Let’s get back to basics!

Without solid foundation, you'll have trouble creating anything of value

In general, L&D folk have short attention spans. We are creators, we love to learn, we’re curious by nature, so is it any wonder that we move fast?

But sometimes, in our quest for the novel and eagerness to innovate, we can forget the basics.

And L&D only really works when it’s built on solid foundations… NOT hung off the latest shiny object/fancy app. Remember WE’RE the only ones who are bored with the ‘old’ stuff, because we’re the only ones who see it every day.

So, what are these solid foundations?

Well, in the simplest terms, we need to go right back to the most basic of models: ADDIE

  • Analysis
  • Design
  • Develop
  • Implement
  • Evaluate

ADDIE is often associated with elearning design, which is perhaps why so many of us pay it little attention, but the principles are relevant to most development solutions.

Analysis is vital yet often rushed – that’s understandable when we have to deliver solutions quickly and stakeholders have a tendency to make decisions at the last minute and contradict each other – but fail to do this properly and you’ve little chance of success. We need understand what the gap is, why the gap exists, if training can help and if so, how will we know when we’ve bridged it?

Design (in relation to designing interactive solutions) is the top-level scoping out. What type of approach is best – coaching, job aids, bite-size training or series of workshops? AND what will be the focus of those solutions (the content)?

Develop is often overlooked – ESPECIALLY in relation to live training. This is the detailed design. Too many people hold everything in their heads and just create it on the day. There are so many dangers with this approach: lack of consistency, poor structure, no alternatives if something needs to be changed and difficulties with application. Not to mention the extra stress for whoever is facilitating it, or problems for participants trying to get prepared or even engage on the day.

Implement is the sexy exciting bit that everyone seems to love. You can’t beat the adrenaline rush associated with live facilitation, and perhaps this is why the first three stages are often given as little attention as possible.

Evaluation is generally considered to be boring, expensive and difficult, so it’s rarely done. No-one seems to take ownership of it, and there are so many factors influencing the results, it’s easy to see why so many don’t bother. Is return on investment the best measure anyway? Perhaps focusing on the transfer of learning is a more realistic (and useful) goal?

So maybe we need to stop being so focused on delivery/implementation? It’s just PART of a bigger process – an important part – but on its own it has very limited impact. To get better results from our implementation we perhaps need to turn our attention to bolstering the other elements.

If you want to up your game in terms of Analysis and Evaluation – check out Krystyna Gadd’s book ‘How not to waste your money on training’ – It’s practical, it’s realistic and you don’t need a degree in mathematics to get your head around it.

To improve your Design (and Development) skills, go and see what the Training Designer’s Club has to offer you. There are loads of free and low-cost resources ranging from How To Guides, Webinar replays, online courses and live events. ALL aimed at the busy L&D practitioner who wants to make training design quicker, easier or less stressful, whether you are an experienced professional or new to training design.

Of course, most people need no assistance with implementation if it’s face-to-face facilitation. However, virtual training is still relatively new, and always evolving. Erica Farmer offers great development for virtual delivery skills via her Dial-Up Digital programme if this is an area that you feel can be improved upon.

We don’t need fancy apps, gimmicks, or the latest shiny object to deliver great training and get real results. We do the basics well, and then build on them.

Sheridan Webb – The Practical Training Designer
Helping busy L&D professionals to create fabulous learning solutions that deliver results
Power Hour

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