Over the last couple of weeks, I went over the aspects of learning design as it related to the overall learning model. But even a perfectly designed learning experience won’t have the intended impact unless it can be conveyed in a way that is suitable to the audience, your customer. In this blog we’ll be looking at the Delivery element of the LMC.
In the modern learning environment, Delivery encompasses both the physical and electronic mechanisms for providing experiences to participants. As you might imagine, the means to do this can vary considerably depending on the intended goal, and no single form of delivery is going to be ideal for every task on L&D’s docket.
There are many flavors of Delivery to consider, and learning leaders are developing new vectors for training all the time. But just to help fill out the picture, I’ve compiled a few examples of ways L&D can reach the customer:
- Mobile apps
- Social tools (Yammer, Jive, YouTube, etc.)
- Workflow systems (Project Management, CRM, Point of Sale)
- Learning Management Systems (LMS)
- Content Management Systems (CMS)
- Coaching and Mentoring
- Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC)
On-Time Delivery Guaranteed
Like many other aspects of the LMC, timing plays a key role in learning Delivery. Every learning initiative, regardless of the form of delivery, must have some way to combat time’s effect on comprehension and retention. A single, informational email blast, for instance, shouldn’t be expected to convey all its content to the workforce in full, nor will that content necessarily be remembered days or weeks later without some form of follow-up.
Gottfredson and Mosher’s Five Moments of Learning Need is a useful guide for identifying the ideal timing of learning Delivery, and also extends to many of the decisions made in the Design phase. Delivery might be thought of something that only occurs in the first two moments, training in something for the first time (New), and expanding on previous training (More).
But as we’ve seen in our overview of the different learning models, learning can still happen in the workflow at the moment of application of learning (Apply), at the moment of a novel challenge (Solve), and also at the moment a new paradigm must correct previous learning experiences (Change). Coming at the problem from the opposite end, L&D must also contend with retaining information and skills over time, as illustrated in Ebbinghaus’ forgetting curves. The overall lesson is that any singular learning experience that L&D designs and delivers will not necessarily produce the maximum change in behavior and performance.
Connection to the Learning Models
If you’ve followed Saltbox Savvy you probably already recognize that some of the Delivery styles outlined above fit into certain learning models better than others. For instance, the Skills Development pattern within an Innovation model thrives on high-touch human interaction or immersion to deliver feedback to participants. But that same strength is a liability in the Performance Support model when trying to keep up with the workforce’s immediate need for information, something much more feasible through automated mechanisms.
This isn’t to say that choosing a particular learning model forbids you from employing certain learning mechanisms, simply that certain forms of Delivery align more naturally with the intended goal of that model. An L&D unit’s aim should be to leverage what it does best, and that will often mean using the Delivery method that fits with its model.
Taken together, Design and Delivery constitute major elements of the actual production of learning experiences. In next week’s Saltbox Savvy, we’ll look at the Key Resources L&D needs to possess in order to get any of that designing and delivering off the ground. If you have questions about the Delivery aspect of the LMC or want to get your own LMC started, drop me a line at Saltbox or leave a comment below.
Keep the participant’s perspective in mind when trying to deliver training around the Five Moments of Learning Need and the forgetting curve. In cases where learning is self-directed, such as in Performance Support, the participants will control their own pace of learning. The closer to the workflow system the better. But Skills Development and University models, which rely heavily on facilitators, may need a more deliberately scheduled “drip” of learning experiences to ensure information is both timely and effectively retained.