Designing for Digital:  Blessing or “Curse” for Training Companies

Posted by Ann Roesener on January 03, 2019

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My past blogs have been about whether to go digital and factors to consider in doing so….but once you take the leap, what then?  What has to change and what stays the same?  Design is one of the biggest changes for training companies so here’s an insider’s view of the ‘curses’ and blessings to going digital. 

One caveat, “curse” is a negative term but “blessing and opportunity” is just too corporate-ese and boring so I beg your indulgence with the term “curse.”

BLESSING:  YOU CAN KEEP YOUR DIGITAL COURSE FRESH - EASILY
One of the great things about digital is that you can change things….fast.  So if you notice something in your course isn’t working, or people think it’s confusing, you can change the exercise and swap it out immediately.  Think of this compared to a traditional ILT where you change the exercise, test the changes, then change the facilitator guide and somehow let all your internal and external facilitators know of the change.   In digital, by watching what’s performing well, and where participants get their “ahas”, you maximize those things and prune the less impactful.


BLESSING:   IT CAN BE FUN TO DESIGN DIGITALLY
Imagine offering a course to 500 people (that alone is pretty fun)….and you notice a theme about disengagement.  In response your client sends a note to one of his senior leaders asking her to talk about when she was disengaged and what she did to overcome this.  Within the hour you get an Iphone video and you post it to the site.  You see people visiting the video and smile at the number of “likes” it has.   For people who like to have impact….THAT is fun.

CURSE:  IT’S EXPENSIVE TO CREATE DIGITAL ASSETS
Regardless of the platform, provider or strategy, you have to change your analog assets to digital ones.  And it takes time and can be expensive. 

You can turn this curse to a BLESSING by taking the opportunity to prune your content.  Instead of a 30-minute module on feedback, you can do 3 minutes and then put participants into practice rounds.  For great thinking on this topic, visit my colleague, Rachel Elfenbein's blog "Want to Create a Great Online Learning Experience? Make it a Great Website!"

CURSE:  YOUR DIGITAL COURSE CAN GET STAGNANT
Creating traditional e-learnings (think about a course where someone systematically clicks through a course and takes a quiz or does a drag and drop activity at the end) is expensive and the output can be stagnant.  As a result, it can sit in place for far too long.

Turn this into a BLESSING by taking an agile approach.  If something works, keep it or make more of it.  If something underperforms, replace it.  This can be 10 little decisions in short bursts versus one big decision in a long cycle.

Happy designing!

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