The People Matters L&D Virtual Conference kicked off today with an extremely insightful webinar session, titled ‘The secret to successfully rolling out learning technology’ with Donald H Taylor, Chairman, Learning and Performance Institute. The session offered several takeaways and points to ponder upon for modern L&D professionals and leaders alike, on making their learning technology implementations, impeccable.
With a wealth of 20 years of experience, examining numerous case studies of workplace learning technology implementations, Donald found that there are some common features that govern the success of LMS implementations. At the very outset, he stated that the reason why learning technology implementations fail is not because the technology didn’t work or the people didn’t; it’s actually because the buy-in from all the key stakeholders was not attained. And this is where the core of the problem lies: while most organizations or individuals focus on building robust learning technologies; it is the understanding of the environment’s needs and collaboration with the rest of the people in the organization, which will essentially make your technology successful.
Donald established mindset, skills and method as the three most important components needed to devise learning technologies, of which mindset is the most important. He further elaborated on the mindset aspect, dividing it into the quadrants of L&D, organization, internal environment and external environment. While one needs to be an expert in the internal L&D practices of the organization, one also has to be engaged with the external L&D practices, for which one needs to stay abreast of the prevailing L&D practices in the industry, and also attend external events. Similarly, one has to be connected with the organizational health, procedures, aims and strategies; and at the same time, aware about the external political, technological and socio-economic trends. All of this is necessary to maintain balance, and design a holistic solution.
It is also important to be clear about the skills and competencies that are available internally, and the ones that aren’t. In case of the latter, resources need to be arranged from the outside, which is where the role of project management becomes crucial.
Donald emphasized on the need for understanding the real problem at hand, rather than rushing to build the solutions. In order to do that, one would have to actively seek feedback from other employees, and ask them pointed questions that could help in designing the best possible solution. He highlighted the building of trust and rapport as the most important step in that process, which can happen only when aided by active listening.
In closing, Donald succinctly highlighted the role of L&D in organizations. He fittingly mentioned that it is not so much about what L&D actually does, but about what it makes possible. In that context, the role of L&D can be defined as one that enables individuals and organizations to develop, and fulfill their potential.