Choosing virtual tools and tactics
In a previous article, we discussed the importance of a needs analysis for developing a great learning programme in terms of structure and content for your staff; the needs analysis also informs your choice of learning platform and tools. The best learning platform for the job is ideally one with which your staff are already familiar and that they are generally positive about in terms of usability, accessibility, and interactivity. But there are other things to keep in mind:
Access, reliability, and navigation: can your staff log on easily, from any location, with any device? Whether your learners travel for work or primarily work from home, potentially fitting work in around dependents and other life commitments, the easier to access your platform and make use of the features it supports, the more likely staff are to engage. Think too about how they move through learning experiences and consider investing in a learner journey, and whether there is an option to pause and return to the same point. A good experience facilitates participation.
System integration: whether you are introducing or replacing a fully-fledged learning management system, or adding content to an existing one, check the integration capacity available. Single sign-on and webhooks can enable communication between other in-house systems and linking out to social media or gamification engines can support interactive and even promotional activities.
Content compatibility: through your need’s analysis, you will be able to identify the types of content, activities, and assessments that are best suited to your learners’ requirements. Make sure that your digital tools can align with the most appropriate content formats, whether they are PDFs, PowerPoints, videos, or audio transcripts. Other valuable features may include assessment tools that provide instant feedback, opportunities to revisit certain content and retake tests, generate certificates, keep track of progress on a learning dashboard, and rate or fill out surveys on the learning experience.
Analysis and Reporting: what kind of data do you want to gather on your learners to meet your evaluation and reporting needs? Choose a system that makes metrics gathering simple and straightforward, so that you can keep track of and support your learners’ development, provide information on the quality and effectiveness of your training programme to senior managers, review programme success with your learning provider, and share relevant data with your learners for them to reflect on too.
Security and support: digital security for organizations, content, and metrics is a hot topic in learning and development circles, especially in the healthcare industry with its incredibly tight regulatory and confidentiality requirements. Check out the data protection laws for individuals as well as companies in all the countries that your learners, presenters, and any funders are contributing from to make sure your training programme ticks all the boxes. Having a good support system for rectifying any problems, whether legal, technical, or educational is essential to sustain a positive and productive learning experience.
Licensing, pricing, and future-proofing: whatever systems and tools you need or want to use to meet the needs of your learners, you need to find one that is within your price bracket and gives you the flexibility to select the appropriate level of provision for your organization. It’s easier to compare LMSs based on features than prices or licensing policies and you need to keep a close eye out for hidden costs. Make sure you think not just about your immediate need, but about your potential needs in the future. You don’t want to have to pay out extra unnecessarily when the time comes to update or enhance your learning programmes.