A brilliantly crafted learning and development experience can take many forms. They all have one thing in common - some core design principles that underpin everything. Great learning and Development takes many forms - workshops, roadshows, executive team coaching, e-learning (yes... there is SOME great e-learning out there), app based learning, film, activity, team events, virtual reality... just some examples of the types of intervention that Learning specialists choose as a tool to engage their people.
We love them all and we've seen some brilliant examples and we've seen some that the creator should be ashamed of.
Here are some simple design steps that will make your intervention brilliant:
Step One - Know your audience
Sounds obvious, but it's easy to forget who is going to experience your learning artistry. If you design with anyone other than the learner in mind then it's not going to hit the mark. You will have wasted your time and your money.
It can be easy to miss audience when you have your own agenda, your own mission and you think your way is best. We all know that sort of learning 'specialist' - I call them the ring binder brigade. I've met them at exhibitions - they normally go round in groups and don't seem that open to thinking outside of their own box because they've already decided who will tell them what they want to hear. They probably won't be visiting us now...
Think about how best to craft the intervention. Which tools, models, approaches and activities will make this stand out AND effective. How will you engage your audience? When we design we use a number of techniques to engage and embed learning. Cognitive psychology really helps here. Once you understand what triggers certain responses in our brain you can harness them to bring your learning to life. One of those is Howard Gardner's theory of Nine Intelligences. You can read more about them here.
We believe in human connection so all of our learning focuses on achieving that. We work in the people development arena and think there is more value in facilitated experiences so tend to lean towards those. Each framework we create will start with its purpose. Once that's 'in the bag' we know exactly where we are going. It makes sense really - if learners are bought into thee reason they are learning then they will be more invested in the outcome.
Step Two: Rivers flow towards the sea
Inexcusably it's taken me far to long to get some weird training pun into a blog. Rivers to indeed flow towards the sea, and what might start as a tiny spring, grows in depth and power as it reaches it's destination. Great learning is the same. There are key messages that are sewn throughout any great learning programme and they build in strength as the experience progresses. Eventually the learning cascades into the workplace (lie rivers flow into the sea...) so that's what you are always working towards.
Step Three: Tell me a story
Don't just tell me what I need to know. Let me hear a story, let me discover it for myself and I will remember it for longer. Storytelling is an art form and is grossly underused in learning. Great facilitators capture participant stories and unleash the messages. This article from Harvard Business Review captures why storytelling is so powerful for learning. Sharing an actual instance of the learning enables participants to see the relevance to their role as it provides context. We all remember great stories from our childhood - stories in the training environment have the same superpower.
Step Four: Check I got it...
Any good session has built in retention tools. Checking understanding, applying context and setting up for knowledge transfer from the training environment to the workplace. Measurement is key here too - what does a successful outcome actually look like for you? How does it support your business objectives and goals.
Great design is the key to brilliant training. Then add in some gorgeous creative learning tools and some of the most talented facilitators in the world and you have Acceler8 Training at it's very best. If you're not one of the ring binder brigade and open to engaging ways to develop your people - get in touch!