Launching Your e-Learning Program: Six Secrets for Success with Skillsoft


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You've become a Skillsoft client and want to introduce an impressive and effective e-learning program to your staff, but you are at a loss as to where to start. This presentation provides a snapshot of factors to consider before launching your program, challenges you to align your vision with Skillsoft's Learning Growth Model, and provides six simple secrets for engaging your employees with your new e-learning program.

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  • I’m Jay Turner, the director of continuing education and training for Georgia Public Library Service. I’ve been with GPLS for 2.5 years in this role, but have worked in learning and development in public libraries for 8 years, and have been working for libraries in general for about 14 years. I’m responsible for developing, implementing, and evaluating a comprehensive continuing education and training program for the 64 public library systems in Georgia. My job is to help librarians – and by that, I mean “anyone who works in a library” – be the best librarian they can be. I’m constantly engaged in discussions about what skills will librarians need going forward to thrive in the future, as well as what skills do they need right now to do their jobs. Armed with that information, I implement programs to meet those needs while also encouraging a culture of learning.GPLS is a unit of the University System of Georgia, and as an agency, we administer a multitude of programs, services, and grants to help libraries enrich the lives of people in their communities. GPLS is a not-for-profit institution, so we’re not here to make money. Our agency leverages economies of scale to provide valuable programs and services to individual library systems that they would not be able to afford working alone in a vacuum. In fact, over 80% of our funding is passed on to libraries through the services we provide. We’re a small shop – roughly 40 people – serving a large audience: 64 library systems, 410 facilities, and 2500+. The support and leadership we provide to libraries is especially important during this time of rapid change where libraries are evolving and reinventing themselves.Not-for-profit unit of the University System of Georgia40 employees 64 public library systems410 facilities2500+ FTE
  • By a show of hands, how many of you are familiar with the term permanent Whitewater?Back in the mid-90s, Peter Vaill wrote a book called “Learning as a Way of Being: Strategies for Survival in a World of Permanent Change”. He describes permanent whitewater as an environment that has:Many surprises. “Permanent white water conditions are full of surprises … the continual occurrence of problems that are not ‘supposed’ to happen.”Never-before-seen problems. “Complex systems tend to produce novel problems … [conditions] never even imagined” by those involved.Lack of shape or structure. “Permanent white water conditions feature events that are ‘messy’ and ill-structured,” and have ramifications far and wide.Expensive. “White water events are often extremely costly,” both in terms of dollars and effort to “cope with the problem and deal with the damage.”Unending. “Permanent white water conditions raise the problem of recurrence,” along with the realization that “no number of anticipatory mechanisms can forestall the next surprising novel wave in the permanent white water.”Libraries are battling permanent whitewater during this present time of rapid change. While there are many factors that are forcing libraries to evolve and reinvent, four of these business drivers are particularly salient to GA’s public libraries and GPLS. They are:Budget shortfalls as a result of years of flat or declining revenue due to state budget cuts and sequestrationBrain drain with so many library directors leaving their positions in GA over last two years, so need for leadership pipelineRapid changes in consumer technology makes it difficult for libraries to keep up with the tech ppl bring to libraries for assistance with, and also tech changes people consumption behaviors (e-readers)The talent pool varies, so we try to help libraries build staffs up to core levels of competenceDeveloping technology-ready staffs for Georgia’s public libraries Providing an array of continuing education opportunities and performance support tools to increase industry knowledge and job competence Increasing employee satisfaction through cost-efficient and convenient continuing education and collaboration opportunitiesProviding infrastructure that helps the state library and individual public libraries best administer and evaluate their learning and development programs through the use of SkillportHow have these impact L&D?Budget: Office of Planning and Budget (OPB) and LSTA want outcomes vs outputs in evaluation of servicesLess money in individual public libraries means staffs are relying more on offerings from state for CEProviding relevant content for library staff that encompasses a wide range of positions and skillsets (there isn’t much in terms of off the shelf training solutions for libraries)Brain drain:Budget: flat or stagnant budgets Brain drainTechnologyCompetence
