How To Outsource eLearning Curriculum, Part 2

How To Outsource eLearning Curriculum, Part 2
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Summary: Embarking on an eLearning curriculum design project can feel like there are a million different moving parts. A well-designed eLearning curriculum will develop and nurture the critical skills needed to achieve a specific business outcome. Unfortunately, whether or not a curriculum design is successful is often left to chance. With so much on the line, who wants to take that gamble? Learn how to overcome this challenge in the second part of our article.

How To Outsource eLearning Curriculum: Define The Performance Goals And Barriers

In the first part of this article, we explored how creating a project charter and knowing your audience will help you design eLearning curriculum successfully. In this part, we’ll take a look at the importance of getting a clear understanding of learner outcomes that are required for your solution.

Keys To Outsourcing A Results-Driven Curriculum
Discover how to create effective curriculums that ensure your solution precisely meets the needs of the learners and achieves both organizational and business objectives.

Defining The Performance Goals And Barriers

Author and founder of Success magazine, Orison Swett Marden said: “All who have accomplished great things have had a great aim, have fixed their gaze on a goal which was high, one which sometimes seemed impossible.” In the fifteen years since Kineo’s founding, and after having serviced millions of learners, we realize that not only is it critical to set business and behavioral goals for the curriculums and solutions we develop, it’s essential that we enable our clients to have the confidence to stretch themselves and aim for the highest possible impact to yield the longest lasting results.

What we refer to as the Kineo Experience, provides the environment and process that enables our clients to tap into, and exercise, all of their creative faculties, which results in ideas and designs they never knew they had, producing results that never thought possible.

Once you’ve documented the business outcomes and created personas, it’s time to get a clear understanding of what learner outcomes are required of the solution—i.e., what you need learners to be able to do that they couldn’t or wouldn’t do before your solution.

Let’s take a moment to acknowledge a reality here— there’s a chance you’ve been reading up to this point with a certain project in mind and thinking “Yeah, we already have our goals and audience defined and we know what needs to be taught. We’re ready to design!” If that thought has crossed your mind, here’s a simple checkpoint.

Design = Creating An Object Or Experience With Intention

What are your intentions for the solution? The driver for design shouldn’t be content. Instead, the driver for design should be articulating the experience that will achieve a specific outcome for a specific audience. Knowing your audience isn’t enough. You’ll need to examine how the business goals translate into performance goals. You then need to explore each performance goal through the lens of your personas to flesh out how your solution might make a difference.

To achieve this level of clarity, we employ a technique we call Situation Mapping—a modified approach to Cathy Moore’s Action Mapping. This is best done as a workshop in which project stakeholders and SMEs provide the details. Situation mapping is a 3-step process:

  • Step 1: Identify a context for which a business goal is relevant for a persona
  • Step 2: List the “what they need to do” (actions) in that context to achieve the goal (the performance goals)
  • Step 3: Analyze the actions to flesh out any barriers, training, and support needed

The template below may be helpful in guiding you through the process.

Persona Mary, the volunteer president
Business Goal Reducing turnover by raising morale
Context Mary is a newly elected president with years of experience in operations but none in leadership and business administration.
Describe a situation in which Mary has an impact on the goal. How frequently does this situation arise? Important decisions are postponed at meetings because they do not have enough people to vote.
Are they facing this daily? Weekly? Monthly? Or very infrequently? Most meetings, so daily, and if not daily, weekly.

In this situation, what actions does Mary need to take to be successful?

  • Action 1: Follow the problem-solving model
  • Action 2: Motivate people in key positions to create effective meetings
  • Action 3: Influence members to come to the meeting
  • Action 4: Coach leaders in how they can motivate others
Does Mary take this action today? If not, why not? Action 1: Follow the problem-solving model Action 2: Motivate people in key positions to create effective meetings Action 3: Influence members to come to the meeting Action 4: Coach leaders in how they can motivate others
Is it a:

Knowledge Problem: They don’t know that it’s expected or recognize the opportunity?
They don’t have the knowledge about how to find answers?

