need to understand this shift in direction and provide a learning structure for employees. Learning should be customizable keeping changing skills in mind. In order to do this, there are a few strategies to use.

1. Organized and goal-driven content 

Enterprise learning needs to be planned with the employee top of mind. To accomplish this, there needs to be clear learning objectives taken from the company goals. Then training modules should be created around these objectives. This should also take into account personal goals set for each employee. Here are some ways to create goal-driven content.

  • Create well-researched training

The learning team needs to research the latest training based on industry trends and also sit down with team leaders. Managers can shed light on needed skills and what skills certain team members need to learn. Then a training program needs to be created and constantly tweaked, based on these needs.

  • Present personalized learning tracks

Training needs to be easily accessible and clear as to what training to take. A great way to accomplish this is through learning tracks. When an employee enters a system like an LMS, they receive a personalized dashboard based on their job role. That way it’s clear what they need to take, when they need to take it and also why they are being asked to take it.

2. Personal learning

Since each employee is different in terms of skill set, what they are learning on their own and what skills are emerging within their field, training tracks need to be individualized. By creating training modules that meet these needs, but are also interesting, employees will be fully engaged. Here are some ways to make learning personal:

  • Lots of content

Content needs to cover a broad spectrum in terms of personal learning. This should be topics that are essential to job functions as well as more broad topics. For example, think about questions like what does each employee need to learn? What do they want to learn? And how can “out of the box learning” help their career path?

  • Make it actionable

Enterprise leaning needs to be material that can be applied now. By creating content that can be used immediately, employees will see the value in retaining and actually applying what’s been learned.

  • Varying content

Like we said before, everyone learns in different ways, so create content in several forms. For example, it could be videos, newsletter articles or webinars. Making this effort will further individualize enterprise learning.

  • Ingrained in day-to-day activities

Every employee is busy and training sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. However, if you create training modules that support employees daily tasks, they will take it and incorporate it. Make learning essential to job performance and employees will benefit.

  • Adding collaboration

Part of making enterprise learning personal is collaboration. Employees learn more by sharing with peers or other team members. So add in comments and chat groups to learning. This will help drive personalized learning. 

3. Forming a habit

Learning needs to be ingrained in your company culture. After all, this is the essence of enterprise learning. So training needs to be top of mind throughout the organization and not an afterthought. That way, employees will understand the importance of training and be fully vested in it. Here are some ways to help form a habit.

  • Create personal journey

The more employees see training as a vehicle to achieve success, the more they will use it daily. So managers should sit down with employees and create a personal learning journey. This should include what skills employees want to gain and what skills managers would add to help with this process. Then goals should be set with training timelines attached.

  • Centralized system

Access to learning is part of forming a habit. So use a system like an LMS to house your training materials. Files need to be categorized and easily searched within the system. The more user-friendly it is, the more willing employees will be to interact with it. 

  • Built-in tools

Using a system like an LMS, there should be built-in tools for organization. For example, setting up training reminders, modules to be taken and links for when questions arise is important. The more streamlined the process is, the more habit-forming it will become for employees. 

4. Collaboration

Enterprise learning should be a team effort. Employees today want comradery and to be part of a company they are proud of. So by creating training groups and sharing peer to peer best practices, you’ll foster a learning community environment. Here are some steps to follow for further collaboration:

  • Ability to share content

Part of what makes enterprise learning work is the focus on team learning. By sharing content between team members, it fosters learning individually. So make your training shareable whether it be via links, email or an online platform. 

  • Ability to comment

Tweaking training modules should never stop. One way to foster collaboration and also tweak training materials is through the use of commenting. Allow employees who have taken training to either comment or add a rating for the training they just took. Not only will this help you further refine the training based on the feedback, but it helps other employees yet to take the training. 

  • Gain insight

What one person gets out of training can be completely different than what a co-workers gets. So learning needs to be free flowing. Information should be shared amongst team members and a discussion created. By having an online training roundtable discussion, a training module has more impact. So create training that will not only teach, but create conversations around the topics.

5. Analysis

As much as you plan for a great enterprise learning program, it can always be better. So put measures in place to study, analyze and get insight into how your training is working. Then based on your feedback, tweak what needs to be improved. 

This should include surveying employees on the training. Questions like... is the content useful? Would you like content presented in a different way? And what would you change about the program? These are all important questions to understand. In addition, survey team leaders and get their perspectives on how effectively employees are putting these skills into action. 

Then look at the built-in analytics if you use a system like an LMS. Ask yourself, how many people are using the training modules daily? How many are collaborating within the system? How quickly do people get through certain training? Does one training method seem more effective than others? 

How can you make enterprise learning more employee focused?

Training is constantly evolving. To stay competitive, retain your top talent and create a robust enterprise learning environment, you must put employees first. Look at your current training program and see what adjustments you can make to revitalize it. Start with your system making it more user-friendly, add various content and elicit interaction. By creating an environment where learning is top of mind always, everyone will benefit. Employees will receive the necessary skills, team leaders will accomplish goals set and companies will effectively serve customer demands.

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