In previous parts of this series, I talked about the value of having a Learning & Adoption Strategy in place early and discussing the questions of WHO, WHERE and WHEN we should be informing and training. In today’s blog, I would like to take a closer look at the learning and adoption content. WHAT should we be training and informing about?
The WHAT considers two important areas in a successful implementation: The training content and the information content. Especially the training content creation is a vital part of the project plan and one of the most influential factors for the user ramp-up which considerably effects future system usage. The WHAT is one of the influential factors in a Learning & Adoption Strategy as it heavily impacts all other decisions. Any changes to the training content decisions require review of all other decisions:
There is an additional aspect of WHAT covered in the users’ environment, such as guidelines and methods. This will be discussed in an upcoming blog.
The training content definition is key to the users’ future effectivity and thus on the overall success of the implementation. In addition, the training content decisions are affecting the cost for training material preparation, training duration, instructors, training classrooms or other critical resources. The picture shows the influences from the training content decisions to other parts of the Learning & Adoption strategy decisions:
Even if we normally don’t have all the detailed information in such an early phase of planning the Learning & Adoption Strategy, we can create an estimate and a list of critical resources for general project decisions. For this we use the user clusters from our strategy, defined in the WHO evaluation:
In a first step for general training content definition we estimate the duration for the user profile with the highest need of training. This top-down-estimate does not differentiate between training delivery format of instructor led training, web based training, self-studies or others. It is the total amount of training necessary for the group of roles covered as "Heavy" users:
- Project example “CAD Data Management”: CAD Editors need 2 days of training
- Project example “Basic PLM Implementation”: Structure Architects need 3 days of training
- Project example “PLM Implementation”: Part Classification Architects need 4 days of training
Note: As a brief rule-of-thumb, the total duration of all training courses in one language to be prepared in a curriculum can be calculated using the factor 1.3*number of training days for heavy users. This assumes that training for light and medium users will re-use parts from the heavy user training.
Based on the estimate of the training duration for heavy users we can estimate
- Medium Users: ca. 50% training duration of Heavy Users
- Light Users: ca. 25% training duration of Heavy Users
This estimation for training duration per user cluster covers the entire didactical mix of introduction seminars + basic courses + advanced seminars + advanced workshops + post-go-live ad-hoc learning + self-studies.
As soon as we collect a rough guess for number of users per user cluster and a first estimate of required training per user cluster we can calculate the overall training effort and from this derive the needed critical resources, e.g. instructors or training facilities.
In part 6 of this article, we will talk about the training calculation and the didactical differences of seminars, workshops, process oriented training and standard instructor led training (the HOW).
In one of the later steps of the Learning & Adoption Needs Analysis, a so-called “Curriculum Plan” will be created. As soon as technical and implementation details are available this plan is used as the bottom-up training calculation aligned to the users’ training needs, listing all courses, their languages or the duration. There may be differences in the calculation of the top-down approach in the strategy and the detailed course list. Practice shows that the first estimates in a strategy are usually about 20% accurate – but available in a very early phase of a project.
Of course, we shall consider additional training content for supporting roles of administrators, use-case testers, hotline agents or local mentors. The training content of these groups is normally derived from the available standard training material or taken from the end user customized material, maybe still in work. Best is to consider these supporting roles as well in their training needs, but their training content preparation shall not be part of the overall effort calculation.
The information content definition should not be underestimated. Even if the tasks on information and motivation are not in the critical path of a project plan, its influence to users or managers has a direct impact on the system acceptance, e.g. consideration in business plans, receiving and understanding training and the system’s acceptance at first usage. A well-defined information and motivation campaign should be role-based and considering local cultures.
In one of the later steps of the Learning & Adoption Needs Analysis, a so-called “Communication Plan” will be created. As soon as detailed communication needs are worked out based on the impact analysis and the organizational readiness assessment, the Communication Plan lists all the Communication Artifacts to be created and delivered, comparable to the Curriculum Plan listing all training courses.
Even if the Communication Artifacts cannot be defined in detail in the early phases of a Learning & Adoption Strategy, we can define information content clusters and derive briefly the information strategy, the timeline and the effort to be considered in the overall project plan.
For meaningful and timely information and motivation campaign, the required resources need to be calculated in an early project phase of the Learning & Adoption Strategy. These resources should include a globally responsible person for planning, structuring and orchestrating the tasks (Learning Architect), as well as communication artifact editors, document translators, video recorders or local representatives (Communication Ambassadors) covering the input of cultural influences and needs as well as delivering artifacts to the field.
For general calculation of all information and motivation activities we use a rule-of-thumb of
- Project Type 1 "Application Data Management": ca. 0.2 hrs per user
- Project Type 2 "Medium PDM": ca. 0.3 hrs per user
- Project Type 3 "Basic PLM": ca. 0.4 hrs per user
- Project Type 4 "Full PLM": ca. 0.5 hrs per user
The amount of effort for information and motivation for each single user may not be high – but consider the overall effort if there are hundreds of users and their managers that need to be informed and motivated. Example: 500 users in “Medium PDM” project need ca. 20 days for information and communication.
The estimated workload for information and motivation can be sub-structured in the typical tasks of:
- Ca. 5% for a general Strategy of information and motivation
- Ca. 15% for Organization and Communication Plan, incl. impact analysis, organizational readiness analysis and adoption measuring.
- Ca. 5% for the Sponsorship and Change Team Mobilization
- Ca. 60% for Communication Artifact Development
- Ca. 15% for Communication Delivery and Organizational Support
With this, the effort of information and motivation can easily be estimated for being used in early phases for project planning and resource allocation.
Summary for the WHAT in a Learning & Adoption Strategy
Here are some tips to consider the WHAT defining the training and information content in a Learning & Adoption Strategy:
- Estimate the overall training content (total duration of all courses in one language) by using the most heavy user training duration and the factor of 1.3
- Consider additional languages in the training content and the effort for translation
- Consider the mix of didactical methods in the training content, like instructor-led or web-based or other self-studies
- Consider a brief estimate for information and motivation effort in early project planning
- Consider one responsible person for information and motivation as well as local ambassadors
The definition of the training and information content in a Learning & Adoption Strategy is an important step in the overall project plan as a critical path in a project plan. There will be no end-user trainings available if this task is not finished in-time!
In Part 6 of this article, we will talk about the next detail of a Learning & Adoption Strategy: the training didactics (HOW).