What are the main points to consider when it comes to Learning Design?
In this first article of our 2-part series, CrossKnowledge Learning Technology Consultant Lieve Van den Bosch will explain the basics that need to be considered when designing an effective learning experience. Planning is important, and should be your first step in the process. If you don’t fully understand your learning needs, you won’t be able to design an experience that meets those needs.
Let’s get started with Lieve’s expert advice!
Learning Design Essential #1: Identify your learner personas
Learners are not one-size-fits-all, and training shouldn’t be either. In order to deliver the right training to your learners, you have to really know them. You must assess their role in the organization, current skill level, previous learning activities, learning goals, and what motivates them to learn (i.e. career advancement). Think about how they will connect to the platform (i.e. mobile, shared computer), as this could impact their learning experience.
Learning Design Essential #2: Set objectives for individual learners and the organization
Start with your organizational goals, and then work backward to identify department goals, team goals and individual goals. For instance, if a company’s main goal is to improve its sales numbers, it needs to determine the relevant skills that teams and individuals need to learn in order to meet this objective. This could include training on new technological tools to aid virtual selling, accessing content created with the help of product trainers, and critical soft skills like active listening.
Expert Tip: Don’t forget to take into account your corporate learning culture and values!
Learning Design Essential #3: Target the right skill
Once you’ve identified the learner’s needs and set your goals, you can easily pinpoint the exact skill that the training should help the learner develop. How does the skill support the business objectives organization, or the learner’s professional or personal development? Finally, you must determine what is the appropriate level of difficulty that will challenge the learner and keep them stimulated throughout the training.
Learning Design Essential #4: Ask how the learning program fits into the overall hierarchy
Look at your company’s competency framework and organizational structure. Think about how this particular course fits in with the other training that the learner has already taken and will be expected to take in the future. The path towards personal or professional development should follow a logical progression that makes sense to the learner. It should also build on previous knowledge towards set goals.
Expert Tip: Try to find the right balance between hard skills (technical knowledge) and soft skills (behavioral change) for a well-rounded learning strategy.
Learning Design Essential #5: Reinforce learning to avoid the dreaded “forgetting curve”
How will you make sure the learner doesn’t forget what they’ve learned? Effective methods to repeat and reinforce learning can include the introduction of an emotional aspect to the training (i.e. storytelling methods). Presenting information in different ways and formats is another idea. Then add activities to encourage reinforcement, like quizzes. Immediate practical application in real-world scenarios is another great way to help make the learning stick after the course.
Expert Tip: New skills are easier to learn and remember when they’re added to existing skills!
Putting it all together
Once you’ve addressed these essential issues, it’s time to determine the formats and other design elements you’ll use to deliver learning. Will you create your own content or source it from a third party? Or perhaps you’ll do a mix of both! What formats will you use (video, written, audio, social, etc.)? Think creatively. Don’t be afraid to try different combinations of formats to keep things interesting.
Finally, when it comes to design thinking, always try to put yourself in the learner’s shoes. Understand your learner and be curious. Interview them without judgment and shadow them in their work environment to understand their daily activities. Speak to their manager to discover more about the team dynamic and how much time the individual can dedicate to learning. Once you know your learner, you can create a learning experience that addresses their individual needs and your organizational goals.
Check out Part 2 of this series, which addresses learning technology and how this can affect your designs!
Lieve Van den Bosch is a learning technology consultant at Crossknowledge. Her role is to help organizations implement the CKLS software and start building learning experiences. Lieve is passionate about creating impactful learning experiences that help learners acquire new skills to grow both professionally and as a person.