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Learning design

Asking why? – Solution-focused learning design

How many times have you had a stakeholder contact you requesting the design of a brand new learning package? The stakeholder might be after a new OHS course or even an introduction to cake making; the subject area isn’t the point. How often has a stakeholder contacted you explaining the business or people problem they are trying to solve? Too often, we are so focused on designing amazing learning based on the stakeholder’s request; we forget to take a step back and ask why?

Determining the need

Designing quality learning solutions is great, but if they do not solve a key business problem, then your learning program may not be successful (regardless of how amazing the learning program itself is). When scoping a new piece of learning, it is important to take a step back and question the business outcomes the stakeholder is hoping to impact. Are they looking to decrease the number of OHS related incidents within their teams? Or do they need to ensure all team members understand the content and implications of a new safety guideline?

Understanding what the business drivers behind a training request are, will help you to determine the best approach to the learning design. You may find that the business requires training for their teams, but to solve the business problem, the training needs to be on a completely different topic. You may even find, as you question the stakeholder, that they are not actually in need of training at all; it may be that a communication piece is better suited to their needs.

Revising the learning program

Once you understand the drivers behind the training request, the recommended next step would be to develop a program outline and scope, detailing the business requirements and the suggested learning resources, learning outcomes (aligned to the problem to be solved), delivery plan and project timelines.

By thoroughly scoping out the project prior to commencing the learning design, you have the opportunity to ensure your understanding of the business needs and the learning program aligns and to get stakeholder agreement and sign off prior to project commencement. That way you can start to design the perfect learning program, knowing that you are assisting the business towards positive organisational outcomes.

Catherine Duncan

Catherine Duncan

Catherine is a learning technologies and digital education practitioner with over twelve years experience across a variety of industries. She enjoys using her technical, educational and creative knowledge to assist organisations in determining their technical and/or training requirements and assisting them in finding the optimum solution.

One thought on “Asking why? – Solution-focused learning design

  • Great post Catherine !
    This is so good, as it reminds us to ‘step back’ from initial enquiries, and really understand the need.
    It’s too easy to “make a start” – to later find out we didn’t really understand all aspects of the content, and just as often, the client didn’t either !


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