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TTA is the largest provider of Learning and Development talent. Companies of all sizes partner with us to be a cost-effective, scalable, and strategic extension of their team.
During our Ask The Expert session on January 18th, we engaged with Jason Schneider, a learning strategist and expert in the field.
Jason brings a practical perspective to the learning challenges of adopting and implementing new systems. We will explore strategies for a seamless system implementation training, minimizing disruption to your business and fully enabling users.
Throughout this 60-minute Q&A session, participants asked questions, shared experiences, and queried our expert on all facets of System Implementation Training.
Below is the auditor transcript for this session
Matt Granato: Welcome, everybody. If you’re joining us from the waiting room, I’m Matt Granado, the producer of today’s QA on expert system implementation training. We’ll be using the chat and the reaction toolbar, which you can find at the bottom of your screen. We’ll start in just a minute. Please have your questions ready, as we’ll be discussing various topics and questions submitted earlier.
Matt Granato: We’ll be starting very shortly, letting a few more participants join.
Matt Granato: Welcome to everyone who just joined. I’m Matt Granato, the event’s producer. If you have any questions about technology, feel free to message me in the chat. We’ll be starting our QA session soon. Welcome to the ‘Ask the Experts System Implementation Training Q&A’. We’re thrilled to have you here. Our expert, Jason Schneider, will answer your questions and provide insights. Alongside Jason, we have Laverdure, TTA’s Director of Learning Solutions, who will be providing support. Whether you’re here to learn about system implementation training or gather expert tips, you’re in the right place.
Matt Granato: Let’s maximize this opportunity to engage with our experts. Thank you for being here. Over to you, Jason.
Jason Schneider: Matt, can you click two slides down, please?
Jason Schneider: Today, I’ll start with the typical software implementation roadmap. This roadmap is common for new software implementations within organizations. As we go through this, locate the chat function for your questions. Let us know where you are in your software implementation journey. All implementations start with project ideation, which varies among organizations. It could be an individual’s idea or a decision made after finding software. This stage is the kickoff for software implementation.
Jason Schneider: The next phase is usually discovery planning, where you determine the right approach, even if it’s following a cold call about software. Discovery and planning involve understanding the impact and identifying potential barriers. This phase should ideally happen before implementation.
Jason Schneider: Then, you determine who’s involved. The implementation team, regardless of organization size, is responsible for customizing the software, integrations, security, and other aspects. After planning, which can take months or years depending on the software size, you start testing with a user group in a training environment.
Jason Schneider: Training, which is usually considered right before implementation, is crucial. However, it’s important to engage training professionals right after project ideation, not only during or after testing. This helps avoid a ‘telephone game’ scenario, where training professionals have to catch up on all previous decisions.
Jason Schneider: My key recommendation is to engage training professionals early in the journey, regardless of your current stage. This ensures their involvement in early conversations, setting the stage for more effective training and avoiding misunderstandings.
Jason Schneider: Lastly, the implementation itself is a significant phase. We recommend having both pre- and post-implementation planning strategies. The training before implementation focuses on preparation and communication, while post-implementation training addresses actual gaps and integrates the software into workflows.00:09:00.467 – Jason Schneider: With that, I’ll turn it back to Matt. I believe you have a question.
Matt Granato: Would you like to address the first question or the poll question?
Jason Schneider: Let’s quickly check the chat. I see Jeff is in the implementation phase, Laurie and Kyle are in training, and Kyle is moving into implementation. Alexandria is in stage one, and Marty has just implemented, working on a post-implementation strategy. Let’s start with the poll question and then address a pre-submitted question. Feel free to ask more questions in the chat or raise your hand to be unmuted.
Jason Schneider: We’ll use the chat to answer questions and have a robust conversation given the diversity of participants’ stages.
Matt Granato: I’ll launch our poll question now.
Matt Granato: The poll question is about your biggest challenge surrounding software implementation. Options include unsure where to start, team buy-in, lack of training, time constraints, leadership support, and lack of funds. Please register your answer.
Matt Granato: Closing the poll, we see time constraints as the leading issue.
Jason Schneider: Time constraints are common in software training. Camille, I see your point about not being taken seriously, which is a challenge when training is seen as an afterthought. In learning and development, training has a huge organizational impact. It’s important to demonstrate the value of training and speak the language of the organization. Training isn’t just a side activity; it’s essential for successful software implementation.
