The Launch Playbook - How to Launch a New Learning Initiative

Adam Lacey Feb 21, 2018

When you are launching a new learning initiative at your organisation there are loads of things to consider. Like any big project, knowing where to start is half the problem.

We recently put together a launch playbook to help our clients successfully launch our learning recommendation engine - globalfilter. The process is working well. It could work for nearly any learning initiative, so I wanted to share our ideas, enjoy!

 

The Launch Playbook:

  1. Define success metrics
  2. Understand the value proposition
  3. Alpha Stage
  4. Launch your program
  5. Continual learning
  6. Launch, learn, iterate

Define Success Metrics

The power of setting goals shouldn’t be underestimated. Be really clear from the outset what you are trying to achieve and make sure you have a measurement system in place to record and monitor progress.

Example goals might be:

  • Improving employee engagement with learning materials
  • Enabling self-ownership of development
  • Increasing digital literacy

Every business needs to scrutinise and justify its spending and L&D is often first in line when costs need to be cut. With properly defined success metrics you can ensure that doesn’t happen to your initiatives.

Define the Value Proposition

Being an L&D specialist isn’t enough anymore. You need to have a grasp of marketing too.

When marketers are designing a campaign to sell a product or service, the first thing they think about is the value proposition. Or in other words, how is this going to solve a problem/be desirable to my target audience.

You need to answer exactly the same question when launching a new learning initiative. Whether you’ve built something yourself or bought something in, you need to be able to clearly articulate to your end users what the value of using this new system is for them.

Sell it to them.

Maybe you can mandate that everyone uses it, but that’s cumbersome to support and you may end up with a group who have ticked a box, but not actually engaged with the learning.

In most places, you’re competing with the 101 other things they have going on, so make it clear why this is a huge benefit to them. Until you have that clearly defined - don’t even think about launching!

Alpha Stage

globalfilter is a SAAS solution. Each time we launch with a client we like to test it out on a few users first (as part of the production schedule), we call that our alpha stage.

In the Customer Success team, we jump on this to help us get feedback about how the product is received and in particular what the alpha testers found useful/not so useful.

This helps us refine and improve the value proposition, gives us some case studies we can quote internally and starts to build a grassroots, groundswell of support for the product ahead of launch.

Full Launch

You have your metrics defined, your value proposition is clear, and you have already got feedback from an enthusiastic group of alpha testers, it’s time to launch…

How you do this will be unique to your company and options. There are two things we think are very important:

  1. Identify internal champions
  2. Utilise existing communication channels

Internal Champions

Every organisation has pockets of early adopters, the kind of people that love new things and exert influence over certain groups. Get these people on your new initiative, provide them with training and assistance on how they can spread the word. We’re hosting onboarding webinars with these champions and providing them with the resources to influence their organisations learning habits… for the better.

Existing Communication Channels

Don’t reinvent the wheel. Take your new initiative to where your staff are.

If your company is slack mad, then get a slack channel set up. If they all eat lunch in the same place, establish a physical presence there, you get the idea. Make learning possible on the platforms and places that your staff already live in.

Drive Ongoing Engagement

It’s important your new initiative isn’t just a flash in the pan. If you’re implementing the right solution then the product itself should go a long way to doing this but you always have to think about the end-user We all know that learning something new often goes to the bottom of a long to-do list, let’s change that.

We are setting up automated email notifications for globalfilter users based on prior engagement with the platform, with the aim of pulling people back into the platform to accelerate their learning. For example, if someone doesn’t log in for a couple of weeks, we can send a gentle nudge.

A few other things we’ve seen work well:

  • Create and publish leaderboards on progress
  • Give out prizes or incentives
  • Work with managers to link engagement to annual reviews

Launch, Learn, Iterate

My final point here is that the launch is only the beginning. You need to take an agile approach to embedding any learning initiative across your company.

That means:

  • Constantly monitor
  • Collect feedback
  • Use that to improve

I hope you found this useful, if you did or if you have ideas to improve this process please drop me a message in the comment section and share this with your peers. See what they think.

Adam Lacey

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Find other articles like this

This post is part of a series that my colleagues and I at Filtered are working on. It’s broadly about how recommendations help us to make sense of all the content clutter, especially in learning. Have a look at our other posts here.

New L&D community

We’ve recently launched a free new community for L&D professionals on Slack. Every Tuesday we’ll be holding live discussions at 4 PM GMT on topics including virtual classrooms, content curation, artificial intelligence and more.

Personalized learning recommendations

Last year we launched a new tool to provide personalized learning experiences for L&D and HR professionals called globalfilter for L&D. It's an online recommendation engine with over 200 high-quality learning assets to read, watch, practice and apply for our industry. Click on the link above to try it out, or trial our version with 500+ assets for all professions here.

About Adam Lacey
Adam Lacey (Head of Sales) graduated from Nottingham University in 2009 with a First Class degree in European Politics. He started his career at London car club Streetcar (now Zipcar) on their graduate scheme where he led on the sales effort into property developments and later moved into B2B partnerships. In 2012 Adam moved to Filtered in the company’s first formal sales role.
Read more by Adam Lacey

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