At Inqune, we build great training content. We work with our clients to build curriculums for their new & existing employees. Instructional decks that inspire instructors and students alike. Sales tools to give their teams that needle-moving boost. Enablement resources that turn sales teams into product evangelists.
When we got started in 2012, this was the end of the line for our involvement. Except in the rare cases where we were doing content delivery, we would simply hand over a folder of decks and documents to the client and invite them to get their training programs underway.
What we’ve learned since is that it is crucial for our clients and their teams to have access to the materials that we create in an organized, useful, referenceable way. Now, we almost never plan an engagement that does not explicitly include some manner of digital content delivery.
I’ll outline the options from simplest (and cheapest) to most-fully-functioned.
Whether it is on the company intranet or using Dropbox, Google Drive, or Box.com, the simplest way to make sure that your teams can access their training materials before, during, and after training is by hosting them in a shared folder system. If you want a simple, easy-to-implement, no-fuss solution, hosting materials in shared folders may be for you. Here are some tips to making the most of this kind of content delivery:
- Get the permissions right, every time. Take steps to ensure that when someone is added to a team or training group, they also get permissions to needed materials.
- Organization is key: think about how your team will use the materials, and make sure that folders and files have clear, obvious, searchable names.
- If your system supports it, adding tags or labels to documents can make materials even more searchable.
- Spread the word. Make sure that everyone on your team knows that these materials exist and where to find them.
As with shared folders, a company wiki can be hosted internally– Mac OS X Server ships natively with Wiki tools, for example– or externally, through a service like Google Sites or a tool like . To make the most of your wiki, remember these tips:
- While you can host all sorts of materials on a wiki, we have found that they work best when most content lives natively on wiki pages, rather than existing in presentation decks, word processor documents, or in images. This vastly improves the speed and searchability of your content.
- Only use the features you need. Wiki templates often come with blog, news, and calendar features. If those don’t integrate with the way that your company spreads news & keeps schedules, take the time to remove them, or your site will look unfinished & sloppy.
- Keep it current! It is easy to build content into a wiki and then let it go stale, or worse, out of date. Make sure that someone on your team is assigned to keep the wiki up-to-date.
- Manage permissions! Who should be able to change your content pages? Who should be able to comment on them? Wiki systems give you fine-grained control and visibility into who is making what changes.
- Publicize it. This is crucial and easy to overlook. If your team’s most-asked questions are answered there, make sure that you include the link when you give answers. Better yet: Have all-team meetings when you launch the site, and make all-team announcements when you make value-add updates.
Learning Management System
If your training materials are multimedia, should be worked through in a particular sequence, and would be improved with quizzes and tests that report out to a supervisor, then you need a Learning Management System. Both local and cloud services exist, with a spectrum of features. Many of our clients have purchased Litmos to fill their learning management needs: this clever product is less fully-featured than more established players in the space, such as Blackboard, instead providing a simple, functionality-centric, and incredibly-user-friendly tool to keep your team’s training interactive and up-to-date.
- Most LMS systems are primarily useful for leading learners through courses, and then allowing them to revisit those courses. If you also have sales tools or other reference materials, you should consider supplementing your LMS with a resource library built out in shared folders of a wiki.
- Attend to your reporting. Who should receive quiz results? Direct supervisors? Mentors? Division heads? Have a meeting with all interested parties to decide, and check in later to make sure that these choices are still working for everyone. Note: If a quiz is simply to self-check, it is not necessary to send anyone the results!
- Brand it! Make sure that your LMS site feels like part of your company. Add logos, colors, graphics, and so on to show your learners that even when they are building new skills, they are still part of the team.
There are lots of factors that go into figuring out how you want to get your content to your team. We’d love to talk to you about what will work best for you!