Organizations have started to negotiate their transition from the strategies they improvised for dealing with the pandemic restrictions imposed on travel and in-person gatherings. L&D managers must also continue to adjust and adapt learning experience design and development methods. This is not only important in order for L&D to remain relevant to evolving business strategies, but also to support efforts to retain employees by developing them.
This means L&D practitioners will have to level up and expand their skillsets. In this article, you will find an overview of the range of what this may involve including in your upskilling/reskilling plan for yourself and your team. Keeping up with change will require sharpening your fundamentals all the way down to font selection and better use of color, to the use of newer techniques that will soon support Agile development techniques and augmented reality.
As Michael Jordan once said, "Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise." That applies to instructional design every bit as much as it does to basketball. The fundamentals are the key to learner engagement, in the virtual classroom as well as in physical classrooms.
What are the fundamentals? They are the best practices that remove distraction from the attention of the learner. They include everything in your visual and auditory design—from font selection and use of color, to your use of techniques that show rather than tell.
Scripting and storyboarding: The overlooked development step
Some authoring tools (but not all) now include features to support scripting and storyboarding. The script and storyboard organize and pace your story, and they also provide a means during preproduction to organize the work of creating the development project. Sometimes designers use a simple hierarchical topic structure or outline instead of a script and storyboard, but this may be too mechanical to maintain interest and engagement. In addition, if you are planning to deliver your project as a video, the storyboard will help you see where you are going to need to add B-roll to fill in the steps.
Reskilling and upskilling
In her Learning Solutions article on best practices for emerging from the pandemic disruptions to business, Christina Pavlou cites a 2021 survey by TalentLMS survey on reskilling and upskilling training. It shows that an impressive 42% of companies stepped up their upskilling/reskilling efforts after the coronavirus outbreak. At the same time, 42% of employees have pursued training on their own. Pavlou outlines how to focus on reskilling and upskilling in order to improve employee confidence and to evolve company culture to better match the new situations in which organizations will find themselves.
One video project, many derivatives
Evolve your video as you develop it into layers of support for learning. Jonathan Halls has broken this down into the elements that are involved in video production. An instructional developer can think of these elements as layers. Making effective use of those elements to support the learning journey is another way to level up the learning experience.
Microlearning is a relatively recent paradigm for improving and adding to employee skills. It is especially well-suited to the conditions of the pandemic recovery. This does not mean microlearning is faster to develop, but it is set up to better fit the time available to the employees to use within the flow of their work.
Support from The Learning Guild
In addition to the Learning Solutions articles linked here, The Learning Guild continues to offer programs that enhance design and development skills. The next opportunity is coming February 9-10 with the "Deepening Your ID Skills" online conference. These eight expert sessions will address:
- Fundamentals to Level Up Your Design Skills (Nick Floro)
- Storyboarding in an Agile World (Mark Simon)
- Accessible Learning (Daniece Rainville)
- Fast-track Your Process (Chad Knowler)
- Creating Instructional Media Derivatives from Video (Josh Cavalier)
- Using Agile to Deliver eLearning (Andrew McGuire)
- Using Lean to Course Correct Your Course Development (Breana Hidalgo)
- Expand your L&D Solutions with Augmented Reality (Jeff Batt)