Digital Learning: How to Get the Most Bang for Your Learning Budget

February 8, 2018

See how this head of L&D got the most out of his learning and development budget by smartly investing in elearning and digital learning.

Imagine what it would cost to send employees to 101 hours of in classroom training per month. What about 250 courses per month? That’s how much our employees are learning at Exponential-e ­– and LinkedIn Learning makes it possible.

When I started as head of learning and development (L&D) at Exponential-e, I had literally hundreds of requests for learning resources. I was amazed at how much people wanted to learn. My first priority was to connect our people to the breadth-and-depth of learning they were asking for at a reasonable cost.

That’s when I found LinkedIn Learning. The solution offered access to high-quality courses taught by experts in the field and a library that accounted for 90 percent of the requests to date.

Instead of committing to license our entire company from the start, we bought an initial tranche of 250 licenses and offered them out across the business. After a two-week internal marketing push, we had 235 people register interest, and a few months later we had 300 active users of the product. As word continues to spread and teams start to adopt the technology, we have everyone from team leads to individual contributors proactively asking for licences.

As an L&D leader, you know that even with an employee base eager to learn, you need to get the word out about new learning opportunities. Encouraging learning at Exponential-e is no exception.

How did I achieve success? Here are six steps to getting the most bang for your learning budget.

    1. Engage your marketing or internal communications teams. I am not a marketer and I know when I need to ask for help. So, upon buying our initial LinkedIn Learning licenses, I teamed up with our marketing team to come up with a plan to market LinkedIn Learning. Their team designed posters, created desk drop campaigns and gave me crucial advice to help get employees engaged with our new learning resource.

    2. Go and Hustle!  Make time to join team meetings – talk to people, answer questions, handle objections, find out what interests them and use this information to drive adoption of the platform.  Never assume an employee has read the email you sent or understands how to get onto the platform or how you’ll use it (e.g. we had employees concerned about how we would use their learning data). Uncover this information during the adoption phase to help you address these issues early and quickly.

    3. Talk about the new learning solution as often as possible. I mention LinkedIn Learning in every update, conversation and instant message I have with employees. I talk about it not only as free professional tool available to all employees, but also as a personal benefit.  LinkedIn Learning is a fantastic business tool, but you can talk (and connect) with people about the personal development opportunities it offers. 

    4. Start weaving LinkedIn Learning into employee on-boarding.  We introduce all new employees to the technologies and world-class solutions we provide (Connectivity, Cloud, Data Centre, Security and Unified Communications) though in-classroom custom on-boarding. We use LinkedIn Learning content to support this effort by asking employees to watch courses before the classes and incorporate courses into the in-classroom experience.

    5. Try a flipped classroom model. As an L&D team, we use LinkedIn Learning content as pre-learning for flipped classroom live learning events. This is a great time saver and has zero build hours. Create a live learning opportunity around the content of a video, a learning path or a course. Have the attendees watch the courses before they arrive so that you can use the in-person time to create experiential learning moments that help employees apply the theory learned from the course.

    6. Look at what you can replace now that you have a digital learning solution. Offer LinkedIn Learning as a scalable, repeatable, measurable alternative to offsite in-person learning. Demonstrate fiscal responsibility to your CFO and use the reporting tools inside the platform to demonstrate return on learning (ROL). 

The Savings

Today, 97 percent of our 300 licences are activated, with users viewing a cumulative 101 hours of material per month across approximately 250 different courses. Could you imagine the cost of this amount of in-classroom learning?

Let’s break it down. A third-party trainer can cost upwards of £1000 per day. If we are generous and allow eight hours a day for training, then I would still need £12,000 a month to deliver those 101 hours. 

LinkedIn Learning offers a range of courses that take anywhere from five minutes to three hours. For the sake of this example, let’s use an hour as a guide. Doing the maths, 250 hours divided by eight hours a day is 31.25 days – or roughly one month. At £1000 a day, that’s a cool £30,000 to get someone in to talk on a subject.

I don’t think there are many L&D departments that have that kind of budget to throw at live training events.

Good luck and remember, keep hustling.

*Image of Neil Cunningham (far right), head of learning and development at Exponential-e, with his team.