Developing a Communication Plan for Canvas Credentials


Throughout this blog series, we have discussed how the Instructure Success Model forms the center of our consulting approach. This month, we will discuss the importance of communication planning and offer some suggestions on crafting messages that can foster the desire for change among various groups.

What is a Communication Plan and Why Do I Need One?

Whether you’re creating a credentialing program from the ground up or switching from another platform to Canvas Credentials, it’s likely that at least some changes will take place at your organization as a result of this rollout. While change may be common in organizations, it isn’t always easy for everyone. A communication plan is a strategy for explaining these changes and creating partnerships in fostering the change. Establishing a communication plan includes the following:

  • Identifying audiences
  • Developing key messages and timing
  • Determining content
  • Determining delivery method, sender, timing, and frequency

An intentional communication plan does much more than simply notify stakeholders of a change; it also helps spread your vision, define the “why,” assuage concerns, and create partnerships to drive the change.

Components of a Communication Plan

The first step in creating a Communication Plan is to identify audience(s). Who are the potential stakeholders in this project? How will this program affect each group? Begin by listing your groups. Some audiences might include: 

  • Faculty (as a whole or in a particular department or role)
  • Staff (as a whole or in a particular department or role)
  • Administrators
  • Students
  • Community Partners 

After you have identified your audiences, begin drafting your key messages for each one. Consider how you would answer these questions for each group:

  • Why are we adopting Credentials?
  • Why now?
  • How does Credentials benefit this particular audience?
  • What will this audience need to do differently after we launch our credentialing program?

While your answers for the first two questions may be similar across all audiences, the last two questions will likely vary. After you have answered these questions, use your answers to draft a key message for each audience. 

Once we have some content to communicate to our audiences, we can consider the method of communication, sender, timing, and frequency. For each audience group, consider:

  • How will you deploy your key messages? Depending on the audience, different communication methods might be appropriate, and they may be launched at different times. Emails, displays or flyers, social media, videos, and discussions (1-on-1 or in a meeting) are some methods our customers have leveraged.
  • Who should send each type of message? Will all communication come from a central credentials team, or will you take a tiered approach to communication, where you allow stakeholders to help communicate the changes to others?
  • When do they need to be notified? Generally speaking, the more changes in process that exist, the more notice a group should have.
  • How frequent will these communications be? When you send a key message in multiple ways/types to the same audience, it is more likely to reach them.

Use your answers to these questions and add them to your key messages for each group. You should now have a key message, method, sender, timing, and frequency for each audience group.

We know change can be difficult! Our consultants can work with you to develop a personalized communication plan that suits your audience. Reach out to your Customer Success Manager for more details on our consulting services.

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