How to Successfully Implement Learning Pool Platform: Advice from a Project Manager
We all know finding the right learning platform is the hard part, right?! You have decided on your criteria, you’ve researched all available platforms and finally found the right platform to meet your needs… but how do you actually go about implementing it successfully?
Every day at Learning Pool (formerly HT2 Labs), we work with our clients to support them in implementing successful social learning solutions that meet their business needs, whether that be for an internal training course to up-skill employees, a free OLX as a marketing tool, or to help them sell their courses online.
So, regardless of your situation, as a Project Manager, there are a few key areas I would suggest you con-sider for effective roll-out of your first Learning Pool Platform project.
6 Key Considerations For Successful Implementation of Learning Pool Platform
1. Beware of “scope creep”
This is a biggie to start off with as properly defining your project before you start – and making sure you stick to it – is the most important thing to get right if the rest of the project is to be a success.
Try to plot out your ideal time-frame and prioritise tasks in advance. This may seem like an obvious one – at least it is to a Project Manager! – however often discussions over minutiae can distract from the task at hand. Are there key dates for the delivery of a course or for stakeholders to be able to review a prospective course?
Time-frames can and often do change, but if they do, try and continue to review next steps for the entirety of your Learning Pool Platform implementation project, and keep it realistic. This will ensure that you can meet your time-frame for delivery, whilst managing expectations.
2. Detail your learning and business objectives
It is likely that as a result of using Learning Pool Platform for your courses, you are going to need to report or at least evaluate the effectiveness to meet your objectives. Big Data and Learning Analytics may not be something that you’re already utilising – but it definitely should be!
Learning Pool Platform has been designed to be able to send xAPI activity statements straight out of the box, and integrates seamlessly with Learning Locker, our Open Source Learning Record Store (LRS). Learning Pool Platform does have in-built reporting capabilities (such as number of enrolments and at what point in the course your learners currently are), but further insight can be obtained by capturing xAPI data too. This allows you to understand much more about how your learners are engaging with your content, and the effectiveness of your course (e.g. the number of active learners, which content is the most engaging and where the drop off points are).
This level of understanding will be invaluable when reporting or evaluating the success of your project. If you’re wondering what the deal is with Learning Analytics and how you can get started, have a read of this post on questioning your data.
3. Get the right people around the table
While planning, it’s also useful to ensure you have all the relevant people involved to see the project through to fruition: Whose sign off do you need? Does everyone know about Learning Pool Platform and how they will be using it?
Most of the time, it’s best to get buy-in from the outset before you get too far in and need to backpedal. You could give selected key influential people access to Learning Pool Platform, so that they can get to know the platform. Through playing with your sandbox to get an idea of the different areas you are going to need information for you can then ensure you involve the right people to make these decisions.
We have a great document on working with SMEs in our Help Centre which can help you work through the main areas for review.
4. Define your roles & permissions
Once you know your key stakeholders and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), you need to work out your organisational hierarchy within your courses on Learning Pool Platform. This isn’t a direct replication of your organisation’s structure, rather what level of admin control you need different people to have.
Consider who will play what role in Learning Pool Platform – we have a comprehensive hierarchy system which allows for many different roles, as needed, whether that be the almighty power of Organisation level admin keeping your Learning Pool Platform instance in check and consistent, to the much-depended on Course roles to keep your courses working effectively for learners.
Facilitation is a key part of any social learning – to ensure you are meeting the needs of your learners and maintaining engagement throughout the duration of your course. Also consider what support your users will need: conducting a Needs Analysis to gain insight into this would probably be a good place to start and this can also be used to ascertain what content to include.
Although you will have some aims for the course and idea of what support learners will need, the users may have alternative views that would also be beneficial to consider when building and facilitating your course.
Further details on roles and permissions can be found in the Learning Pool Platform.
5. Source your content in advance
If there are deadlines looming, one way to take the pressure off is to have a clear action plan for sourcing, curating and/or producing your content, or even better, make sure it’s all sorted in advance!
There are some key things to bear in mind around content and our Learning- & Solutions Architects have some top tips to prevent extra time being spent unnecessarily. For example, consider how users are likely to access the content (will it be by mobile or tablet?) and ensure you use compatible content by testing it out first on a similar device.
Head to the Help Centre or check out these posts, for some suggestions of where to source free content and how to deal with copyright and fair usage policies.
6. Be on-brand
Despite course content obviously being vital to course creation, user experience (UX) is also important and you can adapt Learning Pool’s Platform colours and images to match your existing corporate identity.
Handily, we have already created useful icons that you can use for your objects to indicate the format type (e.g. whether it is a video, article or infographic). If it is necessary, you may want to consider enabling a Single Sign-On (SSO) system to integrate with your existing network and make Learning Pool Platform feel even more part of your company’s existing platforms, as well as avoiding more passwords to remember!
Check out this post in the Help Centre for further details around integration.
Get Your Ducks In A Row
So really, it’s all about the forward planning. (Did I say I was a Project Manager?) Working through the above areas should aid you towards a successful implementation. It’s also worth a mention that, whatever your reasons for choosing Learning Pool Platfrom: remember them! Keep in the forefront of your mind the benefits of Learning Pool Platform that you are looking to exploit. If you play to the platform’s strengths, this will get you halfway to a successful and engaging course. Just add interesting content and discussion!
Although there may be lots of stakeholders, pressures and priorities in the mix, and it can be easy to be pulled in different directions; if you record your agreed aims and timeframes before you begin, it should be a lot easier to keep everyone on track. By ensuring that you’ve got your permissions, content and branding sorted, you’re setting your course up to be a social learning success!
Need further advice? The Learning Pool Platform page on our website provides a wealth of useful information from both our own team of developers, and other Learning Pool Platform users from across the globe.
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