How to Design a Purposeful Learning Experience

Know thy audience. 

This should be the foundation of any learning design. 

And I mean really get to know them. What keeps them up at night? What are they trying to achieve? What scares them? What does success look like to them?

When I say "audience", I mean two key groups of people: 

  1. The people who you're designing the learning for - i.e. your learners
  2. The people who request the learning - i.e. your internal stakeholders or business leaders

Far too often when designing learning experiences, we forget who we’re designing for and we don't ask them enough questions to really understand why they need it in the first place.

You can end up spending months designing learning initiatives only to find that it's never used, and delivers little value.

We don't want that to happen. So we asked our very own Ilona Brannen and Jessie Parker to run a webinar about how to design purposeful learning and, among other things, talk about how to get to know your audience. 

Here's 👇 the podcast episode if you prefer to listen whilst you workout or wash the dishes. You can also listen on Spotify. 

If you prefer to watch the webinar, just click here.

 

 

Here's what Jessie and Ilona cover during the session: 

  • Why learning design needs to be purposeful
  • How to plan purposeful learning
  • What skills are needed to deliver real value using digital learning

 

Our Favourite Parts of the Conversation

  • [Ilona Brannen 6:55] "Stakeholders want a problem to be solved. They think that a particular training or learning and development intervention is going to help, but they might not actually know what the users need. And that's where the learning designer has to use their magical skills."
  • [Ilona Brannen 7:35] "I think what's really important is you start with your hypothesis, so that whatever you do design, you can actually keep going towards that hypothesis and refining it so that you are going in a straight line from your design to the hypothesis."
  • [Ilona Brannen 14:39] "A really good tip for everyone is speak the language of the stakeholder. So if I'm going to go and speak to my boss, I go into sales language. If I'm going to speak to the marketing leader, I go into slightly more marketing language. If I'm going to go speak to the finance guy, you know, I'm going to be talking numbers and the money. And especially when you're thinking about how to influence your stakeholder. Using their language back at them is more likely to influence them into your way of thinking, and then ultimately give you the thumbs up with your design."
  • [Ilona Brannen 17:44 ] "So we'll talk a little bit now about what skills are needed to be a fantastic, extraordinary, learning designer. So for me, these are some of the skills, I mean, I couldn't put them all here. It would be embarrassing. Everyone would be like “what! Who are these superheroes?” But, generally the skills breakdown is as follows: I think you need a lot of empathy, because then you can understand the users needs and the stakeholders needs, right. So I think that's really important. And also curiosity. So if you're empathetic and curious, you can really get underneath the bonnet of what's really going on. And that curiosity enables you to learn stuff, learn more, keep your skills developing, think about the next thing that's coming as well. And also the best techniques and ways to get the information out of people. There is an element of project management because you do have."
  • [Ilona Brannen 17:44 ] "The human element of what we do and the creativity we have as humans is absolutely never going to go to a machine. At least not anytime soon, they can't replicate that. So, absolutely the best software is your own mind."

 

Links We Love ❤️

Say hello 👋 to Ilona and Jessie on Linkedin 

Check out this tool to create your own personas.

Read this blog to learn more about the types of questions to ask business leaders to unpick business needs. 

Transcript

*There’s a chance this transcript has a few spelling errors. I use a wonderful transcription tool called Otter. He's usually super accurate but he does get the odd word wrong. But please don’t hold it against him 😊.

[Jessie Parker]  0:04  

Hi everyone and welcome to our L&D business Performance Series. Over the next few weeks, we're going to be talking about how to design, build, engage and measure learning to drive performance because as we all know, performance doesn't just happen in isolation. I'm Fuse’s events manager, Jessie. Today I'm joined by my colleague Ilona, who'll be kicking the series off to talk about learning design and how to design purposeful learning experiences that excite and delight your people. So hi, Ilona.

 

[Ilona Brannen]  0:32  

Hi Jessie, lovely to see you today.

 

[Jessie Parker] 0:34  

Lovely to see you. How are you? 

