Top 3 things a Learning Designer should consider

“We need some eLearning…how quickly can you produce it?”

Most learning designers hear those words involving a short time-scale and shudder.

Picture of an elearning designer at a desk with his head in his hands

But rather than shuddering at yet another possibly misguided request, here are three simple but powerful ways to turn tight-timescale projects into a success.

1. Be a learning designer, not an information designer

Is it your job to produce information in an attractive way? It shouldn’t be. Your job should be to work with the client and analyse what the issues are and design solutions that address those. Note: ‘solutions’ that address those, not necessarily just ‘training solutions’. To do this you need to…

2. Ask key questions

Before you take the client’s PowerPoint of existing training and dutifully turn into some eLearning that tells half the people what they already know, via an information dump, ask key questions.

Picture showing post it notes on a desk as a team analyse and collaborate on a project

Let’s take an example. A client comes to you and says:

“We need some eLearning…on preventing money laundering (…how quickly can you produce it?”)

On the left are some key questions to ask. On the right are some possible answers you might get:

Key question Client answer
“What is it you’re trying to change?”

 

 

“Making everyone aware of our money laundering policy”
“What do you want people to do differently?”

 

 

“Spot money laundering happening”
“What are they currently not doing? “ “Being aware that there are certain key indicators of money laundering to look out for”

 

“Is there anything else they need to do?” “They also need to report key indicators of money laundering to the right people”

When you’ve asked your key questions and got your answers, it’s time for:

3. Not having a hammer as your only tool

There’s a saying that if your only tool is a hammer you’ll see everything as a nail. This is true for eLearning. There’s no need for every solution to be what we see all too often: screen after screen of text, with a graphic alongside, may be with a few things to click on along the way.

Superhero man with tool box comic book pop art retro style vector illustration. Comic book imitation

We can take our questions and answers above, and design an appropriate solution. For example, below, we’ve put our client’s answers from the right above, on the left. Then on the right is our first thoughts on a solution. And again note ‘solution’, not necessarily ‘training solution’.

Key question Solution
“Making everyone aware of our money laundering policy” Send an email with a link to the policy with a message saying:

“Read this policy and comply with its rules.”

Who’s read this can be tracked just as well as any eLearning.

 

“Spot money laundering happening” Work with a Subject Matter Expert to create some videos that show real people in transactions and see if users can state which ones may be money laundering. If they can’t, some feedback can explain further.

 

“Being aware that there are certain key indicators of money laundering to look out for”

 

Create a job aid – a list of possible ‘red flags’ of money laundering.

 

“They also need to report key indicators of money laundering to the right people” Create an eLearning simulation where the user has to report identified money launders in the correct manner. If the user is unsure how to handle the situation from the options they’re offered, or handles the situation incorrectly, they can select some information to help.

 

So we have a list of useful resources and activities above. We don’t have screen after screen of load of rules and information, a few flat examples, then a quiz for the learners on whether they can remember the information they saw ten seconds ago – and which they will forget later today.

By being a ‘learning designer’ not an ‘information designer’, asking some key questions, then not having a hammer as our only tool when considering the answers, we’ve helped the client identify permanent improvements.

“We need some eLearning…how quickly can you produce it?”

What are you going to say?

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One response to “Top 3 things a Learning Designer should consider”

  1. Pamela Baker says :

    I like the key questions and answers. I am always thinking to myself, “What does that look like?” This was very helpful.

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