Top 6 Uses of Extended Enterprise Learning

• 4 min read
Extended Enterprise (EE) learning is any training effort targeted at your non-employees with the goal of impacting measurable behavior change.  Every industry globally uses some form of EE learning and they all have the same fundamental challenge.  Extended enterprise users are voluntary users and thus need to be treated differently – better than employees.

All extended enterprise audiences are voluntary but to differing degrees.  You can make your employees take training but you can’t make the EE voluntary learners do anything.  Organizations need to make voluntary learners want to take content, pay for content and come back and do it again and again.  As a result, experts in extended enterprise learning need to be equally skilled in business, marketing and measuring success as well as the traditional learning technology skill set.

Extended enterprise learning comes in many shapes and forms.  Here are the top six examples of how you can use extended enterprise training to gain a competitive advantage.#1 — Partner Channel Training and Certification

Manufacturers, software providers, insurance companies, investment brokerages and telecommunication companies usually have global, independent partners that resell and service their product lines as well as provide local value added services and support.

These global partners often represent competing product lines from competing organizations.  The organization that best trains and certifies its partners on their products and services and provides just-in-time performance support will win the mindshare battle.  In every industry, those organizations that train and certify their partner channel see dramatic increases in channel sales, complexity of sales and end-customer satisfaction.

#3 — Customer Training Academy

Over the last few years customer learning has evolved into a strategic marketing, sales and support tool.   If you have a product or service that requires any level of customer expertise, then you better be training your customers in a measurable way.  A learning management system branded as a “customer academy” is used as the backbone of the customer learning system delivering eLearning, tutorials, videos and social learning that can be created once and reused countless times.

Knowing if your customers have been trained or not gives you the power to measure the return on your investment by comparing their buying and use behavior.  Organizations with formal customer learning programs enjoy higher customer satisfaction rate, decrease in support calls, increase in customer renewal rates, upsells and cross sells.

#5 — Continuing Education and For-Profit Training

Many professional jobs such as accountants, architects, dentists, doctors, nurses and teachers to zoologists are required to take a certain amount of professional development training every year.  The amount of training is usually expressed in credit hours and varies by professional and geographic location but 20-50 hours/year is common.   Many types of organizations compete to provide continuing education content and certification to these professionals including associations, training providers and universities.  The ability to attract professionals, sell them content, provide them value and have them come back next year is vital to success, stability and longevity of any organization providing training.

The professional continuing education industry is huge.  For example, the healthcare continuing education industry is centrally accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education,  In 2013, CME providers conducted over one million hours of CME instruction to 24,000,000 healthcare professionals.

#2 — Dealer/Franchise Onboarding and New Product Rollout

While channel partners can represent many organizations, dealers and franchises usually only represent one.   Automobile manufacturers, gasoline service stations, restaurant and hotel chains, car rental agencies and beauty aid organizations all sell exclusive dealer or franchise rights to independent partners usually limited to a geographic area.  These partners pay a hefty initial fee and ongoing royalty for the proven business model, brand recognition, marketing, defined products and training to make them successful.

Most dealers and franchisers provide training and certification to their franchisees for every job role from owner to maintenance in a prepackaged LMS, content and performance support learning environment.

#4 — Contract Workforce Compliance

In the oil and gas, transportation, large scale construction industries and even retail, many workers are independent contractors.  The regulatory compliance nature of these industries and positions require employers to be incredibly diligent in training contractors and ensuring their training or regulatory certifications are current.

An extended enterprise LMS allows contracting organizations to deliver compliance mobile enabled content and verify compliance adherence.  Using APIs these organizations integrate contractor ID card readers, building entry access, starting of vehicles or even a helicopter ride to an off shore drilling platform to real-time LMS compliance completion status records.  Compliance violations can cost lives at the worst and millions in fines at the best and can be solved with a good extended enterprise LMS.

#6 — Public Training

Governments at all levels and non-governmental agencies like the Red Cross have the mission of educating the public on a multitude of topics.  Emergency responders, families of veterans, new business owners, unemployed workers and traffic violators are all examples of the public audience that needs to be trained and it’s not always for free.  Selling courses to these audiences is common and is an amazing income generator due to the high number of users that are typically associated with public initiatives.

Historically, this training was provided by live instructors or sending out paper materials, but has migrated to the extended enterprise LMS as preferred delivery method because of low cost of distribution and the ability to measure effectiveness and change in behavior.

Conclusion

Smart organizations provide opportunities for their extended enterprise audiences to learn.   In extended enterprise learning, it is the organization’s job to attract, engage and retain learners and the only way to do that combine marketing, business and training into one measurable program.  When thoughtfully designed and delivered extended enterprise learning is measurable and will help your organization make money, save money and accelerate your pace of your business. You shouldn’t wait to get started. Your competition didn’t.

About the Author

John Leh is CEO and Lead Analyst at Talented Learning, LLC, a research and consulting organization dedicated to the advancement of extended enterprise learning.  John has 19 years of experience in the eLearning and LMS industry having served as a trusted advisor to more than 100 learning organizations.