Jason Schneider: For other questions, please put them in the chat. Matt let’s address the pre-submitted question.
Matt Granato: Let’s open the mailbag for a submitted question. Jason, is there still a place for live in-person training, or should we focus on virtual instructor-led and e-learning?
Jason Schneider: There’s a place for live training, especially in software training. It should be blended with other methods. Live training, either virtual or in-person, is ideal for providing feedback and real-world examples. Software simulations have value in demonstrating processes, and live sessions can then focus on application and problem-solving. Supplemental resources like job aids are also important for post-training support.
Matt Granato: Thank you. I haven’t seen any other questions coming into the chat, so we’ll stay with the pre-submitted questions. Here’s one: “We recently implemented a new CRM and ERP. While go-live training went well, I am now looking at how to best provide refresher and update training as the system’s functionality evolves. We have recordings and job aids. Any advice?”
Jason Schneider: My advice is to not rely solely on recordings for training. They can be challenging as they require watching the entire video or knowing exactly where to click. They’re useful for providing content, especially when recorded during testing, but they’re not ideal for ongoing training. Instead, consider using them as a resource for developing more interactive training methods like software simulations or job aids.
Jason Schneider: For ongoing support as the system evolves, include a strategy for loop training in your initial planning. If you’ve planned for an iterative process, you’re better prepared. For instance, if your strategy involves software simulations, live sessions, coaching, mentoring, and job aids, you can update these as needed based on feedback and system usage data. If you didn’t plan for this, start by updating your job aids and determining if more complex training sessions are needed.
Jason Schneider: Ownership of training resources is key. Someone should be responsible for updating job aids and informing relevant parties of changes. Depending on the complexity of updates, you might need different training approaches, from simple emails to more extensive training sessions.
Jason Schneider: Think of software as a series of processes. Develop your training strategy based on these processes, not just content or roles. This approach makes updating training more manageable as you can quickly identify which parts of the training need revision.
Jason Schneider: Russell, I’ll address your question next. Matt, would you read out Kyle’s question from the chat?
Matt Granato: Kyle asks, “Do you have any experience with, or thoughts on Agile for L&D? I imagine it’s easier for L&D and project managers to collaborate when working similarly, and it might be more time constraint friendly.”
Jason Schneider: I have experience with Agile in L&D, and in my opinion, it doesn’t work well. Agile often stifles creativity in learning and development. When using systems like Jira, creating learning experiences becomes longer due to increased oversight and shifting directions. While it seems like Agile should be more efficient, my experience shows that it leads to longer development times and compromised content quality.
Jason Schneider: Collaboration with project managers is important but forcing L&D into an Agile framework isn’t effective. It’s better to let L&D create content iteratively, responding to feedback after implementation rather than extensive upfront planning. Creating a foundational structure first and then adapting based on actual needs is more efficient than guessing during planning.
Jason Schneider: In learning and development, rigid systems like Agile or the Addie model can slow down the process without necessarily improving the outcome. It’s crucial to find a balance that allows for flexibility and creativity in training development. We must figure out the best way forward. But it is not more productive or better quality.
Matt Granato: Thank you, Jason. We have a question from Alicia in the chat. She asks how we can help leaders understand the importance of bringing Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in early and integrating training thoughts into the process to get their buy-in.
Jason Schneider: That’s a great question, Alicia. The key is to figure out why leaders want to implement the software in the first place. Often, they don’t think about training early because they assume it’s something that can be added at the end. Speak their language by focusing on outcomes. When you present expected outcomes to leadership and ask if that’s what they want learners to achieve, you start a conversation. Suggesting a preliminary training outline based on these outcomes can get a pulse check from leadership and open the door for further discussion.
Jason Schneider: You could request to be part of the early conversations to better understand the processes and needs. This approach helps in saving costs later as you won’t be chasing SMEs or content. Starting with outcomes and showing the potential value of your training perspective can be an effective way to gain buy-in from leadership.
Matt Granato: We’ve discussed leadership buy-in. Now, regarding L&D teams, when should we engage them in planning the training program for software that’s customized for specific company needs?
Jason Schneider: Ideally, the L&D team should be involved right after the ideation stage. Being involved early is crucial to building a successful training program. L&D professionals should be flies on the wall during initial discussions to understand the decisions and customization plans. If you’re not involved by the time the system’s customizations and features are decided, the implementation will likely face significant challenges.
