What is a Learning Journey?
What’s the last complex skill you learned successfully? How to swing a golf club? How to lay a tile? How to deliver a performance review? Regardless of what it was, chances are you were motivated and understood you had a need, that some sort of formal learning was involved – a video, an elearning or you attended a class, then armed with your new knowledge you went through a period of trial and error that may have included seeking support from colleagues, a tip sheet or quick reviews of material to which you’d previously been exposed. In other words, you had a series of different experiences over time that served different purposes which together helped you develop a new skill. This is a learning journey.
What does a learning journey have to do with an LMS?
You would probably be hard pressed to find people who will argue with the idea that learning is a journey. However, in today’s complex, information rich, and oh so time poor work environment, you will be equally hard pressed to find organizations that consistently approach the design of learning as a journey. Instead, employees are too often fed a catalog of online courses or attend a half-day live session only to forget everything they learned as soon as they’re pulled back into the pile of work that accumulated while they stepped away.
Warning! This isn’t about designing learning journeys, so if you want to go down this path check out our Design for Results guide. Instead, this is about familiarizing you with the some of the activities in Totara Learn Kineo Edition and how they can enable the efforts of those who are designing learning journeys in your organization.
A Framework for Learning Journeys
While there are many ways to label the parts of a learning journey, let’s start with three high-level steps in a journey: Initiate, Develop and Apply or IDA.
I = Initiate
These are activities or experiences that might make sense before any formal learning is initiated. The following are some examples:
1. Engage: Depending on your audience, you my need to generate interest in your solution, address any apprehension or provide an incentive for training.
2. Diagnose: Too often, learners don’t know what they don’t know about their need for training. They may not think they need training at all or all of the available training may not be suitable for them because of experience, role or other reasons. A diagnostic can help motivate and/or focus a learner on the most critical learning elements.
3. Set Goals & Targets: Read any book on success and you will always find setting goals and targets included as a best practice. So why in learning, do we almost never ask learners to look forward and set a goal as part of the program? We would suggest this is a critical part of the journey.
D = Develop
This, of course, is where most of the focus and resource go in L&D and may include:
1. Curated Content: Sharing resources like PDFs, documents or PowerPoints or pointing to external resources on the web or your intranet.
2. Tutorials: Asynchronous learning experiences in which material is presented typically through some mixture of reach media.
3. Instructor or Virtual Instructor-Led Training: Synchronous learning experiences led or facilitated by an expert or leader.
4. Practice: Providing an opportunity for learners to apply their recently acquired knowledge and skills in a “safe to fail” environment.
5. Discussion: Using group dialogue or debate to help learners apply context to new knowledge and skills.
A = Apply
Armed with new knowledge and skills, back on-the-job is where much of the real learning takes place. These are the activities, resources and assistance you provide learners to support putting this knowledge and skills to work. The following are some examples:
1. Coaching or Mentoring: Provide structured access to an experienced colleague or manager to guide and give advice.
2. Rewards: Track accomplishments to recognize milestones and goals.
3. Reinforce: Regularly send micro-content to emphasize key concepts and takeaways.
4. Communities: Create cohorts who are tackling similar challenges so they can share challenges and best practices.
5. Resources: Generate a repository of helpful guides, links, articles, and documents for reference and supporting performance.
6. Expert Database: Create a searchable catalog of organization experts others can turn to for support.
Meeting the Need with Totara Learn
One of the strengths of Totara is the breadth of Activities available to instructional designers to create compelling learning journeys. Below, we’ve mapped these activities to the learning experiences described in the IDA model. In many cases, these activities are linked to videos so you can learn more about how they work.
1. Engage: Enrollment Notification, Video Resource, Kineo Edition Gamification
3. Set Goals & Targets: Lesson, Kineo Edition Skills Assessment
6. Instructor or Virtual Instructor-Led Training: Seminar, Zoom (integration), WebEx (integration), Big Blue Button (integration)
11. Reinforce: Micro Learning in a Program
14. Expert Database: Glossary
Is your organization already creating amazing learning journeys that smartly use Totara features? We’d love to hear about it and so would your peers at other organizations.
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