As an eLearning professional, you want to create masterpieces. You are a creative soul, an artist at heart. But you CANNOT be an artist who locks himself up in the ivory tower of his mind, works away on his canvas or manuscript that bears no resemblance to reality, and hopes that “someone” will appreciate his figment of imagination and buy his work.
Your company has to survive in a harsh and competitive business environment. Every decision that is made in the boardroom, every activity that takes place on the production floor and every plan that is drawn up during meetings is geared towards fulfilling the overarching business goals. As the eLearning leader of your company, you too have to make sure that you design courses that are in line with the strategic organizational goals. These have to be relevant, useful, and valuable.
According to the findings of a 2014 study by the Brandon Hall Group, a whopping 70 percent of companies that sync their training activities with business goals see a significant increase in their profits. Your work is cut out:
- You have to create training that goes beyond teaching new skills to your employees. Your programs should empower them to respond to and embrace market changes effortlessly and efficiently.
You have to create training that goes beyond helping your employees climb the corporate ladder. Your programs should build and nurture a talent pool that works to drives business forward—assembly-line workers who initiate process improvement, salespeople who close deals, managers who drive down delivery costs, and leaders and visionaries who inspire teams.
According to the findings of a 2014 study by the Brandon Hall Group, a whopping 70 percent of companies that sync their training activities with business goals see a significant increase in their profits.
Step 1: Carry out a Training Needs Analysis first.
- Competency Requirements: For instance, a business goal is to drive down production costs to offer competitive prices. So, workers should be able to spot faulty production processes and/or reduce/eliminate wastage. You need to train them and help them develop these competencies. (Disclaimer: This insight will also help you figure out if you need to deliver training at all. For instance, if outdated machinery is triggering wastage, you can skip the training and invest in overhauling the mechanical systems!)
Organizational Context: This stems directly from the organizational goals.
- Target Audience Identification: When you identify the competencies to be developed, you have to figure out the learner groups with existing skill sets that closely match the knowledge you want to impart or have job roles that require them to apply these skills. For instance, assembly-line workers have to be trained to eliminate wastage and production managers may be provided with training to help them be on top of the latest best practices.
Step 2: Create SMART objectives that embody ACTION and IMPACT
- Specific: The objectives should state clearly what exactly the learner would be able to do after completing the course. For instance, “Become more productive” is not a specific objective, but this statement is: “Operate a drilling machine….”
- Measurable: The objectives should state clearly what tangible action the learner should be able to perform after taking the course. For instance, “Generate more leads” is not a measurable objective, but this statement is: “Generate 5,000 leads in 2 months.”
- Achievable: The objectives should be achievable, so learners are not frustrated by their lack of progress. To create achievable objectives, you have to take into account both the current skill-set of a learner and the time he needs to acquire a new skill reasonably comfortably.
- Realistic: Of course, the objectives must be in sync with the business goals.
- Time-bound: Your busy learners want to know (to feel assured) by when they can expect to master a new skill. This drives motivation.
Step 3: Design with "application" in mind
About one in six learners successfully apply to their work the knowledge they have acquired during the training.
Step 4: Keep the C-Suite in the loop
Step 5: Design for Continuous Learning
The goal of your eLearning program is to create and nurture a talent pool that is an asset to the company. Your training programs should help employees perform to the highest standard what is expected of them at the workplace. Corporate training programs should mirror workplace realities, which in turn, are directly influenced by the business environment and market dynamics. So, in a way, the training programs you design MUST reflect greater business goals.
Learning Eye to Eye: Aligning Training To Business Objectives https://www.td.org/Publications/Magazines/TD/TD-Archive/2009/04/Learning-Eye-to-Eye-Aligning-Training-to-Business-Objectives
Are Your Learning Activities Aligned With the Business? http://www.clomedia.com/2012/08/29/are-your-learning-activities-aligned-with-the-business/
Aligning Corporate Learning With Strategy https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/aligning-corporate-learning-with-strategy/
Maximize Training Impact by Aligning Learning with Business Goals