Evaluating Your Learning and Development Platform

Rita Floyd, Director of Organizational Development, Trustmark Bank [NASDAQ:TRMK]

Rita Floyd, Director of Organizational Development, Trustmark Bank [NASDAQ:TRMK]

The year 2020 will be remembered as one of the most challenging years in so many ways. It was a year where people saw the world almost come to a halt, and every person, company, and industry was forced to change their status quo. We had to retool ourselves, our families, and our jobs to move through the days, weeks, and months. Never has there been a greater need and demand for technology just to keep the day to day processes going.

Platforms like Zoom, WebEx, and Microsoft Teams have become the norm for meetings and training and, in general, carrying out daily business practices. Organizations have been challenged to think outside the box to establish new ways of meeting the needs of customers and associates, and they are doing this by maximizing current or new technology.

One area that has undergone a dramatic transformation is the Learning and Development area. Many companies had to move from in-person instructorled training (ILT) to virtual instructor-led training (vILT) or are converting in-person classes into online courses. This was not an easy transition as trainers had to reengineer not only themselves but their training processes to implement stronger engagement strategies to impact the learning process.

In addition to re-engineering content and processes, Learning and Development platforms should be evaluated to ensure that these systems are able to accommodate this changing environment. One consideration is to determine how well the platform can socialize learners. The ability to build a library of user-generated content that is uploaded and validated by peer review allows learners to engage with subject matter experts (SMEs) and share their own knowledge. Many times, organizations see valuable knowledge walking out the door when seasoned associates leave the organization. This is one way of capturing this information and sharing it with others.

"In addition to re-engineering content and processes, Learning and Development platforms should be evaluated to ensure that these systems are able to accommodate this changing environment"

Another consideration is the ease of use. Evaluating how well the user can move through the platform and find information that is beneficial to them will keep the learner from becoming complacent. It is important to know what your learners are looking for when it comes to content. The Learning and Development platform must support the many ways people learn. Generationally, your learners will be different in their learning appetite. Those new in their careers should desire to soak up as much knowledge as possible, while your more seasoned learners may only be looking for very specific topics to explore. Regardless of the learner, the platform must meet a variety of needs.

In addition to ease of use, having a robust Search Feature is important. There is no value in having a system if learners cannot locate the content they want or need. The ability to search for content by using keywords is essential. Also, knowing what topics your associates are interested in would be beneficial to raise learner awareness. Having a broad variety of topics that would be of interest to a variety of learners would be appropriate. You can determine topics by engaging your learners in a needs assessment survey that they can access while using the platform. You also want a system that will make recommendations to learners based on their interests.

Finally, having a platform that is flexible is imperative. Organizations need a Learning and Development platform that can change with the times and the learner. Today’s learner is more self-directed and in charge of their development. You want a system that can work with this type of learner to give them what they want when they want it. You also want that learner to know that you are there to support them in their career journey. There is no one system that will do all that you want it to do, but you have to do your due diligence to get as close to the mark as possible.

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