Designing Virtual Learning That Pays Off (Part 1)

August 16, 2017 10:00 by Dana Peters

Building the Pathway to Learning Application


You’ve done it. You have invested significant time and money into the design and development of your virtual instructor-led training (vILT) programs. Your ultimate goal is that learners will gain valuable knowledge and skills to enhance their performance in support of the organization’s business goals. But has this investment paid off? Has the desired performance change happened back on the job? Are you able to prove the training has done what it’s intended to do?

What do we do to be sure our valuable learning investments don’t go to waste?

For starters, two things need to take place as part of our learning design. We need to include:

  1. A “post learning event path” that helps our learners apply what they have learned back on the job.
  2. A plan to measure results back on the job. This plan should address the following two statements:

We know we are successful when_________________.
We will measure that success by__________________. 

First, let’s touch on number one: As part of our learning design we need to include a “post learning event path” that helps our learners apply what they have learned back on the job.

We’ll cover number two in another post.

Helping your learners apply what they learned back on the job starts with the initial design of the course curriculum. In order to support application of learning back on the job, the proper resources, tools, and follow-up plan must be part of the package after the delivered session. It’s important to keep the learning process alive once the participant logs out of the classroom.

Consider baking in a post session reflection exercise. Learners journal their key takeaways from the learning event they just attended, followed by outlining the next steps of action to apply what they have learned. With these next steps they should also consider what resources they will need, and who they will need help from. Ideally, this completed reflection exercise would be shared with the learner’s direct supervisor to rally support, open the door for coaching, and help monitor progress.

Another option may include a post session on-the-job assignment designed to specifically allow the learner to test out, and apply their new skills. Involving a peer that could serve as a mentor providing direction, support, and feedback on the assignment will be critical.

Build an arsenal of tools and resources that can be accessed back on the job and support learners in the moment. This could also serve as a learning library for those highly motivated learners who thirst for more information and love to dabble in the details of a topic. 

Finally, encourage the incorporation of learning to be part of regular performance review discussions and monthly team meetings. With time, these application of learning conversations will become part of the fabric of your organization’s culture.

Check back in with us next week as we discuss measuring success back on the job.

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