budget

When training initiatives aren’t successful, it’s easy to blame your budget. If only you’d had enough money, it would have had better results. But more often than not it’s not the size of your budget, but how you’re using what you’ve been given. Budgets have been an eLearning scapegoat for as long as eLearning has existed; unfortunately, more money won’t necessarily fix something that’s fundamentally broken. Instead, learn how to use what you have to increase training effectiveness.

1. The Definition of Insanity

You’ve probably heard the Albert Einstein quote where he defines insanity as doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result. That’s where many training initiatives go so wrong: they’re just different iterations of the same thing. Sure, they might have some fancy new graphics or a new delivery method, but if you’re using your budget to simply create and refashion the same old learning, it’s not your budget’s fault that learners aren’t falling for it.

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Work to allocate your budget to something new. If what you’re doing isn’t working, don’t be afraid to pivot and move in another direction. Maybe microlearning is a better fit for your learners, or game-like elements and leaderboards should be used to motivate your learners. Try something new and see if it sticks and you’ll stop wasting your budget on ineffective training.

2. Evaluating Your Learner (Instead of Your Budget)

Before you ask leadership for more L&D money, you might want to take some time to really evaluate your learners and what they want. If you’re blowing your budget and your learners are still telling you they find the content boring, inaccessible, redundant, irrelevant, or a waste of time, it doesn’t matter how much money you throw at training: your learners still won’t connect. By talking to your learners and finding out more about them, their schedules, and what they want from training, you can tailor solutions with the budget that you do have.

3. Investing Your Budget

Finally, we often get questions about off-the-shelf (OTS) learning versus custom learning. If you’ve purchased OTS learning for a licensing-per-user fee, what seemed like a discount solution can become extremely expensive and eat up your budget. A couple of hundred dollars per user might seem like a good deal—that is until you have to many learners.

Don’t be afraid to invest your budget dollars wisely. If you create (and own) your own custom learning solution, it might be a more significant investment upfront, but you’ll skip user fees and score learning that is much more relevant. Instead of spending your budget on generic sales training without proper branding or relevance, your budget would be better spent on a custom solution that truly speaks to your learners.

Before you ask for more money, ask yourself if your training issues are something that can be solved with more cash. In most cases, it doesn’t matter, but the way you approach learning and development does. Create new solutions and leadership and company might actually be onboard with the idea of giving L&D more support.