The Importance of Onboarding
Onboarding is essential to success. This is true with online programs in any industry, but there are some unique challenges to onboarding for school districts. When you have multiple educators using the same program or application, it’s important that they all receive the training, resources, and clarity of purpose to understand the value from that program. Setting expectations for how and when the program will be used, who is responsible for what, and why the program is being used in the first place are all key elements to getting needed buy in to make the program successful. Use these recommendations to help make your onboarding process successful.
Start With the End in Mind
Most people will perform tasks better if they understand how that task fits in to the big picture. What do you want your teachers to get out of the program you’ve just asked them to invest time and energy into learning? How will the program help your students? Part of a smooth onboarding process is setting SMART goals and outlining the steps that will allow you to achieve those goals.
Who’s in Charge Around Here?
Clear roles and responsibilities are crucial to a smooth onboarding experience. This goes for both the members of your vendor’s team, as well as for your own staff. Who is going to create and update user accounts? Who is going to make curriculum decisions related to the program? Which students will be using the program and who will be helping them? Identifying these roles early on will provide clarity and speed up the process later on. Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Have a kick off meeting with all main stakeholders that includes identifying roles and responsibilities.
- Clarify main points of contact within your school or district with your vendor, and determine communication expectations between groups.
- Assign specific people or teams to any deliverable, approvals, meetings, and ongoing responsibilities.
- Establish a back-up contact for each role and responsibility.
Crawl Before you Run
To use any tool to its full potential, one must first learn how to perform its basic functions. This idea is mirrored in the way that basic concepts are taught first before students are exposed to more advanced concepts. Ensuring that teachers are trained to use the basic features of a program will help them feel more confident to use it in the classroom and help them quickly see the value of it. Once teachers have a few “wins” under their belt, more advanced features and functionality can be worked in as they become more comfortable.
Expect the Unexpected
Laptops weren’t charged in the cart before training? Meeting had to be rescheduled because half the team is out with the flu? Fire drill? These types of unforeseen circumstances are probably familiar examples of how plans can go sideways from time to time. Building in room for flexibility will make sure the onboarding process isn’t overly ambitious. Of course, you want to be efficient with your time, but not to the point of cutting corners.
Follow Through and Feedback
Once plans for onboarding are set, keeping the ball rolling is key to the program’s long-term success. Initial training should be followed up by take away materials, progress monitoring, and getting feedback from teachers about the program. Understanding any pain points early on will help to overcome them sooner, so that they don’t become a deterrent to using the program.
These recommendations will help you approach the onboarding process as something that’s possible and more importantly, necessary, for a successful school year. Fortunately, you don’t have to tackle onboarding alone. Learning.com’s Customer Success team is filled with knowledgeable, real and helpful people that are available through live chat, phone and email.
To connect with Customer Success and view available resources from Learning.com, click here.