 

[Ilona Brannen]  0:36  

I'm good. I'm really good. I'm looking forward to this. I'm really excited. This is my passion. So hopefully that'll come across.

 

[Jessie Parker]  0:42  

Great, fantastic. So before we kick things off, just a couple of housekeepings, we'll be using Slido for Q&A. So any questions that come through, we will answer those on Slido at the end. Also, please remember to get involved in the conversation, use the chat and if you have any thoughts about this webinar and feedback, we would love to hear it afterwards. So we wanted to get people thinking to start with around what gets you excited about design. So have a think or have a look around the room that you're in and think about an item or a process that gets you really excited about design. So Ilona, what's your example?

 

[Ilona Brannen]  1:16  

Well, my example is something that I posted on LinkedIn last week, and it actually caused a sensation wherever I was guessing what this is, and it's not a shoe horn, but it is indeed a garlic press. And the reason I love this design is because it's elegant and simple, fits quite well in the cutlery drawer. And because of the way that it works, you put the garlic, press on it and you squish it and it chops it up for you. My fingers then don't smell of garlic, so it then removes any bad things as well as being a good design product. So I love this. This is my favourite gadget.

 

[Jessie Parker]  1:49  

That's nice, that’s a good gadget. I'd say mine would have to be a tangle teezer. My ladybird tangle teezer. So I think traditionally with  hairbrushes, they're pretty big, so you can't really transport them in your bag anywhere for people. And often they're quite rough on tangley hairs, I think the reason why this was designed was the kind of short bristles that allow you to brush the tangles out of your hair. And you can take it wherever you like. So I would say that is what gets me excited about design.

 

[Ilona Brannen]  2:18  

Yeah, and it's really cute too. 

 

[Jessie Parker]  2:20  

Yeah, exactly. So yeah, everyone have a think about what gets you excited about design. So Ilona, tell us about your learning design background and why you're so passionate about it.

 

[Ilona Brannen]  2:32  

Yeah, I'd love to. So I'm currently, I'm the head of Presales here at Fuse Universal. What I do here is I actually align what our clients are trying to achieve in terms of their business strategy to their learning strategy. And I do that through design and then obviously with the product that we have. Before that, I actually spent five years as a consultant at PwC and I had a wonderful time. They're learning so much about consulting first of all, but also learning and development and technology. I am fascinated between the interplay of digital technology and human interaction. And Fun fact, I have actually lived in Cuba for a couple of months and I was there when Fidel Castro died. And I went out there to research the impact of the internet and the impact it was having on people who had previously never ever had the internet before. I had two choices. I had North Korea or Cuba, and I quite liked sunshine, salsa and cute guys, so I went there instead. I'm also a 90s music aficionado. So please feel free to drop me a line on LinkedIn and tell me some good 90s tracks. I will know them all, but I'm more than happy to make friends over 90s music. So that's a little bit about me. My learning, design career I suppose started at this moment. Now, I know this might surprise a few of you. But this is actually a few years ago. And this was when I've just left University and I went to live in Japan. And I was a teacher on the Japan exchange and teaching programme, where you have graduates who go to Japan and then they teach English out there. And I knew no Japanese whatsoever and I had to teach Japanese teenagers English. And even though they knew, you know, as a teenager does, yes, yes, yes, English learning that will be important for me at some point. Actually, it was when I thought about how to design things for them to make it better. And I found out my dad, my mom and dad are both teachers, by the way. So I'm a product of two teachers. So that kind of explains this obsession with learning. And I said to my dad, what should I do to help them, you know, get excited about the learning and he said, “Ilona”, because my dad's northern “Ilona, find something that they love and then design the lesson around that”. So I did. So they loved football, and I did stuff around the Premier League. I love London, so I communicated about London life and history and they love learning about that. And we learn how to sing English songs because they love karaoke, funnily enough. So that was a great way of using the tools around me and thinking about the experience for good learning to happen at that school. So I've carried that with me throughout my career. And now I think, really for L&D, and especially within the design world, it all comes down to performance. Ultimately, everything that you're trying to design for, be it an asset, be it a programme, be it a whole, you know, change programme. It's all down to making that shift in the business. So making that shift in performance. And that's what we'll be discussing today. Now, this is all part of our series, as Jess mentioned earlier, with design, build, engagement, and it all leads to, and it should all be about driving performance. So we're starting with the first one designed with moi and we'll be thinking about how that all links to performance. So today, we're going to cover why you should do learning design. I mean, why not? How to understand performance improvement for your business. And for the individual, and what skills are you going to need?

