Virtual Learning Programs That Survive and Thrive

September 26, 2017 13:33 by Dana Peters


Adaptability is the name of the game when it comes to the long-term survival of the virtual instructor-led training (vILT) programs you design, develop, and deploy.

Continuous change is the environment most organizations are operating in, which means we need to move with change as Learning and Development professionals. And certainly we want to do more than just “weather the storm”. We want to thrive as we forge ahead to meet the business needs of the ever changing organizations we serve.

Are you prepared to respond quickly when:

  • Leadership changes are made?
  • A merger or acquisition is announced?
  • The vision, mission, and/or goals of the company shift?
  • A swing in your market place occurs, positive or negative?

You, your colleagues, and your vILT programs must be nimble and flexible enough to adapt to these changes.

But how?

We suggest a proactive approach that includes the following five actions.

  1. Develop Rough Action Plans. Take time to think about realistic scenarios that you could face in the near future. Develop a rough action plan to give you a leg up if the scenario were to actually occur.
  2. Invest Time in Continuous Improvement Processes. Once you’ve designed and implemented your vILT programs, it’s important to maintain lines of communication to make sure your programs continue to align with the company mission and leadership’s goals. Reviewing your vILT courses on a regular basis allows you to refresh portions of the content as changes and updates are needed. Without a continuous review, your course can quickly become obsolete, and without the occasional minor update, you may experience the need for a complete overhaul of your course design. Or it may be seen as bringing no value and be eliminated altogether.
  3. Ask for Feedback From Your Learners. In line with continuously reviewing your vILT programs, it’s important to gather feedback from your learners on a regular basis. The collection of learners’ needs over time helps you to understand how job functions are changing and what skill development opportunities would bring the most value to the business. This intel should help you bring the right learning opportunities, to the right people, at the right time.
  4. Educate and Inform Leadership. As Learning and Development professionals you probably know your programs inside and out. Your leadership team may not. In order to showcase the value of your programs it’s important to involve leadership in the process. Make sure they are aware of how the vILT programs are performing. Specifically, how they are meeting the needs of the business. For more information on how best to track the value of your vILT program, check out our post: Designing Virtual Learning That Pays Off: Measuring Success Back on the Job.
  5. Communicate Value and Results. Along the lines of educating your leadership team, vILT programs should be championed at all levels of the company. If the value of your programs have been communicated effectively; when changes occur, you’ll have the advantage of advocates on many fronts. If updates to your programs do need to be made, multiple perspectives can diversify the conversation on how best to do that.

These proactive efforts will help to secure your vILT programs long-term success, and the consistent, high quality learning opportunities your learning population needs to be successful on the job. What other actions have you taken to be sure your virtual learning programs can survive and thrive through the changes that may lie ahead?

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