If I Build It, Will They Come?

Written by Vivayic
If you’ve seen our Learning Solutions Model, you know how we do things. Before we jump into building the learning experience, we seek clarity. We also work with the client to proactively plan and evaluate the utility of the learning. When considering utility, one of the many questions we ask is, “How will we support implementation and drive utilization?”

You see, this isn’t “Field of Dreams,” and you aren’t Kevin Costner. If you build it, there is no guarantee they will come. Designing an instructionally-sound learning experience is critical, but we can’t stop there. For the experience to have impact, it has to be, well, experienced.

Whether a person will choose to participate in an elective learning opportunity depends upon a few things. We can imagine learners asking themselves a few questions (see below). If we can’t give them a resounding, “Yes!” to a few of these, it isn’t likely they’ll sign up for the experience out of their own free will.

Learning Questions:

  • Do I really need to know this to perform well?
  • Will knowing this solve a current problem or pain point?
  • Is this something new that I haven’t already mastered?
  • Will this be a smart use of my time?
  • Will I enjoy the experience?

After ensuring the learning provides a solid, “Yes!” to a few of the above learner questions, it’s time to determine the most effective deployment method. Over the past few years, we’ve worked closely with several of our long-standing clients to pilot and execute a variety of methods for driving the utilization of learning strategies. Below, we’ve compiled a list of a few effective methods. Of course, it’s all about knowing the learners and finding the right fit. The strategy that works best for one group may not do the trick for another.

If I Build It, Will They ComeTraditional Learning Campaign

This is perhaps the most common approach. Some find good success simply using their Learning Management System (LMS) to push out a formal learning campaign and inviting participants to log on and check it out.

Learning Champions

If your group of learners is large, it might be wise to round up a subgroup of influential folks that are really passionate about training and development. Equip them to tell their peers about the learning opportunities that are available.

Just-in-time Training

Learning opportunities become exponentially more valuable and appealing when they provide value now. Pushing learning opportunities out just before they’ll provide value is a great way to drive usage in a meaningful way.

If you build it (and put together the right implementation plan), they will come.


New hires are often the hungriest for training and development because they tend to be more aware of their opportunities for growth. In short, they know what they don’t know. Leveraging that eagerness to learn can drive the utilization and effectiveness of learning programs.

Incentivize Training with Prizes

This one almost didn’t make the list because it isn’t the most sustainable idea for creating a positive learning culture. However, in some cases elective training and development is a new venture for an organization. Or, perhaps, the target audience feels they have no margin of time to complete elective trainings. In these cases, sending out prizes or entering top users in a raffle may play to their competitive side and help the program gain some momentum in the beginning.

Incentivize Training with Training

This is a bit of a reverse of the above incentive model. Instead of rewarding training with other rewards offer up training as a reward. Perhaps an individual has met a certain performance benchmark, so they earn training for continued development. Another approach is to divide training up into various levels. When an individual has successfully completed one level, they unlock the next level of opportunity.

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