Learning together

The most common challenges in acquiring an e-learning platform – And how to overcome them

Johanna Pellinen 28.11.2017

Adopting an e-learning platform is more than just a software purchase – renewing the work and developing the culture of learning. This sometimes causes the process to feel overwhelming. Here are the most common challenges and ways to overcome them.

Identifying the opportunities – approach with an open mind

The world is changing rapidly, requiring us to adopt new ways of working. We have perhaps not yet formed our vision of what digital learning means to us and how we could benefit from it. The purchase decisions of different solutions might be based on the fact that other players in the industry are using the same solution.

The winners of digitalization are the organizations that can improve their efficiency and customer satisfaction as well as generate new business opportunities. The key here is to focus on setting the goals and to search the most efficient way for achieving them. Asking examples of concrete implementations from different service providers will help to see new options.

A decision making process is easily biased – engage the right people

The digital transformation is dominated by a small number of digitally talented people whose way of working will not be adopted by regular users. Simultaneously there appear expectations about everyone in the organizations using the same solutions. The acquired solution might end up being too complex to use for the regular users causing a low adoption rate and weak cost benefit ratio.

The decision making on digital tools is easily left for the people with lots of expertise in digital systems. In real life the best solutions are formed in dialogue with different types of users. Engaging the end users in the decision making process with hands-on experiences / real life testing often provides valuable learning opportunities. Engaging the users will also contribute to the attitudes of the users and make it easier to develop new ways to operate.

The working environment will set limits – acknowledge them

What are the devices we use? Do we need mobile use? Can we download and set up software and apps or is it better to go with cloud? Can Single Sign-On from our intranet be implemented? What about cyber security?

The existing digital infrastructure often sets some limits for new acquisitions. It is useful to collect a simple list of the technical requirements and try to picture the current environment with the restrictions it might have. Also, it might be useful to ask the service provider to describe what type of challenges customers with similar profile usually face and what are the most important things to take into account.

Comparing the costs might turn to be difficult – try to take all the expenses into account

The pricing models of different solutions vary greatly and in effect it quickly turns out that making the cost comparisons can be difficult. Licenses that first seem affordable, may cause surprising additional costs from here and there, and they are difficult to take into account when making the decision of acquisition. The training needed to adopt the solution might not be sufficient to meet the needs.

It is important to clarify from the service provider what the price includes and if there are additional expenses to be expected. In addition to the product licenses, the training for adoption of the solution and integrations often cause costs. Transparent pricing models make it easier to budget the acquisition and generates trust.

Bypassing the culture of the organization – design a realistic road map

Couple of digitally talented minds are doing their own stuff, but in the big picture there is no wide-spread way to apply digital solutions. There have been made some acquisitions of digital tools, but no road map for their adoption exists. It might even be that only few people know or remember that there are such tools.

It is often the case that when acquiring new solutions the beginning of the use will play a huge role in the adoption. Sometimes it is better to organize the adoption in phases so that the experiences of pilot users can be utilized in further steps. Learning together and sharing information will produce better results and motivate. The opportunities to share experiences and learnings will support the development.

The most common challenges are to be overcome with simple things – with open dialogue and open-minded experimenting. It is important to select a service provider with whom the collaboration and communication works out and who can provide concrete help also to design the adoption and ways to apply the solution. In any transformation, there is more in the game than just software.