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NogginLabs was founded on the notion that custom e-learning design and development is the ultimate horizontal industry. Time and again, each new project, client, and industry proves it. The biggest advantage of the e-learning horizontal is cross-pollinating ideas from two wildly different domains. A restaurant service simulation for iPad may influence a high-fashion online retail challenge. E-learning for financial advisors in a bank could inspire a mobile outreach program for cancer survivors. This variety also keeps the creative folks at NogginLabs fresh. Fresh learning ideas and designs come from a set of constantly changing constraints.

The ghosts of e-learning past & lessons learned meetings


The ghosts of e-learning past & lessons learned meetings

Ryan O'Neill

When the Ghost of Christmas Past visited Ebenezer Scrooge, it was really the beginning of a lessons learned meeting for the old miser. We all love getting together to talk about what went right and what wasn't so hot about our latest e-learning program, right? Let’s take a look at a few ways in which the meeting between these two can help you improve your next lessons learned meeting. 


In Scrooge’s case, the Ghost of Christmas Past, hereafter known as GOCP (pronounced “goh-sp”), brought him to see the people that used to be important to him: his schoolmates, his sister, his father, his first boss, and his fiancée. These are all of the people who touched Scrooge’s life in a meaningful way and helped him become the (grouchy old) man he is at the beginning of the story. 

For your purposes, you’ll want to gather anyone who was involved in the e-learning project that you feel can add valuable feedback. These may be people who communicated details, were involved in the production of the course, content creators, etc. Anyone who touched the project in a meaningful way--get them in the room.


The GOCP brings Scrooge to seminal moments in his past, showcasing the events and actions that could have gone better. It’s not like the spirit was showing Scrooge what he ate for breakfast when he was younger, or that one time he said something stupid to a classmate. No, these were pivotal, life-changing moments that created the man. The spirit did not nitpick. He/She/It went for the big moments. All that said, the GOCP could have shortcut his role by offering more suggestions for improvement, rather than leaving it all to Ebenezer to figure out.

To be more effective in your lessons learned meeting, you’ll want to clearly define those big moments in the course of a project. Did your LMS crash on launch day? Were people buzzing about the course during the holiday party? Did a learner contact you to point out inconsistencies in a virtual environment? Find ways that those big moments could be improved next time.


Chalk this one up as a win for the GOCP. He/She/It let Scrooge’s past speak for itself. Though the GOCP was literally bringing up the past, it’s not like the spirit was repeatedly blaming Scrooge for his actions. The GOCP pretty much let the old man watch himself and let his behavior sink in. Things get a little heated between the two of them when Scrooge doesn’t like what he sees. He asks the GOCP to stop showing him more. Here’s how the spirit replies:

“These are the shadows of things that have been. That they are what they are, do not blame me!”

A little bit of a stretch for my purposes here, but we can see that the GOCP is just showing Scrooge what happened and wants to avoid the blame game.

It’s a good idea to keep emotions in check and avoid blaming others for things that didn’t go perfectly. Like the GOCP, concentrate on the events and actions, not the people who caused them.


After seeing everything from his past (and present and future), Scrooge learned that change was a necessity. Then he ran around the streets in his robe and slippers, publically wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.

Like Scrooge, let everyone know your intentions going forward. It will make you more accountable for your future actions. End your lessons learned meeting by stating the actions that each participant will take going forward. Please do not do this part in a robe.

Happy Holidays!