When you’re busy creating courses and cranking out eLearning content, it’s easy to forget the “why” behind the “what” you’re creating. Without a solid strategy to fall back on, designers can lose sight of the strategy for how their content supports learners and the organization. At the same time, I’ve seen eLearning teams lose sight of making progress when they get bogged down by trying to develop a detailed, fail-proof strategy.
While I think a strategy is required, I don’t think it has to be too complex. The core question an eLearning strategy must answer is: how does our eLearning content support employees in delivering on organizational objectives? To answer this question, build your strategy around the four stages of the employee lifecycle: recruit, onboard, develop, and separate.
Recruit: Many creative recruiting departments are incorporating or using eLearning as a means of providing on-the-job experiences and realistic job previews for candidates. As you’re planning your eLearning strategy, keep the candidate experience in mind. How might the content you provide be used to entice someone to take a job with the organization?
Onboard: New employee orientation and onboarding is a critical point during the employee lifecycle when training is required. The training a new employee receives can determine how successful they are in their new role, how engaged they feel with the company, and how likely they are to stay. When planning your eLearning strategy, be sure to consider the needs of a new hire. How might the courses you create keep help to set a new employee up for success?
Develop/Retain: As research from Deloitte and many others indicates, in order to retain and engage employees, companies must provide development opportunities. These opportunities are grounded in an organization that fully supports a learning-focused culture. As part of your eLearning strategy, you must remain focused on the ways in which your content will provide employees with an opportunity to develop their skills, and grow their careers. How does the eLearning content you deliver prepare an employee to get to the next level?
Separate: After an employee separates or is terminated from a company’s employment, the impact of your eLearning extends far beyond the four walls of the organization. While a former employee won’t have access to your eLearning content, they’ll be able to reflect on what they learned. If they found your content valuable, they’ll continue to use that knowledge. They may even recommend or speak of your courses as one of the best things about working for the organization. Consider the ways in which your content will remain top of mind, even after an employee leaves. How can the “wow factor” of the eLearning you provide serve to inspire current and former employees for years to come?
A simple eLearning strategy can do wonders to ensure that you and your team never forget the “why” behind what you create. By building your strategy around the four stages of the employee lifecycle, you’re more likely to deliver both strategy and content that benefits the most important audience in the organization: the employees.
Liz Sheffield is a freelance writer with a background in training and development. She specializes in writing about everything related to the human side of business. You can contact her via LinkedIn or Twitter.