Recently we partnered with a significant Australian retailer to help transition their frontline staff from face to face learning to learning online. This blog looks at how we were able to solve their learning challenge by successfully utilising Capability Group’s learning design principles to provide effective blended learning solutions. Further, we unpack our approach to blended learning and how we were able to embed behaviour change throughout their frontline staff through on the job learning
The problem this retailer had was that they lacked a formalised methodology to create learning solutions. There is a very talented team of individuals who, by and large, operate as individuals: not everyone is speaking the same learning design language and following the same processes. This meant that when it came to translating physical training to the digital landscape achieving alignment was difficult.
It also raised many questions:
• How do we measure the impact of online learning? • What media should we use to deliver pieces of learning? • Can we make it a social experience? • What content works best where?
The digital design solution
There are a myriad of considerations when creating a blended learning solution, and without clear learning design principles, the digital learning sphere is complex and overwhelming. Happily, we were brought in to take the team through our process to a digital design solution – one that has been tried, tested, updated, and adapted to deliver quality to a variety of clients across the globe.
Step 1 – Purpose
After discussing the importance of learning design principles, walking through our own at Capability Group Ltd, the first step in designing a blended learning solution is to get very clear on what you want the training to do, and how you want to do it. This means a clear purpose statement that describes the intended impact and outcome of the training – no more than a sentence – that we can use to home in on essential skills, knowledge, and behaviour in our training.
This alignment is important because we can use it to assess the effectiveness of our blended learning solution.
Step 2 – The PEAR model – Instructional Design Principals
We then break down the key skills, knowledge, and behaviours into specific learning objectives. These objectives form the foundation of the next piece of the blended learning puzzle: the PEAR plan. Pear stands for:
It is the structure we adopt to deliver engaging learning to people using a variety of methods and media. It aligns to current thinking about how people learn and helps us look for opportunities to create engaging learning experiences.
We use it to look for opportunities to:
• Flip learning out for participants to complete ahead of face-to-face virtual sessions so the focus of the session can be on exploring ideas, not pushing content. • Plan ways for people to apply pieces of learning on the job, contextualising it and helping them develop the intended skills, knowledge, and behaviour from the training. • Look at reinforcement methods that embed learning.
This approach works at a high level, to map out the intended impact of a wider piece of training, and at a modular level to plan in greater detail the specifics of the learning. At each level, we need to explore
• Who our learners are • The learning to cover • The logistics to ensure that we have a detailed understanding of our learners needs and limitations.
Step 3 – Methods and Media
Only once we’ve planned where and how we want learning to occur according to the PEAR plan do we look at the methods, then media of a blended learning solution. Methods for delivery cover things like; is this an individual activity or group focused? Synchronous or Asynchronous? Typically, learning that occurs in the Prepare section of the PEAR plan, individual and asynchronous, meaning that people can do it by themselves whenever they want ahead of the main session.
Part of this step involves deciding on the media to use, and this is a complicated beast. For this particular client there were two key issues:
• A lack of technological support for storeroom workers, who make up 80% of the workforce • A lack of technological literacy.
In considering a blended solution we have to be very careful not to select media types that are going to be inaccessible to our core training demographic. In a nutshell, the learners will impact the range of media options you have when it comes to creating a blended learning solution.
The range of options can be from books and articles to complex VR simulations – but by this stage of the design process, the selection of media is much more straightforward compared to if we tried to start with this decision due to the refinement of content and understanding of our learning and learners.
Following our methodology and using our guides and templates has been beneficial to our customers implementation of blended learning solutions. If you are interested in developing online learning that has impact and drives engagement from diverse learners, get in touch with the team at @CapabilityGroup
As much of Australia and New Zealand is in the midst of further lockdowns we find ourselves again forced into a remote working environment. One that we are more familiar with and more equipped for than in our first experience in March 2020.