Automation has become a real buzzword throughout the business world over the past few years. It’s an often misunderstood term though, and the use of RPA (Robotic Process Automation) and bots has yet to make a massive impact on the overall corporate landscape.
However, as business of all shapes and sizes begin to look for new ways to streamline productivity, give their teams more meaningful work, and both organize and motivate their increasingly distributed workforces; many companies are realizing that there are real and measurable benefits to using automation – especially where corporate training and eLearning are concerned.
But how does the idea of automation fit in with something as specific and individual as learning? Can it replace human-led delivery? Will learning itself be bot-led?
Let’s take a look at 7 best practice approaches that can give you and your corporate training program the edge.
7 Best Practices For Automating Your Corporate eLearning
1. Automate Learner Communications
Backend processes – like booking people onto training courses – is a great way to implement automation effectively from the get-go.
Typically, whenever someone books onto a training course, the learning and development team end up spending a lot of their time on planning, admin, and outbound communications.
For example, they need to contact attendees and tutors to confirm details like start times, course durations, learning materials needed etc. While these things are important, carrying out these activities is not an effective use of their time.
However, having a bot in place allows learning teams to automatically send out booking confirmation emails and schedule subsequent emails throughout each course – such as feedback requests: another time-consuming task which needs to take place during the training itself.
2. Automate Your Training Record Management
Managing training records can be a time-consuming process for learning and development teams. They’re important to get right.
Not only are accurate training records used for internal monitoring – helping to keep tabs on training expiry for example – they’re also vital during external audits for accreditations, such as ISO 9001:2015, which require that accurate records be maintained and accessible at all times.
By automating training record management by, it’s so much easier to track specific training outcomes and qualification expiry dates: while reducing time spent on manual data entry and mitigating the risk of compliance breaches.
3. Automate Certification
Certificates play an important part in the training process. Not only are they crucial as proof of training, they also provide course participants with something that validates successful completion.
Imagine being able to provide your trainees with personalized certificates – the moment they complete a module or unit.
It’s now possible to combine and present certificate details like course name, trainee name, and the date of completion in a single certificate which can be automatically emailed to each recipient.
With all of this happening without input from your training staff, they’ll be freed up to take on high-value tasks rather than being consumed with completing basic processes.
4. Map Process Flows
Before you begin to automate a process that takes away from your team’s time, you first need to consider exactly how that process will work.
This means working closely with those people responsible for the current process, as they will know it inside out.
Engaging with them has the additional benefit of showing that you want to remove a pain-point from their role and that their input is valued.
The more granular you can make the process breakdown, the better.
This will make it easier to understand which aspects of your overall process can be automated. You’ll also discover parts of a process which can’t be automated because of their reliance on human input.
Once you have a detailed process flow you can work with your IT teams to successfully deploy more training automation.
5. Start Small & Scale
Automated training can be very effective – if it is planned properly and reviewed continuously. The trap some learning professionals can fall into is trying to automate everything all at once.
While this is tempting, it is going to spread your IT resources thin and prevent you from being able to effectively gauge how effective a particular bot has been.
The first step in automating any training initiative is to focus on the parts of your programs that take the most time, but offer the least amount of complexity.
These will be ideal for automation because as well as being your team’s biggest bugbear, they are also the easiest to implement as the task should be relatively simple.
Once a process is automated, then take the time to review feedback from your teams to learn how you can refine and improve it for the future.
6. Aim For Business-Wide Rollout
Developing an understanding of automation across every part of your business is an important consideration. It helps bring teams together, though a single point of contact, which will in turn benefit your training.
It’s likely that many processes will span multiple groups of people – meaning automation is likely to affect different teams at the same time.
Automation also enables a program, test, or individual feature to be easily deployed at scale – across an entire organization.
By bringing your whole business together and demonstrating the benefits of automation, you encourage adoption of your new ideas by proxy.
On top of this, the IT teams will have limited resources to dedicate to the technical aspects of any automation you set in motion.
However it’s crucial to ensure that people in your business aren’t trying to create ‘rogue automation’ without consulting your IT teams as this could compromise your digital security.
7. Feedback With Automation
We’ve touched on some of the basic automation techniques you can employ as part of your training and eLearning strategy, but this final point builds on those concepts and looks to tackle a more complex task.
One challenge in training people is understanding the common struggles of students on a particle course or topic.
But, by automating the analysis of trainee progress, it’s a lot easier to tackle this issue. By incorporating digital quizzes and tests into your course structure, you can apply an RPA to monitor the results and draw conclusions based on them.
Perhaps there are particular modules in a course that students consistently score lower on than others?
A bot will detect these and report on them directly to you – allowing you to address your course material and adjust it in line with students’ needs.
Automation in corporate training continues to grow. As its use cases become more visible its deployment alongside eLearning will go from strength to strength as new ways to apply it become popular.
As new technologies and methodologies emerge, terms like ‘RPA’ and ‘Bot’ are gaining broader recognition.
While they may be new to many training providers, the 7 best practices discussed should both demonstrate its growing relevance and show that automation is simply a way of driving more value; and is designed to empower employees rather than replace them.
At Raven360 we work to stay at the cutting edge of corporate training practices including automated training via our LMS (learning management system).
As you can see, although automation requires a careful delivery, with the right plan in place, it can be rolled out with great success.