Focus on your learner experience, not your training content


Many people assume that the key to high-impact online training is in high-production learning content.

After all, the more ‘Hollywood’ your online course is, the more likely it’ll instigate the change you want to see in the learner, right?

Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The online training market is littered with expensive projects that:

  • Struggle to interest learners
  • For those that do attract learners, many never complete their training
  • Have minimal impact on the learner, their performance and their organization, particularly over the long-term

This is because the production quality of learning content is only one factor (of many) in creating high-impact online training.

As a training provider, you are in the business of enhancing skills and changing behaviours, not creating fantastic multimedia presentations.

Think about the best experiences you’ve had as a trainer. For example, you may remember when one of your delegates had a ‘lightbulb’ moment in one of your face-to-face courses. All of a sudden, it just all made sense. This was unlikely to be a result of the high-quality graphics in your PowerPoint – it’s more likely due to the stories you shared, questions you answered and discussions you had.

The same applies online. Unfortunately, as many training providers are unsure or unconfident in how to use an online format to facilitate those same magic moments, the focus often switches to the aesthetics of online training as it’s something they understand and can control. Sure, high-production content might make a good first impression on your client or learner, but what about after that?

Instead of thinking about your learning content, focus on the experience you can provide.

To create change in your learners, you need to connect with them (emotionally). After all, people take notice of things they care about.

So instead of working out what you want to teach, spend time with your learners and tease out their real needs and concerns. What’s really stopping them from developing the skills or changing their behaviours? What kind of experience can they engage in that’ll work for them in their environment and context?

For example, a time-poor employee may benefit from a structured approach to training that works for them.

  • You may involve weekly group chats to keep them on track and allows them to connect and share with their peers.
  • You may mix this with self-study online learning materials to provide the flexibility to learn about a subject area on a learner’s schedule. The learning content could be based on scenarios and simulations to give them the chance to practice their skills
  • You may also decide to send them regular emails to reinforce key lessons and keep your subject matter on the radar. You might provide them with prompts to help them implement their training in the workplace or provide them with resources to support their efforts.

Only by understanding the learner’s situation and context will you be able to design a learning experience that works well. And this comes through careful observation and considered conversation.

By focussing on the learner experience, you’ll be better placed to have a more significant impact on your learner, your client and ultimately, your training business. After all, isn’t that what everyone wants all want?

The future of online learning is experience-driven, not content-driven.

Great content is for Google and YouTube. However, learners need help understanding, interpreting and implementing, and that’s where you come in.

So don’t spend all your budget on high-production learning content. Instead, focus your efforts on creating learning experiences that have an impact. We guarantee you’ll get a much better return on your investment.

Andy Jack

Andy Jack

Andy loves helping subject experts, authors, speakers, coaches and key persons of influence to monetise their expertise with online learning. When not on his laptop, he'll usually be found up a mountain!

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