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Creating Learning Pathways that do more

I hear many questions about how to curate and how to create effective learning paths or pathways. Digital Learning has opened up the scope of what we CAN include in a path, but what SHOULD we include?

Given that in most circumstances, employees will find a path by searching on a topic, how can we help them move towards continuous learning? Granted, some learners will be guided to specific paths by managers or SMEs, but that wonderful moment of need will drive most interactions.

The start of the design

First of all, we need to solve that moment of need. This is where a short burst of credible information is needed. Often just enough to get through a problem or question. That introduction should be well crafted and guide the learner past their quick need to a then follow a path of skill building.

Think about your learner and start with why. Ask why they are searching, why they might be assigned, why they are undergoing this path. If moment of need is an answer, create a short, engaging piece to explain, show and describe the basics. Mention the path and the benefits of other pieces.

Design-wise, this should be mobile first. A short video of an animation, of an SME, or a voice over PowerPoint are the easiest. There are many cool tools to develop these that everyone can use.

The goal is to answer the need and show the way to learn more.

The next options for the path

Build a solid foundation of knowledge that provides learners with options for the way that they learn best. You know those – visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. With today’s tools, you can add in formal, informal, internal and external resources. This is the Learn.

Then it gets fun! Put in time for reflection, with questions and ideas. Create networks where people can discuss the topic with peers and SMEs. Provide examples from SMEs that let learners try and discuss. Think beyond quizzes to ideas that will allow them to use the knowledge. How can you add a coaching element? This is the Do.

Then incorporate the Share. For those who are in leadership and management, provide tools for them to teach the topic to their teams. Add in resource guides and cascade kits. Tie in social networks with meaning: Cohort based, SME facilitated, leader led or peer groups.

Substantive Learning comes from this new blend and a great UI. I

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