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How to design learning experiences that have a positive business impact

The starting point with any L&D programme is to correctly diagnose and understand the pain points in your business you want to positively impact. That allows you to design a learner journey to address those particular challenges.

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How to design learning experiences that have a positive business impact

Imagine going to your doctor and telling them that your palms are sweaty, your knees are weak and your arms are heavy. A millennial doctor might recognise the lyrics and join you in the chorus to ‘Lose Yourself’ by Eminem. A doctor who is going through the motions might advise you to get some rest, pop some pills and call them in the morning if you feel worse. A good doctor will take the time to dig deeper into your symptoms and ask probing questions to come up with the best plan of attack. It’s the same with learning and development.  

The starting point with any L&D programme is to correctly diagnose and understand the pain points in your business you want to positively impact. That allows you to design a learner journey to address those particular challenges.  

There are four key elements to designing and delivering effective learning experiences that will give you tangible, measurable feedback on how the programme impacts (or not, as the case may be) the specific aspects of business performance targeted at the beginning of the process. They are:

> Identify business pain points  

> Design the learner journey

> Analyse the data  

> Measure the impact

Identify business pain points  

What are the key pain points or problems that your learning and development needs to address? What are the key aspects of business performance that you want to positively impact?  

Once you know the answer to those two questions you can design learning experiences that identify the core knowledge gaps and key behaviours your team needs to learn and develop in order to achieve the desired outcome. In simple terms, what do your people need to know and do to solve the problems that are holding your business back.  

You need to be clear about what specific aspect of the business you want to impact and more importantly, it must be something that the business and operational managers care about. It must be an aspect of the business they are accountable for and recognise the value in changing and improving.  

If you try to push through a learning and development agenda that managers don’t support, then you've no chance of creating sustainable change. In order for change to happen, it must address a real pain point that will make managers' lives easier. Unless you identify the pain points in your organisation, you're going to get cookie cutter solutions that are not specific to your needs, or worse, are totally irrelevant and do more harm than good.

Design the learner journey

An experienced, ethical L&D provider will help clients identify the key pain points. But like our doctor in the introduction who goes through the motions, some L&D companies are happy to sell you solutions without understanding the problem.  

Sometimes the problem is not with the external provider but internally. Managers will request training in one specific area (e.g. communication) but some research into the pain points might reveal that the organisation really needs to address diversity and inclusion. It’s up to HR and your L&D practitioner to clarify what the real problem is.

At Capability Group, we deliver bespoke learning solutions targeting the impacts you want to have on the performance of your business. A learning journey can start with a baseline 360 diagnostic before the programme begins. Once you have created a learner journey and selected the technology solutions that will enable a great learner experience and allow data capture, the next step is bringing the data sources together to form a more complete picture of a programme’s impact.

Analyse the data

We regularly employ the data capture capabilities embedded within our preferred  technology platforms: Insite, Axonify, Degreed, and RevealVR (powered by Jenson8). We have carefully selected these partners and platforms for their ability to deliver scalable, immersive, and engaging learning experiences but also to provide diverse, high-quality data sets.  

When combined with an understanding of learning methodologies and programme design, they can help track individual performance, learning outcomes and the impact on teams and the organisation. It’s at this stage that correlations between seemingly disparate data sources can start to emerge, allowing organisations to create connections between multi-dimensional learning outcomes and broader personal and business performance.  

With an ever-expanding range of new learning technologies, the opportunities to collect meaningful data and better understand the impact of learning are growing. The increasing integration of learning technologies enables a shift from understanding impact to predicting performance and the continuous evolution of learning solutions.  

Measure the impact

With an ever-expanding range of new learning technologies, the opportunities to collect meaningful data and better understand the impact of learning are growing. The increasing integration of learning technologies enables a shift from understanding impact to predicting performance and the continuous evolution of learning solutions.  

Measuring the impact of the programme is also important to help providers iterate and improve the content and delivery.

“Our programmes are very agile and adaptable,” says Drew McGuire of Capability Group. “We listen to the participants. You need to know if the experience you have designed is landing in the way you thought it would. This goes beyond feedback about whether our workshops are any good or not. We want to identify as quickly and early as possible when things aren't working as well as they should so we can adapt the experience in real time to ensure we optimise the opportunity for impact.”

“It's not just about the end game and measuring the impact once the experience has been delivered. Early feedback helps us iterate, tweak and improve our content and delivery so that organisations get maximum value and impact for their investment.”

Want to learn more?

If you want to find out more about how the latest learning technology can enhance programme design and quantify business impact and read some of our client success stories, you can download the “Crystallising Impact” eBook here.

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