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.
About Tess Robinson
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.
5 ways to achieve learning impact on a limited budget
By Tess Robinson
Posted 9 January 2023
Those of us in learning have been clear for many years that learning is vital to organisational survival. The last few years have made it abundantly clear that organisations need to be agile enough to continue operating when faced with massive curveballs and be able to pivot or change at speed. Learning plays a key role in this. With working from home here to stay, it’s more necessary than ever to include digital learning in the learning equation. Unfortunately, the demands of Covid, followed by war in Ukraine, the energy crisis and economic upheaval have often meant some serious belt-tightening in organisations. If you’re not already set up for digital or blended learning, how do you make this change on a limited budget?
Look at your organisation’s strategic priorities - these will almost certainly have shifted in the past few years, so make sure you’re up-to-date - and map learning needs or projects onto them. If a project doesn’t support a strategic priority, leave it to one side for now. Once you have done this, evaluate which of these projects will achieve most impact for your organisation and focus your budget there. Return on Investment (ROI), where Return means a range of things from financial to behaviour change to increased retention, is a useful measure. If something is going to give you a big return, invest more heavily in it. If the return is small, don’t spend much. This exercise will ensure that you are using your limited funds in the most effective way.
2. Invest in research
If you’re watching the pennies and your needs are urgent, it may seem a bit indulgent to do a research phase before starting a project. However, gaining a good understanding of your audience and their needs will save you money (and time) in the long run. It will guard against making costly mistakes or deciding on technology or content that isn’t quite fit for purpose. As part of your research phase, we also recommend that you review the technology you have already. If it’s possible to use something that you already have and not buy in yet another digital tool or platform, then more the better.
3. Good enough is good enough
The digital learning you produce does not necessarily need to have lots of bells and whistles to be effective. You may want to get there in a Ferrari, however, a sensible family car will do the job just as well; sometimes good enough is good enough – it’s certainly more budget-friendly. Prototype where possible, get feedback and test whether a basic version is giving learners what they need, plus what the organisation needs to be effective. If it is, leave it at that. Another approach, which can be kinder to your budget is to phase the learning and do a stage at a time.
Save time by asking your network for recommendations on technology and vendors. Go to webinars, keep an eye on LinkedIn and Twitter, read about award winners, get involved with networks like the Learning Network and LSG. See what has worked well for organisations like yours and adapt those ideas to your situation.
5. Know your tech
Make sure you know what technology you already have, what its capabilities are and who can have access to it. Make sure you are also up to speed on all the forms of digital learning (34 at the last count) – be aware of what is quick and easy to produce and what is costly and time-consuming.
The main message is - don’t despair if your budget is tight! It is still possible to achieve learning impact with limited funds by using your budget wisely on the projects linked to strategic goals, by investing in researching your audience, technology and organisational needs, by accepting that good enough can be good enough and by being open to learning from your networks.