  • Having implemented a learning management system and blended learning program for Gwinnett Co. Public Library, a large suburban system, in 2008 and administering that operation for 3 years, I had a mental roadmap of what to do and not to do when getting started and also an inherent sense of how to grow your program over time to reach more users and be more effective. However, this was just my working knowledge – it was never plotted out into an actual roadmap, even though I’ve shared my experience in this area with other public libraries and state libraries across the country. When Kristin introduced me to the LGM very early in conversations about implementing my program and defining goals for learning, I started drinking the Kool-aid a little bit, because many aspects of the LGM mirrored the things that I intuitively knew and already practiced. The LGM was immensely helpful in giving me something tangible to refer back to understand where GA’s libraries were with learning and plotting a course of action to get to where I wanted us to be. Coming off of our partnership with Webjunction, it was very obvious that we were rooted in as a Stage 1 operation. For 5 years (3 of which superceded my time and 2 of which I spent advocating for a new approach), we:Focused on initiating learning and getting e-learning and blended learning accepted as viable means for CE and trainingReducing expenses and expanding scale related learning. Before 2008 when GPLS became a WJ partner and introduced e-learning originally, over 80% of expenditures were on f2f learning but we were reaching less than 10% of our client base.Pushing, pushing, pushing e-learning using traditional marketing messages like emails to listservs and blurbs in our newsletter that went to all GA’s libraries. At the best of times, we had only about 20% of our learners using WJ.
  • What helped propel us to Stage 3 was promoting e-learning to drive learner adoption. We needed to not only make people aware of GLEAN, but to get people excited about what it had to offer them so that they would use. Our strategy:Level 1 (traditional awareness): remove communication bottlenecks by contacting library personnel directly. Did this by communicating across established GA library listservs, as well as making a custom one just for public library employees. Also made the emails more visual by using responsive email design via LibraryAware and HTML stuff I taught myself. Finally, featured articles about GLEAN in the GPLS newsletter.Level 2 (highlight success stories): in the monthly “featured GLEAN course” announcements we send out, I feature a success story in the message. I’m constantly receiving thank yous and successes by email, so there currently is no shortage of material to include. I also have each lib system’s GLEAN liaison to solicit for these. Those will be featured in upcoming blog posts.Level 3 (portal deep linking): GPLS changed it’s static CE page to a blog, so blog posts can refer to courses/sections of courses/and other SCC assets. We also lean on GLEAN liaisons to get their IT staffs to put a link to Skillport in their intranets under staff resources. I send targeted messages out via Twitter to gatekeepers I know who work with different types of libraries, and have them RT me. Targeted FB posts. GLEAN desktop icon to libraries. SSO coming next month.Level 4 (manager evangelism): enthusiasm and constant awareness drives managers/directors to evangelize product. For instance, CVRL is requiring that all staff members complete at least 2 courses as part of their annual review. Many libs are assigning a course/book to staff in advance of staff day, and then discussing how that content to relate to their job place during an f2f session at staff day. As we bring more libs onboard for LMS integration, Raylynn from DeKalb volunteered to (an early adopter) share her experiences with the n00bsThe best way to describe where GPLS and GA’s public libraries are now, overall, with regard to the state of learning is to map back to the LGM. Overall, I think we are transitioning to Level 3: Strategic while shoring up areas that are in Lvl 2. [insert marked up LGM model here and talk about it]Goal of Slide: Introduce the various outcomes by stage to empathize Skillsoft’s expertise and your role as a trusted advisor. The 5 Stages of the Learning Growth Model are use to direct the development of specific outcomes. As these outcomes are achieved – through the execution of a customized plan crafted with the Skillsoft team - your organization will obtain more and more value from your learning programs. Through our extensive experience, we’ve identified these outcomes as the most effective “levers” to create a strong return on learning.Skillsoft uses a simple assessment tool that asks your leadership in L&D to define where on this “map” the organization is today, then conducts a review of results and facilitates a planning session to define the desired future state. Once the current state and future states are clear – a tailored roadmap can be produced. This “business plan for elearning value” is the roadmap we and our clients use to guide decisions and actions throughout the life of our relationship. The Skillsoft team will bring to bear proven practices, tools, processes, and industry data to help execute the business plan for elearning that drives value.
