Doing more, with less

To be successful in overcoming the challenge of increased demand, L&D need to do more with less. They need to become more efficient. This means embracing new ways of working.

By adopting collaborative approaches and researched-backed learning content models, learning teams can increase capacity and deliver more, without impacting quality.

Laptop user

Collaborating with internal experts to scale up digital learning production

Internal experts have always been essential to the success of an organization’s learning and development. They know the subject matter inside out. They have the experience that needs to be shared. They understand what’s really relevant to learners. But they can be much more than just a gateway to content and audience.

Just under half of the L&D functions we surveyed are looking to collaborative content creation to tackle the learning backlog. At the heart of this is empowering employees to become capability owners and learning content creators.

Lila Warren headshot

“The demand for rapidly creating training solutions on specialist subjects has increased. As a result, we need to work a lot more with SMEs. The positive side of this is that there is a development opportunity for my team to enforce a culture of collaboration with other departments and increase a shared sense of accountability towards supporting employees’ learning needs.”

Lila Warren, Global Head of Retail Academy, Pret a Manger

A new model to prioritize and segment content (RedThread)

Whether it’s having more impact or managing their backlog, many of the L&D professionals we surveyed mentioned effective prioritization as key to their success.

A recent RedThread Research study examined how L&D leaders approached their learning content. They identified 2 different dimensions that were consistently used to segment and manage content. From these findings, they developed a model to identify focus areas and clarify roles around learning content.

Heather Gilmartin Adams headshot

“It’s absolutely imperative that L&D functions help prepare their organizations to weather whatever changes do come their way. L&D functions will need to prioritize, and they’ll need to figure out how to be more targeted, efficient, and effective in their efforts to ensure their workforces are continually skilled in a volatile environment.”

Hear more from Heather on the Learning at Large Podcast.

Heather Gilmartin Adams, Senior Analyst, RedThread Research

A new model to prioritize and segment content (RedThread)

The model allows you to meaningfully differentiate your learning content based on two factors: specificity and durability. Plotting learning against those 2 dimensions revealed a model of 4 different kinds of learning content:

  1. Specific and durable: Unique to the organization and with a long shelf life.
  2. Specific and perishable: Unique to the organization but changes often.
  3. Generic and perishable: Applies to many organizations and changes often.
  4. Generic and durable: Applies to many organizations and has a long shelf life.

Hear Heather Gilmartin Adams discuss the learning content model

A model for learning content

*Crown jewels refer to intellectual property that’s critical to success/competitive advantage as a company

*This model was created by RedThread Research.

Teams leading the way - success stories

Faced with old and new challenges, some of the world’s leading organizations are embracing these new models and methods to get things done. Despite working in different industries, these forward-thinking L&D functions used some common best practices and processes to open up learning content creation and prioritize L&D’s time and resources effectively.

Here are 3 L&D case studies to get you inspired!

Aviva’s hub and spoke model

British multinational insurance company Aviva has proved that L&D’s challenges aren’t insurmountable if you adapt your approach. They’ve created a hub and spoke model with L&D at the center empowering Aviva’s 22,000 employees to share their expertise.

They unlocked the potential of internal experts with a ‘license to create’. By completing learning and demonstrating confidence, people get access to asset libraries, templates and rapid authoring that takes away the complexity and speeds up production.

By creating more collaborative opportunities between authors, they’ve exponentially increased their output: both in quality and scale.

“For a long period of time, L&D has been the owners, custodians and creators…But, what we’ve done at Aviva, is a clear recognition that the experts are in the business…[And] my job is understanding the learning technology that can be used to transfer that knowledge.”

David Hepworth, Learning Technology & Design Lead at Aviva

The results

  • 300+ content creators globally

  • A successfully embedded democratized learning model

  • Find out more

    Discover how this hub and spoke model was rolled out in our discussion with David from Aviva.

Hear David Hepworth discuss his experiences

nCino’s pilot of Guided Authoring from Elucidat

A global leader in cloud banking, nCino has over 1200 employees across the world. Like many businesses, the more elearning that nCino produces, the more the company wants it. To meet demand, nCino explored new ways to open up elearning production.

They joined a pilot of Elucidat’s Guided Authoring workflow that gives L&D teams the reassurance that employee-generated content will be of a high standard.

With strategic consideration and upfront effort, Guided Authoring enabled novice authors to produce effective learning experiences with minimal support from the L&D team.

“As an instructional designer, that’s one of the really big benefits of Guided Authoring. I don’t have to handhold and be there for every step of the process. It allowed me to focus on some of the bigger projects and some of that design and consultation work that takes a lot of time.”

Olivia Cunningham, Instructional Designer, nCino

The results

  • 3 novice authors delivered effective learning modules from templates.

  • 10 modules produced in two days alongside their other work.

  • The pilot expanded to include more authors.

  • Find out more

    Explore the full story in nCino’s customer spotlight

Hear Olivia discuss her experiences

Domestic and General collaborative workflow

The UK’s leading appliance care provider, Domestic & General’s relatively small L&D team, supports around 3000 employees. With an increasing demand for digital learning, they needed a new collaborative approach to deliver the business’ learning needs.

A new workflow enabled them to move from a production line that produces content to a center of excellence that empowers in-house experts to create effective digital learning.

They did this by consulting early to set direction and supporting their experts throughout the project to maintain quality and consistency.

“Our idea was to build a community of people from all parts of the business who were able to create or co-create solutions with us. And this effectively removes L&D from being the blocker.”

Jonathan Holmes, Digital Learning and Strategy Manager, Domestic & General

The results

  • 33% more projects produced per year

  • Move from 6 months to 6 weeks average build time.

  • 2 hours quickest project build time.

  • Growing from 2 to 12 authors over the year.

Hear Jonathan discuss his experiences

Cheryl Clemons headshot

“Employee-generated learning and content approaches finally became ‘a thing’ in 2022. It’s time to double-down on these and develop co-creation workflows to help deliver impactful organisation-specific learning.”

Cheryl Clemons, CEO, LearnerLab

5 key takeaways from L&D success stories

We’ve drawn on the experience of L&D teams who have started out small with pilot groups before rolling out collaborative content creation more widely across their organization. Their learning and top tips have been boiled down to five key steps.

  • 1. Use templates

    Don’t give people a blank canvas to get started with. Using templates designed by learning professionals in your team, with specific purposes in mind, are a no-brainer. Make sure they’re on brand, ready-styled, and have a sensible flow to them.

  • 2. Don’t ‘just’ give a template – impart guidance

    A template, even with on-brand styling and a structure, is still an empty shell. Go further and include advice and guidance in your template, so novices use your templates correctly.

  • 3. Make asking for help as easy as possible

    In their normal day job, an in-house expert will turn to a colleague for advice or input when needed. Encourage this in their elearning creation too and help them get their project done more efficiently.

  • 4. Set standards, and always review

    The key to ensuring people can create impactful elearning is to set and hold up standards. From onboarding and training to regular check-ins and final review points, L&D should support and have full oversight.

  • 5. Create and build a community

    Once you’ve started using a collaborative approach to content creation, you can sustainably grow engagement with L&D throughout your organization. Create a virtuous circle with people’s digital learning project successes feeding back into your organization.

Want more tips and best practices to increase scale without impacting quality?

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