Planning a Learning Needs Analysis

Objectives

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Explain why learning needs must be identified for project teams and business users
  • Structure a learning needs analysis

Learning Needs Analysis for Project Team and Users

An essential component of enablement success is the ability to effectively analyze the learning needs and requirements of distinct groups. Learning needs analysis (LNA) is a methodical process that aims to identify areas of required knowledge and skill gaps of intended audiences, such as project team members and business users.

This analysis provides a comprehensive definition of the specific enablement content that is necessary for each target group. It includes appropriate delivery methods, good timing for delivery, and the level of effort required for achieving desired outcomes.

To identify the different target groups' needs and their required knowledge level, explore the following figure.

For an SAP implementation, your main focus is on two target groups:

  • The IT team and project team who need enablement at an early stage of the project, to ensure that project team members can contribute effectively to the design, configuration, and implementation of the solution.
  • The users who require enablement tailored to their specific role in the business/organization.

Learning Needs Analysis Guidelines

Learning Needs Analysis (LNA) Project Team

The LNA for project team defines the learning needs of the IT and project team. It identifies standard courses from the SAP curriculum that are relevant for the SAP project or program team roles and workstreams.

The LNA for project team proposes learning paths for SAP roles in the different functional project streams. The paths are based on the project’s goals and overall scope.

To identify the needs, carry out activities to determine:

  • Enablement required for each defined project workstream, aligned to the project scope
  • Skills needed by the SAP project team to support business improvement activities, for example, development, configuration and administrative activities
  • Relevant standard SAP courses, either online learning, virtual classroom, or traditional classroom, or customer-specific training tailored to your needs and delivered by SAP
  • Suggested enablement areas for each role, fulfilling the full project scope, for example, soft skills or project methodology skills.

To complete the LNA for project teams, follow these guidelines:

A structured LNA for project teams has three stages:

  1. Initial assessment and interview setup:

    Start with the identification of the project scope and the relevant stakeholders that you must interview, for example, workstream leads or subject matter experts. Split your interviews by project workstream, that is, the setup of the overall project, for example, finance, manufacturing, sales, and procurement.

    To understand the requirements of the team, interview all individual workstream leads and the overall project manager.

  2. Interview:

    The LNA interviews are for identifying the IT/project team’s knowledge requirements and skill gaps. Map these findings to standard SAP curriculum offerings and individual project requirements.

    As the enablement lead, answer the following critical questions:

    • What functional modules will be implemented?
    • What business goals must we achieve?
    • Who must be trained?
    • What must individuals learn?
    • To fulfill the project role (for example to configuration level), what is the level of required learning?
    • What is the priority order of the learning topics?
  3. LNA report:

    Once the interviews are complete, summarize the results in a report. The report details the learning journey for each work stream or individual role. It lists the different courses, learning methods, and the time required to complete the learning. In the report, include the following enablement recommendations:

    • Technical knowledge
    • Implementation methodology knowledge, for example, SAP Activate
    • Project management and change-management methodology knowledge

The outcome of the LNA for a project team is a course list and, ultimately, the delivery of project team enablement.

Learning Needs Analysis (LNA) for Users

The LNA for users defines your business users' enablement needs. Once you design your solution, at the end of the exploration phase, analyze your users' learning needs.

Different to the project team LNA, focus on the identification of individual, solution specific learning needs to help your business users run their day-to-day business after go-live.

To complete the LNA for users, follow these guidelines:

A structured LNA for users has three stages:

  1. Project research:

    As the enablement lead, start by reviewing the scope of work. Analyze the results of high-level change impacts (if available from the organizational change management workstream). Analyze the solution or project documents developed in the design phase of the fit gap workshops.

    From this analysis, you can list end-to-end processes and topics to be covered.

  2. Needs identification:

    Based on the research, invite the workstream lead, business process owner, or subject matter expert per module to LNA workshops. For each end-to-end process on process/process step level, discuss the 'why', 'what', and 'how to' learning needs. In these workshops, you can map learning topics to specific roles.

    At this stage, consider the following elements:

    • System navigation training
    • Included business processes changes
    • Transactional skills
    • Best practices and workflows
    • Key communication messages included in learning events
  3. Create a list of learning assets and methods:

    Once you identify the learning topics, to understand the complexity of each process or topic, consult the workstreams. Assign the enablement content type you plan to create for each process or topic, for example, simulation recordings, e-learning, exercises, user guides, and quizzes.

    For lower complexity and lower priority topics, a communication written by the project team (organizational change management) can be enough.

    Once you have an idea of the amount of content to create, you can estimate durations for each course or learning event.

    Also, assign delivery methods to each process or topic, for example, a virtual classroom or traditional classroom training, an in-application help, e-learning, and video tutorials.

    SAP Learning recommends using a "push and pull" method for the LNA for users:

    • "Push": Analyzing the learning interventions that are formally delivered to learners
    • "Pull": The enablement content and support accessed by learners at a time of need in their work flow

    The following example shows you how to classify learning needs and determine the right learning methods.

  4. Create learning journeys:

    You now have a course list with the following items: all courses or learning events, the method of delivery, intended roles, and, for each learning event, estimated duration. From this list, you can create a learning journey for each business role or group, list each learning event or course, and assign the priority order for each learning event. Consider what learning events must be completed before go-live and which topics have a lower priority and can be delivered after go-live.

    Note
    If your organization is regulated, make sure that any mandatory training requirements are detailed in the LNA.
  5. Business review:

    To review with work stream leads and key business stakeholders (for example, senior managers and department leads), create a high-level report or presentation that summarizes your LNA findings and the completed list of learning assets.

  6. Learning content effort calculation:

    Before starting enablement content development, it's important for your stakeholders to sign off on the LNA. Signing off ensures everyone is in agreement before detailed development work starts. Once the content development effort is known, a structured development plan can be created.

To recap this discussion, play the following video. Consider why LNA is essential for the success of your overall SAP project.

SAP Learning recommends you share the outcome of your LNA work with your project sponsor, project manager, and workstream leads you worked with during the LNA process. Also, share the outcome with affected business stakeholders. Make sure you discuss the implications of the LNA results and make those stakeholders aware of related resource and budget requirements.

Now, It´s Your Turn!

Take 5 minutes to think about what you need to consider when planning learning needs analysis for project team and users in your project context.

  • What stakeholder expectations do you need to consider when planning the learning needs analysis?
  • How do you plan to manage the stakeholder expectations?

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