  • “This is my rifle, this is my gun” – the Rifleman’s creed.After you licensed Skillsoft, you have tacitly agreed that this somehow brings value to your organization, because if it did not, you would not have spent money on it. In order to be successful, your Skillsoft program must have someone on staff who is ultimately responsible for the success or failure of the program and also takes charge of the regular care and nurturing of the system. This person, the Company Admin, needs to do the following as it relates to administering the Skillsoft program:-- Be conversant about what products your subscription has and how they can help in training and development-- understanding inside and out the role of the Company admin, and all other user permission levels in Skillport-- understands the available group structures in Skillport-- knows how troubleshoot basic problems that users might experience in accessing SCC complete, like Java and Flash issues, and knows where to refer people when you can’t help them-- Takes advantage of the wealth of resources in Client Community-- actively partners with your LC. If your LC offers help or advice, use it immediately and don’t dismiss.
  • We’ve determined that your program will get nowhere without the leadership of a strong Company Admin. The next thing to do is to establish a
  • Anchors (your primary online presences) and outputs (where your users are hanging out online)Traditional:NewsletterFeatured course emails (serves as push notifications)Social:Identify “outposts” and go their with your messageGLEAN updates on CE blog, and then shared via Linkedin, FB, and TwitterTargeted FB posting of Pinterest images (what does fox say meme)Gatekeepers on Twitter sending out messages about GLEAN
  • We’ve determined that your program will get nowhere without the leadership of a strong Company Admin. The next thing to do is to establish a
  • Put the learning content in familiar contexts by taking the LMS out of the equation. Use sharing feature of courses and books to link that content to blog posts or documents within your intranet. Take advantage of SSO if you can.
  • The wow features might be different between organizations, but you need to be thinking about which parts of yourSkillsoft solution that will likely amaze or surprise your users. To me, wow features are things that people could not do before we implemented Skillsoft, or things that were significantly improved upon implementation. Here are the ones I focused on:mobile learning with 7.3 but Books 24x7 if on 7.2; my plan for goal management; using External learning events to track ANY CE event; audio books in Books 24x7; DRM free videos and audio books
  • Create liaisons who will be your eyes/ears (and perhaps eventually) champions on the ground. Get them involved with promoting content and assigning stuff.Celebrate success stories:-- in marketing materials, include text of thank you notes-- to manager meetings and show your wares-- invite people with successes, particularly higher ups, to share their stories. Ie, tech bootcamp with Julia, or directors meetings where I ask beth how things going with her setup-- demonstrate value by using return on investment Value Impact Analysis from Skillsoft
  • At GPLS, I feel like sometimes we have tiger blood, especially when it comes to GLEAN. We’ve been more successful than I imagined we’d be right now:-- We have been live for a little less than 6 months, and we have over 40% of our FTE as active users-- 4 of 64 library systems are using a custom group in Skillport to administer their in-house training programs for a value add of $100K. More systems will follow suit in early 2014-- A couple of librarians from Australia want to do a study tour of e-learning in libraries, so we’re on our way to world class-- Lots of activity on inGenius with recommendations, though we’re still building toward sustained conversations-- Library directors actually care. They are constantly contacting me, or having their GLEAN liaison contact me about getting more out of the system permissions-wise, and also wanting to make sure we continue to support the program. Evangelism took route quickly, especially among some of the smaller libraries that do not have dedicated training personnel (I thought they would actually be the hardest sale).Benefits-- Users are informally reporting feeling better equipped to do their jobs-- Long-time staffers are contacting me and my higher ups praising the program, and feeling like this is an incentive in a world where most of us have not seen a raise in 5-7 years (job satisfaction)GPLS has reduced its average spend for employee e-learning by 73% .Georgia’s libraries have realized $252,900 in opportunity cost savings.Based on conservative industry estimates, GPLS has realized $360,000 total cost savings compared to external classroom alternatives.Before partnering with Skillsoft, Georgia had only one public library system with an LMS. Since partnering with Skillsoft, four public systems are leveraging custom groups in Skillport to serve as their in-house LMS. This SaaS LMS functionality brings an added value of $101,750 .GPLS has realized $777,020  in hard cost savings alone, while increasing employee satisfaction and productivity. Describing our program now:I believe we’ve come a very long in less than half of a year being live. Learning is mostly at the strategic level, and although have to shore up some weakness, especially with regard to evaluation, I think we are positioned to push onward through level 3 and into level 4. With the tools built into Skillport and help from my LC, I’m equipped to make a business case for not only continuing our program, but also to advocate for additional resources to make GLEAN the world class program that we envision. 
