Even if you’re working with minimal L&D staff and limited resources, there are still multiple players involved in online training. In this article, I’ll shine a spotlight on 9 crucial stakeholders involved in the eLearning development process.
Who are the key stakeholders in online training?
Creating a high-quality online training course that exceeds employee expectations and achieves the training objectives is a team effort. It also requires a significant investment.
Everyone must agree to the process and fulfill their roles in order to make it work. But you first have to know who these individuals are and how they fit into the grand L&D design. Here are 9 key stakeholders in online training you should keep in mind:
The people who are funding your eLearning project must be kept in the loop from day one. If they feel like they’re a vital part of the process, they’re more likely to grant you the resources you need.
In the case of in-house online training, the investors may be your accounting department or executives. Schedule a meeting to discuss the benefits of online training, and come prepared with measurable objectives.
2. Upper management
Upper management actually plays a dual role in eLearning development. In some cases, they’re the ones who approve the funding for the project. But they also serve as training advocates for their subordinates.
They need to be convinced that the online training program will achieve the desired outcomes and it will bridge crucial skill gaps. Otherwise, they won’t be enthusiastic about the online training course – which trickles down to your entire team.
3. eLearning project managers
eLearning project managers are certainly among the key stakeholders in online training, since they handle the eLearning course development from start to finish. They delegate tasks, keep the budget on track, and ensure timely delivery.
The eLearning project manager might even be charged with gathering the L&D team and choosing which tasks to outsource. Another pivotal role they play is to act as a liaison between investors, management, developers, and other relevant stakeholders.
4. Corporate learners
Many organizations overlook this integral role. However, corporate learners are the top stakeholders in online training. After all, your employees must use the finished product to build their skills and improve on-the-job performance.
They need to be considered every step of the way to ensure online training success. This might involve surveys, focus groups, interviews, and other data-gathering methods to compile their feedback.
Don’t make the mistake of only asking for their opinion after the course has been launched. Ask a select group to test it out at different stages to make the necessary changes while there’s still time.
5. Instructional designers
Instructional designers handle everything from deciding the best ID model to creating online training content based on employee skill gaps. They work directly with the L&D team and eLearning project manager to realize the stakeholders’ vision and achieve the desired outcomes.
It’s often a balancing act: Instructional Designers must communicate the information both in a way that’s easy for your corporate learners to understand, and that also aligns with their personal needs. But they must also accomplish the organizational goals and work within the budget limitations.
6. Online instructors/facilitators
While some online training courses are completed autonomously, most involve some degree of online instructor or facilitator participation. Even if it’s merely to provide ongoing support to corporate learners in the form of weekly updates or scheduled coaching sessions.
These instructors must understand not only the subject matter, but also the delivery platform. Otherwise, they won’t be able to provide guidance or help corporate learners make the most of the online training resources available to them.
7. Tech experts
Most eLearning teams have a resident tech expert (or two) on hand to troubleshoot IT problems and ensure a smooth launch. You should also involve this IT expert early in the process to help you choose the best tools for the task, as they can offer valuable input regarding specs, must-have features, and deployment options.
Among the pivotal stakeholders in online training, administrators are usually in charge of monitoring employee performance and the effectiveness of the online training strategy.
They must know the LMS inside out in order to maximize functionality. Their job roles range from evaluating LMS reports to modifying the online training content to reflect new company policy or compliance regulations.
9. Support staff
Support comes in many forms and greatly depends on your organizational requirements and corporate learner backgrounds. For example, you may need trained IT techs to field employee questions or troubleshoot issues, or a team of content creators who can continually update the online training material.
How to ensure successful stakeholder relationships
a. Establish communication guidelines
Everyone involved in the project should be aware of the communication guidelines. For example, the investors request a monthly check-in from the L&D team. Or upper management would like to provide revision recommendations at the end of each phase.
You should also address the method of communication, along with the expected response times. For example, emails should be answered within a 72-hour time frame. It’s also wise to schedule a prelaunch meeting to give stakeholders the opportunity to introduce themselves. This way you can lay the foundation for open communication and conflict resolution protocols.
b. Clarify the stakeholder scope
What are each stakeholder’s roles and responsibilities? And how do their tasks or duties overlap? Everyone should know the scope of their involvement and their overall expectations.
For example, how often will the eLearning project manager provide upper management or investors with updates? What is the investor’s role beyond funding the corporate eLearning project? Clarifying all these issues up front can help to avoid boundaries being overstepped or unreasonably high expectations.
Not every corporate eLearning project involves all these key players. Some organizations may have even more stakeholders that must be included in the process. It’s essential to identify their roles and expectations beforehand, so that you can accommodate everyone’s needs. Get them involved early on to gather their feedback and address their concerns.
Creating a successful course heavily depends on the skills and traits of your eLearning team. Read the traits of a successful eLearning team to discover the importance of the team behind the courses.
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