Throughout the research process, we realized that long lessons made it challenging for learners to complete the entire course without getting discouraged. To make the experience more inviting, we broke lessons into “bite-size pieces” with “sections.” These sections acted as page breaks, showing only small parts of the lesson at a time.
We broke down lessons into individual sections or modules to make the experience less daunting for learners, but still allowed lesson creators the convenience and efficiency of creating one lesson covering multiple topics.
Another issue we faced was the lack of clarity in the user’s sense of place. This made it challenging for learners to know where they were, resulting in confusion and frustration. To tackle this problem, we made the table of contents for lessons more clear, added “wayfinding” text to our lesson information bar, section labels to the lesson header, and clarified the back button. Not only did we add text to the back arrow that helped users understand where they would go when they clicked on it (“back to lesson,” “go to course”) but we also changed the back stack so that if you were in a piece of required content, hitting back would take you back to the lesson. If you were in a lesson, hitting back would take you back to the course. This concluded the last large architecture decision for the product.
During testing, we found a total of 231 fit & finish bugs that needed to be addressed. I drove the process that allowed us to prioritize which bugs should be worked on first, based on their priority, status, and whether they needed a group discussion before moving forward.
Overall, while the process was challenging, I learned a lot and was able to create a product that would be usable, useful, and engaging to our users.
07. Results & What’s Next
We created experiences for two different personas: learners enrolling and taking training materials, and instructors that created and managed them. Building this product on top of Highspot’s core CMS product led to complexities around permissions and capabilities but it was worth it as a competitive differentiator. The product was a success, and 1.5 years after its release to GA, it contributed to 20%+ of Highspot’s revenue. And our customers were engaged: 2 years after its launch, 63% of Training and Coaching licenses were engaged; >10% of licenses had enrolled in a course within the past 30 days.
There was more work to be done, but we had a foundation to build on. One of the first fast-follow features we added was the ability for learners to use the product on mobile devices. In the following months, we added the ability to import SCORM lessons (a common format for learning materials), added pass/fail statuses to courses, the ability to reset lessons that you didn’t pass, and added a new role – course managers – that could review submissions for their direct reports.
This was a good baseline for the training product and we accomplished a lot through a messy process. I learned a lot about how to move fast by having a clear process. I also learned that it’s hard to move fast if everyone is not on the same page or doesn’t have the same vision to move toward. In the future, I would have insisted on more time and documentation in the discovery phase to help us have a clear picture of where we were headed – and why. Principles and success metrics should also have been created at the beginning rather than along the way.
Creating the Training and Coaching product was a challenging yet exciting accomplishment. It was a significant milestone for our team and for Highspot, and it was worth the effort. I am proud of what we achieved in just 10 months!