Are your learners front and center in everything you design?

This is the question you should be asking yourself as an instructional designer. A very similar question is being asked by Alicia Boler-Davis, Chief Of Global Quality and Customer Experience and her team over at GE and is one of the keys to the automaker's astounding turnaround. Why is this question so powerful you may be asking yourself. Let me explain.

Putting the learner front and center, you have the opportunity to not only train them but to build advocates for your learning and development programs. You can only do this though if you learners are walking out of your classroom (or leaving the bright glare of their laptop monitors) able to perform in new ways they will brag to their colleagues about. 

Many organizations limit the evaluation of the training programs to smiley sheets and surveys that are beyond stale, not to mention many learning and development departments are so strapped for time these smiley sheets sit gathering dust inside of a dark desk drawer. When was the last time you modified the instructional strategy in one of your courses as a result of employee feedback or comments left on one of these level I evaluations? 

Worse yet, if you're not using the feedback that you are getting from your training courses to improve them not only have your courses grown stale, but your lack of listening to what your end client has been telling you has probably negatively impacted the desire of your students to leave you candid feedback in the future. 


If "culture eats strategy for breakfast" as Mr. Drucker pointed out, I encourage you to rethink how you are designing your training courses and look not just at your business goals but at your learners' goals. Millennials who are increasingly comprising the bulk of today's workforce want to see you not just caring about the business, but want to feel you authentically caring about their needs and aspirations as well. 

Alex Santos

Alex is a co-founder and Managing Member of Collabor8 Learning, LLC, an instructional design and performance management consultancy. His firm collaborates with organizations to enhance the way they develop  and train their people. To learn more about Collabor8 Learning, click here.

Alex can be reached at 786-512-1069, or via Twitter@collabor8alex.