If you’ve been around the training world for any amount of time, you’re probably familiar with the old “throw crap at the wall and see what sticks” approach to designing e-learning. While it may work for pasta (ok, pasta needs to stick to the ceiling), it’s a really bad way to engage your learners. But before you even start thinking about engagement, tell that guy in the corner who’s jumping up and down because he thinks he finally gets to gamify to cool his jets.
Before you do anything, you need to define your success. First you can order coffee and donuts for the meeting, because caffeinated stakeholders are productive stakeholders. When they’re good and buzzed, start asking them why they want to build a training program in the first place. What should people do differently after taking the program? How will anyone know if the program is successful? To some extent this points to learning objectives, but it should go beyond the old “By the end of this program, you will be able to…”
If you involve the right stakeholders, they should be interested in business outcomes. Sometimes those are pretty clear: salespeople will close more deals, call handling times will go down, compliance violations will decrease, abuse of the company kegerator will stop. Sometimes the business outcomes will be about the whole culture of learning. We’ve had a number of clients who want to change the face of learning in their organizations. One client wanted to see if people would actually take a training program off the clock (believe it or not, they did).
The bottom line is to make sure you know what you’re trying to accomplish from the outset of designing a learning program. If you’ve defined your success, it becomes much easier to determine things like whether you need a game, a mobile solution, or a kick-ass custom e-learning vendor.