An introduction to launching learning in the workplace
Whether you’re introducing an LMS for the first time or bringing a new set of classroom-based training to your organisation, launching learning initiatives can be easier said than done. With a huge range of things to consider, from digital literacy to the various locations of your employees, it pays to be prepared.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide to get you started on the journey to learning success. We’ll be covering a wide range of topics from taking the leap towards new styles of learning through to conducting launch campaigns with a little inspiration from the world of marketing.
Including insights from the Learning Technologies 2019 conferences, input from our in-house L&D specialists, and insider know-how from our own marketing team, our comprehensive guide to launching learning in the workplace is here to set you up for success.
Let’s take a look at what’s in store.
In this guide, we will cover:
- Which style of launch is right for your organisation?
- Changing your approach to learning
- An introduction to launch campaigns
- How to create and roll out a launch campaign
Throughout this guide you will have access to:
- Insights from the Learning Technologies 2019 conferences
- Interesting quotes and stats from the L&D industry
- Insights into the realities of mobile and technology-based learning
- Tips and tricks to make the most of launch campaigns
- Checklists and templates to help you generate your own launch campaigns
Without further ado, let’s jump in to section 1 of our guide.
Section 1: Which style of launch is right for your organisation?
Whether you are introducing a new series of health and safety training or a new LMS to your organisation, figuring out your launch process is vital. There are a wide range of ways you can approach this, but we will be looking at the three main ways we have seen customers and others in the industry launch their own learning:
Before we delve deeper, let’s investigate what we mean by each of these terms.
Now we have a clearer understanding of the three main types of launches for learning, we need to look further into the decision-making process.
What factors should you consider when launching new learning in the workplace?
- Size of your organisation
One of the main considerations when launching any new learning initiative is the size of your organisation. This will impact many things from budgets to communication. It’s also worth considering the geographical locations as well.
For example if your organisation has 30 branches nation-wide, with the right tech, a campaign-based launch can work really effectively to keep everyone engaged. However, if you’re working with a much smaller organisation where the majority of employees interact with each other, a passive launch may be more suitable
- Technical requirements of launch
If you are launching an LMS for example, or migrating over to a mobile-led learning strategy, the technical requirements will be much greater than if you are simply launching a new health & safety training campaign.
For many highly technical implementations, a staggered approach is often used – and for good reason. This allows you to conduct testing of all sorts from usability to engagement levels on a smaller group, to ensure the best possible experience is rolled out to the entire organisation. It can also aid the technical and IT teams in charge of implementation.
- Timescales for launch
Another vital consideration is the timescale you have to launch and implement your new learning initiative. If you have several months for example, a campaign-based approach can do a lot to drum up excitement and intrigue. Campaign-based launches are often highly creative endeavours. At Learning Technologies 2019, L&D consultants and representatives from organisations including Aviva, The Entertainer, and Channel 4 spoke of the power of collaboration and creativity in LMS and learning launches.
However, if timescales are short, a campaign-based approach may not be suitable. A staggered or passive approach may be better suited for tight deadlines. It is also worth considering that while the ‘pull don’t push’ philosophy of a passive launch can work extremely well in the long run and can generate fantastic completion rates and savings over the course of a year or two, it may not be the approach to take is fast uptake in engagement is expected.
- Digital literacy of your workforce
Especially when dealing with a technological shift within your organisation, assessing the digital literacy of your workforce is a vital component to launching a new learning initiative. For example, it is always worth considering that not everyone will want to learn on a mobile device or instantly take to desktop-based learning. This needs to be considered at the launch stage.
Ultimately, any new and engaging learning initiative should offer flexibility and it’s important you can meet the needs of your workforce. At LT19, the Head of L&D at SpringerNature explained that, when they launched their in-house LMS, there was an initial surge of activity from ‘digital natives’ but in order to achieve strong engagement during and after implementation, it is vital to avoid a ‘one size fits all’ mentality.
- Current and intended learning culture
Your current learning culture (and if you wish to change this) can have a huge influence on how you wish to conduct a learning campaign and/or launch. For example, if your workplace culture is particularly sociable (which can be quite common in, for example, retail businesses) then a highly interactive campaign-based launch can work particularly well.
Your next launch is also a great way to push forward with how you want your learning culture to be. Whether you want it to be self-driven, collaborative, or structured, you can set this precedent with the way you launch your initiatives.
“Whether you’re launching new technology or a new selection of compliance training, a teaser campaign can be a great way to generate interest and spark excitement for what’s to come.”
Now we’ve looked at the factors you need to consider when planning the launch of your next learning initiative, let’s take a look at how to get your employees on board with broader change. Looking more closely at launching an LMS or shifting between technologies, it’s time for Section 2.
