Technology Evaluation Checklist for Learning Professionals (Free Download)

Assessing New Technology

We are living in the digital revolution and, much like the industrial revolution, progress is truly exponential. We hear about a new smartphone, new app or new technology every single day. With so many new technologies on the market, how do you sort through the irrelevant and the junk? There are some amazing things out there you could be missing… but other “technologies” just turn out to be a waste of time. That’s where the Technology Evaluation Checklist comes into play.

Why do we have a checklist?

Bottom-Line Performance President Sharon Boller developed the Technology Evaluation Checklist to help the company make smarter technology adoption decisions. Lots of new tech sounds exciting… but all that glitters isn’t gold. We needed a way to objectively evaluate technologies and separate the good from the bad. After having some success using the checklist internally, Sharon presented on evaluating technologies with the checklist to the Central Indiana chapter of ATD… and the response was positive. It turns out others were looking for a tool to evaluate new technologies, just like we were.

Technology Evaluation Process

Technology Evaluation

Scan: The process starts with scanning for technologies that are even relevant. Make sure you’re connected with blogs, social networks, colleagues, conferences, etc. to see what’s hot or making people curious. You should also follow thought-leaders to see where their energy and discussions are focused. From what you gather, pay attention to the tech that relates to things you do most.

Focus: It’s still about need. You need to be concerned with specifically aligning new technologies with needs you have. Just because everyone is buzzing about a hot new app, that doesn’t mean it’s right for your organization. If you don’t have a need for it, it’s just a waste of time and effort. You need to match hot technologies to your needs, efforts, or emerging issues. Don’t try to focus on everything at once. Note: Find a tool to help you track what you’re focusing on—Evernote, Pocket, or a shared writeboard of some kind. Make sure everyone is on the same page.

Evaluate: Once your you have established your focus, you can do a deeper dive on relevant technologies. Start researching pricing options and sign up for free trials if possible. This is the primary stage for using the checklist. Here is where you consider the costs, risks, gains, etc. Make sure to talk with your colleagues when evaluating. Much like when you’re playtesting a game, a fresh new perspective can help you catch things you may have missed.

Decide: Based on your evaluation you can decide to implement the new technology, ignore it, or monitor it for possible re-evaluation later—maybe a tool would be great for your company if you grew slightly larger in the next year or so.