Delivering value in the learning process is arguably the most important component of a leadership development program and to do so is simple: it starts with viewing learning opportunities and experiences from the lens of those consuming the content. In our 30 years of experience in the human capital management industry, CCI stands out in many ways, but what sets us apart is dedicating our time to discovery by exploring the perspective of our learners, and crafting meaningful & engaging talent development opportunities to support them.
Learner experience mapping is one way CCI ensures value is delivered in the learning process. This involves delivering rich, personalized experiences rather than providing a generic, one-size-fits-all approach. To do this requires taking the time to map the path of employees’ experiences—from recognizing learning needs to actual learning and beyond. In an online realm, for instance, experience mapping is vital to helping the learner understand how all elements of the training will fit together during a webinar. No matter what the platform, this process becomes especially vital in our current climate of diversity in content, media, materials, and digital interaction. To provide corporate audiences richer value for their learning, focus must be shifted from an instructional design perspective to an experiential one.
Before the process of customizing content to the needs of the organization and its staff can take place, focus must be turned to the pedagogical model on which the training is created; this determines the success of the learning endeavor. Consider: your content may be pristine, engaging, and on-the-mark, but if the delivery is lost on its audience, or if the delivery is in a mode not appreciated by the learners, how much, in fact, are they really retaining? Do not let delivery get in the way.
The European Centre for Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop) found that pedagogical models most preferred by learners are as follows: Blended learning (34%), supported self-study (31%), collaborative learning (20%), virtual classrooms (10%) and telelearning (5%). Blended learning, a newly popular and most preferred method, involves combining online digital media with traditional classroom methods. What does this look like? This might be in the form of assigning training participants an online learning module on the subject of conflict to set the stage for an upcoming session on Approaching Conflict Head-On, or having staff routinely watch videos online to learn about new products and services relative to their industry. Blended learning affords flexibility over how, when, and where to train employees, and incorporates a variety of learning approaches to stimulate interest and increase engagement.
Once a pedagogical model is decided upon, crafting of the training content paves the way for time and attention spent on interactive learning—a most critical piece to affording a meaningful experience. Research shows that the benefits of interactive learning are far reaching: one aspect is because it involves reactive learning, in which the learner needs to consider and deal with a scenario presented to them and then react in real time. In a corporate environment, practicing real-life, work-related scenarios affords a customized and relevant approach, which also increases buy-in. If it pertains to you, there is a very good chance that you will listen and remember. Further, interactive learning promotes engagement and reflection, thus allowing for the incorporation of content & strategies into one’s own thinking process. Real-time feedback is another great benefit of interactive learning because when employees participate in a learning simulation, they can make decisions and see the outcomes of those decisions immediately.
Learner experience mapping, including the selection of an appropriate & relevant pedagogical model and the content specific to the needs of your learners, is part of the process that organizations must sit with to obtain an end-product that truly matters to the consumer. Organizations that take the time to understand who their learners are and the roles they play within their own organizations, while simultaneously recognizing appropriate timelines associated with engaging learning opportunities, are well equipped to provide more fulfilling & rewarding learning experiences. And with this knowledge comes responsibility; we should not be giving any less.
Christina Loffredo, M.Ed.
Instructional Designer and Training Consultant