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Three Challenges of Building a Learning and Development Program and How to Overcome Them

Training and developing employee skill sets is one of the top items on the minds of leaders and executives. The number of companies looking to build learning and development (L&D) programs for their employees is growing, and will continue to grow, to keep up with the emerging need to provide a more learner-centric environment in the workplace.

The L&D landscape is not simple or straightforward. With archaic systems, ever-changing technologies, and constantly adapting audiences, it’s vital to understand the learning and development challenges that can make building a program difficult. By identifying these challenges, you can learn to recognize pitfalls and plan accordingly.

Demonstrating Value to Leadership
Demonstrating value is one of the biggest challenges an instructional designer, content manager, or developer can face. If you are lucky, you will have a champion on the executive team who already understands the value of organizational learning and how it impacts the bottom line. In most instances, you will need to work with the executives and build those relationships. Here are some ways to help build value for the work you do:

Show the value. Demonstrate to your potential advocates why L&D is going to make their lives easier.
Understand pain points. Constant communication and understanding of their main pain points is important when it comes to learning and development. To be successful you must be crushing their pain points.

Adapting Content for a Varying Audience

Creating a 300-page manual for a product that employees would get on their first day and calling it training used to be enough. This, coupled with on-the-job training on day two, and the employee had completed the onboarding process.

Times have changed, and our employees and clients expect more from us. Here are some tips to develop content that speaks to all your learning styles:

Microlearning. The days of sitting and consuming hours of videos at once are gone. Learners expect content to be digestible, easily consumed within five to 10 minutes at a time. Designing your program to be modular will allow your learners to have more control over what they learn and when.
Easy access to content. Your employees should be able to access content from their phone, tablet, or desk.

Measuring Return on Investment (ROI) and Effectiveness
Showing ROI within a learning and development program can be very difficult, as it’s not always black and white. There is not a single cause that equals one expected effect. You cannot always pinpoint a specific training that directly leads to a landed deal. However, there are ways to build this ROI.
Here are a few tips on how to measure the effectiveness of training:

Start with a project. To show you can provide value and are worth the investment, start with a small, targeted program. The less money and time you need to put in, the larger the ROI will be. Positively affecting one group with this program and then being able to show the ROI will allow you to grow and expand.
Start with a group that has measurable metrics. Pick a group to build training for that you can show true black and white metrics. Sales and support are great groups to start with, as they often have a clear need for training, and already have built in metrics where you can provide training. It is much easier to show how implementation of a pipeline development training program grew pipeline development by X% over the same time last quarter.

Building an organizational learning program for employees may seem daunting but as long as you keep in mind your true objective and are thoughtful about the work you are doing, you will be successful. Learning and development is a vital component of a company’s success. Don’t let training challenges block you from moving forward and providing the value you bring to the table, consider using a solution such as MadCap Flare to make this process easier for you.

About the Author

Andrea Maliska is an award-winning learning and development leader with more than 15 years of experience across multiple industries. She currently owns her own e-learning consulting company, Rebel Learn.

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