Section 2: Moving towards a technology-led approach to learning
In many organisations, particularly those with vast numbers of staff, it is natural to come up against resistance when it comes to change – especially change involving technology. This section of our guide will be looking at how you can get employees on board with the changes, the logistics of such a shift, and how to help your learners sees the benefits of and reasons for change.
Firstly, let’s look at some of the challenges you may face when implementing a mobile-led learning strategy for the first time.
Four key challenges of implementing a mobile learning strategy
- Resistance to mobile learning
Technological advancements in the workplace can divide opinion. While L&D often see the benefits, there will be some employees who are resistant to learning on mobile devices. If this happens, don’t worry, it doesn’t mean you have failed. It’s important to recognise that not everyone will want to use mobile. A mobile learning strategy is there to provide flexibility to your learners – so give them the choice.
It’s also important not to assume this is a generational situation. Stereotyping your employees through their demographics won’t help them to feel appreciated. Digital natives can come from all walks of life and levels of experience, as can digital sceptics. This is your chance to meet your workforce halfway.
- Technical implementation resources
Implementing a technical shift of any kind can require a lot of input from Operations and IT teams. Each organisation will manage their L&D implementations differently; some will put L&D at the helm of digital logistics and others will rely more heavily on IT. Regardless of your organisation’s plans for roll-out, it’s important to consider the technical limitations in terms of hardware and time restraints.
- Required admin hours
This particular challenge is more likely to hit home than the others if you’re working in L&D. The admin side of things if likely to fall on your shoulders, so it’s important to make the most of the planning phases of implementation and ensure you have enough time aside. You will also need to assess, before your mobile strategy is finalised and implementation begins, what your current resource allows for. Consider involving other staff members in upkeep. In organisations of tens of thousands of people, it’s not unusual for L&D teams to comprise of five or fewer, so make sure you don’t bite off more than you can chew.
- Mobile devices and hardware needs
The final key point to consider when shifting to a mobile-driven learning strategy is the devices themselves and the hardware requirements. This is where you’ll need to decide whether Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) or supplied devices is strategically better for your organisation. One of the main considerations for this will be cost – BYOD presents little upfront cost as learners will use their own devices, however it will require more technical upkeep to ensure a good experience across a wide range of phones and tablets. If you supply devices for your employees, the upfront cost will be bigger, but ongoing maintenance and updates will be smoother and more cost-effective.
How can you get learners on board with these changes?
Three simple words: communication is key.
Simply put, the way you communicate these changes will impact the way your employees react to it. If you’re planning a big shift in technology, a passive launch is less likely to draw people in to get the engagement you’re looking for.
Next time (in part 2), we’ll look a lot more closely at launch campaigns, but for now let’s explore what your pre-launch communication needs to be doing in order to make your launch and implementation worth the time, money, and effort your organisation is putting into it.
3 ways to generate interest before your launch
If you wish to run a campaign for your launch, this is where it begins. But, regardless of how you’re launching your new technology, generating interest before it is launched is really important. If you blindside your workforce by not telling them anything and then expecting them to go straight for a brand new piece of technology, you may be in for a shock.
Generating interest can come in many forms, from a teaser campaign to branch meetings to newsletters to competitions featuring a little bit of the tech you’re introducing.
- Provide a demo or taster
Providing a sneak peak into the possibilities of your new learning technology can be a great way to get even the tech-sceptics on board with your eLearning plans. Whether you take your employees through a demo in a meeting, provide a low–level overview using screen recording programs like Loom, or provide an actual demo on company-supplied computers or mobile devices, providing something tangible can be a great way to prepare your staff for change.
- Create a competition
Tapping into the competitive spirits of your employees can be a great way to boost engagement. At Learning Technologies 2019, the L&D team from The Entertainer told us about their very successful User Generated Content (UGC) competition in the run up to implementing their new mobile-driven LMS, The EnterTrainer. Using a photo app, they encouraged employees from branches up and down the country to submit photos using specific hashtags and photoframes, creating a leaderboard to push their competitive spirit.
- Develop a teaser campaign
This is where you need to tap into your marketing brain. Whether you’re launching new technology or a new selection of compliance training, a teaser campaign can be a great way to generate interest and spark excitement for what’s to come. Especially effective for eLearning content with a strong gamification focus, these campaigns can feature anything from posters in offices to visual clues in your current LMS to dedicated pages on your internal intranet or website.
That’s all for part 1 of our guide to launching learning in the workplace. In part 2, we’ll be focussing on launch campaigns – what they are, how they work, and how to plan one.