The success of a new collaboration implementation is largely dependent on the extent to which it is adopted within an organisation. Introducing a new way of working is always going to involve a certain amount of discomfort for users as the organisation gets used to a change but there are ways to make this part of the experience easier. Incorporating learning principles into the adoption strategy can help users get comfortable with change faster.

Resistance to the new doesn’t always mean the technology is a failure for the organisation, it could simply be a misunderstanding of the purpose. Of course, the purpose may be well defined for the project team, but it’s not the user’s responsibility to figure it out for themselves. While communications teams are well aware that simply communicating a message without consideration for the way in which it’s delivered only gets the job half done, software implementations are frequently lacking effective communication of purpose.

When it comes to encouraging adoption and collaboration, we can go one step further. Learning styles can be a great way of approaching an adoption strategy – identifying how your user group prefers to learn and then adapting the strategy to meet the particular needs of those groups can help get users through the learning curve earlier and faster:

  • If a group of users learn best by early use and testing features that interest them, give them access early to increase their comfort levels. They will be an asset to your adoption strategy in the long run by joining other early adopters like the project team.
  • Give people who prefer to learn by observing access to the space to watch and learn from others. Observers will eventually start talking about their learning and this may take place somewhere others who haven’t yet adopted the technology can hear about positive experiences and useful features.
  • Create a space either within or outside the technology itself for users to discuss their experiences with it (i.e. a conversation backchannel). Creating this space is a good way to identify another group of learners – those who like to talk about their experiences and have conversations with others.
  • Participating in the backchannel in a non-intrusive, positive way is key to bringing these two groups (those who discuss and those who observe, together) to the point of adoption.

Enabling and integrating learning preferences into the adoption strategy in social, open, and collaborative ways is essential to them being a successful factor in the adoption process. Being social is nuanced and everyone has their preferences. The same goes for learning. Using learning strategies to enable changes in behavior can be supported by identifying preferences of the groups of people you’re engaging with – those preferences are the first step towards making the adoption strategy a success.


0 Comment
  • author avatar
    Paul Drew
    7 years ago

    Great article. Too often organisations throw a blanket over staff and come at collaboration and adoption strategies in a single and targeted approach. The key is to identify the learning and adoption preferences of staff and provide multiple paths of access.

    Reply

  • author avatar
    Howard Errey
    7 years ago

    Always important to remember that individuals learning styles can vary widely within a group. However the context and “personality” that some groups have could be really useful for aiding adoption. You’ve made some great suggestions.

    Reply

  • author avatar
    Mark
    7 years ago

    You are right to note that uniformity of approach in the ‘design’ of a development or learning strategy is inappropriate if broad adoption is a goal. People and the way they learn are complex and sometimes the terms ‘learning style’ or ‘dominant learning style’ can be overly simplistic. Perhaps it might be better to consider that many people adopt different ‘styles’ of learning according to contexts in which they find themselves the the challenges they confront. Sometimes the use of the term can narrow our understanding of the complexity inherent in learning something.

    Reply

  • author avatar

    […] Learning to Adopt (tags: learning australia intranets adoption business) […]

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  • author avatar
    Alexey Mitko
    7 years ago

    It is also important to examine the sources of resistance within a particular learning group and tailor the learning strategy accordingly. Some groups of users may express lack of interest because they don’t see how a particular technology brings value to them. Others may feel threatened since the technology absorbed or simplified some of their responsibilities.

    Reply

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