Sep 102012

Learning Technology: Building Internal Advisory Councils

Learning Technology: By Stacy Lindenberg, September 10, 2012

Learning Technology: “Anticipating obstacles, identifying key stakeholders, and setting expectations for internal council involvement will help you achieve buy-in and support for your learning technology efforts. Thorough and thoughtful planning, as well as a partnership approach with your vendors, will increase the likelihood of your success.”

Learning Technology: A colleague and I facilitated a session at The eLearning Guild’s 2011 DevLearn conference on selecting and implementing a learning management system. We were enthusiastic about the subject, having recently done this in our organization. However, as we shared our experience and the resources we had used for system selection, we saw a distinctly different pattern emerge from the participants during discussion.

When we asked the group about their experiences, there was a collective groan as they lamented about the various learning technology solutions in their organizations and how many of these solutions had gone awry.

One individual who worked for a global corporation shared that within their company there were multiple systems, and the systems didn’t mesh well. User adoption was limited in any of the systems, and their team couldn’t fully support what was put in place.

Another colleague shared that their company’s CEO and executive team had decided on a system that they liked, with little involvement from the learning and development team. The result was frustration from the users and system functionality that couldn’t keep up with the growing pace of the organization. Although it was critical for the CEO to buy in to any solution, he eventually made the LMS purchase selection without engaging the learning and development arm of the organization. The result was an expensive solution that was a poor fit for the organization.

Unfortunately, we heard similar stories throughout the conference. The frustrations felt by both the vendors representing learning technology solutions and the learning professionals responsible for managing these systems were often the same: lack of internal alignment and preparation often leads to failed selections and implementations.

Taking a proactive approach within our companies to identify stakeholders at all levels and involve them early and often in the process through an internal advisory committee can make selecting and implementing learning technology solutions successful.

learning technology

The importance of involving managers in learning technology initiatives

Involving managers early in the process is critical to gaining support for your technology solutions. In most cases, you are more likely to gain buy-in by sharing how the technology will address a problem that impacts the managers.

As explained in the eLearning Guild report Getting Started in e-Learning: Building the Business Case for e-Learning, “Different situations and companies will warrant different approaches. In general, problems and opportunities are phrased as statements, and a gap analysis is presented as a conclusion from research.”

In other words, the decision-makers must understand why they would consider investing in a solution.


Problem statement:

Our on-boarding process for new hires takes 90 days, and there is an additional average of 60 more days before they are rated as able to perform their tasks effectively.

Opportunity statement:

By using the new system to support and automate processes for on boarding, the average time for these tasks will decrease to 45 days, and estimated time to proficiency will be 30 days. Our time overall will decrease 50 percent, and lead to accelerated ramp up and the potential for increased sales.

Sample gap analysis:

The cumbersome on-boarding process currently frustrates new hires, and overall job satisfaction ratings within 30 days decrease by 20 percent, with another 15 percent in the next 30 days. Improving the process will lead to increased engagement and grow our talent pool.

Even if your learning and development team is abreast of the latest trends in learning technology and they know the reputation of different so…

learning technology


To Discuss how these Solutions will add value for you, your organization and/or your clients, Affinity/Resale Opportunities, and/or Collaborative Efforts, Please Contact:

Tom McDonald,; 608-788-5144; Skype: tsmw5752

learning technology, McDonald Sales and Marketing, LLC