Three Christmas Holiday Wishes

As the holiday season rapidly approaches we turn our thoughts from all things e-learning to mistletoe, egg-nog, and stocking stuffers.

Of course around here we stuff our stockings not with candy canes, but with e-learning top tips. So here are three wishes for you this holiday season.

1. A kick-off meeting with all the right stakeholders and subject matter experts

May all the right people be in the room with you as you launch your projects.

How can you ensure that you've got the right people in the room? Dig, dig, dig. Ask the right questions before you schedule the meeting:

  • Who cares about the outcome of this program?
  • Who is going to have to implement it?
  • Is the technology team going to have to touch it?
  • Who is going to have to take this program?
  • After the learner takes the program, who – if anyone, is going to have to follow up with them?

When you dig down and have everyone who needs to be involved from the outset – and not just the people who asked you to do the training – you'll be better positioned for success.

We wish for you that there are no last minute surprises when the program is about to go live and no key stakeholders who suddenly surface and change the whole direction of the project.

2. A shared understanding of what you need the learner to be able to DO after completing your program

Remember the piles of training binders and the endless PowerPoints that your subject matter experts have handed off to you? Forget trying to cram all of that content into your e-learning program.

During your kick-off meeting, keep asking what the learner needs to do with that tidbit, or this piece of information. If the answer is, "Uh, well..." then chances are you can do without it. Do they really need to know the history of the ACME widget in order to answer a troubleshooting call about it? If a learner wants to read up on that, send 'em off happily to the ACME widget Wiki page, but don't create five pages of e-learning to cover it.

We wish for you a great program that focuses on the learner and what you need them to do with all of this information.

3. A shared definition of "engagement" among your team members

The big buzzword these days in e-learning circles is to make sure the program is engaging.

Remember, it's not all about the clicky-click or the games. Dressing up a multiple-choice quiz as a "game" doesn't really make it that much more engaging if the questions are poorly written. It might be fun for a couple of minutes, but if the content doesn't stick, then what's the point?

Engagement starts in the brain. Print advertising and TV commercials – at least the good ones – can engage us with text, graphics and audio. How? They present an idea that gets us thinking. They share a provocative thought – an image that draws us in. They ask questions to get us reflecting. How can you do this in your e-learning programs?

We wish for you that your entire project team understands what true engagement means and doesn't sacrifice effective learning for clicky-clicky bling-bling.

No matter what holiday traditions you celebrate, we wish you a New Year filled with many blessings and fabulous e-learning programs.

May your holiday season overflow with e-learning goodwill and endless training cheer!