There are four primary components in the typical Channel Partner
1) Identifying and assigning your learners
2) Creating or gathering your content
3) Delivering trackable curriculum and media to your learners—and
4) Reporting completions and statuses to stakeholders
Last time we covered what we called the “best case” situation—when you can pull learner data from an
existing database and it’s even better if someone other than you maintains that database for
terminations and new hires. Perhaps you can link to it or export the data as a one-time starting
snapshot, then maintain the learners in the new platform. Or you can automate the process by
establishing a daily data feed into the assignment function of the new Channel Partner protocol.
But how can you connect to your Channel Partner learners if you don’t have an existing database?
If your learning audience is either unknown or you can’t get advance information about them through
“back-end” means, perhaps a self-registration system can work.
A password-protected universal registration site could be set up, with a form that learners fill out,
capturing data points you need to deliver, track and report your target audience’s learning activities.
The more data elements you can build into drop-down fields, the better, to eliminate incorrect open-
field spellings, etc.
For example, if your Channel Partners are organized by region or division, you can put those regions or
divisions in dropdown entries so the new learner can just click the appropriate entry. Then you might
also be able to establish automatic reporting to the region manager or division manager who oversees
that effort, all without asking the new learner to either type a manager’s name – perhaps incorrectly –
or to even know who that manager is.
We discussed the convenience of using email addresses as unique identifiers—as a means of
communicating with learners. That’s usually the best way to go. But in some cases you might not be
able to use email addresses. For example, training for an external company’s retail employees who
don’t have company email addresses may not be allowed to be distributed via personal email addresses
for legal or HR policy reasons. For this case, there are options out there – or your internal developers
may be able to build a system—that generates non-email user names and passwords in the self-
registration process—and even outside the self-registration flow, if that’s what you need.
It’s important in the planning stages to keep in mind that you’ll need some way to manage learner data
for the purposes of assigning and reporting. That mostly means if an existing learner is terminated or
quits, your system needs to keep up. If there’s no way to know for sure who’s gone or when they leave
the group, the system could have an automatic function that disables a learner’s account after X number
of days or weeks of inactivity, sending the learner and other pertinent stakeholders an email asking if
this learner should still be active.