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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 trouble with brainstorming


The trouble with brainstorming

Veronica Wilson

As you start the process of creating a custom e-learning course, there is no piece of the puzzle more fun than brainstorming.

This is the point where the world is your oyster, the sky’s the limit, and every quote from Oh, the Places You’ll Go! somehow seems appropriate. We have the opportunity to take something that was previously putting people to sleep and turn it into a fun, engaging, and often gamified training program. Knowing where to begin can sometimes be tricky, but in my creative experience, it’s knowing when to stop that can get you into the most trouble.

Blueprint Law #1 here at NogginLabs is “Define your success,” and this is a great place to begin because it tells you where and when to end. Doing this step will require some brainstorming of its own, but it’s where you decide what you want your e-learning course to accomplish and how you’ll know if you’ve succeeded.

As you work through production of a course, new ideas on how to do something better do come up, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned since becoming an adult, you definitely can have too much of a good thing. New ideas fall into that category alongside things like champagne, number of cheeses in a mac and cheese recipe, and dogs. (For the record, it’s four types of cheese.)

When you’re creating something that you feel deeply connected to, you’ll always want to make changes and incorporate new ideas. You’re pouring your heart and soul into the project and as your personal worldview changes, so too will your opinions of how something should look, feel, or work.

However, if you’re constantly changing your approach because new brain waves keep coming to you, you’ll start to run into problems and become a problematic teammate. A never-ending brainstorming phase means that a project can never actually end.

If you can’t pinpoint what you want, your team can’t build it or, worse, they’ll have to constantly rebuild every time you change your mind. Out of respect for their time, you have to know when enough is enough in the brainstorming department. Failing to know where that line is means you can never reach that success you defined in the beginning, and what a discouraging world that would be!

Instead, find that balance where you are a great creative contributor to the team, while also keeping the project on the right track. Set milestones and deadlines so you, your team, and the client know when brainstorming is over and building can begin. Final delivery can’t just be a handwritten list of witty ideas. Once you make a decision, trust yourself and your team. Give yourselves the chance to achieve success and the satisfaction of a job well done.

Now, after a lot of tinkering and a deadline fast approaching, I can see that it’s time to end this post.