What Happens After Onboarding?
In one of my previous blog posts, I wrote about the importance of onboarding when using a new online program. In this post, I wanted to share what I’ve learned about the importance of follow through after onboarding to ensure a new program is best utilized to maximize the return on investment.
The Importance of Follow Through
After the onboarding training occurs, reach out to your teachers to provide reference material and ask for their feedback. With an online program, it may make sense to do this first follow-up through email providing links to information your teachers will likely find useful – the vendor’s support site, a school webpage about this program, the program manager’s contact info, etc. If your user group is small, it’s best to ask for feedback during a team meeting. With a larger group, an online survey can be more effective. Tailor your communication style to what works best for your teachers.
After the onboarding training and initial follow up, your teachers should start using the new program and/or curriculum. But, how can you track progress? Most online programs have some type of reporting available to help you monitor if and how your teachers are using the program. Reports typically include information on which teachers have logged in and which have taken the first steps expected within the program. You may even identify some super users! Equally important, you should be able to see who hasn’t logged in and who may need help accomplishing what is expected of them. Make sure you are setting realistic goals. It’s not unusual to see usage levels of 50% or lower during the first year using a new program. Checking this progress data on a regular basis will help you catch small problems before they turn into big ones.
Catch More Flies with Honey
Once you determine who is using the program and who isn’t, the next step is acting on this knowledge. If you have super users, praise them in front of their peers and boss. Ask them to share their tips and tricks, and help them communicate those with other users. If you have teachers who are struggling, find out what their pain points are. Is there a specific step in the program they are having trouble with? Do they have a conflicting priority that’s taking up their time? Would they benefit from partnering with a super user? Even with mandated programs, fear of not meeting expectations can cause teachers to stay quiet when they are encountering difficulties. Work with your program team – both within your district and with your vendor – to ensure your teachers feel supported and open to reaching out for help.
It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint
To ensure long-term success with a new online program, remember the key is follow through. Follow up takes place once, follow through continues until the program reaches completion. Your teachers will likely not need the same frequency of communication as they become more adept with the program, but occasional, relevant outreach will keep the program top of mind year after year. Sharing updates and new features about the program, peer accomplishments in the program, and the like will reinforce the importance of the program and provide great opportunities for your teachers to engage.
At Learning.com, our Customer Success team focuses on following through with districts in a variety of helpful ways to ensure their teachers and students are successful with the program. To see some of our customer resources, check out our Support site.