Learning

We’re Not Trying to Diss on That Nice Bullet-Point Memo You Wrote, But…

Did you see my two previous blog posts? I wrote about the opportunity for greater linkage between communications and learning solutions; and then explored how narrative and metaphor have the unique ability to engage readers in a way that is highly participative.

Now let’s see if we can tie it all together.

At Blueline Simulations, we have developed a communication and learning tool that we call a Journey Map. It has proven to be a powerful device for:

  • Providing an easy-to-grasp overview of robust and complex messages.
  • Creating an involving narrative around organizational issues that allows readers to instantly see their role in the message.
  • Engaging readers at both a rational and an emotional level – so they don’t just understand the message urgency but feel it.

Here’s how it works. A Journey Map is a small graphic that is rich in both quantitative and metaphorical/narrative data. With dimensions of 11 x 17 (a standard “tabloid” sized page), the document is meant for “individual consumption” and not to be confused with our “Blueline Blueprint” learning technology.

The power of the Journey Map is not so much that it is “visual” (although that certainly grabs attention.) More importantly, it is “narrative”“ which means that it allows readers to connect not only with individual messages, but to better understand those messages in a context of how they relate to one another. These narrative-driven messages are “stickier” than those items in your bullet-point memo, leading to greater comprehension and retention. (Although I’m sure your memo is really good.)

The Onboarding Process as Narrative Journey

For example, one of our client partners worked with Blueline to rebuild its new-employee onboarding process. Of course, what is onboarding but one grand story? It’s a story about possibility, change, the aspirations of the new hire, and the vision that the new hire and the organization both share. Whew. That’s a lot of “tell”. And when you try to communicate all of that aspiration in a series of bullet points, you can hear all of the air going out of the balloon.

Part of our solution was to create a journey map graphic that depicted all of these messages in a single narrative, built around images and data. Suddenly the messages all clicked together: New hires were able to “find themselves” in the journey visual, while organizational leaders placed their progress in the context of a broader goal. This solution (along with our learning approach) has helped to create a best-in-class onboarding solution that is now regarded as one of the best in the country.

Organizational Change; Career Progression; Mentoring Structures; and More

Similarly, another of our client partners  – a global pharmaceutical company – was introducing a culture change with dramatic implications for how associates interacted with customers. By presenting the change in narrative format, associates were invited to reflect on their own role within the initiative, and recognize how their goals were in fact aligned with the goals of the organization. (This stands is stark contrast to the “defensive” response that leaders were expecting!)

In fact, our many case studies sound very much the same. Our client partners have brought us organizational challenges deep in complexity;¦and time and again have been astounded by how those complex messages can be rendered with clarity and emotional engagement in a simple graphical approach.

Of course, we’ve got more tricks up our sleeve. Give us a call today. We’ll give you a closer look at our Journey Map solutions. We’ve also got some ideas for couching your message in a narrative context for other communications, including:

  • Employee handbooks
  • Investor communications
  • Change, vision, and culture messages
  • Organizational identity (including onboarding audiences)

But enough about us. We want to hear your story. Contact us, and let’s explore some ways to bring it to life.

 

Free webinar. Learn how organizations are using eBooks in their training and communication initiatives

I wanted to give you a quick introduction to an innovative new design model that one of our Partners: NogginLabs has developed: e-Books. e-Books take traditional print media to a new level – presenting content in a contemporary online format that weaves in interactive elements such as embedded videos, multi-selects, animations and assessment questions (similar to Wall Street Journal online, CNN.com, iPad magazine applications, etc.).

Many clients are finding creative uses for e-Books. For example: replacing pre-work for Instructor-led materials, creating interactive book summaries of industry publications, or even simply bringing life to dry reference material. And since e-Books allow for bookmarking and tracking, clients can track who has accessed and completed the material.

e-Books are a visually pleasing and cost-effective way to deliver communication and knowledge transfer to a wide audience while avoiding the trap of poor “click next, click next” e-Learning.

I would like to invite you to join us for a webinar that will be delivered by NogginLabs on Monday, August 15th at noon Eastern. At that time, they will provide demonstrations of e-Books and answer any questions you may have.

Please register by Thursday, August 11th if you are interested and I will send along the web link and conference line information.

An Evolution in Learning: Welcome to the Age of Integration Part 1

Our story begins with a classroom and an overhead transparency projector.

In its nascent years, corporate training was filled with the promise of alignment and change as employees were removed from the shop floor, herded into the conference room, and encouraged to scribble notes while a subject matter expert delivered information that had been deemed strategically important. Learning was largely transactional — a one-way transfer of information with learners situated permanently on the receiving end. (As for PowerPoint gosh, don’t get me started. Let’s just say the technology has only ensured that the transactional model stayed in place long past its expiration date.)

Then came the age of the knowledge worker, and organizational learning took on a different flavor. Awakened from their classroom-induced hypnosis, practitioners recalled how they learned to ride their bikes at the age of 8 (no PowerPoints!) and wondered why the same idea couldn’t be brought to the front lines of work. Many firms (including your friends here at Blueline Simulations) were intrigued by the possibility of the “discovery rich learning environment.” Using learning technologies such as immersive simulation, learning visuals, Socratic dialogue, and narrative, learners drew from their own experience and knowledge to generate awareness, insight and behavior change. This rich age of constructivist learning persists today, and firms such as Blueline Simulations continue to explore whole-brained technologies (such as our popular Learning Blueprints) to create engagement, connection, and meaning. The constructivist age of corporate learning is still young, and we’ve just barely scratched the surface.

Then, with a mouse click heard round the world, web-enabled technologies emerged and learning changed yet again. Why are we spending all of this money to fly everyone here to HQ? Just look how much it is costing us to take our people off of the shop floor!

Sure, the early promise of e-learning was accompanied by a certain amount of disillusionment. (Click: Answer the question. Click: Advance to the next screen. Repeat.) But just as classroom designs evolved from transactional to constructivist, so did elearning.

And as the learning industry generated more and more great ideas for exercising the technology well, some new awarenesses began to spread within the organization: that perhaps it was time to end the artificial separation between doing the work and learning how to do the work; and that learning can and should be delivered at the exact moment of need.

The constructivist era has evolved into the age of integrated learning. This has spawned a broad range of performance support innovations.

In my next post I’ll look at some new ideas for delivering integrated learning — mission-critical training at the point of greatest learning impact: at the moment of need.