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Learning Solutions 2012: A High-Five

A few of us on Team Maestro took a sunny excursion to Orlando for eLearning Guild’s Learning Solutions Conference, hereafter to be affectionately referred to as LSCon. What a great show for anyone looking to step up their training game and find ways to make learning fun, effective and meaningful for an organization.

Amidst all the keynotes, breakout sessions, booth discussions, etc. We took away five things that every learner-focused trainer should know and do. These are big; and while some of them may seem like no-brainers, the fact is that they are simply not all being practiced in many organizations. So today I’m listing five important eLearning principles shared at LSCon. Then come back tomorrow when I’ll post about five training blunders NOT to make in your company’s training. I lovingly refer to them as the high-five and the low-five.

The High-Five 1. Base your content design approach almost completely, if not 100% on your learner. It’s no secret that people absorb information differently. Make sure that your content is structured in a way that is best for your audience. My wife inhaled The Hunger Games books in about eight days. Not me. I will see the movies. We enjoy learning differently and that’s okay. Make sure you understand your audience well enough to know their learning styles and that you adapt your content design to fit what will work best for them.

2. For a memorable learning experience, engage the senses. Roller coasters are pretty unforgettable because they engage your senses. You see the big drop, feel the lack of gravity, touch the air (or the safety bar, depending on your preference), hear the screams, and your nose… well it is nearly suffocated by 70 MPH winds coming right at your face. The same goes for learning. The more senses you engage within the learner, the better they will comprehend and retain the material.

3. New platforms require new strategy. For example, mobile Mobile is exciting and new. Its ability to envelop a user for hours at a time without an ounce of boredom is a borderline miracle. So does it make sense for companies to assume that this heaven-sent platform should be treated like textbooks, ILT or even laptops? No, it doesn’t. Take time to think about the stories, experiences and lessons learned in training and how they will be delivered to the learner. Is there a way to make them even more engaging on a mobile device? Oftentimes the answer is yes.

4. If your training is focused on the learner, shouldn’t the learner have a say in the training? Some trainers seem to think they know exactly what the learners need to know and how they need to learn it. I know my little boy needs to be smart and healthy, but shouldn’t it be his choice whether he plays the trumpet or the piano, soccer or football, apples or oranges? Talk to your learners about how they want to be trained. They will feel they are being heard and, in turn, have respect for the content you create for them.

5. If your learner is talking, it’s best to listen. I know of a company that deals with highly confidential communication technology. The training department deals solely with safety and compliance. All technical training is done in teams of five or six. In those teams, three or four experienced engineers will teach, instruct and mentor one or two junior scientists. They will verbally coach them on how to perform different tasks, record findings, and develop new data. These teams will stay together for four, six, sometimes eight years. Guess how low the turn-over rate is in the company? Low. Guess how many employees feel they are making a difference in the growth of the organization? All of them. Social learning, in any form, should not be ignored, it should be fostered.

Stay tuned for the Low-Five, coming tomorrow.

Tagg Petersen

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