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How to create a strategic training plan

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Enable adoption by developing training focused on three key elements

Spending time, money, and resources on software development and deployment doesn’t guarantee seamless end-user adoption.  Developers can handle IT solutions, and a system integrator can install and manage new applications.  Both are engaged for their proficiency with technology, not their skill at training people to apply it.

To protect your investment and enable project success, you need a strategic training plan that addresses your end-users’ specific needs.  An organized training plan is the best way to ensure you don’t overlook anything during development and that no surprises reveal themselves during rollout.

Below are three areas you should address to make sure your training plan is affordable and effective.

1. Resource Planning – A well thought out training plan identifies the time and effort required to develop training that will support user adoption.  Instructional designers and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) are critical to training development.  Planning the SME time needed to support training development surfaces competing and overlapping priorities.  These insights ensure that required resources are available and engaged when development must take place.

2. Prioritization – A thorough training document inventory, including needed S.O.P.s, Job Aids, Quick Reference Tools, etc., enables planning and workload balancing when inevitable resource constraints occur.  A prioritized list allows management to decide what content is essential for go-live and user adoption versus what is “nice to have” and can wait until after go-live.  These inputs allow team members to have informed discussions around where to focus time and resources.

3. Scheduling – A training calendar is essential for scheduling end-user participation and training logistics.  Training courses, participants, and duration are all inputs to the training calendar.  Documenting the training calendar well in advance of go-live eliminates conflicts with business-critical events (e.g., month-end close, peak work schedules, vacations, and hiring).  Managers can address and make contingency plans to eliminate any issues.  This early communication engages participants in the process, reduces anxiety and, helps in developing backfill plans.

When it comes to implementing new business solutions, user adoption shouldn’t be an afterthought.  Developing and delivering high-value training is the best way to make sure you support your end-users’ needs, stay within your budget, and maximize your investment.  By prioritizing these three components of a solid training plan, you can create customized training that is both instructionally sound and capable of delivering measurable results that support your most critical business objectives.

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