 

[Jessie Parker]  6:02  

So, Ilona. Tell us, why do learning design? I think what we, you know, we're all here. We're all interested why? What was so important about it?

 

[Ilona Brannen]  6:11  

Well, I mean, for me, I think trying to do any learning without it is a bit bananas. And I'll explain a little bit more in a moment. So when you have a stakeholder, usually someone in the business, they will want to have something in their particular way. And in this little picture here, you can see kind of the distinction between stakeholders and individuals. When you look at this picture, what sort of the impression that you get Jessie?

 

[Jessie Parker]  6:38  

I think it's all about perspective. You know, you've got the left hand side, which you think something is really, really well designed, you know, you've come up with this fantastic idea. And then actually, what, who you've designed it for is not actually seeing what you think they're seeing. So yeah, I think for me, it's perspective.

 

[Ilona Brannen]  6:55  

Yeah, absolutely. And it's like that with lots of stakeholders, right? They want a problem to be solved. They think that a particular training or learning and development intervention is going to help, but they might not actually know what the users need. And that's where the learning designer has to use their magical skills, which we'll talk about a bit later. So you are a learning designer, and you have a jaunty beret and an art palette and brush and you are ready to take on your next learning project. So you could try to decide to design it in this way, or this way, or this way, or this way, or this way. And often, it's actually the last one that it ends up being. Now, the thing is, if you're going to do that, it's going to take a lot of time, you don't have time, I've never noticed a call and give you the time that you need anyway. So what do you have to do first? Well, I think what's really important is you start with your hypothesis, so that whatever you do design, you can actually keep going towards that hypothesis and refining it so that you are going in a straight line from your design to the hypothesis. The hypothesis is a really good guess. Okay, so just thinking about what someone wants. So an example I've got from when I worked at a company beginning with P is, a senior stakeholder came to me and said, you know, we need to do an intervention with this particular group of directors, they need to know this, that, and the other. Now, I didn't ever get a lot of time with that stakeholders. So they were giving me a tiny, tiny snapshot of what they thought was the problem. So I had to kind of get a good guess about what could work. And then I went and spoke to a few people who were actually the users to understand what they needed, then I could go back to the senior stakeholder with a good proposal like and refine the hypothesis a bit further. And so you know, do work to the hypothesis first. So we do actually have a handy hypothesis making guide for you to use. Yes, we do. And we'll be sending that to you afterwards as well. So please use it and help yourself rather than going in 17,000 different directions. So what makes a hypothesis? So a hypothesis isn't an assumption that your learning strategy builds on, it would have to hold true for your idea or initiative to work, right. So, for example, here at Fuse, my boss has a particular thing where he wants to increase sales, right. So that's what he wants to do. So that if we increase sales, we need to increase the knowledge and skills of the sales and marketing team that leads to more deals, and that leads to more wins and so the boss is happy. So my hypothesis with that is, whatever I create for the sales and marketing team has to ultimately improve their knowledge and skills and performance to then mean that they have more deals, more opportunities to actually work with customers to identify the right customers, and then ultimately win the deal. So that's where it all stems from. A good hypothesis creates a continuous cycle of improvement. So in the example I said before, you know, you start with an idea, you start with a good idea, a good sort of assumption. And you then refine it and you go back and iterate on that idea. So you get closer and closer to what could be a good learning intervention for what you're doing with your learners and your individuals. So that's pretty good. So what I'm thinking is how to understand the business needs and the individual's context, because they're two separate things. And it's really important to kind of understand both of these groups. So the first thing to consider is what is the stakeholder trying to achieve? So when my boss says to me, we need to increase sales. That ultimately is what he is trying to achieve. He's trying to achieve increasing sales, which is bad, but I need to bear that in mind in that whatever I design has to ultimately help that person achieve their goal, it has to help them achieve their goal. And then the second question I need to think about is what is the change I want to see in the individual? So I want to see more knowledge and skills, more capability, more you know, excitement, motivation, all of those sorts of things in my sales team, love the sales team. And then you know, drive that with every learning intervention I do. So always consider those two groups. And I'd say as well with the individuals, do go speak to people often, it's really, you know, useful to just have a conversation and actually find out what are the missing bits that people might want or need.

