In an attempt to help more people bring their content to life, I started a series of free content strategy sessions some months ago. These sessions turned out to be a great learning experience as I had the opportunity to meet with so many wonderful people who shared their goals and ideas with me. I engaged in long, productive conversations with human resources specialists, business developers and owners and I learnt about their problems and concerns. Not only did they walk with some suggestions to implement but I also gained a much deeper understanding of the communication and training challenges of today’s organizations.

In this post, I would like to share my key takeaways from these sessions:

Some misconceptions

There are some misconceptions about what online learning should look like and what instructional design really is. These misconceptions stem from traditional teaching methods and also, from standardized ways of creating e-learning content in the past two decades. It is rare to find creative examples of digital learning that are not built from PPT-based templates and many people feel a little bit reluctant to try new approaches. I will post more about this very soon.

Leadership skills for the future

There is a growing need for developing leadership skills within the organization. Stakeholders and managers understand how important is to increase knowledge and develop these skills. The ability of assessing employees’ weaknesses and strengths and linking their learning priorities to the business goals for the next 3 – 5 years helps organizations sustain competitiveness over time. Also, it is a way to retain talents and harness the knowledge that they have acquired from the moment they joined the organization.

Innovation is key

Business transformation and innovation are key factors to be able to respond to the ever-changing market’s needs and demands. We, as instructional designers, can play an important role in guiding organizations into the use of the newest technologies to optimize the learning processes. We can also design talent initiatives aimed at improving results and products as well: How relevant/useful is the learning content we delivered last year? What skills might my team need in the upcoming months/years according to our business plan? What changes can we expect in our industry?

A consistent message through quality content

Have you ever felt buried in a large amount of information? Trying to make sense of it and use it to deliver a clear message? One of the greatest challenges for organizations nowadays is to find ways to create, use and reuse quality content to deliver their message in a clear and consistent way. Long, text-heavy, boring and messy content doesn’t get a message across. Good content is usable and useful. It fulfills a purpose, it has a reason to exist. Good content supports your company’s message across different communication channels and creates a connection with your audience at every touch point.

Data-driven processes for decision-making

Today, we can gather information about users with just a few clicks. However, it is surprising how the value of data analysis for making more informed decisions across business units is so underestimated. Let’s take, for example, all the information about behavior patterns and performance metrics that can be collected from a Learning Management System. Yet, many organizations fail to explore information beyond course completion rates. Imagine how an in-depth analysis of this information can pave the way for more effective learning paths to optimize performance and improve learning products. [Sidenote: I commented on the importance of data and the role of xAPI, a few years ago.]

Understanding the challenges and issues that organizations face today can help us contribute to the advancement of their goals. Strategic direction in terms of communication and training is an invaluable asset for proficiency and innovation.

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