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The procurement process for the learning platform is in its final stages – the team has done a great job and selected the most suitable solution. However, now is not the time to relax, as the next step involves a multi-phase process of launching a learning platform, which often gets overshadowed by the tedious procurement process. 

The launch of the learning platform determines how and in what manner the learning platform will be used, as well as what the culture of online learning will become in the long term. Typically, during the launch, many pitfalls are navigated, which are related to modern work life, the chosen platform, the organization, and the content.

The article on launching a learning platform provides support and perspectives based on our experience for organizations aiming to achieve a highly self-directed learning culture founded on continuous learning, and the competitive advantage it brings to business. If your goal with the learning platform is simply to complete mandatory courses, many of the points will be irrelevant.

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Launching a Learning Platform in the Context of Modern Work-life

The launch of a learning platform is closely tied to the context of modern work-life. Organizations often recognize the challenge of implementing a learning platform: people are busy with their work, and making results and achieving goals are prioritized over learning. In daily life, many things compete for attention, and information overload is common. We spend a lot of time in front of screens at work and often continue using screens in our free time. The global average screen time is 6 hours and 58 minutes per day. Our ability to concentrate has significantly decreased, and this strongly affects learning as well.

If the goal of the learning platform is to enhance self-directed learning and build a culture of continuous learning, it is important to consider the above factors. These aspects are deeply connected to the logic of human behavior in learning platforms, like how they are in streaming services.

In digital environments, we form intuitive impressions and make quick subconscious decisions about what we choose to engage with and spend our time on. It’s no wonder that, for example, in Acorn’s study, lack of interest was identified as the greatest barrier to effective learning.

Learning Platform Pitfalls related to Modern Work-life

Pitfall #1: Insufficient Content. We are accustomed to extensive and suitable content in all streaming services. We subconsciously set significant demands on the available offerings, which guide our behavior.

Pitfall #2: Not Enough New Content. Previous extensive offerings have been brought to the new platform without sufficient addition of new content. The lack of novelty value leads to the perception of the same content in a different package.

Pitfall #3: Content Does Not Meet the Needs of the Target Audience. Have the needs of the employees been sufficiently researched? Is the content offering tied to the strategy as well as tactical needs and general challenges? Is the increasing need for soft skills addressed?

Pitfall #4: Content Is Too Long. Content should match our attention span. A good strategy here is micro-learning, whether it involves the organization’s own content or external content providers. The shorter and more concise the content is, the more likely it is to be engaged with or scheduled.

Pitfall #5: Previous Learning Content Is Not Updated to a Modern Format. Often, a new learning environment is launched with old content by directly uploading PDFs and PowerPoints to the platform. Video production with modern tools is quick, affordable, and effortless. Some learning environments, like Studytube, solve this issue with an AI tool.

Pitfall #6: Too Much Content. Learning platform provider Acorn identified excessive course offerings and the resulting information overload as the second biggest barrier to effective learning in their research. The third biggest barrier was employees’ poor understanding of which courses they should take.

Suprises of Launching a Learning Platform

The procurement has been made and the launch of the learning platform is underway. “Can’t this be done?” “I understood that this function would work differently.” “I forgot to ask about this.” “This takes longer than I expected.” A good rule of thumb is that the procurement process cannot take everything into account, and surprises always occur!

The complexity of learning platform, the influence of multiple stakeholders on the procurement process, buyers’ lack of knowledge and possibly inadequate purchasing skills, and the pervasive need to simplify throughout the process all obscure the selection. Purchasing always involves simplification, as not everything can be considered, and not all situations can be tested.

Pitfalls related to the Platform Provider

Pitfall #7: Poor User Experience. If the learning platform turns out to be difficult to use, unintuitive, or otherwise unclear, the majority of users will not adopt it in this world of high-quality UX we live in. 

Pitfall #8: Inadequate Training. Insufficient or poor-quality user training can lead to key users and trainers not fully utilizing its features. This can be reflected in the user experience, for example, in the form of monotonous content. 

Pitfall #9: Limited Support and Maintenance. Deficiencies in these areas can lead to technical problems, integration failures, and a decline in user experience. We live in a world where everything evolves, and a lot is expected from the tools we use. 

Organizational Impact on the Launch

The organization itself significantly influences the success of the learning platform launch through its culture, characteristics, and practices. What kind of organization is it? What is the learning culture? Is the leadership involved? What resources are allocated for the use and maintenance of the learning platform? How is the work done? How many mandatory trainings are there in the industry?

Learning Platform Pitfalls related to the Organization

Pitfall #10: Mismatch Between Organizational Culture and E-learning. If e-learning does not fit the organization’s culture or work practices, it significantly hinders the widespread adoption of the learning platform.

Pitfall #11: Learning Culture. Organizations should consider their learning culture in relation to the company’s strategy. It is good to ask what role learning has in the organization: is it a necessary evil or a central requirement for doing and succeeding? Through this reflection, organizations will end up creating demand for learning by positioning it in a new way in the organization’s strategy. Demand for learning can be created, for example, through effective content marketing and providing suitable spaces and time for learning.

Pitfall #12: Resourcing the Learning Team. Does the team have the budget and personnel to maintain the learning platform, produce content, and communicate effectively? The degree of automation of learning platforms varies from one service provider to another, but in any case, there is enough work. For example, are tasks like maintaining the learning offering, such as removing redundant content, being done? Are the courses updated often enough?

Pitfall #13: Supervisors Not Committed to the Launch. Supervisors play a significant role in recommending courses within the team, both collectively and individually. When supervisors set an example by actively using the learning platform, the usage rate is likely to increase among team members as well.

Pitfall #14: Industry-Specific Mandatory Training. Legislation significantly affects the mandatory training of many industries. Mandatory trainings increase usage rates, but their large number can be a significant limiter for self-directed, on-demand learning. This can be addressed, among other things, with micro-learning.

Launching a Learning Platform and Communication

Now we come to the most challenging part of launching a learning platform: communication. In today’s information overload, communication is difficult. We receive dozens if not hundreds of emails a day, messengers beep, phones ring, chatter abounds, screens flicker, and we process more text than ever before. How to capture attention as attention spans shorten almost year by year? How many times does the message need to be sent?

Pitfalls of Learning Platform Launch Communication

Pitfall #15: Amount of Communication. In marketing, it is often mentioned that seven communication events are needed for the desired reaction to occur. In internal workplace communication, this is 3-5 times per message, depending on the source. Is this amount achieved?

Pitfall #16: Lack of Multichannel Communication. In addition to repetition, the message should be delivered through multiple channels: using supervisors, the CEO, intranet, email, internal messengers, and internal influencers. When the message gets through, the likelihood of action increases. At best, the word of mouth is effectively activated.

Pitfall #17: Quality of Communication. Are the messages developed based on the audience’s needs? In large organizations, is the diversity of needs of different target groups utilized, and is communication tailored directly to them? Is communication done using models like the AIDA model?

Pitfall #18: Short-Term Communication. Is the launch communication seen as a 1–3-month project or a 6–12-month communication project with several campaigns? Is pre-communication utilized to introduce both the new learning platform and new interesting trainings?

Launching a learning platform

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