 

[Ilona Brannen]  11:24  

So the questions to ask your stakeholder, right, these are great tips for you. So if you want to capture these in some way, shape, or form, keep a note, put it in front of you. But really, asking these questions will help you to design a really good learning intervention that ultimately meets the goals of your stakeholder and drives the performance in your organisation. So a key aspect of this is thinking about what metrics are important to them. How are they measuring the success of their current team? How does their team currently approach that particular problem? And also what's really useful sometimes is to consider what are your top performers doing that your average performers aren't? And whatever your top performers are doing, can you capture that? Can you capture that behaviour? What are they doing differently? And share it. So when I designed a leadership development programme for a company ending in C that you might have heard of before, I actually made... So with the leadership development programmes, obviously top people right in the organisation, it was global and all the rest of it. And we found that some people were doing really well with the leadership development programme and some weren't. So instead of actually shaming the ones that weren't doing very well, we got the ones who were doing very well and we took a small video recording. Just honestly five minutes, just me chatting to him being like, “so Jessie, how are you doing today? Like what's working well? What's not?” and it was great because then you can hear from someone directly, who's your peer as well, you know, very mindless with leadership development, about what they're doing. Just their top tips, and they were really simple things, such as blocking time on the calendar, physically putting it on the calendar to make sure they would doing the leadership development course and be giving them that personal development to, you know, working quite closely with a particular team or, you know, group of people. So those tiny things, you might not notice the learning designer, but the peer group might be able to help each other. So that's a really good one. So when you're speaking to any stakeholder, as I mentioned before, understand the metrics that matter to them. So Jessie, what's important to our boss?

 

[Jessie Parker]  13:29  

Sales!

 

[Ilona Brannen]  13:31  

Sales! So the sales metrics would be really important, but then also the head of marketing that it would be the marketing metrics, it would be how many people have watched this amazing webinar? It would be how many people attended? How many people found it useful? All of those sorts of metrics. If it was someone who potentially was in the finance department, you can imagine they're going to be looking at the moolah. So whatever the metrics are for your particular group, that's what you need to think about. You know, it might be NPS, it might be an increase in retention, have employees a reduction in attrition, it could be the number of promotions that year, anything you know, think about the metrics that are important because you need to then go and identify the baseline. So you might not be measuring this now. But it's a great place to start. 

 

[Jessie Parker]  14:17

I think a really important point on this, as well as if you're going to go into your stakeholders, and they can see that you understand their world, they're more likely to go “okay, well, yeah, I'll give you a bit more information”. Whereas if you, you know, if you haven't got much time with someone quite senior in the business, and you're kind of going and asking questions that you could have found out yourself before the meeting. Not a good idea. So yeah, you make a really good point. 

