Home > Instructional Design - General > Extracting the “essence” of a company for online learning purposes

Extracting the “essence” of a company for online learning purposes

How do you get to the essence of a company?

I listen to classical music 1st thing in the morning, using it to meditate on the tasks of the day, and prepare mentally for the day ahead.

One of my favourite pieces is Vaughan Williams’ “Wasps”. Even though I am not quite sure what benefits wasps actually bring to this planet; the 1st 60 seconds, for me, sums up wasps perfectly. It is like “essence of wasp”. Go on – Google it and play it – see what I mean.

So…we are Instructional Designers. We are expected to “represent” a client when we produce learning. We are expected to put the “essence” of our commissioning company into every course we produce for them.

We are expected to produce learning that will resonate with the client, resonate with the learners, produce measurable results (even though some people still play the “You cannot measure learning” card…), and be something that they see as relevant.

How do we do this?

Well, it easy! We get a .png, .jpeg, or .tiff of the corporate logo, some loops/stingers, or recognisable corporate music, and here’s the REALLY important one…….

We use the company font and colours.

So what?

Learning only resonates with users if there’s a value to them, either from a personal or corporate perspective, no matter how pretty it is when it is dressed up. If that is not addressed, everything we do is wasted. It does not matter one iota if the course if on iPAD, created as a “game”, or created as a powerful multimedia experience.

I had a client recently who saw the winner of one of the many eLearning “contests” that seem to have sprung up. His reaction?

“..Beautiful graphics, but I did not actually LEARN anything, and certainly would not have paid any money for it…” For them – the investment in time and effort was useless. Had I produced the course, I would have been sacked from the project.

When we create courses, we need to engage at a business and personal level with the learners, they need to see examples and scenarios that are REAL to them.

Do not tell people about compliance – tell people about the effects on them of the company not being compliant. Make them care.

Do not create a course telling salespeople all about the features of the new product. Tell them what problems (that they recognise) are solved by the features, so that they can SELL that vision of Nirvana to their clients. They are not paid to sell features. They are paid to sell a vision of the usability of those features.

Our job as IDs is to challenge, not to acquiesce. Be brave – very often the client will actually thank you for the guidance that you have provided. Ask the client how to make the course REAL, how to extract the essence of the company and the personal targets of all those who will be targetted to watch your course, and follow that for your design.

Get that right, and the “contents” just become a detail, not your driver and focus.

Until next time.


Perfect Performance Training – “eLearning Made simpler”

  1. July 22, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Hi Bruce,

    I found this article really interesting, as I think it sums up the essence of unsuccessful courses… those that only have a logo, colors and fonts from the client but are not assimilated by learners.

    Thanks for this article!
    PS (I won’t listen to wasps as I hate them… :-))


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