Getting started with…
Curious about the Cognassist implementation journey? Check out this diary from Eastleigh College!
Week commencing 25th January
We were reaching the end of the sales process so it was the right time to hold our launch meeting with both George, our Cognassist Business Development Manager, and Kat, our Customer Success Manager. We used the launch meeting to kick off our internal implementation.
During the meeting, Kat asked us to share our key objectives for our Cognassist partnership. We are focused on providing a highly supportive learning experience that ultimately helps both our staff and learners to feel confident in everything they do. We worked with Kat to build this focus on confidence into the implementation plan.
We then went on to discuss implementation from a tutor point of view. We used a cascade communication process where we discussed Cognassist with curriculum managers who then passed the information onto tutors during their one to ones.
Next, we arranged training dates for our staff. We were very aware that tutor training is a vital part of successful implementation and overall partnership, so we were keen to get these sessions booked into calendars in good time.
We also confirmed a date for our implementation meeting with Kat. The implementation meeting is a chance to bring all stakeholders together to discuss how Cognassist will work alongside our current practices and policies.
W/C 8th February
This week we had our implementation meeting with Kat. Through some diary wizardry, all relevant stakeholders were attended and I think this will have a great impact on our implementation in the long run.
In attendance we had:
- MIS lead,
- executive sponsor (responsible for the overall success of the Cognassist project),-
- IT lead,
- members of the admin team, such as finance
During the implementation, we worked with Kat to create a timeline for each of the steps requiring completion for a successful ‘Go Live’:
- All staff to complete training
- Introduction of Cognassist for stakeholders
- Learner upload to Cognassist system
We also designed an As Is/To Be flow chart, which designed how Cognassist best practice requirements will fit into our current inhouse processes.
We left this meeting with a list of actions with owners and timeframes clearly defined.
Following this meeting, we continued with change management on a wider scale – uploading the Cognassist Welcome Pack for Tutors and Apprenticeship Officers on our central system. We promoted this pack through a training session and a follow up email.
W/C 15th February
This week we completed our training register which includes:
- Job role
- Manager (if a tutor)
- Level of system access required
and sent this back to Cognassist ahead of the training sessions due to take place the following week. This gave our team ample time to complete the tasks:
- Create an account
- Complete the assessment
which were sent by Cognassist prior to the training. We spent time checking that all relevant staff were signed up for the training and had it booked in their calendars.
Also, this week our IT lead booked time with Cognassist’s Product lead to discuss setting up an API between our internal system and the Cognassist platform. Long term, this will save us lots of admin and time! I would definitely recommend doing this.
W/C 22nd February
This week we completed our training sessions, which all went successfully with lots of positive feedback from tutors. We also started the process of completing our bulk learner upload which will allow us to upload all apprentices to the Cognassist platform in time for our Go Live on the 5th of March.
This preparation includes gathering:
- Date of birth
- Email address
- Client ref
- Programme level
- Tutor email
- Mobile number
- End date
- Funded or not
Internally, we’re including a link to the Tutor Welcome Pack in our weekly briefing so that all Tutors and Apprenticeship Officers have access to supporting resources in time for Go Live.
We’ll also be briefing our apprentices on Cognassist and what it means for them this week. As I mentioned before, we really want to make sure our apprentices feel confident with their learning so it was important for us to build in a lot of communication with the learners.
Cognassist have provided a learner warmer email template which we will circulate to all apprentices ahead of the 5th March. This will be key so that when the Cognassist assessment invite arrives in their inbox, they understand the importance of this exercise and are ready to go.
Finally, we’re taking time at this point to think about how we can support our Tutors and Apprenticeship Officers to achieve great apprentice engagement with Cognassist. We’ll be considering KPIs and potentially building monthly Cognassist catch ups into the job roles for these team members.
We had a quick catch up with Kat to make sure that the action log created as part of our project plan is on track.
W/C 1st March
Go Live Week!
This week Cognassist uploaded our learners to the platform and sent out the assessment invitations. This was an excitement moment for us, with around 200 learners kicking off their Cognassist journey.
We monitored assessment completion rates over the weekend with great anticipation! We used the Engagement Report provided by Cognassist to keep track, and watched the figures rise.
On Thursday, we completed our Week 1 Review with Kat. Sam, our MIS lead attended. It’s so valuable to have your MIS team involved in every stage, as they’re so close to the data. In fact, it’s Cognassist best practice to invite them to every catch up.
Like us, Kat had been monitoring our first week closely. Together, we discussed strategies for increasing assessment completion rate, and discussed the potential of a mini relaunch for our learners, once the hubbub around the return to College following remote learning has settled down.
We also agreed to encourage our matched learners to complete a strategy this week. We have a monthly target of 80% engagement, so that we can be sure as many of our matched learners are accessing the support they deserve regularly.
From here, we’ll be meeting with Kat every 2 weeks until our first Quarterly Business Review in 3 months’ time. At the QBR (which will be attended by myself, our Executive Sponsor and MIS lead), we’ll review our project against the targets set during implementation. We’re using the QBR as our goal to have Cognassist fully embedded in our internal practices within 3 months.
We also have the chance to feedback to Cognassist on how we’ve found our implementation during a session with Head of Customer Success, Rebecca Fenlon.
For now, we’re excited to hear how our learners have found their initial experiences and will be chatting to learners about this soon – we’re excited to be up and running, and can’t wait to watch our results sky rocket from here.
SENCo, Eastleigh College