 

[Ilona Brannen]  14:39

That's a really good point. Thank you, Jessie. And it also makes me remember, like a really good tip for everyone is speak the language of the stakeholder. So if I'm going to go and speak to my boss, I go into sales language. If I'm going to speak to the marketing leader, I go into slightly more marketing language. If I'm going to go speak to the finance guy, you know, I'm going to be talking numbers and the money. So speaking the, speak in the way that they speak, right. So that's always a really good way. And especially when you're thinking about how to influence your stakeholder, especially if they're asking you to design something, and you feel like the design needs to be a bit different. If you actually use their language back to them and explain to them how your particular learning design is going to help with that metric, and shifting that because of your experiences and everything. Using their language back at them is more likely to influence them into your way of thinking, and then ultimately give you the thumbs up with your design. So when understanding the individual, so when we're speaking to users, this is actually, these are prompts that I've taken from user experience research. And the reason I've done this is because sometimes it's really useful to use these prompts to get people to talk about stories, rather than say, “hey, you know, what do you need?” and sometimes people don't know what they need, because they might not see the problem like in their face, it might not be that big a pain point yet. But actually, if they describe something that is a, you know, a time when, or share with me a scenario, you'll actually understand what's happening in their world and be able to design something better. So for example, Jessie, could you describe a time when there was a challenge at work? And what did you do to overcome it?

 

[Jessie Parker] 16:25  

So I had an event and the speaker didn't turn up, or a speaker may have turned up, but they're not necessarily as prepared. They might not be as comfortable with what they're talking about or something like that. So it's the prep of not only the event that you're running, but also the people that are running the event for you. So yeah.

 

[Ilona Brannen]  16:44  

Yeah, no, so I think that's great. And then, you know, obviously speaking to Jessie more, I'd like learn a lot more, but maybe it's just as simple as getting a template out to the speaker so they have something ready to rock and roll and just making sure in the calendar it's always backdated. I think you know, you could even now with all the technology we have, get the speaker to do a dry run with a video, you know. So it doesn't have to even be like synergis, it could be asynchronous. So all those sorts of things can help. But understanding Jessie's pain means I can understand a way to serve her a good solution.

 

[Jessie Parker]  17:17  

Yeah. And I think also, bear in mind with these questions, start with open easy questions when you're first speaking to stakeholders. Because if you go straight in with the really hard questions, unless you're under time periods, and it’s by a senior stakeholder, people aren't going to open up and you may miss things if you're not asking open enough questions. Just keep them open, keep them easy to start with and then as you get further into the conversation, you'll find the directions going and find more information.

 

[Ilona Brannen]  17:44  

Yeah, great point, Jessie. Great point. So we'll talk a little bit now about what skills are needed to be a fantastic, extraordinary, learning designer. So for me, these are some of the skills, I mean, I couldn't put them all here. It would be embarrassing. Everyone would be like “what! Who are these superheroes?” But, generally the skills breakdown is as follows: I think you need a lot of empathy, because then you can understand the users needs and the stakeholders needs, right. So I think that's really important. And also curiosity. So if you're empathetic and curious, you can really get underneath the bonnet of what's really going on. And that curiosity enables you to learn stuff, learn more, keep your skills developing, think about the next thing that's coming as well. And also the best techniques and ways to get the information out of people. There is an element of project management because you do have to manage all of those things. And I do think you need a dash of craziness because it does sometimes need it. So sometimes if it's growling at stakeholders when they need to back down, or sometimes it's just that little bit of creativity that you can't quite put into words. I think that's really helpful. Do you think there's any other skills Jessie that you've heard that can be quite useful for learning designers?

 

[Jessie Parker]  18:59  

Yes. So I think agility is super important, you know, we were talking about this at the start with the hypothesis, it's you have to be able to be agile, change, slightly adjust the direction that you're going in as soon as you get different information. So I think agility kind of goes across all of these, I think empathy is huge. You need to be able to understand the people's world that you're going into. And I think people when they see that someone is empathetic and understands their pain, they're much more likely to open up and actually give you an answer that is really in depth and allows you to understand them. Yeah, I'd say agility is a big thing..

 

[Ilona Brannen]  19:35  

Awesome! Yeah and to add to the empathy as well, I think that's important when dealing with all the stakeholders and managing them because that's a big component of it. And I think emerging skill set and it might, you know, something I'm definitely brushing up on all the time is about the data. So how do you use the data? How do you incorporate the data with your learning design? And thinking about those metrics, so routing your learning design in how you're going to measure its impact is really valuable.