Jason Schneider: If training is not included once the system customization decisions are made, the implementation will struggle, potentially for over a year. In such cases, leadership might eventually realize the importance of training and seek help to fix implementation issues.
Matt Granato: Do you have any tips for Learning Management System (LMS) implementation?
Jason Schneider: For LMS implementation, the focus should be on how to leverage the LMS as part of the training strategy. If your organization already uses the LMS for all training, continue doing so. Schedule live sessions, launch software simulations or e-learning modules, and use it as a repository for job aids. If the LMS is not an integral part of your organization, an LMS implementation could be a chance to make it more central. Communicate clearly about scheduling and registration for training sessions through the LMS.
Matt Granato: Thank you. We’re open to more questions in the chat. Now, a different topic: Marty asks if anyone can recommend an LMS, as their current one wasn’t robust enough for their CMS and CRM implementation training. They’re shopping for a new LMS.
Jason Schneider: For those with LMS recommendations, please share them in the chat to help Marty. When sourcing and implementing an LMS, consider what unique features your organization needs, besides the standard delivery, tracking, and reporting of training. Each LMS has differentiating features, so prioritize your top needs. Budget is a significant factor in choosing an LMS. Some LMS options like TalentLMS are low-cost, while others like Cornerstone or Absorb offer more features. The right LMS depends on your organization’s specific needs.
Matt Granato: Alexandra has a follow-up question on LMS implementation: How soon do you start training prior to the go-live date and which audience do you train?
Jason Schneider: Ideally, start training sessions about a month before the go-live date. These sessions should focus more on building confidence than on detailed training. Two weeks before, intensify training opportunities. It’s important for learners to know what resources are available and to practice the actual processes they’ll use after go-live. Regarding the audience, it varies based on the organization. Identify different learner groups and their unique needs. Some may need more attention than others. This strategy will dictate the specific training required for each group.
Matt Granato: Thank you, Jason. Just a note from Marty in the chat: their teams use “road shows” to go to different departments and offices, answering questions and implementing training piecemeal for each team.
Matt Granato: Moving on to a different topic, what are the top 3 certifications or skills that you would say are needed today?
Jason Schneider: For certifications within an organization, it depends on whether we’re talking about what organizations need or what’s needed for implementation. If it’s about organizational needs, we determine what’s needed during our strategy development. For instance, if an organization needs Excel training, we can offer off-the-shelf training or tailor training specifically for the organization. John, perhaps you have insights on what certifications organizations often ask for.
John Laverdure: We see a lot of demand for security and project management certifications. For system implementations, organizations often seek change management skills, like Prosci certification, to help prepare for and facilitate change, not just in training but also in overall messaging and adoption.
Matt Granato: Thank you. We still have some time for questions. How do you tailor training programs to cater to different job roles within an organization?
Jason Schneider: Addressing different learning styles as auditory, kinesthetic, etc., is not effective as that concept has been disproven. However, focusing on different training modalities based on learner personas is important. If learners have limited time, for example, quick modules or videos might be appropriate. Training strategies should be based on understanding where your learners are and what challenges they face.
Matt Granato: Can you share common challenges faced during system implementation training and how to address them?
Jason Schneider: The biggest challenge is often time constraints. Another is that people involved in the implementation are often already doing other jobs, leading to stress and exhaustion. These individuals should not be the ones conducting the training. Addressing resistance to change is also crucial, and involving people early in the process can help reduce anxiety and foster ownership.
Matt Granato: How do you address and overcome resistance to change?
Jason Schneider: Overcoming resistance involves early involvement and inclusivity. Creating a buzz and getting people involved early reduces anxiety and makes them feel a part of the change. Training is a part of change management and should be included from the start.
Matt Granato: What post-training support is essential for ensuring the successful adoption of new systems?
Jason Schneider: Post-training support should include a strategy for ongoing support, such as coaching or mentoring. This might involve having someone available to answer questions or provide one-on-one help. Ensuring learners know what resources are available and how to access them post-go-live is crucial.
Matt Granato: We are approaching the end of our Q&A session. You can still submit questions in the chat, and there’s an opportunity for a free 30-minute consultation with Jason to discuss specific concerns.
Matt Granato: Thank you, Jason, for your time and insights, and thank you to everyone who participated today. We hope you found the session informative.