  • I know we covered a lot in 10 minutes, and I’m happy to answer any questions you might have. If there is something that we can’t cover during Q&A or if you’re struck with serendipity after leaving, you can always contact me at the info on the screen.
  • Launching Your e-Learning Program: Six Secrets for Success with Skillsoft

    1. 1. Launching Your e-Learning Program: Six Secrets for Success with Skillsoft Jay Turner Director, Continuing Education and Training Georgia Public Library Service
    2. 2. Budget cuts Brain drain Technology Competence Business Drivers
    3. 3. Looking through the rearview mirror… …we were a Stage 1 operation • Initiating learning • Reducing expense • Expanding scale • Push, push, push
    4. 4. Skillsoft Learning Growth Model® Outcomes by Stage Indicators Stage 1 Supplement Stage 2 Targeted Stage 3 Strategic Stage 4 Integrated Stage 5 Optimized Stage Goal Initiate Learning Manage Learning Align Learning Integrate Learning Enterprise-Wide Learning Business Case for elearning Reduce Expenses & Increase Scale Enhance Savings & Remove Redundancy Align to Business Goals & Increase Business Impact Increase Talent & Organizational Agility Broaden & Deepen Talent to Extended Enterprise Learning Culture Learning is Operationally Focused Executive Support & New Learning Strategies Emerge Governance & Talent Management Begins Recognized as a ‘Learning Organization’ Learning Becomes Globally Ubiquitous Learning’s Role Contractor Consultant Key Player Architect C-level Role Blended Design Very Little Blending, Mostly Formal Simple Blends Social & Mobile Begins Blending Scales to Balance Multiple Modalities Balanced Blends Become Routine Sophisticated Blends Across All Portfolios Elearning Promotion Traditional Awareness Marketing Highlights & Success Stories Portal Deep Linking Begins Active Manager- Level Evangelism Begins Strong Learning Brand Equity Attained Learner Adoption 20%+ Mostly ‘Push’ 30%+ ‘Pull’ Increases 50%+ ‘Pull’ = ‘Push’ 80%+ Increased ‘Pull’ 90%+ Mostly ‘Pull’ Learning Evaluation Efficiency of elearning Effectiveness of elearning Business Impact of elearning Targeted ROI Studies Talent Management Analytics
    5. 5. The Six Secrets
    6. 6. 7 This is my Skillsoft program. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My Skillsoft program is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I master my life. My Skillsoft program, without me, is useless. Secret 1
    7. 7. 8Prepare for launch (and actually take off). Marketing Structure Testing Feedback Marketing Secret 2
    8. 8. Mix up your marketing tactics. I pity the fool that only markets by email. Secret 3
    9. 9. We’re not moving your cheese… … but it might taste a little different. Familiar Contexts: • Link assets to articles • Provide a desktop icon • Link Skillport to intranet • Blend e-learning into classroom • Take advantage of SSO Secret 4
    10. 10. 11 That’s amazing! You can do ALL of that?! Highlight the WOW features. • Learning on the go • Learning transcripts • Goal management with My Plan • DRM-free audio books and videos in Books 24x7 • Blended learning resources in Client Community Secret 5
    11. 11. 12 Build champions by being a champion. Secret 6
    12. 12. • >40% active use • LMS customizations • Director-level buy in • Brand recognition Winning!
    13. 13. 14 Jay Turner, Director of CE and Training 404.235.7124 @lawlesslbrarian