 

[Jessie Parker]  20:02  

Yeah, we'll be talking about that later on in this series with our measure session, but kind of how to tell stories to the business about the data that you have. And I think it's super important, so yeah we’ll be covering that.

 

[Ilona Brannen]  20:15  

So this is my interpretation of how to plan your design project. But with the projects that I've done in my past, this is kind of how it breaks down. So the biggest chunk of time should be dedicated to your research. And this is the bit where you've got your hypothesis, your first one and then you’re refining it and getting all the data from everywhere around the business. So your stakeholders, your users, etc, like that. So do spend a large chunk of time on the research. The more time you spend on research, honestly, the more likely it is that the intervention you design is the right one. Sometimes I've seen projects go a little bit skewiff because actually they ran into designing it straight away rather than doing the research. So it seems counterintuitive at times because I know every stakeholder wants it yesterday, but do spend at least half of the time on research. The next bit is that design, test and iterate. So you should have got down to a really firm hypothesis. And from that firm hypothesis, design, test and iterate. So I always think it's good here to use a beta group of testers. So actually find a couple of people who are going to be your target audience, get them to test whatever you're creating be that elearning, video, job aid, whatever. And then if you need to iterate. So that's always a great way of doing it as well.

 

[Jessie Parker]  21:33  

Before it goes live.

 

[Ilona Brannen]  21:34  

Yes, yes. Oh, God Test, test, test, test test, give me and also give yourself enough time to test. Yeah, one on one project, we did not give ourselves enough time to test especially if it's digital, because sometimes things might go a bit wrong, because it's like lots of different things to do with digital stuff. So do give yourself a window to test if it's going to be a digital asset on a platform.

 

[Jessie Parker]  21:55  

Yeah, great point. Great.

 

[Ilona Brannen]  21:58  

Absolutely. Absolutely. The idea gave me a like, you know, a little frown line there that just from that one project. So no, get your forehead lovely people, like just give yourself time and factor that into your project. And then the other bit I think is really important to note is about stakeholders, comms, and marketing. And what I mean by that is you need to get into the habit of telling people that learning is coming, that the value of what the learning is going to deliver, and then also market their learning. So one project that I did, it was a tech awareness kind of piece, and it was to 20,000 people. Ultimately in the UK, but we were first launching it to the senior stakeholders, there was 900 of them and then we launched it. We worked really hard, I did get a frown line. But the thing is, after a week, I mean, 90 people out of those 900 had looked at it, and it was because we haven't marketed it enough, right? You can't just build learning, expect them to come. It doesn't work like that. You have to tell people it's there. Tell people it's there! Tell people it’s there! So do factor that into your planning work with the internal comms team, if you can. They're usually great comms people, they'll know what they're doing, they can help you out. But do think about that as part of your project. 

 

[Jessie Parker]  23:12

Yeah, great! 

 

[Ilona Brannen]  23:13 

When really, you can release to the world, and then get started on the next project. I'd say also within that is, do reflect. Okay, I think sometimes we can run at pace with projects and be like, hey, we're done. Actually, yeah, going back to it, in a sense, could fit back into the research part, because then it will help inform you for other projects, and you'll get even better sort of feedback loops and keeping that going.

 

[Jessie Parker]  23:42  

Yeah, one thing we love to do as a marketing team at Fuse is after we've done a big project or a big webinar like this, we will sit down as a team and do a kind of retro, so what worked? what was a bit errr? And what can we do better next time so that you're well informed for the next session? Because you're right. There's just, everything needs to be done yesterday and often you can just quickly run to the next thing. I think I haven't got time to reflect on last because I've got to do this one. But it's really important to reflect that's the only way you will improve.

 

[Ilona Brannen]  24:09  

100% and we're in the business of learning. So you should be learning to.

 

[Jessie Parker]  24:12  

Exactly, exactly.

 

[Ilona Brannen]  24:18  

Oh, some Q&A. Come on.

 

[Jessie Parker]  24:21  

Hey, lots of questions coming in here. So let's just have a look. So, question at the start here. Keeping your audience in mind is key to good design. That's what we've talked about today. What are some tips for designing content when the audience is really varied?

