This article has been adapted from part of a recent ebook: ‘The Future of Workplace Learning: 7 Challenges and Innovations for Changing Times’. The ebook reflects on the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent remote working have had on learning practices across culture, technology, measurement, and learning design.
Alongside challenging expectations, pivoting entire strategies, and adapting to a number of sudden changes to the workplace, L&D professionals have also had to reconsider their role within organizations since the pandemic began.
In order to make learning in the workplace sustainable, scalable, and more engaging at a time when we’ve been further apart, a number of roles and responsibilities have had to be adapted. More than anything, there has been a push for a focus on the ‘human element’ of workplace learning.
Part of this includes adapting the way we work and sometimes, combining forces with other departments.
The Crossover Between L&D and Marketing
When we ran knowledge-sharing sessions with senior L&D professionals, several of them said that they’ve been restructuring or re-thinking their L&D function.
Some were looking to combine forces with their marketing and communications teams in the form of integrated learning campaigns. This allows them to drive learning engagement as well as improve internal comms and the uptake of their key learning initiatives.
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What Can L&D Learn From Marketing and Communications?
While in many organizations, L&D, marketing, and communications operate as separate functions, there’s clearly a wide range of benefits to joining forces. Whether you’ve engaged in campaign-based learning before or not, there’s a lot each of these departments can learn from each other.
Marketing is all about driving engagement. It’s about getting your message, your product, or, in this case, your learning initiative, to the right audience at the right time, in a way it will be engaged with. Marketing focuses on understanding your audience, what makes them tick, and the sorts of messages they’re likely to connect with and why.
The level of audience research involved in marketing, as well as their expertise in campaign planning and execution, means that the marketing department can make the perfect partners for the L&D function.
Similarly, communications teams specialize in getting the word out. These are the people who will know organizational dynamics, how people respond to and engage with different types of materials, and how best to get the word out to your employees about upcoming changes and initiatives that live outside of L&D.
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What Is Campaign-Based Learning?
While single-event training is, for the most part, a thing of the past, how often do you genuinely plan your learning as if it were a behavior change campaign?
Campaign-based learning is possible without the help of your marketing or comms departments, but bringing them into the process can result in higher engagement levels and an increase in behavioral change.
One of the key components of any learning campaign is what takes place pre-launch. This is also where the marketing department can really help you shine. Pre-launch activities or materials for a new learning initiative can include:
- Teaser trailers
- Emails (talk to your marketing team about nurture)
- Social media
Ultimately, campaign-based learning, and the launch campaign that runs before it, can be a great way to get your learners engaged and immersed in their learning experience. One of the best motivators you can tap into here is the competitive nature of your employees. Creating leaderboards or competitions between individuals, branches, and departments can be a great way to encourage people to engage in your learning campaign.
Spreading the news of your new competition or campaign is where your communications team comes in. It’s one thing to put a poll out on social media, but it’s a whole other thing to entice people to take part with the chance to win a prize. Or even just bragging rights.
How you approach this will depend on the culture of your organization. But it can be well worth talking to the departments who are responsible for getting people engaged in your news, products, and services. They can be an incredibly valuable resource and can help you to measure engagement with your campaign.
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- Combining forces with your marketing and internal comms departments allows you to make the most of each department’s skillset.
- Campaign-based learning can be a fantastic way to increase engagement.
- Competitiveness can be a fantastic motivator and engagement tool.
- Teasing the new initiative in a pre-launch campaign can boost engagement and interest.