LAS is an award-winning provider of elearning consultancy, design, development and training services in the UK and internationally.
Established in 2005 as LearningAge Solutions, we work with some of the best known organisations in the world to boost their performance through the innovative use of learning technologies. Working in partnership with our customers, we draw on proven principles from human behaviour, how people learn and how the brain works to create impactful digital learning solutions with real return on investment.
Tess is a director of LAS. She has worked in a learning environment for over twenty years. First, as a senior manager in universities, moving into digital learning ten years ago.
By Tess Robinson
Posted September 2020
Covid has shown us that digital transformation can be done at incredible speed. At the start of the year, who’d have thought it possible for whole organisations to now be working remotely and doing it effectively? Given the situation, you’d think it would be a no-brainer that digital learning would be at the top of the pile for investment for L&D departments. However, a recent survey that we did on a webinar, showed that L&D was still facing some difficulties in convincing senior stakeholders that digital learning was an essential investment. If you’re in this position, how can you demonstrate to your organisation that digital learning can make a positive difference for them?
1. Clearly link digital learning to your wider organisational strategy and goals.
These may well have changed over the past few months, as many organisations have had to pivot. Choose projects that clearly link to your organisation’s success and don’t be afraid to be ambitious. Talk to different departments about how their activities are going to contribute to the wider goals and look for opportunities to support them in doing that. Digital learning should not take place in a silo - it’s important and can make a demonstrable difference to the things that really matter.
2. Make sure you identify the right stakeholders
Create a stakeholder map so you are clear on who controls both decision-making and the purse strings. Include influencers, who may not do either of the above but who have the ear of those who do. Identify people who you can potentially turn into champions who will advocate for digital learning on your behalf. It’s a much more powerful message coming from them, but you will need to make sure they are adequately armed with compelling arguments.
3. Quantify the problem or opportunity
Once you’ve identified projects that link closely to your organisation’s goals try and quantify the benefits that will come from the learning you want to develop. On a basic level, this might be money saved by converting F2F training to a blend or how much the reach of the training could be increased by, and what the impact of this would be. For example; we can reach X% more salespeople with this training which will mean a X% increase in efficiency in the sales process, which translates to an increase of X% in profits. Other measures might include performance improvements, strengthening of in-house skills and reduction of reliance on external consultants or increases in sales. Use whatever measures are appropriate but make sure they are closely aligned to the overall success of your organisation. Be really, really clear on the positive difference investing in digital learning will make. A compelling and data-backed argument makes it very hard to say no.
4. Be a digital learning evangelist
Learning has moved on a lot in recent years. The click-next-to-continue course - many people’s definition of elearning - has been superseded by many more interesting technologies. At our last count there are over 30 forms of digital learning! Still though, the views of senior stakeholders may be coloured by these outdated views of what elearning is, making them reluctant to invest. Make sure you are well-versed in the latest thinking. There’s lots of great webinars available to get you up to speed, particularly in Covid-times. Check out the Learning and Skills Group, the Learning and Performance Institute and the recordings of the Learning Technologies Summer Forum sessions. We also have a free Digital Learning Diagnostic tool which allows you to explore which forms of digital learning might be suitable for your project. Today’s technology makes digital learning more agile, relevant and immediate than ever before. If your organisation is still reluctant to try it – run pilots, produce prototypes – allow them to see and experience the benefits before committing funding. If cost is an issue, often your existing technology can be adapted to accommodate new ways of learning. Start with what you already have – it may surprise you what can be achieved with some creative thinking.
5. Look for inspiration
Check out award winners' projects for inspiration and ammunition, they are often profiled online following awards ceremonies. Award criteria usually stipulate that a project must show considerable impact – this can be in a number of ways, not just financial. If you can go to your organisation with concrete proof of the way digital learning can have a substantial, positive effect on overall business performance, that’s a very powerful argument.
In many ways, now is an opportune time to make your case for digital learning investment. Organisations have been trying out technology at a much higher rate than previously, but it is evident that there are still barriers to overcome. Hopefully these tips will help.