The Client Role in Learning Development: How Much Do You Really Need to Be Involved, Anyway?
If you engage a learning company to help create training, there’s a temptation to hand off development and then not touch base with the learning company again until the training’s ready to be implemented. Just write the check. What more is needed?
Such an approach is…problematic. A client has an essential role—ofttimes several essential roles—to play in developing learning. Without involvement, development can stall or take a direction that doesn’t address the right needs.
Learning Development Expertise Has Its Place
A custom learning company can offer expertise in learning—what techniques are proven to be most effective in changing behavior, aiding recall, making learning stick. [Editor’s note: See this case study Case Study: Custom Elearning Helps Reduce Perinatal HIV Rates for an example.]
But a learning partner can’t effectively deploy those skills to solve a training issue without involvement of the owners of the future learning.
Learning Client as Active Partner
There are several significant areas where a client may need to be an active partner. Two are subject matter expertise and the business goal of the training.
A learning company may have developed hundreds of courses for a medical provider, but that doesn’t mean that they know what’s right and wrong about a particular procedure or the common mistakes that need to be corrected. Without that knowledge, any training runs the risk of being technically inaccurate; it might even fail to address actual learner needs.
Another essential role that the client plays centers on the business goal of the training. It’s only the client that can both establish the business goal of the training and ensure that the training remains oriented to that goal as it’s developed. Brandon Winston provides great direction on how organizations can drive training toward business goals in his post, Performance Improvement: Is More Training the Solution?
How Critical is the Client Role in Learning Development?
So can a client skip the meetings? Well, of course they can. But can a client skip the meetings and still end up with learning that’s effective, targeted, capable of achieving its goal? That’s much harder to accomplish.
Until next time,
Microassist Senior Learning Architect
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