Suggestions For Shopping for & Implementing A Studying Platform
4 steps to buying and implementing a learning platform … the right way!
In our previous article, we highlighted the challenges businesses face when purchasing and implementing a learning platform. Here is our alternative. Instead of going straight to a high-stakes business case based on hypothetical assumptions, do the following four steps:
- Put your team together
- Decide what is important
- Find your solution
- Perform a proof of concept
Let’s break those down in this guide!
Don’t just create your business case for a learning platform. Prove it!
Build a successful business case for learning platforms and improve your buying and implementation process.
1. Put your team together
When you find and buy a learning platform, it’s easy to get stuck in a couple of pitfalls. Here are two things you DO NOT want to do.
First, don’t get stuck in the trap of just focusing on your own use cases. You need to look beyond your team, group, or business unit to find out who in your organization might benefit from a learning platform and what use cases are important to them.
You may be looking for a solution to offering new safety, compliance, and regulatory training for new hires, but don’t stop there. How about channel partner training, cultural development and training for new products? Customer training is another area that is often overlooked.
Don’t stop with “I need an LMS to conduct HR compliance and qualification training” or even “… to offer employees certification”, but also think about how you can give your employees opportunities for professional development and individual development can offer growth. In addition to meeting the need for compliance and skills training, nurture a passion for learning so you can engage your employees, retain top talent, and maximize their potential.
Don’t get stuck in the trap of focusing only on your immediate needs
Create a vision of what digital learning will be like in your business in 5 to 10 years and make sure you think about how the investment you make today can grow with you over time.
How can you achieve these goals and avoid these two pitfalls?
Gather a cross-functional team who can bring a variety of use cases, problems, and opportunities to the table, and work with them to develop a vision bigger and better than the one you come up with on your own. Your ultimate LMS search team should include:
- Each of your business areas (executive, sales, product, field service, etc.)
- Different geographic regions, especially if they span countries, languages and cultures
- All end-user roles of people who interact with the learning platform (business owners, technical administrators, content creators, curriculum developers, technical support, and a wide variety of learners).
While this could start for you as an HR or L&D initiative, by ensuring good representation across the company you will make better decisions and get a better investment that pays significant dividends.
2. Decide what is important
When looking for a learning platform, it is tempting to search for all the bells and whistles online or to pay an advisor to provide you with a list of the most important features for a learning platform. For many, this list then becomes – without further consideration or consideration – an exhaustive and comprehensive checklist that represents the minimum criteria a competing solution must meet in order to be considered. However, products with longer feature lists and more check boxes are not necessarily suitable for your needs. Often less is more. A simple solution with the right features avoids unnecessary complexity for your platform administrators and learners.
3. Find your solution
Once you’ve decided what’s most important to you and identified key use cases and features, it’s time to find your solution! The traditional approach is to create a Request for Proposals (RFP), which typically consists of hundreds of questions spread across multiple spreadsheets and documents that vendors must respond to in order to be considered. This process has its merits, but it also requires a lot of time and effort on your part to contact the vendors to review and clarify the answers and still may not end up providing accurate and reliable information.
Use a questionnaire instead of an RFP
A better alternative to the RFP is to send out a simple questionnaire. Using Google Forms or Survey Monkey keeps this process effective, efficient, and affordable. Using a questionnaire instead of an RFP shifts your focus from fully profiling competing vendors and technologies to focusing more closely on your specific needs. That way, you can quickly identify potential solutions that provide the most important features that you and your team have determined most important to your business.
Once the results are in, you can simply summarize the data, request product demos, and then select the vendor you want to work with on your proof of concept.
4. Perform a proof of concept for the purchase and implementation of a learning platform
First, a few key terms. Most providers have different ways in which you can experience their product. Demo, trial version, proof of concept, pilot – what is the difference between all of these options? The eBook Don’t just create your business case for a learning platform. Prove it! guides you through the 4 steps of performing a proof-of-concept, from choosing your focus to creating evaluation criteria.
Before you can do an effective proof of concept, you need to choose a learning platform to work with. You must also have the vendor’s approval to provide support and guidance for a highly targeted implementation with core use cases identified for assessment, specific objectives previously established, and an agreed length of time.
The exit criteria should be clear, and both your organization and the provider should ensure that the POC is completed as agreed. Remember, your goal is to complete the POC quickly and successfully so that you can present the actual ROI results as part of your business case proposal.
Three general objectives of the POC
When planning your POC, your three general goals are:
- Demonstrate the expected value
- Identify and mitigate risks
- Represent all of your stakeholders
As part of a proof-of-concept, evidence of the expected value literally means that. It means showing your team a working example for each of your specific use cases on the learning platform – and even allowing them to experience it firsthand. Identifying and reducing risk means that you’ve studied enough features and functionality that are critical to your success to know what is possible and what is not.
As a rule, this applies in particular to:
- Technical functions such as importing files, exporting data or integration into other systems
- Import or create content
- Gathering evidence of learner understanding, commitment, competence, or completion
- Create reports
If, in the process, you find that an important feature or skill you were hoping for is not available, it is important to determine if there is an appropriate and workable workaround.
The best way to represent your stakeholders is to involve them in the process. Give them a chance to experience the nature of interacting with the learning platform once it’s fully implemented and include it in your POC team demos and reviews.
Download the eBook. Don’t just create your business case for a learning platform. Prove it! Learn more about performing a proofing on concept and creating a successful business case for your next learning platform.
Rockstar learning platform
ELearning Brothers’ Rockstar Learning Platform is a powerful, yet easy-to-use solution that helps you effectively meet your needs today and grow and innovate in the future. Expect an easy-to-use, flexible solution at an affordable price.