The approach to training that we took in the past worked well. It was possible to take our time to produce training programmes that met the long term goals of the business; however, today’s pace of business means that it is no longer feasible.
The Need for Speed
This increased pace of change means that products are produced faster. In 2008 the design to production time for a new model car was about 60 months. By 2013, that had dropped to 24-26 months. Similarly, it took decades for the telephone to reach 50% of US households, but just 5 years to achieve the same penetration with mobile phones.
This new, faster world, has a direct impact on the work of L&D practitioners. This need for speed is one characteristic of modern learning. Often the organisation needs ‘good enough’ learning content to meet an urgent need, rather than an award winning course.
These choices are part of the disruption of the old world of training, and its replacement with a new wider role for L&D. In this new role, L&D’s work is less predictable and the function has to make more and more complex decisions. The greatest of these is where and how to source materials for learning and performance support. The options for these decisions has changed a lot over recent times.
The Seven Key Questions, Buy or Build
The initial approach to deciding whether to buy or build learning materials was largely on initial cost. Today, however, the decision is more complex. On the one hand, the web provides access to a wide range of good value materials. On the other hand, producing “good for purpose” training materials is becoming increasingly popular given access to lower cost. DIY training platforms (www.modlettes.com) . When deciding to build or buy, use these questions as a guide:
1. Is the issue best solved with learning?
If not, tackle the actual root causes of the issue.
2. Is the content part of a high-profile, long-term programme?
Commission the content externally.
3. Is this a low-risk issue where production values are unimportant?
Provide access to it from the internet.
4. Is this issue best tackled with quality content aligned to job roles?
Use curated content sets.
5. Can the issue be tackled with self-service, good enough’, just-in-time, content?
Either imported or DIY on a good platform.
6. Is the issue in a grey zone : a mixture of company-specific and generic information?
Establish the component parts, and the total cost of ownership of each, then create company specific content internally, and buy in the rest.
7. Does the issue only involve content unique to the business?
Create the content internally.
A client company manufactures farm machinery and add-ons to existing machines. As soon as they have a new product ready to go to market, they create a Modlette using still photos and sometimes a video. They create a Modlette using a team of three in a morning and the Modlette covering the advantages and benefits of the new model is sent out to their sales force and distributors that afternoon. The Modlette contains a ten-question quiz comprising questions a prospect might ask. Sales people are required to complete the quiz and their results relayed back to their supervisor as proof that they are competent to answer questions related to the product. In the past, a brochure would have been printed, or an email sent to reps with no proof that it was ever read. (According to Accenture: CSO Insights Survey, connecting the Dots on Sales Performance 90% of sales content is not used by sales people).
Technology has made creating content internally a much more viable and cost friendly option and is being used increasingly by fast moving businesses. For a free trial go to www.modlettes.com to see how this can be done.