When kids want to know how to get proficient in something, we tell them that practice and consistency are key.
And when adults — owners of companies, interested in training their team to greater heights of productivity and profitability — ask us the same thing, our response is a little more focused.
Success in learning is all about consistency in delivery and user experience. This consistency can be present regardless of the region because your development team has accounted and designed for global differences.
Quality control in software doesn’t have to mean the same look and feel across the board — rather, it can mean a consistent user experience, where the objectives of the students/employees are accomplished every time.
The consistency of a shared user experience can help in every way, including:
- Allowing companies and businesses that offer online training to offer certification across the world, therefore positioning them as leaders and their employees as experts
- Encouraging a true peer-to-peer connection and learning process, which is what e-courses call for
- Empowering the student/employee to take control of their own learning paths, without conditions or barriers to what they can take next — for example, allowing users in India to access courses available to users in the U.K., with the same user experience design, while also offering regional-specific courses to enhance local practice
According to a report by eLearning Industry, consistency in the user experience for everything from course delivery to visual design is something that is often taken for granted by users. In other words, when it goes all wrong or there is no consistency, your learners notice it most.
And what detriments does a poorly-executed user experience bring?
- Wasted time and resources as your LMS team tracks differing experiences, metrics, and feedback, which leads to an inability to find a single solution to issues
- Wasted time and resources as your students/employees try to navigate their way around an inconsistent user experience
- Too much downtime as your company or business spends time on the backend rolling out constant ‘changes’ to the code or LMS delivery platform
- No way to optimise the user’s experience because there are too many inconsistencies across versions of software rolled out in different countries
- Failing to respond to differing local business practices
And the list goes on.
You’ve likely felt more than a few of these because the ‘issues’ are not confined to eLearning alone. Indeed, any software rollout that expects to have a global presence will require a multi-step plan that starts with the right model, includes the right regional input, and offers consistent design principles.
Undergirding it all, there is a need for the right external management team in place to help you deploy and manage ongoing evaluations for quality.
The key here is standardisation, but not to the point where it’s a ‘one-size-fits-all’ situation. Instead, you’ll have to think through and plan for country-specific differences.
Let’s take a look at how a structured plan for roll-out is crucial to the efficacy of your software or online training globally.
Decide on a model
There are a couple of options for a roll-out model.
Core and country-specific model
There is a ‘core’ application or training that is developed, which responds to the common requirements for all BUs (business units) involved. From here, country-specific functionalities or changes are plugged in. But, even these specifics align with the overall solution roadmap and accomplish the same milestones, leaving users with the same outcomes.
Base and customise model
In the base and customise model, one business unit is chosen for the first implementation and, then, the end solution is standardised according to this particular model. The codebase for the course design or software expands, depending on the nature of the functional requirements that come up in the first two or three BU implementations. Meanwhile, regional codebases are shared as customised extensions.
Regional implementation model
Regional implementation is quite flexible. It’s a multi-country solution that allows for the deployment of a single software instance, accessed by multiple BUs but hosted regionally. The configurations and code management are also handled regionally. Businesses developing under this model can also choose to deploy the full solution to a specific location (the development’s unofficial ‘HQ’). Then, it’s accessed via network by the various BUs involved.
Decide on a budget
As each of these models comes with its own pros and cons, you’ll need to forecast and plan for a budget that reflects your decision and priorities.
Some key factors to take into consideration are:
- Sharing the cost of each implementation: A regional budget is given and the implementation cost for any BU is shared by the regional and BU teams.
- Core and customisation cost: The regional team sponsors the development
cost for the core application or codebase (depending on the development methodology). The initial cost is borne by the main ‘core’ country/region while the customisations budget relies on individual BUs.
Different countries will have different degrees of reliance on these shared applications so cost allocations must be distributed in a reasonable and equitable manner.
Choose the Right Partner
As you can see, development, implementation and budgeting for a multi-country roll-out are quite time and resource-intensive. Yet, none of this really ‘matters’ if there is a significant ROI and users — your employees — are gaining a consistent and high-quality experience of learning, which translates into their on-the-job success.
Yet, it can get very overwhelming to actually monitor and evaluate the quality, consistency and standards of training across regions or multiple locations. Choosing the right partner, then, doesn’t only mean in the development and implementation, but also in ongoing evaluation and management.
One of the key roles the team at Darlo Digital play in the roll-out of learning software for MNCs is that of an external partner. As a third-party evaluator, we free up the time and resources of the companies involved in multi-country training software roll-outs by overseeing and evaluating standards.
If, for example, you’re a regional BU who is choosing to go with a core and customisation model for your development and implementation, you could offload the burden of constantly tracking, providing support for, tracking issues with, giving fixes for and updating customisations.
It’s not only about administration but, of course, about ongoing management — and this is where a third-party evaluator like Darlo Digital comes in. This means that local ‘customisations’ are free to develop their own custom solutions, accessing the main codebase and tailoring their design to their users’ unique business environments, but they’re also not completely left to their own devices.
The experience for businesses using Darlo Digital is one of being able to focus on other, more pressing business priorities without letting go of the significant time and resources they have sunk into their roll-out initiative.
And this trickles down to users, your employees, as their experience may not look the same, necessarily, but certainly delivers the same outcomes, in the same high-quality manner.
The result? Everyone is on the same page, across the world.