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The five most important questions for digital learning services

The real health of a digital learning service is about more than what we make and deliver. (That persistent L&D fixation on delivery might sometimes be a sign of poor health, in fact. Well-developed technology and delivery muscles can mask neglect elsewhere).

So, how can you tell if you are in a good state of health with your digital learning activity? Are you, and it, really ready for the future? In my experience, there are five key questions to answer to understand where you are and where to focus your efforts. These five lines of enquiry are critical to a clear view of your current situation and to the best next steps to ensure future fitness. Every organisation has a unique context and these queries are a common thread from years working with corporate clients, platform and technology businesses and learning service providers.

Five crucial themes and questions

  1. Applying tools, resources and technology – your products
    • Are you solving relevant problems for your organisation (your source of funding) and your users? (And, how do you know?)
  2. Experience design – what you make and how you go about it
    • Do you know what your users/audience/learners really care about and genuinely need? (And how do you know?)
  3. Critical relationships – business and marketing
    • How close and meaningful are your key customer/stakeholder and user relationships? (And how do you know?)
  4. Data foundations
    • How do you consistently apply data to decision making?
  5. Organisation and ways of working
    • Do you build/measure/learn together – how are you using experiments to understand what is working and how well?

The fact that none of these are specifically technology questions may be counterintuitive as a means of diagnosing digital health. In my experience, good answers to these (and related) questions are crucial to understand before you get to technology decisions and content strategy. They help to understand what you might use it for and how you will go about it. Answering them – honestly and with evidence – gives a good sense of those needs.

The questions above are the essence of the Digital Learning Health Check, a simple, and thorough review of the vital elements that sustain successful digital services for learning. As we know from personal experience, a healthy lifestyle requires consistent effort and application, there are no magic pills, but there are approaches and techniques to rely on to set you on a confident path.

The best questions are good conversation material. Get in touch if that conversation will help you and your service.

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