In my previous articles, we talked about the value of having an early Learning & Adoption Strategy in place and the question of who shall be trained. In this part of my little Learning & Adoption series, we will take a closer look at the users’ sites as an influencing factor of your strategy: WHERE does our staff need to informed, trained and supported?
While your Learning & Adoption Strategy is being defined, you already need to look into the required resources. This might surprise you, but one of the most critical resources we are dealing with in training projects are the training rooms. In previous projects, we have often seen that training rooms are not available where needed. Or, if available, the rooms are already booked for months in advance. Not to mention the technical equipment which is sometimes insufficient. Often, corporate training rooms use discharged computers from the offices – which are most likely not sufficient to support hands-on trainings or workshops for new implementations.
Certainly, training rooms are only one part of the “where” to be considered in a Learning & Adoption Strategy. However, it’s essential to calculate the required rooms, check availability and reserve them as soon as possible. If the local ability to execute training is not given there will be a need to change other Learning & Adoption decisions, such as the didactical methods. Instructor-led trainings (ILT) might need to be changed to other methods, such as Web-based training (WBT). I will discuss the HOW decisions in a separate article, and you will see that the WHERE and the HOW decisions do heavily impact each other.
For receiving a simple and useful overview on the overall local needs it has been shown as feasible to split-up into three focus areas on the WHERE:
Based on the expected change impact and the organizational structure of a site the category of an information site can be defined, for example
The “Adoption Site Map” shows a summary based on an organization readiness analysis:
At sites where enough users are located to fill-up classrooms of scheduled instructor-led trainings, classrooms shall be planned early. The influencing factors are
As a rule-of-thumb for the calculation of a training site the following formula can be used: hardware and network costs + preparation costs < user´s travelling costs to other training sites. Of course other influence factors shall be considered, such as the needed flexibility of users being trained on-site, future needs of on-site trainings after the project or needs from other projects.
For identifying the training sites there are some typical questions to ask:
Practice has shown that a “Training Site Map” is easier to understand than tables listing this type of information:
Tip: Even if a contact person at a site confirms having a training room in place, ask for a checklist to be filled out in order to classify the training room’s equipment and evaluate in regard to the project needs. For example, ask for the number of computers, the computers´ age, the network performance, the number of chairs and tables, windows, lighting, power supply, restrooms near to the training room or beverages supply. The term “training room” is very broad, depending on whom you ask!
The early definition of sites where on-site mentors shall support the end-users during their first weeks of the new system’s usage is essential for calculating the training needs of the mentor user group. This user group is one of the most important factors influencing the end-users’ motivation after the go-live. Supporting the end-users means guaranteeing a successful and valuable implementation. Thus, the mentors need to be informed, motivated and trained as a separated group early and extensively.
In addition to a local mentor, a project-specific central support hotline may be planned and established. The central support hotline’s tasks are:
Again, a picture tells more than tables. The User-Support Map shows the number of local mentors (blue bar) needed per site/per week and the location and duration of a central support hotline (red bar):
Each of these 3 activities of training site definition, information site definition and user-support site definition needs its own analysis, estimations and decisions to be considered in the Learning & Adoption project. Especially the training site map needs higher attention, even if the effort for creating the map is less. But the impact on costs for training delivery and the impact on the training didactics are often underestimated. At the time of defining a Learning & Adoption Strategy the first draft of a training plan should be created showing how much training rooms in a certain time frame are needed at a site.
Here are some tips to consider the WHERE in a Learning & Adoption Strategy:
The estimates made in a Learning & Adoption Strategy may be accurate by +-20% only. But having some inaccurate estimates and a very early follow-on action like booked training rooms is much better than having perfect effort calculations … but too late.
The next step following a Learning & Adoption Strategy is the Learning & Adoption Needs Analysis, where the details will be worked-out. These details and decisions are the Role-based Training Plan, the Communication Plan and the User Support Plan; all based on the major decisions decided in the strategic planning, such as the already booked training rooms or suggested number of mentors.
In Part 4 of this Learning & Adoption blog series, we will talk about defining the milestones of training and end-user information projects (WHEN).