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9 steps to good learning design

“I’m not a designer, I’m a teacher. I don’t know what good learning design looks like.”

We hear these words often from our network of training providers when we bring up the topic of learning design. We hear this from professional, successful training providers who’ve been in the game a while. They know their subjects well, and they’re good – great actually – at teaching students in a traditional face-to-face classroom setting.

But when it comes to crunching a five-day classroom course into shorter live online sessions, creating engaging eLearning modules, designing complementary online resources, and fitting all of the pieces together seamlessly into a blended learning course – that’s where they get stuck. 

That’s why Arlo has introduced learning design into our professional service offering.

We’re excited to announce that Hugh Denton and Rusty McLeod have joined the Arlo team as Learning Design Services Manager and Senior Learning Designer respectively. Combined, they have 25+ years of experience designing and developing successful learning solutions for training businesses of all shapes and sizes.

Our experts can help you set a strategy to navigate this new training environment, develop self-paced elearning content that complements your instructor-led sessions, and up-skill your team so they can do it themselves.

So how do you create blended learning that’s going to drive profitability for your business and keep your learners engaged? Our learning designers follow a proven nine-step methodology.

Steps for good learning design

1. Goals

The first step is to canvas your team and document your organisational goals and drivers. Do you want to double the numbers of learners who complete your programmes? Or halve your course delivery cost? Differentiate your courses from your competitors? The goal for each training organization is always different, so it’s important to define this upfront so you can create a plan that will achieve this.

2. Opportunities

Training providers aren’t always clear on the opportunities or challenges that they face. We can work with you to identify opportunities and/or challenges in your market. These are unique to each training business, but can be anything from the need to meet the needs of modern learners using innovations in learning and technology, to moving to a more scalable delivery model.

3. Target audience

We’ll capture what you already know about your target audience, and then work with you to expand on that with surveys and discovery sessions and more. We’ll seek to understand your customers goals, influences, motivators and pain points. The knowledge, skills and attitudes that are important to them. And, of course, how they like to learn. The key to finding an effective solution lies in truly understanding the customer’s problem and need. 

4. Target learning topics

Once we have a good understanding of your target audience, we’ll work on the learning topics that your organization should offer. For each topic we’ll confirm what great learning looks like, what the learning objectives are and how we will deliver the learning.

5. Current offerings and technical review

We’ll review your organization’s current learning offerings and technical environment within the context of your goals, audience needs, curriculum and best practice.

6. Discovery report 

We’ll create a report to summarize our findings and recommendations. This will include a summary of the opportunity, recommended learning topics, recommended model for blended delivery and technical environment, steps for the design, development and implementation of recommendations – including estimates of cost.

7. Content Conversion

Converting some of your existing course content is the best starting point for developing eLearning content, and the best way to get some quick wins on the board. We’ll help you convert your current course content to fun and engaging online modules that become part of a blended course. We convert paper-based materials (including face-to-face components) into engaging online modules, analyze course content to recommend a blended delivery in line with best practice, and provide templates and strategies to enable your team to take ownership of future solutions.

8. New Learning

Expanding your course repertoire is all the more possible with blended learning, and learning designers are often engaged in projects to create learning for a new topic. This can be done in conjunction with an overall good learning design strategy, as detailed above, or as a standalone piece of work. Either way, our design team can help you analyze the need and design and build the learning deliverables. Steps include running a discovery session, summarizing the need and approach in a high-level design report, storyboarding, designing, building and delivering the module.

9. Team upskill

Delivering face-to-face training is a completely different skill set to delivering a webinar, or building eLearning content. For some industries (think of agile training for example), the only difference between their course and their competitor’s course is the quality of the content. The importance of this should not be underestimated. After the expert leaves, your team should be able to build effective eLearning modules themselves. It’s important that your team has the skills they need to succeed.

In summary, blended learning is the future when it comes to delivering a great course that meets the needs of the modern learner. But that doesn’t mean all content should be in the form of eLearning, or webinar. Getting the right blend of delivery methods, that are uniquely designed with your course content and your learner needs and outcomes in mind, is key to creating good learning design.

Having more self-paced activities like eLearning leads to more interactive face-to-face sessions where you get better value from your trainers’ time. But eLearning is not just taking an existing PowerPoint or printed PDF and converting them to flat online modules. eLearning needs to be engaging and interactive, and it needs to complement your face-to-face training.

FAQs

What is learning design?

Learning design is a strategic approach to the creation of course content – taking into consideration the needs of the learner, business goals, curriculum, and delivery methods. Training organizations who engage an experienced learning designer are more likely to increase learning outcomes, achieve their business goals and create an effective and sustainable blended learning strategy.

What is blended learning?

Blended learning is the future when it comes to delivering a great course that meets the needs of the modern learner. But that doesn’t mean all content should be in the form of eLearning, or webinar. Getting the right blend of delivery methods, that are uniquely designed with your course content and your learner needs and outcomes in mind, is key to creating successful learning.

What is modern learning?

Modern learning integrates technology-based learning (eLearning and webinar) with traditional learning styles (e.g. classroom, instructor-led, face-to-face). Getting the right blend of delivery methods, that are uniquely designed with your course content and your learner needs and outcomes in mind, is key to creating successful modern learning. A learning designer can help you create the right recipe.

What does a learning designer do?

A learning designer will work with a training business to help you set a strategy to achieve your business goals, develop self-paced elearning content that complements your instructor-led sessions, and upskill your team so they can do it themselves. Training organizations who engage an experienced learning designer are more likely to increase learning outcomes, achieve their business goals and create an effective and sustainable blended learning strategy.

What are the steps of good learning design?

1. Goals
2. Opportunities
3. Target audience
4. Learning Topics
5. Technical review
6. Discovery report
7. Content conversion
8. New learning
9. Team upskill

Is learning design only for big training companies?

Definitely not. We can cater to any budget, and our learning designers have experience working with training companies of all shapes and sizes.

Do I have to be an Arlo customer to use your professional services?

No. Our learning design services are available to the entire training industry. Regardless of whether you’re an Arlo customer or not.

Where can I find out more about your learning design services?

Check out our pricing and information page, or get in touch with us at sales@arlo.co and we’ll be happy to answer any questions.

Let’s get started

Explore how learning design could transform your training business. Get in touch with us today.

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