 

[Ilona Brannen]  24:42  

That's a good question. So with that, what I'd recommend is there will be some core components of the learning that is almost like standard or mandatory sort of things that everyone needs to learn. Then I'd say from that central core, there might be bits around it for the different groups that you might wanna do smaller interventions for? It depends on also what you're using. But say you're using an e-learning tool, you might want people to self select who they are, and then it serves up the relevant bit of the content that you're creating. So I think that can be really good for that personalization.

 

[Jessie Parker]  25:16  

Yeah. Great question. So how do you avoid too many iterations and annoying people?

 

[Ilona Brannen]  25:24  

Well, I think it goes back to my diagram. But if you spend the majority of, well if you spend at least half of your project time researching, you should have a really good like sense of what's going to work before you then approach people. Like what Jessie said earlier, if you go to their senior stakeholders and ask questions that they know you could have found out from somewhere else...

 

[Jessie Parker]  25:45  

Oh! Don't do it! Don’t do it! It’s no good!

 

[Ilona Brannen]  25:48  

So no, definitely do your research and go to people with a solution or option A and option B. And that really helps to narrow down the amount of time you're taking with people. Because people ultimately want to help. It's very rare people turn you down, but I guess they don't want their time wasted. So go read some questions, go with something for them to review. 

 

[Jessie Parker] 26:12  

Yeah. So how do you push back on stakeholders that are influential in the business? But the idea isn't great. And sometimes the reputation can outweigh the idea.

 

[Ilona Brannen]  26:21  

Yeah, no, this is a common thing. And I don’t think it will ever go away. But as I mentioned before, if you use the language of that stakeholder back to them, and also explain the value of what you're delivering, and I think if you also think about the metrics. Like if I go to our sales leader, and he has an idea and an intervention, but I actually show him the way that I've designed it, and what that's going to do in the metrics involved. If you're giving someone a solution, then they're going to be like, “well, that makes sense”. So it's again, giving them the resolution and helping them, right. But most of the time, it's kind of, I need to make sure that happens, but ultimately people want experts to take control of that and give them a solution. The other bit as well, that I think is quite useful is sometimes putting two things next to each other side by side, so that it shows the value of potentially your idea compared to theirs. And not in a, you know, confrontational way, but just for them to show, see, and read and understand actually, yes, that makes sense. Because you are convincing someone and challenging them and respectfully challenging, which is one of our values here at Fuse. And I think that's really important.

 

[Jessie Parker]  27:31  

Yeah, great question. So what are your thoughts on circles of influence in L&D? So setting expectations on what L&D can solve and what the org needs?

 

[Ilona Brannen]  27:42  

Hmm, yeah. Well, so well, L&D you know, cannot solve everything. I know, sometimes we think we can, and sometimes everyone else thinks we can. But no, we can only do what we can do. And I think this is where metrics come really important. One second...

 

[Jessie Parker]  28:01  

Quick sips there.

 

[Ilona Brannen]  28:04  

Don't know what happened, but there we go. So we, you know, setting expectations on what can be delivered and what can actually happen is really important. And I think sometimes it's about saying no, and being clear about what you can deliver. I know that I think L&D teams and people in learning can almost suffer from wanting to help too much. And I think there is an element of just saying, “no, that's not what we do. We do this”. So just being really clear about your boundaries.

 

[Jessie Parker]  28:32  

Yeah. So what do you do? And kind of answered this partly in the first question, but what do you do if the target audience is really wide and you're asked to make a course on something like GDPR, which is super important. But you know, not everyone needs to know the same things.

 

[Ilona Brannen]  28:49  

Well, with GDPR as an example, there will be some absolutely compulsory stuff everyone needs to know. So build the training around that core component. And then think about the target groups that you need and what they need to know that's important for them. So I know it might be quite wide, there'll be different sorts of facets that people need to know from GDPR. So just research a little bit about what each group might need. Because there'll be big enough groups that it can slightly be tailored to them.

