Timescales in learning design are very much context dependent. Sometimes a year will feel tight for a huge programme, at other times you have only a few weeks to turn something around.
“Usually, we would want to allow about 6 months for full programme design, but we were squeezed into about 3/4 months which put a lot of pressure on”. - Performance and Talent Development Coach in a Law Firm.
Driven by the changing business environment, deadlines are set by senior stakeholders and L&D are under pressure to turn learning solutions around faster than they’re comfortable with. With existing processes, quality often falls by the wayside (more on that later).
Why are deadlines so tight?
- Holes in planning from other areas of the business seems to be a common cause of these shorter deadlines, with learning coming as an afterthought rather than a core part of a business strategy.
- This is exacerbated by a lack of understanding about what it traditionally takes to design and develop quality learning journeys that impact the desired outcomes.
“All must be done immediately. We have to start working on new trainings, programs, and technology, even when the previous ones are not ready yet. Because of this and lack of planning hardly any programmes really get delivered.” - Learning Technology Specialist at a large Logistics business.
What can you do?
Again, get a seat at the table.
If as L&D, you are part of strategic conversations in the business, and can influence at this level you'll be able to:
- Have visibility of major learning requirements on the horizon (likely before the stakeholders realise them)
- Educate stakeholders on the importance of quality learning alongside agility and speed of production – there's no point creating a half-baked learning programme as it will have minimal impact on performance. For this you need data.
- Push back on stakeholders when it comes to competing priorities so they can see the consequences of certain decisions.
Regardless of the influence of L&D in your organisation, there will always be last minute training demands.
We only need to think back to covid to know we can't see everything that’s coming. The arrival of ChatGPT and a plethora of AI tools is a recent example where businesses have had to adapt rapidly to a new environment, leading to training demands.
This is where your learning design processes and tools come into play.
With the right tools and processes, you can design and launch impactful learning journeys in weeks, not months.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to wait months for an elearning agency to turn something around for you. And, you don’t need to spend months crafting more elearning content full of bells and whistles.