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The (almost) magical learning design tool that makes your job easier

Lara Dalch
Sr. Experience Architect
Experience architect Lara Dalch shares how creating a learning architecture saves you time, money, and frustration when building learning experiences.
January 12, 2021

You walk out of a packed conference room, laptop under one arm and travel mug in your hand. In the past 45 minutes, you've gone from being optimistic about what you can achieve this year to feeling frustrated and angry. 

Three different business units asked for new sales onboarding programs to launch in the next few months. And while you know they're just responding to demands from the executive team to drive more revenue, the avalanche of work will place a burden on your small team. 

Stressing and walking at the same time, you spill half your coffee on the sleeve of your new shirt. (At least you avoided running into a wall.)

What's worse is you know these people need your help. This isn’t the first time they’ve asked for learning programs that foster connection and improve conversations among customers, peers, and vendors. 

But three brand new programs in six months? What was your boss thinking when she approved all of these requests?!

Normally, you and your team would look at each request and take your time going through your standard process.You'd turn your learning expertise on each subject, digest the content, get a list of requirements, and then go off to create the stuff—beautiful, glossy, and creative. 

But you can't take these projects one at a time. The amount of content your stakeholders say they need people to learn is overwhelming. And if you’re overwhelmed, what must it be like for the salespeople?

No one can articulate what “onboarding” actually means.

And the timeline for each of these programs is simply “as soon as possible.”

You need a way to oversee program creation and delivery end-to-end, without getting stuck in the weeds on one project while stalling on another one.

You need a sustainable, digestible way forward to envision, design, build, and maintain these new programs – so that next year the people in these business units will be celebrating success (and you won't be stuck with the same demands, renewed.)

You need a way to serve the different sales audiences over time without completely reinventing the wheel for each new batch of salespeople. 

And if you don't pull this off, the folks at the C-Level will question the value of your Learning and Enablement team.

You don't just need plans for these initiatives—you need architectures.  

Like the blueprints used by architects and engineers to design buildings– and even more like the documents used by software and IT professionals to build applications – learning architectures allow learning and enablement pros to build scalable and durable learning programs.

Together with team members, key stakeholders, and representatives from the audiences who will experience the trainings, you can map out the required topics, sequence them, and agree on the best way to deliver the content.

It may seem daunting to put everyone in a room together upfront (we usually do it over the course of a full day), but the requests won’t get simpler or less frequent. And when the alternative is the higher-ups questioning your value, it's worth it. 

It can be messy at first and that's okay; it may even stay that way. Architectures are functional, living documents.

And the best part is that when one small piece of a training module needs to be updated, a learning architecture allows you to adjust that specific piece, instead of redoing the entire experience. 

Fast forward to six months from now…

Your team arrives triumphant to the conference room, with three brand new learning experiences to present to your leadership team. You’ve even piloted them with salespeople and made a few tweaks to address seller feedback.

Most importantly, you hear from salespeople that the programs you architected and designed give them just what they need, when they need it. And your company surpasses its business goals because your salespeople are so well prepared.

Now that deserves a celebration. With a coffee toast (and a shopping trip to replace your coffee-stained shirt.)

Want to learn more about the experience architecture approach?  Watch our webinar for the details.

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Architecting Learning Experiences to Drive Successful Outcomes

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