Skill Problem: They don’t have the required skills?

Motivational Problem: They don’t see value in doing it?

Organizational Problem: They lack support, process, or tools to act?

Something else?

Mary was always quick jumping into fixing mode. She’s not aware of the problem-solving model, and the benefits of “size up” before you act approach. Mary is aware that she needs to bring her team onboard but they’re skeptical, based on their previous experience.
Mary does not have the knowledge and skills of how to motivate people.
Mary has always been using personal power but she’s not aware that there are other ways to influence people. Mary is a skilled fire fighter, where roles and responsibilities were clear. Mary used peer coaching instantly before, and she’s good with people on one-on-one.

However, she needs to practice not to dominate the conversation with “If I were you…”

Note: This is a good time to ferret out if it’s a training issue at all.

Action 1: Follow the problem-solving model Action 2: Motivate people in key positions to create effective meetings Action 3: Influence members to come to the meeting Action 4: Coach leaders in how they can motivate others
If Mary already takes these actions today, where does she struggle? What mistakes does she make?

If she’s not doing these actions, what is she doing that she’s not supposed to be doing?

Mary is not using the problem-solving model. In fact, she’s trying to fix things quickly without knowing the root cause of the problem.

For example, she requested to have fewer meetings to motivate people to show up.

Mary has regular meetings with her leaders to discuss issues but she's taking on too much herself.

She needs to delegate and build trust.

With less frequent meetings scheduled, Mary personally asked members to come to those and vote on important decisions.

This seemed to work in the short term only.

Mary needs to practice active listening and learn coaching techniques to address specific behaviors.
What are the consequences of Mary not taking this action or making a mistake? For the organization? For Mary? Fixing the wrong things further decreases morale and trust in leadership While Mary can do a lot, if she’s not able to rely on her team, people might feel that their contribution is not valued.

Spending energy on the wrong things (while by-laws are outdated, for example) can send the message that leadership does not prioritize.

By not addressing the main issues of WHY people are not engaged (no agenda, no follow-up, etc.), fewer meetings just make the case worse. Important financial decisions must be made on time. With out effective coaching people revert back to old behaviors, which obviously did not work for the organization.
Coaching is also important for Mary to build trust in her team.
What support/ training exists today for Mary to do these things?
This is new. No training exists yet. There is an off-the-shelf learning about leadership and management but not for the administration. A job-aid was created a long time ago. Nothing else. There is a twoday ILT program covering coaching, but it’s rarely offered.
What support/ training does Mary need to do these things in the way you want her to? Basics of problem-solving with practice of application. Audiencespecific content covering how to lead through engagement. Basic knowledge group dynamics and motivation. An actionoriented, online spaced learning program balancing best practices and applications on the job.

Repeat this process for each persona to get a clear understanding of what each audience group needs to be able to do. You may consider repeating this process further if you have more than one business goal. Just keep going until you have a complete picture. This is the most time-consuming part of the upfront work, but it pays off. As you go through this process, you’ll quickly see how easy it is to design a solution that meets your audiences’ needs, and that guides your stakeholders and SMEs to determine what content is important and relevant to achieving your performance and business goals. This exercise also helps you identify where you have overlaps in content for the different audience segments.

Next, you need to determine learner paths. For example, will there be a pr-assessment? Will everyone go through the same experience, or will there be an option to select a role in order to view content specific to that role? Answering these questions requires having a clear understanding of the intersections in content, and that clarity should come from your situation mapping. For example, if you find as you do your situation mapping that more than one role needs the same foundational training to perform their job or tasks properly, you can think about how to structure your curriculum in such a way that the two roles go through the same foundational training before branching off into training specific to their role.

Finally, make sure to document your performance and learning goals for each audience segment and share that back with your stakeholders to ensure alignment.

Stay tuned for the third and last part of this article series on eLearning curriculum.

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