 

[Jessie Parker]  29:18  

Yeah. So, best software for learning design?

 

[Ilona Brannen]  29:26  

Best software for designing learning, please. I like that someone said, please. Anonymous, thank you very much, that’s very polite. The best software I think is this. Not my forehead, but your brain, right. So it's the best piece of software for designing learning. You know, everything else is a tool. But really, you know, that it's often, it's talks about, you know, the future of work and everything. It's like machines, the machines, but actually the human element of what we do and the creativity we have as humans is absolutely never going to go to a machine. At least not anytime soon, they can't replicate that. So, absolutely the best software is your own mind. In terms of actual tools? I mean, it can be anything. I think sometimes your smartphone can be a really amazing like bit of kit for learning. I know we did a giveaway, didn't we at Learning Technologies, Jessie? We gave away an L&D toolkit, which was bits and bobs to go with your smartphone to help you then turn that into like a mini studio. So that can be really good. But I think ultimately, what is the, what's the need? And what's the outcome we're trying to, like achieve with your learning? So if you want to inform people and have long discursive discussions, it might be audio, in which case that will be a really important piece of software. If it's more short, sharp videos, then maybe a video is you know, video recorder is the way forward. So really think about the outcome that you're trying to achieve and then what's the best, most appropriate tool?

 

[Jessie Parker]  30:56  

Yeah, and I think also after speaking with our partners Wendy and Caroline from Genius Learning, it's sometimes, we feel bound by the tools that we're using. Because we're kind of you know, you think I have to do this in words, I have to format it in this way. And actually recently, I drew out what was in my head on a piece of paper and it makes sense. Whereas I've been trying to fit it into a tool that wasn't wasn't working. It wasn't how it was in my head. So, maybe try drawing it or getting it out somewhere on paper before you then put it into a tool, that’s gonna be in a certain structure.

 

[Ilona Brannen]  31:30  

Yeah, no, I totally agree with that. And also a top tip for everyone on the webinar. It's something I've just discovered, because me and my colleague, Adam, “Hi, Adam”. We had to do some brainstorming. So you know, that like Big Sky thinking stuff, and what we realised is you know when you're on the laptop, because we're all on the laptop all the time. You're almost like being distracted by the laptop. So if you're going to be doing some blue sky thinking with someone, do step away from the laptop and don't have anything in your hands or maybe stand up and have a bit more of a discussion. Because then you're more likely to get creative and be able to think of it in a different way. If you're sitting at a laptop sort of tapping away, actually, you're restricting your mind. So a tip I recently discovered.

 

[Jessie Parker]  32:11  

Yeah, I think that's great. So we're gonna round up the Q&A now. So for everyone, we will answer these questions offline. And we'll just head back to the presentation here. So up next in our L&D series, we have Rhys Giles. Who’ll be... you may have seen actually on Fuseday Tuesdays.

 

[Ilona Brannen]  32:31  

Very famous man.

 

[Jessie Parker] 32:33  

Yeah, very famous. So he'll be talking about how to talk, how to bring everything that Ilona has talked about today to life, and build a learning environment that solves business problems and is truly engaging. So that is in two weeks time. If you're watching this, you are already registered for that session. So you don't need to worry. We'll be sending out reminders. So yeah, very much looking forward to that. And if you'd like to invite colleagues and friends then do let us know. So Ilona, huge thank you for kicking the series off, it's been absolutely great to have you.

 

[Ilona Brannen]  33:03  

Thank you. Thank you very much. And thank you to everyone listening to this, please feel free to drop me a LinkedIn invite. I love connecting with new people and I love sharing ideas all about learning and design. And thank you so much, Jessie. It's been an absolute pleasure you superstar

 

[Jessie Parker]  33:18  

Thank you very much. Thanks to everyone for joining us and we'll see you in two weeks time. 

 

[Ilona Brannen]  33:23  

Bye

 

[Jessie Parker]  33:24 

Bye



Nihal Salah
Sep 03 2020

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