Getting involved: why it pays to involve others in your learning decisions

There are two major annoyances for learning professionals: one is everyone in the organisation wanting a say on your learning programmes, and the other is nobody else in the organisation caring what you’re working on. Both can be equally irritating. The former can completely derail your plans to the extent that you lose sight of your learning outcomes, while the latter can hinder any learner engagement activities you have planned and make it difficult to reach your audience. 

The best situation to be in lies somewhere between the two: you want others in your organisation to be invested in what you do without pushing their own agendas, and happy to support your initiatives without bulldozing your plans. Not only will getting other departments involved contribute to increased buy-in and enthusiasm for the finished solution; it could also get you thinking about your learning programme in a way you hadn’t previously considered. So, who should you be talking to when you’re designing and building a learning programme?

People meeting to choose a new LMS
  1. End users - If your learners don’t like your platform or don’t derive value from it, they won’t use it. Include them in the selection process from the very start to ensure you know what they like about your current system and what they don’t. This can spell the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful learning platform.

  2. IT/IS department - Your IT team will care about factors such as robustness, security, interoperability and technical specifications. Don’t just drop a system on them that won’t work as part of your wider IT infrastructure - their input can be invaluable if you ask them before making any big, expensive decisions.

  3. Learning designers - This applies to your in-house learning designers and any outside vendors you work with. Often they have a wealth of experience with various learning platforms, so ensure you’re choosing a system that will give them the freedom to innovate and work with the learning content they create, not against it.

  4. Managers - Managers will need to track progress, monitor completion rates and control access, so make sure you understand exactly what they need from your new system to help support their everyday workflow.

  5. Administrators - Think about the people who will actually be managing the learning platform on a day-to-day basis. Their satisfaction and ability to drive the system efficiently is key to the success of the platform.

  6. Sales team - The sales team may want specific features such as leaderboards, and may want access for extended enterprise audiences outside your immediate organisation.

  7. Leadership team - Leaders may request a more resource-based approach and the ability to support informal, peer-to-peer learning alongside formal activities.

  8. Compliance team - They are likely to want role-based assignment of content, granular reporting and robust certification of completion of mandatory training.

  9. Marketing - Marketing will want to know how they can customise the look and feel of the learning platform, and can help out with any internal marketing campaigns to a successful deployment and sustained engagement.