There is no question that technology is now integral to every organization. Despite the wide-scale use of technology, the fact is that most technical implementations still fail to meet desired business objectives. The number one reason for these disappointing results is poor user adoption.

This unfortunate reality is no different when it comes to implementing digital learning solutions. Ask the learning and development professionals who have launched solutions like online learning libraries and the feedback is often the same. Very few people leverage the platform, and while binge-watching may be a trend on Netflix, we still have very few binge-learners.

As the need to continually reskill workers becomes more urgent it will be critical for learning and development to maximize the return on the investment in digital learning tools. They cannot just turn a solution on and send an email with instructions about how to login. A well thought out strategy for implementing and sustaining the learning is required. There are four key things that will improve adoptions and employee and organizational performance:


1) Curate digital content and connect it to business strategy or personal development goals

Providing too much choice when it comes to digital learning content can distract people from focusing development that will best support organizational strategy and/or the development most relevant to personal success.

Curating content that focuses on the mission critical skills and knowledge and updating that content as business requirements change will help ensure that you have a workforce with the right skills and knowledge. Giving people a direct line of sight about how learning maps to business strategy and goals is also critical.


2) Proactively drive adoption and incent engagement

Just because you build it does not mean that they will come. When digital learning tools or programs are initially launched, as an alternative to mandating completion, organizations should consider using rewards and recognition to drive engagement/participation in learning activities.

Gamifying learning and using dashboards to show completion and/or performance can be effective. Layering in non-monetary rewards and recognition can also accelerate adoption. Also, as employees continue to care more about purpose and corporate social responsibility, another effective strategy is to link rewards for learning directly to support for social initiatives.


3) Leverage digital learning platform functionality to drive application

Acquiring knowledge is different from being able to skillfully do something. Often, digital learning options can increase knowledge, but without enough practice, learners’ performance on the job may not improve. Incorporating practice activities or simulations as part of the digital learning experience will provide the ability to practice, receive feedback and improve not just knowledge, but also performance.


4) Leverage learning data to demonstrate ROI and plan additional interventions

As more sophisticated digital learning options like microlearning platforms/content and simulations become more widely adopted as alternatives to workshops, it is becoming easier to capture data required to measure change in knowledge, skill, confidence and even application. By using data from pre and post knowledge checks, simulations, and application assignments, learning and development professionals can easily determine the effectiveness of the digital learning. They can also identify any remaining skill or knowledge gaps that may remain. This will ensure that targeted support can be provided through activities like additional training or coaching.



About the Author

Michelle Moore is the Managing Director at HORN. Michelle has over 25 years of global experience, working with organizations to use human capital to solve complex business challenges, and with individuals to maximize personal effectiveness and career success. She has expertise across a broad range of industries, and specialized knowledge regarding innovation and digital transformation.


About HORN

We transform cultures and capabilities by better customizing solutions to the specific needs and context of our clients’ businesses and people. Our mission is to provide transformative organizational solutions and unforgettable personal learning that profoundly shifts how people think, work and lead.

For over 35 years, we’ve been catalysts in advancing the thinking, behavior and performance of thousands of leaders across six continents, 48 countries and every major industry. Learn more at

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