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Wowing Your Learners

I’ve had the pleasure of managing many memorable projects during my two and a half years at Innovative Learning Group (ILG). One thing I’ve always emphasized is the value of being consultative. Sure, there are some projects for which the solution is simple and straightforward. However, there are also those where our clients value our partnership and objectivity as a third party. It’s this consultative approach that recently led to a pretty awesome outcome for one of my clients.

I’m going to start with the end, because it’s the end that truly hits the mark. At the project debrief, my client shared that the instructor-led training (ILT) we developed for them “…received the highest level-one scores above all other training that we have developed.” Wow! As a performance consultant, this is such great compliment to receive.

Where we started…

My client works at a utility company and came to me with a need to develop ILT for a new tool that’s tied to their state’s emergency notification system. This tool was to be rolled out to multiple locations within the organization.

The ILT was intended to train learners to use the tool, including what buttons to press, the meaning of various sounds, and so on. Though the information is extremely important to understand, the content itself wasn’t the most engaging or exciting.

What we created …
I wasn’t only managing the project; I also was the instructional designer for the course. While my first draft included all the right things — met the learning objectives, had relevant interactive activities, was visually appealing — I just wasn’t feeling that sizzle. I knew the course needed more, and my client agreed.

I used my first draft as a springboard in leading the team in an impromptu brainstorming session. My goal was to define different delivery ideas that would enhance the learner experience, ultimately increasing the learning potential.

Ideas we kicked around included developing a video or a whiteboard animation as well as some other informal learning solutions. We finally landed on creating an animation with characters who would represent the target audience within a work environment similar to theirs. We wanted to make the animation relevant to the learner, while also adding a level of “fun” to the delivery.

My client also saw this animation as a great opportunity to reinforce two additional behaviors in the area of proper communication technique. Those behaviors were rolled into specific characters and came to life through their interactions.

The end result…

We created an ILT that wowed our learners! It had even more interactions than the original version. Learners were able to practice required behaviors and learned what actions to take when presented with scenarios. As a bonus, they were able to view a three-minute animation that covered all the pertinent uses of the tool in an entertaining and memorable way, weaving in the two additional topics as reinforcement.

Sure, I could’ve developed exactly what the client wanted. But having mutual trust and a valued relationship with my client, I was able to work openly with him to eliminate potential deficiencies in the training, creating an effective, engaging course that met all the objectives we set.

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