Recently, I led an Allen team in a meeting with the senior leadership of one of our longtime clients. This client has entrusted us with more than 20 courses, and our work with them has won 8 awards for creativity and media. The meetings we held with them featured pure creative surges that have renewed my enthusiasm to “Expect More” from ourselves and our clients. This is a strong part of Allen’s mission.
For this late afternoon meeting, we met as two teams to brainstorm a way to adopt new innovation and ideation processes to increase the stickiness of the course content and enhance the observable impact of our training. For one evening we put aside budget and organizational constraints and instead focused purely on the needs of the learners: practitioners, managers, and the public, needing to adopt new behaviors and skills.
Thinking 5 years into the future, we looked for ways to get beyond the typical course structure; they wanted something other than the standard 30-minute web module, and we wanted to push our creativity as well, to go beyond past design limitations with this client. Innovation can be found in many places and we discussed the following topics in great length.
How can we create a design that incorporates:
- Learner-centered tools that drive training in a non-linear fashion
- Ex: Performance Support Tools, Resources, On-the-Job References
- Create training to induce participation on the job, breaking the computer or mobile-centric model to integrate more easily with day-to-day work
- Ex: Ongoing training and refreshers provided by in-house teams with sources through online content repositories
- Create a catalyst for discussion, encouraging social, collaborative learning that does not deflect from the content but motivates peer-to-peer education
- Ex: Customized learning environments that recognize and encourage participation
- Design learning environments that inspire insight in our employees as well as our customers
- Ex: Use our customer’s brand as a point for content credibility and a bridge between practitioners and the public target audience.
- Increase content accessibility, allowing learners to take what they need when they need it
- Ex: Just-in-time learning, resources, mobile learning, and indexing of content
- Measure the efficiency of the training through quantifiable data related to fidelity and other observable results.
- Ex: Tracking changes in behavior, social interactions, sharing of content, motivation, and content champions via performance mapping, observation, surveys, and enhancing existing Learning Management Systems.
As our meeting wound down, we saw a list of specific objectives that will drive training innovation with this partner for years to come. We also realized that innovation in training design is not a simple technological issue but a long-term challenge. We can, as a vendor and custom partner, build on trust and relationships to drive strategic innovation. When both partners expect more and look past preconceived limits you can drive desired business results. We need to go beyond our traditional tools and in the words of this partner, “Blow up the course,” every once and awhile. It has taken Allen many years to build a process that creates efficiencies of design and development while staying on top of rapid technology innovation and changes in our industry. We consume and share knowledge needed to reach our expectations as well as what our customers should expect from their vendors. Adopting an “Expect More” philosophy is a great mindset to drive innovation in any organization.
Feel free to reach out to me or any of our designers as we continue our journey to be innovative in training design and create the most efficient and effective processes for our partners and customers.