In this client spotlight, see how athenahealth’s Training and Enablement team is using an internal newsletter to keep their colleagues up to date with the organization’s program data, insights, and best practices.
An Overview: athenahealth
athenahealth provides network-enabled services for healthcare and point-of-care mobile apps for a network of more than 160,000 providers and 110 million patients. athenahealth partners with hospital and ambulatory customers to drive clinical and financial results. They offer medical records, revenue cycle, patient engagement, care coordination, and population health services.
The Training and Enablement team at athenahealth is a strategic, cross-functional training team designed to influence results and productivity for varying cohorts within the Sales and Customer Success departments, throughout their entire career lifecycles at athena. Madison Kenny and David Rosenfeld from athenahealth’s Training and Enablement team are responsible for, among other things, designing learning programs and reporting on learning analytics through Watershed for their Sales and Customer Success stakeholders.
David and Madison serve multiple L&D stakeholders across the organization. Some stakeholders had already adopted Watershed by piloting advanced programs and reports, while others were just trying to wrap their heads around transitioning their programs to become xAPI-enabled. Because each team had a different level of adoption, ad hoc emails and Slack updates just didn’t seem to be the most efficient way to enable their stakeholders.
They wanted a way for their colleagues to collectively learn from each other’s projects and be inspired by what’s possible with learning analytics, even if it just meant changing one element of their program. This way, if one team piloted new functionality in Watershed, another team could learn about it, see it in action, and then decide if it would be worth implementing.
To solve this, David and Madison are now publishing a monthly internal newsletter that not only highlights things they’ve learned from data in Watershed, but also industry best practices and feature previews for Watershed users in their organization.
What does it contain?
The newsletter highlights insights from recently launched programs, important updates in Watershed, key instructional design concepts, and best practices for evaluation.
For example, here are just a few of their newsletter headlines:
- Insights from the Salesforce Lightning Enablement Rollout
- A Watershed UI Video Update
- A WebEx Attendance Reporting Breakthrough!
- There’s a Difference between KPIs, Metrics, and Benchmarks?
- The 2 Main Types of Assessment
- A Refresh on Measuring Confidence
The newsletter uses Watershed's Program report to show how people are progressing through learning milestones.
How did they do it?
To create the newsletter, David and Madison used tools already at their disposal. The newsletter was built directly in one of their eLearning authoring tools, Articulate Rise, and is hosted on their internal sales portal.
Their newsletters are full of Watershed visuals, GIFs, articles, and other engaging features to draw in their audience and effectively communicate the biggest insights learned each month. And, of course, each newsletter is tracked with xAPI, so David and Madison can use Watershed to report on newsletter engagement across their teams.
athenahealth has seen two big successes as a result of their newsletter:
- Departments are adopting successful designs and practices from one another, and
- Their users are becoming more confident and consistent when using Watershed.
This image provides an example of how Watershed shows patterns of learning that can help inform how athenahealth’s Training and Enablement team promotes training future materials.
Learning from other departments
When the newsletter showcases programs and Watershed reports from one department, others can then learn from those initiatives, work with David and Madison, and, ultimately, see their own results in the next monthly newsletter.
For example, they recently implemented a “digital check-in” link for instructor-led training sessions to make attendance tracking easier, faster, and more accurate. Initially, people were reluctant to move away from paper-based attendance systems or clunky, static Excel exports from their LMS. Once one department launched a pilot with just 8 learners and shared their success in the newsletter, everyone was able to see the benefits of the digital check-in. As a result, other departments enthusiastically volunteered to adopt the practice, and more than 260 learners have since used the digital check-in.
Using digital check-in is a significant step forward because, previously, attendance had to be uploaded to the LMS as an Excel file. This cumbersome process was often skipped, meaning data about attendance often did not exist. Now, they have the data in Watershed with much less effort and can get insights into which sessions and which learners have high or low levels of attendance.
“I know attendance tracking isn’t that far up the learning analytics totem pole,” Madison says. “But, attendance tracking is the building block to getting stakeholders comfortable with Watershed.”
But, using learning analytics is almost addictive. “Once they get attendance in Watershed, then they want all of their data in Watershed,” she continues. “Stakeholders become comfortable with our visuals and dashboards, and most important, see how much it benefits them.”
This is a familiar pattern, as we often see organizations starting with the basics of simply tracking what’s happening effectively before moving onto deeper analysis and business impact.
Learning about Watershed
The newsletters also have been useful for sharing Watershed news and functionality updates that athenahealth employees may not have been aware of.
For example, athenahealth’s Customer Success organization runs weekly briefings every Monday, when different departments are invited to share important information. It’s critical for the leaders of this organization to know who attended the briefings so they can continually evaluate the effectiveness in conveying these messages to the right people.
People were spending hours manually processing WebEx data in Excel to create attendance reports. In Watershed, the same data can be shown on reports that are set up once and show the most up-to-date data on demand. Rather than waiting for the data to be manually processed in a spreadsheet, people can instantly see the data they need.
Before the newsletter, people either didn’t know about this option or they were reluctant to try it. After the newsletter explained how these monthly reports could easily be created in Watershed, additional departments started using Watershed instead of Excel.
How to start your own newsletter
We definitely believe creating a stakeholder newsletter is something you should try for yourself. To get started, ask yourself:
- Who would be interested in receiving a learning analytics newsletter in my organization?
- How is my team currently digesting Watershed and learning analytics information?
- Do all of my stakeholders have the same level of Watershed knowledge?
- What have I recently learned from Watershed data and how does it apply to those receiving my newsletter?
- Can I set up something to share my Watershed news and successes this month? What steps will I need to take to make it happen?
We have many clients doing great things in Watershed. That’s why we like spotlighting how they’re using our tool—so you can be inspired to do great things for yourself. If you’re a Watershed client and have something you’d like us to share, please let us know!
About the author
As one of the authors of xAPI, Andrew Downes has years of expertise in data-driven learning design. With a background in instructional design and development, he’s well versed in creating learning experiences and platforms in corporate and academic environments.
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