1. Speak to your audience
I work with clients who seem genuinely scared about what they might hear when they speak to their audience. It’s surprising and can become a serious issue if business objectives and learner needs are not aligned. The result tends to be a library of learning content/events no one uses/attends unless it’s made mandatory. Sound familiar?
To gather audience insights I’d recommend you run at least 4-5 focus groups containing 4-12 people. This can then be supplemented with 6-10, 1 on 1 stakeholder interviews. The former provides the view from the ‘frontline’, the latter the view from the ‘command center’. Both views are valuable but more often than not, the ‘top’ is overrepresented in a so-called ‘Training Needs Analysis’.
2. Measure it
L&D hasn’t figured out how to measure the return on investment of an L&D programme. My work at Freeformers however, gave me a useful methodology to apply. There are 3 key things you need to measure something effectively.
- A framework to benchmark against at the beginning of an L&D programme. For example, if yours is a leadership programme, what are the attributes you think your leaders need to be successful in your organisation.
- Secondly, a control group i.e. a like-for-like audience group who don’t experience your L&D programme. As you deliver your content or events, you can see how the control group’s attributes have changed in comparison to the people experiencing your programme.
- Finally, a way to display the data in a compelling way. This might sound like a gloss rather than a must-have, but my experience is that to convince stakeholders or clients, your data has to look great and be easy to represent.
3. Own the comms
The role of L&D is changing as the industry embraces mobile learning and consumer-type experience design. I’ve seen many great programmes suffer because there has been a lack of effective communications. My advice is that you think about any learning intervention like an experience from start to finish.
For example, when working with an aviation authority in Geneva, the client team and I developed a series of airline tickets which we posted to participants. The purpose of this was to give people a tangible artefact to engage them with the topic (innovation) before they arrived at the first 2-day event. It’s simple, little things like this, that make all the difference in the eyes of the audience.
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