Three Ways to Improve Communications Planning in L&D

Sometimes the best-designed training materials are not successful. We could have learning objectives that are perfectly aligned with content and meet the needs of our learners, but it still misses the mark. If we were to collectively look at unsuccessful training programs, a lack of communication is most likely one of the root causes contributing to the failure.

Depending on our roles within organizations, L&D professionals’ tasks and oversight vary greatly. More often than not, we are presented with requests to design training because someone within the organization has determined that there is a need. Most of our efforts go into the actual design and development of the training content; we don’t always think about what happens when it’s time to launch it. Perhaps that is someone else’s job within the organization.

Typical challenges that arise with communication involve reaching stakeholders, gaining buy-in to new L&D initiatives, and maintaining timely communication due to rapidly changing work environments and needs.

With the pace of business transformation and technological advancements, stakeholders often expect quick responses and up-to-date information. This can be particularly difficult for L&D professionals managing large-scale programs or working across multiple time zones. The need to coordinate with various departments and manage complex schedules adds to the difficulty, often leading to communication delays or gaps. These obstacles require L&D professionals to be adaptable and proactive in their communication efforts.

The focus of this blog is to think about the ways we can address communication in our L&D efforts to ensure that the training we design is ready to launch. Successful L&D programs have clear communication occurring at various phases of the instructional design process.

Here are three strategies for providing more intentional communication to support your L&D efforts.

1. Schedule Consultations with Key Stakeholders

Effective communication with stakeholders is critical for the success of training projects because it ensures that the content being designed is aligned with an organization’s goals and meets the needs of the learners. Stakeholders often have a deep understanding of organizational needs and strategic priorities, so involving them in strategic discussions helps to ensure the training program is designed to address those specific requirements. This alignment minimizes the risk of miscommunication and ensures that the training project supports broader business objectives. When stakeholders are engaged and informed, they can offer valuable insights that guide the development of training content, ensuring it remains relevant and effective.

Regular communication with stakeholders fosters a sense of collaboration and ownership over the training project. When stakeholders feel their input is valued, they are more likely to support the program and advocate for its success within their teams and departments. This is particularly important when creating buy-in for new training initiatives.

2. Establish a Communication Plan

When we talk about planning in L&D, a lot of those conversations involve creating design documents and storyboarding templates to map out what content will go in a training experience. These plans serve as blueprints to guide those involved in the design and development of training ensuring they have a shared understanding of the purpose of training, learning objectives, instructional strategies, and other expectations related to the project.

The same can be done to establish expectations and guidelines for L&D communications. L&D professionals should have conversations with other organizational leaders to determine how information about training, both current and upcoming, will be communicated to learners within the organization. The communication plan should details regarding what formats will be used to communicate with organizational stakeholders and learners, how often communication will occur, and the timing of launching new training.

3. Communicate Relevance of Content

We talk a lot about the importance of designing instruction that is relevant to the needs of our learners. Designing training content that is engaging, valued, and applicable to real-life situations helps learners improve their performance. If we were to take a step back from the training content we design and think about what implementation will look like, we should also be thinking about ways in which we can communicate relevance.

Learners are more likely to invest their time and energy in a training program if they understand how it benefits their work performance, career advancement, or personal growth. When learners see the practical value of the material, they are more likely to retain the information and apply it effectively in their roles. L&D professionals shouldn’t wait till the actual training time to communicate relevance; they should communicate this early and often! It is important to reinforce the relevance of new initiatives with our learners and stakeholders throughout our communications. This should start when we’re conducting a needs assessment or initial project kick-off, talking to key stakeholders, and communicating plans for launching new training initiatives at work.

Communicating the relevance and objectives of organizational learning can’t happen without proper planning. Keep track of your L&D projects with a customizable, step-by-step guide to launching, executing, and measuring effective learning programs. Download your free, customizable L&D checklist today!