(Editor's Note: This is the fourth post in a five-part series about using the ADDIE model to enhance the learner experience. We hope you'll check out the previous posts when you have a moment. Enjoy today's installment!)
Implementation is the most visible step in the learning process. It's where the intended audience sees and participates in the learning. Before we talk about how to implement a learning activity, let's do a quick recap of the steps that brought us to this point.
The ADDIE model (assessment, design, development, implementation and evaluation) is a commonly used process to create learning. In the three previous posts, we've talked about how each phase contributes to creating learning and enhancing the learning experience.
- Using Assessments to Create More Learner-Centric Experiences
- Good Learning Design Involves Alignment and Specificity
- Employee Performance Is Contingent on Learning Development
In today's post, let's examine the three qualities that contribute to good learning program implementation: pilot groups, phased strategies and competent delivery. These three qualities have benefits for both the organization and the learner.
Pilot groups provide more than feedback
The primary use of a pilot group in program implementation is to provide initial feedback to the learning designers. Do the activities work well? Does the learner feel the program objectives are being covered? The participants of a pilot typically offer valuable, first-hand feedback to the organization.
Because a pilot gets the first look at a new learning initiative, it's important to also view the group as a source for buy-in. Select the participants for a pilot group with that in mind. The group should include the program's biggest fans along with a few critics or naysayers. For the program to be successful, it needs to appeal to learners with a different disposition of the program.
Phased implementation strategies help HR resources
Feeling overwhelmed? Don't worry! There's no rule that all learning programs must be implemented company-wide on the same day. In fact, doing so can be a huge drain on HR's department resources. And when HR is operating at less-than-full capacity, it shows in their work (just like any other department!) So, consider a phased implementation strategy.
That being said, a phased approach should be well planned. The first group needs to be prepared for the learning experience. If they're under a pile of deadlines, then maybe defer their implementation to a better time. Future groups should know exactly when the program is going to be available to them. Remember, a phased strategy isn't a "when the company gets around to it" plan. It's designed to help the company manage resources so they can offer the best experience to learners. So, plan accordingly.
Train-the-trainer programs are underutilized
The skills of the individual delivering the learning experience should be considered as part of the implementation plan. Whether the person delivering training shares the content over coffee during a 1:1 meeting or in a classroom with a group of 50, they need training.
Train-the-trainer programs are not public speaking courses. They're designed to give individuals the skills and confidence it takes to deliver true learning experiences. Facilitating learning involves preparation, impromptu thinking and occasionally, dealing with disruptive behavior. It's not fair to ask managers and supervisors to train employees without giving them the tools to be successful.
Make implementation about the audience
Organizations have to think about many things when they're preparing to launch a new learning program. Who's going to facilitate it? Where will the sessions take place? How often should the program be offered? And the list goes on...
The most important part of the implementation phase is the audience. They're the ones seeing the program. Organizations have to consider how they will implement the program not with an eye on what will work for them, but instead what works for the audience. So, put yourself in the shoes of the audience and plan for a first-class implementation.