Extended Enterprise Learning: Sharing Your Resources Successfully
An Extended Enterprise implementation allows an organization to make its resources and training available to an external audience. Members of this audience will include users such as customers and consultants coming from a wide variety of organizations, career paths, and backgrounds. Creating a learning environment that caters to their unique interests and needs presents several challenges. Focusing on the following will ensure that your environment is universally adopted by end users:
- Make your account sign-up process as easy as possible
- Organize your content in a meaningful way
- Provide transition resources and communication
- Create a pricing structure that accommodates users from different states and countries
In an Extended Enterprise LMS in which the end-user is responsible for creating their own account, it’s important to streamline the sign up process and make it as easy as possible to complete. For example, limit the number of fields required for account creation. Do you really need the end user to enter their address? Or will data on their city and state suffice? Provide drop-down lists for fields such as ‘Job.’ Giving the end-user a list from which to choose makes the process smoother for them and keeps your reporting data clean. Don’t forget to provide instructions when possible. If you have specific requirements for fields such as password, make those requirements very clear for the end user.
Once the user has successfully created an account and logged into the system, drive them toward learning content through catalog organization. Learning categories, keywords, and featured learning make resources easier to find. Some users may know exactly what they are after, but for those who don’t, categorical organization will guide their search. If possible, reference an existing organizational structure that is familiar to end users. Highlight new or popular training with the ‘Featured’ section, and add keywords to learning objects to account for gaps in search queries.
While the implementation itself focuses on making resources available to external audiences, the end-users’ introduction, transition, and adoption of the system should remain at the forefront of the strategy throughout the course of the project. With that in mind, clear communication before, during, and after the launch of an Extended Enterprise learning environment will aid in the adoption of the new system. For example, video teasers and tutorials offer visuals on what to expect and how to use the system. These videos, when made available alongside written communication, prepare end users to navigate the environment by offering a ‘first look’ and step-by-step guidance on system functionality.
If you plan to charge users for training resources, be sure to consider how prices, currencies, and taxes may vary by location. It can be difficult to collect this information, especially from countries outside of the United States, so it’s important to identify the task owners early and begin creating your pricing structure as soon as possible. In addition, it is critical that you budget enough time to test and validate the e-commerce workflow.
You can ensure the success of your Extended Enterprise system by keeping the user experience in mind during each decision. Investing resources in streamlining the sign-up process, strategically organizing learning content, introducing system previews, and carefully planning your training storefront will pay off in the form of a positive and productive end user experience.