Learn how to choose the right format to achieve results.
- Knowing the ins and outs of what you're going to teach is critical, but it's only one part of the equation. In order to help your learners fully digest and process the lessons, you must pay equal attention to both the format and delivery of your learning solution. You've got lots of options to choose from and there's an infinite number of combinations, so your palette or tool box is quite extensive. The key is to make the right choice that both accomplishes your learning goals and works for the audience you're trying to reach. This is what blended learning is all about, you blend various elements to make a cohesive whole.
I'm also a huge fan of the flipped classroom, which is a way to get the most learning possible out of limited contact time. There's a pre-learning event which gets your audience on the same page about the what, why, or how for the learning. Then, you meet and focus on hands-on application to their real culture and context, building the habit through practice. And then, there's a post-learning that further develops knowledge and skills. The truth is, that in-person training time is very expensive, so it should be saved for the real hands-on work.
The flipped classroom is my favorite tool and I use it all the time, often using videos, like this course, for the pre and post-learning. So, let's look at all your options for format and delivery. Some of these are either/or choices and others are more on a continuum with hybrids in the middle. First, we have static versus adaptive. Static learning is delivered exactly the same over and over to every learner. This video is an example. Compare that to adaptive, which shifts or changes depending on the needs or abilities of each individual learner.
Next, we have structured versus unstructured. Structured learning unfolds as a designed or created experience like this course, whereas unstructured learning happens in the moment and is an interplay of the learner's curiosity and experience through exploration. Third, there is synchronous or asynchronous, which is about whether a group of learners is sharing the experience at the same exact moment or at different times. Fourth, learning can happen online or offline.
Online learning involves an electronic device like a phone, tablet, or computer to access or experience the learning. So, accessing company policies through a portal, or even a PDF stored on a shared drive, is online learning, where reading it in a printed binder is not. There are a lot of amazing online learning options these days, including video training like this one, webinars, e-courses and mobile apps. Next, we have off-the-shelf or bespoke. Off-the-shelf solutions are usually created by a provider and you use them as is, like this online course.
Bespoke solutions are customized to an organization or group, and therefore display unique elements like culture, language and branding. When I work with organizations, I often blend these by assigning some of my online courses as the pre-learning and then come in to deliver and in-person element that is customized for their culture and context. Next, they're self-paced or instructor-led. If it's something you can choose to speed up, slow down, or repeat as you need, then it's self-paced learning. Whereas instructor-led has a set agenda and structure that is controlled by the instructor.
So, what would this course be? It's a trick question because it's both. I designed the course and I'm taking you through this learning journey, instructor-led, but you get to choose how and when you experience it, which makes it self-paced. Finally, we have individual versus collaborative with individual learning happening on person at a time and collaborative means that several learners are experiencing the learning together and influencing each other. Collaborative learning harnesses the collective wisdom and experience of the group. Most learning events are combinations of all these methods.
When I build management and leadership development programs, I map various methods together to create a holistic learning journey that accomplishes several goals. For example, if I were to help managers improve their coaching skills, I'd have them watch the Lisa Gates course on Coaching and Developing Employees. This would be static, structured, asynchronous, online, off-the-shelf, both self-paced and instructor-led, and experienced by an individual. Then, I'd bring them together for an in-person session where we did several practice coaching discussions in the room, building that neural pathway in habit.
Afterwards, I'd encourage them to further their learning through reading a great book on coaching and doing several more practice coaching sessions. As you can see, you can create an infinite number of possibilities, and what you choose depends on your learning strategies and the needs of your audience and organization. So, consider the next learning solution you build and play with these choices to create a powerful experience for your learners.
- Identify the six stages of organizational development.
- Describe how to recognize your organization’s L&D stage.
- Explain how to create a culture of learning in an organization.
- Summarize important aspects of adult learning theory.
- Recall the levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy.
- Recognize the importance of assessing your audience prior to training.