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Preparing the Perfect Learning Feast

Tonight after a long day at work, it’s likely that the last thing you want to do is go home and prepare a fabulous meal. Honestly, after a day of mind-numbing meetings, 150 emails, and your manager leaning on you for that presentation, who has the energy for that? It’s more likely you’ll stop at the market to pick up a roasted chicken, open a can of corn, and announce to your family “dinner is served!” Will it fill their tummies? Yes. Will it be fast and easy? You bet. Will it be remarkable, impressive, and memorable? Well, unless a bowl of Cheerios was last night’s dinner, probably not.

I see a lot of roasted chicken and cans of corn in learning today. Many organizations give in to the convenience of offering up a simple dish of e-learning or a workshop as their go-to training meal. Even for something as important as developing the next generation of leaders, I often see little thought given to creating a learning experience that improves performance in a meaningful way.

I’ll admit that sometimes, all you need is a simple serving of e-learning to satisfy the hungry brood. But for that next important initiative, think like the chef at your favorite restaurant:

  • Start with a menu that provides an overview of the upcoming learning journey. It can be prix fixe or a la carte, offering learners different ways to consume your content. It all depends on how much variety you can afford to offer and what you need to include in order to achieve your learning and performance objectives.
  • Serve the appetizers in the form of a three-minute introductory video, brief articles, or short webinars. Key relevant information can be easily digested without too much effort by you or the learner.
  • Dish up entrees with thoughtfulness on how the elements fit together. These main courses may contain e-learning, workshops, structured activities, or group discussions with experts. Mix it up and make each bite something meaningful and memorable. Blend the elements with care to create that explosion of learning.
  • Top it off with dessert in the form of rich case studies with application exercises that bring it all together and reinforce the knowledge transfer, capping off a great learning experience.
  • Between each course, build in discussion time among learners and coaches so they can discuss their previous learning, ask questions, and discuss what’s ahead. It’s like the people at your table describing the flavors they experienced from the last dish and what they can look forward to with the next.

Although not every initiative needs to be a spectacular feast, for the topics your employees must master to achieve your business goals, be sure to prepare a learning experience they’ll never forget.

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